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Posts in category 'Michele Visciola'

25 October 2014

Experientia president to speak at User Friendly 2014 in China

logo_2014

Experientia president Michele Visciola is one of the keynote speakers at User Friendly 2014, the annual user experience conference of UXPA China, to be held in Wuxi, China, 13 to 16 November.

The theme of the 11th conference is the “new era of the experience economy,” thus underlining the importance of transferring UX concepts and practices to industries and fields, and of shifting R&D from a manufacturing-oriented focus to a service-oriented one.

Other keynote speakers are Rong Tao, president of UXPA China and Chief Experience Officer, Ping An Financial Technology Co., Ltd; Sheng Fu, CEO, Cheetah Mobile; Tomer Sharon, Senior Search UX Researcher, Google Search; Alfred Lui, Chief Design Officer, Seer Labs; Melanie Arens, Vice President / Customer Experience Delivery Manager, Wells Fargo´s Digital Channels Group; Vijay Kumar, Professor, Chicago’s IIT Institute of Design; and Lou Yongqi, Dean / Professor, College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University.

Michele will address the topic of why ecosystems in the digital economy should be open and how UX can help different ecosystems to evolve and co-exist by enabling people to cultivate their own stability and aspirations. UX, he says, should not be aimed at “not making people think”, but rather at “making people think better”.

19 October 2014

Event: Why the world needs anthropologists

anthropologists

An upcoming event is encouraging anthropologists to “come out of their ivory towers” and work more closely with their colleagues in the field, in order to bridge the gap between “pure” and “applied” anthropology.

The international symposium “Why the world needs anthropologists” (Facebook page) will be held on 5 December 2014 in Padua, Italy.

Experientia president Michele Visciola will be one of three speakers at the free symposium. He will reflect on the conference aim of erasing the boundaries between “pure” and “applied” anthropology, and presenting opportunities for establishing long-lasting cooperation between academics and practitioners.

According to the organizers, “contemporary demands give us no time to get stuck by internal tensions and divisions within the discipline – anthropologists need to come out of their ‘ivory towers’ and come to terms with the increasingly prominent economic, political and ecological challenges of our world.”

Other speakers are Antonio Luigi Palmisano, Professor of Social and Economic Anthropology at the University of Salento, and Rikke Ulk, CEO, Chief Anthropologist and founder of Antropologerne.

16 April 2013

iHub Nairobi welcomes Michele Visciola

ihub

Michele Visciola, Experientia’s president and user research director, will speak at Kenya’s iHub this week, on Friday 19th April.

Michele is currently in Nairobi preparing research, and has been invited to be a guest speaker at iHub, Nairobi’s Innovation Hub for the technology community.

Michele will talk about “User-centred innovation: fostering culture evolution and behavioural change through design”, and the implications for technology development in East Africa.

iHub’s mission is to catalyse technology growth in Kenya. The hub’s community of technologists, investors, tech companies, young entrepreneurs, web and mobile phone programmers, designers and researchers will be invited to hear Michele speak.

iHub is part open community workspace (co-working), part vector for investors and VCs and part incubator. It runs a number of initiatives designed to build an ecosystem around the Kenyan tech entrepreneur: iHub Research, iHub Consulting, iHub Supercomputing Cluster, and the iHub User Experience (UX) Lab, to connect the people with ideas to the people with money to help them grow.

The iHub UX Lab is the first User Experience lab in sub-Saharan Africa that will put together a flexible, efficient and state of the art User Experience design testing space as well as provide designers with global standard master classes to improve their competitiveness.

3 May 2012

Experientia at EPIC Europe meeting

cropped-epiceuropebanner2

Experientia® partner in charge of user research, Michele Visciola, will be one of the speakers at the EPIC Europe one-day meeting at the Elisava Design School in Barcelona next week, on 11 May 2012.

The European meeting is the first of its kind for EPIC (Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference), and is designed to provide a space for anyone involved in the use of ethnographic research in industry to meet, and explore ethnographic practice from a European perspective. About 100 members of the ethnographic research community in Europe are expected to attend the event.

Michele will be talking on the ethnographic research arena in Europe and especially Italy, and current trends in methodology.

Experientia’s senior partner for user experience design Jan-Christoph Zoels will also be attending, together with Laura Polazzi and Anna Wojnarowska, respectively Experientia’s senior UX researcher and UX researcher.

