What use for usability?

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On design ambition

As contrary as it sounds, in 2014 designers should be more ambitious and less worried about being socially responsible. That way, we will all get to benefit more from their efforts. Take the reaction to how India launched its probe to Mars in November. As soon as the Mangalyaan taken off, critics slammed the project for being a huge waste of money, given that much of the Indian population live in abject poverty. But to criticise the...

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Does design make good policy?

It’s welcome news that a new government-backed design lab, to be launched this month, will aim to influence how government services are run. Yet it’s also cause for concern. There can be no doubt that designers make a positive impact on many people’s lives — especially when they help people access online government services more easily. The latest report on the success of the newly designed umbrella Gov.uk confirms this. There’s...

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Design in denial?

Speakers Clive Grinyer: director of design, Orange France Telecom Austin Williams: associate professor in architecture, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China; producer, FCP Ltd for NBSTV; convenor, Bookshop Barnies Patrick Cox: executive creative director, Wolff Olins; designer, London 2012 logo Tom Dunmore: editor-in-chief, Stuff and www.stuff.tv Jonathan Barnbrook: typographer/designer and founder of Virus Foundry...

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Behavioural design: a public dis-service

A team of designers, led by PearsonLloyd and commissioned by the UK Department of Health, has managed to reduce the instances of aggressive behaviour in UK accident and emergency (A&E) wards by half. This is according to new research based on trials of newly designed A&E wards at two hospitals. Waiting times and the resulting aggression towards staff in A&E departments are a very real cause for concern. But whether...

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Private dinner and debate – Design and healthcare: Getting the balance right

Speakers Dr Mike Fitzpatrick, general practitioner, writer on healthKit Lewis, director, Space Around PeopleNathan Waterhouse, co-lead of OpenIDEOMartyn Perks, manifesto convenor, speaker and writer on designPeter Mills, Strategic planning director at The Team Chaired by Jason Mesut, head of user experience at RMA...

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Event: Symposium on the Big Potatoes Manifesto for Design

The symposium will feature two debates – both being central to the Manifesto themes – with a final plenary to gather overall feedback. Each debate will be introduced with a provocation made by a member of the Manifesto team. Two external speakers will challenge the points being made, with the remainder of the time given over to the audience, for a wider debate. The debates are: DEBATE#1: UPHOLDING HUMANISM – OR CENTERING ON USERS?...

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Making it in the 21st Century

The strand consists of five separate debates: Manufacturing: the great comeback?, Gas galore?, Fracking and the future of energy, Engineering design or design engineering?, Is water too cheap?, Commons people: music in a digital...

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User Experience reporting

  The four day conference addressed a wide range of subjects, including content, information architecture, interaction design and usability, and took a decidedly practical, back-to-basics tone with workshops run by leading industry experts including Jeffery Veen, Louis Rosenfeld, Bruce ‘Tog’ Tognazzini and others. Three of the four days were devoted to beginners and advanced workshops, split over two days. All of this took place in a...

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What use for usability?

Go to Railtrack’s website (www.railtrack.co.uk). There, the most essential feature to you and me – the timetable – is an easy-to-miss button with a murky typeface. In fact, it looks like an ad. Now key in your destination station. You often don’t find anything. But is redesigning the site to improve usability the answer? And is asking prospective passengers what they’d like of the site really a solution? Ever since Sony introduced the...

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Dark-sky thinking

This was a pertinent question, when in the same week one of Britain's biggest high-street banks promised to 'turn banking on its head'. Abbey National made the creative decision to change its well-established high-street name to plain old Abbey. The bank reportedly spent in excess of £11million on this rebrand. For Abbey's customers, there is first-name informality. For its staff, there is a dose of therapy: at the...

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