Thursday 3rd November is World Usability Day.
A day that is hugely anticipated. Millions will take to the streets, trying to catch a glimpse of their favourite usability guru, sagely administering sermons on the woes of unusable products. I can see it now – it’ll generate almost as much fervour as the results for the Estonian Eurovision Song Contest entry in 1961. You can just smell the excitement.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love this to be a success, but I just can’t help but feel that we’ve got a long way to go until it’s ranked above other prestigious events, like for example, World Badger Day.
If this day does help to raise the awareness of this mismatch between rubbish products and user needs, then that’s all well and good, but how long before it’s actually taken seriously? When can we expect to see the public rise up and demand better? When will we be able to use technology and not be made to feel stupid?
My guess is that this is a very long way away. Why? I actually don’t think a user often recognises the fact that something is unusable. I think they struggle along with the tools that they have, seemingly oblivious that they could actually be far better. So that seems to place the emphasis on the designers to come up with usable designs. Will that happen? Maybe eventually, but marketeers seem to be in love with additional functionality and merging companies limit the choice we have and prevent smaller companies from gaining market share.
So maybe World Usability Day is the way forward. Raise awareness of the everyday rubbish designs that we have to endure so that the mindset may change to demand it elsewhere.
I live in hope.