17 January 2011

Experientia part of EPIC 2011

EPIC
The Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference (EPIC) has become the premier international forum for bringing together academics, computer scientists, designers, policy makers, social scientists, marketers and other professionals interested in the ongoing development of the field of applied ethnographic research and practice.

The call for contributions to the 2011 conference is now open, seeking original, high quality and engaging papers, workshops, artifacts and presentations.

Experientia president Michele Visciola will be in charge of the “artifacts” session and will help to provide high visibility and success to all demos, prototypes, posters and 3D presentations that are submitted to the conference.

The theme of the 2011 conference, to be held in Boulder, Colorado, from September 18 to 21, is “Evolution/Revolution: change and ethnographic work.” In particular, it will focus on the harmonies and disjunctions between the continuous evolution of practice and the pressures of radical disruptions that come from technology, history, economics, and other areas where change is the rule.

For up to date information and further details on the conference and submissions, visit the EPIC conference website.

22 November 2010

Video message by Experientia’s Michele Visciola at World Usability Day 2010 in Japan

WUD Japan
Experientia president Michele Visciola was invited to send a video message to the World Usability Day 2010 event in Tokyo, Japan.

Michele, who is also European Regional Coordinator for the Usability Professional’s Association, spoke on the event’s theme of communication, and the relationship between communication and usability in research and design activities.

In this short video (with Japanese subtitles), Michele explains how both communication and usability practices boil down to gaining the trust of the customer.

17 November 2010

Michele Visciola on online healthcare information

Michele Visciola
Michele Visciola, Experientia partner, gave a talk this week on online healthcare information at the 16th IFHRO (International Federation of Health Records Organizations) Congress in Milan, Italy.

The International Federation of Health Records Organizations (IFHRO) serves as a forum for the exchange of information relating to health records, education of medical record personnel, and information technology.

The talk, entitled “Online healthcare information: where is the divide between a trustable and an untrustable information and communication system?”, highlighted how a user-centred approach can be used to provide healthcare information that meets user needs.

Here is the executive summary of his talk:

How and what kind of information is provided by online healthcare services is critical to designing a user-centred system that meets user needs, and does not put individuals’ health at risk. The move of healthcare information to the online world has raised some serious concerns in terms of content and the ways in which the information is used. The paradigm shift from personal consultation with a trusted family doctor to inquiries made to an anonymous or general online source has created a context of self-diagnosis from online information, leading to potential health disasters. The open access to information that was previously the privilege of medical practitioners has created a situation in which the patient’s desire for immediate information conflicts with the need for professional advice.

This research project benchmarked 41 websites, within Italy and internationally, to understand how a user-centred approach can be used to provide healthcare information that meets user needs. The project focused in particular on the needs of patients, and their family and friends.

The healthcare information needs of patients can be grouped into Knowledge, Action and Sharing. “Knowledge” is the inherent information the patient needs about her/his health, such as details on the illness, prevention, care, the health structure, ethics and rights, and well-being. This can be either “cold” information (top-down) or “warm” (bottom-up or horizontal). “Action” includes the reactive and proactive behaviors that the patient can take, while “Sharing” is the exchange of information, experience and emotions with people in similar situations.

The 41 websites explored were selected as best practice in the field, and the ways in which they supported the above classification of user needs was considered. For each of the three areas described above, we identified the ways in which patients’ information requirements were met (or not) by the sites.

When comparing Italian sites to the international sites, we found that the international sites were more developed in terms of interactive and personalization solutions. Within Italy, the least developed areas are Action and Sharing, which are the most complex categories and play a fundamental role in the patient’s world. The “cold” top-down information was the most complete and organized, while there was little space dedicated to horizontal communication. The Italian sites tended to present one-way, pre-packaged communication that focused on “useful” information, but ignored “emotional” aspects. Regardless of the local cultural dimensions that are not considered in this study, we recommend that online healthcare information should focus on improving the following at the 3 identified levels: “Knowledge”: provide real possibilities for knowledge through presentations and memos. “Action”: Give people the chance to participate in assessing what they need to do. “Sharing”: Provide instruments for sharing and discussion.

30 October 2009

Experientia partner Michele Visciola on people-centred innovation as culture evolution

Michele Visciola
Experientia partner Michele Visciola, who is also the president of Experientia, has written an article entitled “People-centered innovation or culture evolution?” that got published in the November-December edition of Interactions magazine.

