Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2011 about Usability

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Saturday 12th March 2011

  • Inclusive Design: Creating Beautiful, Usable & Accessible Websites

    by Sandi Wassmer and Ian Pouncey

    The concept of the Web for All is something that we hold dear, but sometimes it feels like we are holding on to it for dear life! There is plenty of knowledge sharing about Web Standards and best practices, but too many opinions about
    what a website really is. If you ask a designer, a developer and a marketer, you will probably get 3 different answers and this can be a tad problematic when you only have one website.

    So I set out to find a solution, stopped thinking about the medium and started thinking about what the word Design really meant. Things that are designed are invariably products of some sort and it became clear that the internet is a product that people interact with using technology. I reflected on those who inspire me, such as Dieter Rams, whose ten principles of good design are as relevant now on the internet as they were when he first uttered them. And then I looked to Frank Lloyd Wright, the godfather of Inclusive Design in Architecture.
    With these parallels to hand, it is quite simple.

    Applying the principles of Inclusive Design to building websites makes sense, but understanding existing technologies and practices in order to ensure its successful implementation is where we are at now. Presenting the principles and how they can be applied to the web, and interspersing these with hands on, practical advice will provide both a breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding.

    Questions Answered
    1. What is Inclusive Design?
    2. How does the Inclusive Design approach differ from or improve upon existing best practices, such as accessibility, usability, UX and mobile optimisation?
    3. What practical techniques can I use to adopt Inclusive Design principles and
    methodologies into my working practices?
    4. What tools and prior knowledge do I need to implement Inclusive Design?
    5. How does Inclusive Design on the Web draw from and correlate to existing
    principles in industrial design and architecture?

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Room 6AB, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage slide deck

Monday 14th March 2011

  • Having Fun Yet? 10 Usability Heuristics For Games

    by John Mark Josling and Corey Chandler

    The joke goes something like this: if interaction designers had made Super Mario Brothers, the game would just have one large button labeled “Rescue Princess.”

    There is some truth to that. Interaction designers strive for products that let people get tasks done quickly and easily. Yet, the fun of gameplay is overcoming challenges and rules deliberately set to impede a player’s progress. So as interaction designers, how do we separate challenges that add to the gameplay from those points of frustration which detract?

    For game developers without access to interaction designers or researchers, the challenge can be even greater. When developing a new game, what general principles should be followed to make sure it remains safely on the fun side of frustrating?

    Jakob Nielsen gave us the ten canonized Usability Heuristics for web and system design; our humble goal is to do the same for computer games. This presentation will provide ten interface heuristics applicable to games as well a few useful “discount” evaluation techniques for when you don’t have the time, or the money, for a full lab study.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Monday 14th March

    In Ballroom C, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage slide deck

Tuesday 15th March 2011

  • Steve Krug Explains It All for You

    by Steve Krug

    Nowadays, Steve (Don’t Make Me Think) Krug is fixated on getting everyone to do their own usability testing. It’s almost sad, really. Bordering on an obsession. And it *would* be sad, except for the fact that usability testing turns out to be the best thing anyone can do to improve a Web site (or Web app, or desktop app, or iPad app—you get the idea) that they’re working on.

    Last year, he boiled down everything you need to know to do your own testing into 162 pages in his second book, Rocket Surgery Made Easy. Now, for people who haven’t got two hours to read a really short book (with lots of illustrations), he’s going to boil it down into a SxSW talk…complete with a live demonstration. You’ll leave the room ready—and eager--to start testing.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Ballroom A, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage slide deck