Userfocus Usability Newsletter, September 2009

Welcome to the September edition of the Userfocus usability newsletter.

Message from the Editor

At one time or another we're all called upon to explain what it is, exactly, that we do. This is especially difficult for people that work in the field of user experience and usability because the area is so diverse. There's often a temptation to focus on our own speciality — usability testing or information architecture or user requirements — and ignore the bigger picture. This month's article describes the big picture of user experience — and literally includes a big picture that you can print off to explain what you do.

We have another exciting announcement this month for people who want to extend their skills in usability: a forum we call 'Community of Practice'. Aimed at people who have attended our courses, the purpose is to help you apply what you learnt.

We've also updated our popular user centred design stencil for Omnigraffle and Visio. The stencil is now available for Pencil, the free sketching tool for Firefox.

I hope you enjoy this month's newsletter.

David Travis

Feature article: Communicating User Experience Design

When trying to communicate the process of user centred design to senior managers it helps to convey the idea as concisely as possible. This infographic conveys the various steps and phases of user centred design on a single page. Read the article in full: Communicating User Experience Design.

New resource: Community of Practice

For most of our courses, we already provide refresher training — a series of follow up emails to remind you what you learnt. But that doesn't help you apply the skills. People tell us that when they get back to work, they sometimes run up against problems applying the techniques and want help. So we have developed a forum we call 'Community of Practice'. Maybe you forgot how to create red routes or personas. Perhaps you need some advice on running an upcoming usability test. Or you might want some advice on analysing your data. Fire away. Community of Practice.

Updated resource: User Centred Design stencil

This stencil will help you communicate user experience activities and user experience deliverables to clients and development teams. You can download it in a format suitable for Omnigraffle, Visio or Pencil (the free sketching tool for Firefox). Download the resource: Omnigraffle, Visio & Pencil UX Stencil.

Usability Training: Now Booking

Web Usability, October 20-21, London

For web designers who want hands-on experience with usability tools and techniques, "Web Usability" is a 2-day immersion seminar that shows delegates how to boost sales and conversion rates, increase usage and improve customer satisfaction. Unlike shorter introductory courses, this in-depth workshop covers the entire design and development lifecycle. More information about this training course: Web Usability training.

Intranet Usability, November 24-25, London

For intranet developers who want to help employees find and use content quickly and easily, "Intranet Usability" is a 2-day immersion seminar that gives delegates hands-on experience with several usability tools and techniques. Unlike web usability courses, this intranet-specific workshop contains examples of award-winning intranets for delegates to compare their own intranet against. More information about this training course: Intranet Usability training.

How to carry out a usability expert review, December 10 2009, London

For people in design teams who need to spot usability problems in prototypes and finished products, "How to carry out a usability expert review" is a 1-day seminar that teaches delegates cost-effective methods to evaluate designs. Unlike courses in usability testing, this seminar teaches delegates how to find and fix usability problems without involving end users. More information about this training course: Expert review training.

User Experience quotation of the month

"The sooner you start to code, the longer the program will take." — Roy Carlson.

Hungry for more?

Read previous newsletters.


Foundation Certificate in UX

Gain hands-on practice in all the key areas of UX while you prepare for the BCS Foundation Certificate in User Experience. More details

Download the best of Userfocus. For free.

100s of pages of practical advice on user experience, in handy portable form. 'Bright Ideas' eBooks.

UX newsletter

Every month, we share an in-depth article on user experience with over 10,000 newsletter readers. Want in? Sign up now and download a free guide to usability test moderation.

Newsletter archive

Look back over previous newsletters in the newsletter archive.

Real-time Twitter feed


Our services

Let us help you create great customer experiences.

Upcoming courses

We run regular training courses in usability and user experience.

Get free email updates

Join the thousands of other people who get their monthly fix of user experience insights from Userfocus and get a free guide to usability test moderation.