Here is the abstract:

“The biological theory of evolution and its applications to cultural anthropology (Cavalli Sforza, 2006) create an interesting framework with which to regard user research practices and innovation strategies. Mutation (i.e., a significant abrupt change in a given value system) is a rare event but can occur in any culture. Natural selection is the pressure that operates on a given system of values and beliefs in order to select those behaviours that fit to the environmental conditions of use. Migration is the meshing of behaviours and attitudes that can lead to a change of values. Finally, Drift is the barrier to the entrance of new values in a given cultural system. A deep understanding of these forms of cultural evolution will allow companies to better frame innovation models. Whether it is based on participatory and voluntary shifts in usage conditions (i.e. mutation), or on integrating new services and features into existing products (creating conditions for migration and drift), innovation should favour the natural selection of people’s idea selection so that it can resist and endure.”

The full article is available for subscribers only, but you can download a pre-publication version here.

17 April 2009

Global usability organisation embraces design

UPA 2009
In December last year, the Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA) organised its first European conference in Turin, Italy, with a focus on the connection between usability and design.

The very successful conference, which was chaired by the UPA Europe president Silvia Zimmerman (who has meanwhile become president of UPA Global) and UPA-Italy chair Michele Visciola (who is also the president of Experientia), has clearly had some impact on UPA’s global thinking, as exemplified by its upcoming international conference in Portland, OR, USA.

Not only is the look and feel of the global conference’s website remarkably similar to the European one, but three of the invited speakers are actually designers — Dan Saffer (Kicker Studio), Nathan Shedroff (California College of the Arts) and Raphael Grignani (Nokia Design) — with a specific focus on interaction design and experience design.

Obviously we are excited about this embrace of design within the usability community and look forward to hearing more about this conference.

27 January 2009

Two Experientia/Vodafone workshops at the upcoming LIFT conference

LIFT 2009
Experientia, in collaboration with the Vodafone User Experience team, is running two workshops on 25 February at the upcoming LIFT conference to present the results of two recent projects and explore their impact.

KashKlash: exchanging the future

Join us for a workshop to explore alternative methods of exchange. The focus is on a possible future ecosystem – in a new world where today’s ageing, less useful and even dangerous financial systems are replaced by (or mixed with) more disruptive innovations and exchanges. Imagine yourself deprived of all of today’s financial resources. Maybe you’re a refugee or stateless. Yet you still have your handset and laptop and Internet and a broadband cellphone connection….

This is one of the provocations posed on KashKlash , an open forum and web project focusing on alternative economies in a post-money future. What will such a world look like? How will the concept of value be measured? What concepts will shape the formal and informal economies? Bright thinkers from around the world came together to discuss, debate and ideate in this innovative and exciting project.

KashKlash is a collaborative project between Heather Moore of Vodafone, Irene Cassarino, Mark Vanderbeeken and Michele Visciola of Experientia and a group of independent visionaries. The project started with four bright and innovative provocateurs, Nicolas Nova, Joshua Klein, Bruce Sterling, and Régine Debatty, and as the debate gathered steam, contributions, comments, flickr photos and twitter streams rolled in from more than 50 additional participants to shape and envision possible futures.

Intrigued? We are looking forward to exchanging ideas with you. See you at the workshop!

Lifestream – Visualizing my data
Explorations of large quantity information visualization

Current technologies allow people to capture, warehouse and retrieve vast amounts of data; more information than we can comprehend as individuals – more than we will ever need. As we move through our days, generating text messages, phone calls, photos, documents, and their inherent metadata, we are not conscious of the cloud of information that we create and carry with us.

In a world where we are constantly bombarded by more information than we can process, it is tempting to entrust this information to computers to store and organise for us. It is tempting to think that the more we store, the safer our memories and important ideas are. We let paradigms that are logical for computers govern the way our personal data is organised and accessed, at the expense of more human forms of interaction.

This workshop explores new paradigms to overcome the defects of current visualization methods. How can interfaces support traditional ways of coping with large amounts of information? How best can we facilitate such cognitive processes such as forgetting and constructing memories? Can our data be presented to us in such a way that it accrues layers of meaning, enhances nostalgia about our past, keeps us in contact with the present, while aiding us in thinking ahead? How can we design information patterns to make visible the connections, patterns and coincidences in our lives, remind us of favourite memories and moments, and allow all that is no longer relevant to fall away like dust.

