Userfocus Usability Newsletter, April 2013

Welcome to the April edition of the Userfocus usability newsletter.

Message from the Editor

I was working in the US last month and had an experience that was the catalyst for this month's article.

In a restaurant, I asked the waitress for some water. The conversation went a little like this:

"Can I have some water, please?" I asked.

"Huh?"

"Some water?" I repeated.

Puzzled look from the waitress.

"Drinking water? Bottled water?"

This is a common strategy of mine when I'm not understood abroad. I figure that adding adjectives gives me a chance to find a shared vocabulary with the person I'm speaking with. It's certainly more successful than my old approach which was to SAY THE SAME THING BUT LOUDER.

"Oh, you want ward-er! Sure!" she said.

"Ward-er" equals "Water" in some parts of the US. I blame my English teacher, Mr Jeffs, for working so hard on those dropped Ts of mine.

Sometimes it's hard to make ourselves understood, even when we speak the same language. Cue this month's article on speaking the user's language.

In other news, we're up to 353 delegates on our online training course on user experience. You'll remember from last month's newsletter that we're aiming for 1,105 people before World Usability Day on 14 November. If this was Blue Peter, I would now show a thermometer that's about one-third of the way to the top. So I still need your help. Please tell people about the course or contact me about becoming an affiliate.

I hope you enjoy this month's article.

David Travis

Feature article: The usability error you don't know you're making

Failing to speak the user's language is an easy trap to fall into because you may not know the user's vocabulary and because technical terms often become second nature to the design team. As with much of user centred design, the secret lies in getting closer to your users so you can empathise with them. Read the article in full: The usability error you don't know you're making.

What we’re reading

Some interesting usability-related articles that got our attention over the last month:

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Usability Training: Now Booking

These are our most popular courses. Come along and find out why.

Axure Essentials, May 13, London.

Learn how to use Axure to build wireframes and generate HTML prototypes. More information about this training course: Axure Essentials.

Advanced Prototyping with Axure, May 14, London.

Learn how to prototype rich internet applications (RIAs) and use the advanced features of Axure RP Pro. More information about this training course: Advanced Prototyping with Axure.

Prototyping mobile interfaces with Axure, May 15, London.

Learn how to prototype mobile applications with Axure RP Pro. More information about this training course: Prototyping mobile interfaces with Axure.

How to carry out a usability expert review, May 16, London.

This seminar reveals the practitioner secrets behind expert reviews and will teach you how to think like a usability expert. More information about this training course: How to carry out a usability expert review.

Web Usability: An Introduction to User Experience, June 10-11, London.

This web usability training course will give you hands-on practice in all the key areas of usability, from identifying your customers through to usability testing your web site with them. More information about this training course: Web Usability: An Introduction to User Experience.

User Experience quotation of the month

“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.” — Charles Mingus.

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