The workshop by Willem Boijens, Vodafone, and Jan-Christoph Zoels, Experientia will introduce insights and examples of information visualizations, engage the participants in interactive exercises and team discussions.

I might want to add that the original concepts on both projects stem from Willem Boijens (Vodafone) as well, who was also the driving force in making sure that these projects would be presented at the LIFT conference.

A third workshop might be added still. More soon.

15 December 2008

European usability and design conference presentations online

UPA Europe thank you
The first European conference of the Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA), which was dedicated to Usability and Design, is more than a week away but the high quality of the event still lingers.

The conference, which took place in Turin, Italy, was inspired by the designation of the city as the first World Design Capital and by the locally grown international movement of Slow Food, to focus on design and the importance of cultural diversity.

Conference participants were enthusiastic about the quality of the presenters and the presentations, the impeccable organisation, the general atmosphere of collaboration, and the many opportunities for informal networking. And let’s not forget the (slow) food.

Many presenters emphasised the need to go beyond usability analysis and to take those insights further into initial design concepts. Also the need for cultural sensitivity was strongly on people’s minds: usability is no longer about localisation of interfaces, but about understanding cultural diversity, which goes far beyond linguistic translations.

Unusually, this conference was paperless. A dedicated and easy-to-use mobile device, called SpotMe, allowed participants to check the schedule, view presentations, find out who is sitting around them, message other conference goers, exchange address information, and be informed about everything else the city has on offer.

Meanwhile nearly all the presentations are available online and they are worthwhile exploring. Indulge yourself on the talks by Elizabeth Churchill of Yahoo! Research, Chan-il Kim of the Institute of Design, IIT, Mike Glaser of SpankDesign, Michele Visciola of Experientia, Anxo Cereijo Roibàs of Vodafone Global, Giorgio Venturi, Daria Loi of Intel (not yet online), and much, much more.

While you are at it, you may also want to browse the photo gallery, and sniff up the atmosphere.

The conference was chaired by Silvia Zimmerman of the Swiss Usability Learning Center and Michele Visciola of Experientia. The impeccable organisation was in the sure hands of Cristina Lobnik.

The idea of a European UPA conference definitely took hold. The question is now who will volunteer for the UPA Europe 2009 conference. But book your calendars for 2010 when Munich, Germany will be the host city for the global UPA 2010 conference, the regional UPA Europe 2010 conference and the UPA Germany 2010 conference!

11 November 2008

Two UX magazines for subscribers only

UX Mags
Two user experience magazines landed on my desk this week. They are available only to subscribers, both in print and online. But subscriptions are relatively cheap.

User Experience is the quarterly magazine of the Usability Professionals’ Association (membership is a modest 100 USD) and its latest issue is devoted to usability in transportation. Here are the titles of the feature articles and you can find the abstracts online:

Taxi: Service Design for New York’s yellow cabs
By Rachel Abrams

Safer Skies: Usability at the Federal Aviation Administration
By Ferne Friedman-Berg, Ph.D, Kenneth Allendoerfer, Carolina Zingale, Ph.D, Todd Truitt, Ph.D.

Listen Up: Do voice recognition systems help drivers focus on the road?
By David G. Kidd, M. A., David M. Cades, M. A., Don J. Horvath, M. A., Stephen M. Jones, M. A., Matthew J. Pitone, M. A., Christopher A. Monk, Ph. D.

Get Your Bearings: User perspective in map design
By Thomase Porathe

Lost in Space: Holistic wayfinding design in public spaces
By Dr. Christopher Kueh

A Really Smart Card: How Hong Kong’s Octopus Card moves people
By Daniel Szuc

Recommendations on Recommendations: Making usability usable
By Rolf Molich, Kasper Hornbæk, Steve Krug, Josephine Scott and Jeff Johnson

Disclosure: my business partner Michele Visciola is on the editorial board of this magazine.

Interactions is the bimonthly publication of ACM. Better designed than User Experience, it has become, under the thoughtful leadership of Richard Anderson and Jon Kolko, both profound in its analysis and broad in its interests. At 55 USD for six issues, it is also a bargain.

Here is the latest harvest of articles, some of which you can actually find online:

Designing Games: Why and How
Sus Lundgren

An Evolving Map of Design Practice and Design Research
Liz Sanders

Signifiers, Not Affordances
Don Norman

User Experience Design for Ubiquitous Computing
Mike Kuniavsky

Cultural Theory and Design: Identifying Trends by Looking at the Action in the Periphery
Christine Satchell

Understanding Children’s Interactions: Evaluating Children’s Interactive Products
Janet C. Read, Panos Markopoulos

An Exciting Interface Foray into Early Digital Music: The Kurzweil 250
Richard W. Pew

Some Different Approaches to Making Stuff
Steve Portigal

Design: A Better Path to Innovation
Nathan Shedroff

A Call for Pro-Environmental Conspicuous Consumption in the Online World
Bill Tomlinson

Of Candied Herbs and Happy Babies: Seeking and Searching on Your Own Terms
Elizabeth Churchill

Experiencing the International Children’s Digital Library
Benjamin B. Bederson

Taken For Granted: The Infusion of the Mobile Phone in Society
Rich Ling

How Society was Forever Changed: A Review of The Mobile Connection
Brian Romanko

Audiophoto Narratives for Semi-literate Communities
David Frohlich, Matt Jones

Think Before You Link: Controlling Ubiquitous Availability
Karen Renaud, Judith Ramsay, Mario Hair

Disclosure: As of next year, I will be a contributing editor to the magazine (and I feel honoured to be in such esteemed company).

23 July 2008

In three years…

Experientia
Three years ago we founded Experientia. It has been a very exciting ride since.

In three years we worked with some of the best companies in the field and some of the best people too.

Here they are in alphabetical order:

Our clients
Alcatel-Lucent (France, Spain), Area Association (Italy), Arits Consulting (Belgium), AVIS (Italy), Barclays (Italy, UK), Blyk (Finland, UK), Cittadellarte (Italy), City of Genk (Belgium), Condé Nast (Italy), Conifer Research (USA), CSI (Italy), CVS-Pharmacy (USA), Design Flanders (Belgium), Deutsche Telekom (Germany), Expedia (UK), Facem (Italy), Fidelity International (UK), Finmeccanica (Italy), Flanders in Shape (Belgium), Haier (China), Hewlett Packard (India), IEDC-Bled School of Management (Slovenia), IKS-Core Consulting (Italy), Istud Foundation (Italy), Kodak (USA), LAit (Italy), Last Minute (UK), Max Mara (Italy), Media & Design Academy (Belgium), Microsoft (USA), Motorola (USA), MPG Ferrero (Italy), Nokia (Denmark, France, Finland), Research in Motion (Canada), Samsung (Italy, Korea, UK), Swisscom (Switzerland), Tandem Seven (USA), Torino World Design Capital (Italy), Voce di Romagna (Italy), Vodafone (Germany, Italy, UK), and Whirlpool (UK).

Our collaborators (interns, consultants and staff)
Sven Adolph, Ana Camila Amorim, Andrea Arosio, An Beckers-Vanderbeeken, Josef ‘Yosi’ Bercovitch, Enrico Bergese, Niti Bhan, Elena Bobbola, Janina Boesch, Giovanni Buono, Donatella Capretti, Manlio Cavallaro, Gaurav Chadha, Dave Chiu, Raffaella Citterio, Sarah Conigliaro, Piermaria Cosina, Marco Costacurta, Laura Cunningham, Regine Debatty, Stefano Dominici, Saulo Dourado, Tal Drori, Dina Mohamed El-Sayed, Marion Froehlich, Giuseppe Gavazza, Valeria Gemello, Michele Giannasi, Young-Eun Han, Vanessa Harden, Yasmina Haryono, Bernd Hitzeroth, Juin-Yi ‘Suno’ Huang, Tom Kahrl, Erez Kikin-Gil, Ruth Kikin-Gil, Helena Kraus, Francesca Labrini, Alberto Lagna, Shadi Lahham, Jörg Liebsch, Cristina Lobnik, Maya Lotan, Ofer Luft, Davide Marazita, Claude Martin, Camilla Masala, Myriel Milicevic, Kim Mingo, Emanuela Miretti, Massimo Morelli, Peter Morville, Muzayun Mukhtar, Giorgio Olivero, Pablo Onnias, Hector Ouilhet, Christian Pallino, Giorgio Partesana, Magda Passarella, Romina Pastorelli, Danilo Penna, Andrea Piccolo, Rachelly Plaut, Laura Polazzi, Laura Puppo, Alain Regnier, Enza Reina, Anna Rink, Michal Rinott, Silvana Rosso, Emanuela Sabena, Vera de Sa-Varanda, Craig Schinnerer, Fabio Sergio, Manuela Serra, Sofia Shores, Massimo Sirelli, Natasha Sopieva, Yaniv Steiner, Riccardo Strobbia, Victor Szilagyi, David Tait, Beverly Tang, Akemi Tazaki, Luca Troisi, Raymond Turner, Haraldur Unnarsson, Ilaria Urbinati, Carlo Valbonesi, Marcello Varaldi, Giorgio Venturi, Anna Vilchis, Dvorit Weinheber, Alexander Wiethoff, Junu Joseph Yang, and Mario Zannone.

Our partners
Amberlight, Design for Lucy, Fecit, Finsa, Flow Interactive, Foviance, Italia 150, Launch Institute, Prospect, Savigny Research, Syzygy, Torino World Design Capital, UPA, URN, Usability Partners International, Usercentric, UserFocus, User Interface Design, and UXnet.

Our friends (insofar not covered by the above)
Nik Baerten, Valerie Bauwens, Toon Berckmoes, Ralf Beuker, Marco Bevolo, Daniella Botta, Stefana Broadbent, Francesco Cara, Jan Chipchase, Allan Chochinov, Elizabeth Churchill, Gillian Crampton-Smith, Regine Debatty, Federico De Giuli, Jesse James Garrett, Adam Greenfield, Hubert Guillaud, Wilfried Grommen, Laurent Haug, Bob Jacobson, Marguerite Kahrl, Anna Kirah, Simona Lodi, Peter Merholz, Bill Moggridge, Donald Norman, Nicolas Nova, Bruce Nussbaum, Laura Orestano, Vittorio Pasteris, Gianluigi Perotto, Carlo Ratti, Hans Robertus, Bruce Sterling, John Thackara, Joannes Vandermeulen, Lowie Vermeersch, Judy Wert, and Younghee Yung.

Thanks to you all!

Pierpaolo Perotto, Mark Vanderbeeken, Michele Visciola and Jan-Christoph Zoels
The Experientia partners

PS. We are constantly looking for great talent! We currently have openings for interaction designers, communication designer, information architect, IT staff, usability consultants, etc.

13 May 2008

Changing the Change conference looks very promising

Changing the Change
The three-day Changing the Change conference, which is about the role of design research in sustainable change and scheduled for 10-12 July in Turin, Italy, looks to become very interesting indeed.

The list of invited speakers and discussants features Bill Moggridge (IDEO); Geetha Narayanan (Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, India); Lou Yongqi (Tongji University, China); Mugendi M. Rithaa (Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa); Aguinaldo dos Santos (Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil); Fumi Masuda (designer, Japan), Chris Ryan (University of Melbourne, Australia); Luisa Collina (Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy); Josephine Green (Philips Design); Roberto Bartholo (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Anna Meroni (Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy), Luigi Bistagnino (Polytechnic University of Turin, Italy); Nigel Cross (The Open University, UK); Victor Margolin (University of Illinois at Chicago, USA); and Ken Friedman (Danmarks Designskole, Denmark)

No less than 163 abstracts have been accepted, including our own. Take a look at the titles and the presenters to get an idea of the variety on offer, all within the wider theme of design for sustainability, or read a reflection on the selection by conference chair Ezio Manzini.

The topics sound great and I will enjoy attending, but I have to point out that the large majority of the papers come from academic institutions. In fact, there are only a handful of major companies (Intel and Philips) and design consultancies (such as Experientia) involved.

This is something bound to be different at another major international conference scheduled in Turin, Italy, the UPA Europe 2008 conference, taking place in December. Conference co-chair (and my business partner) Michele Visciola told me that many major international companies have submitted papers for this conference with the theme “usability and design: cultivating diversity”. More is to follow soon.

5 October 2007

Italian World Usability Day on 8 November in Turin

Upa_logo
This year’s World Usability Day (WUD), a global series of events organised by the Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA), will take place on 8 November forthcoming.

The WUD was founded to ensure that the services and products important to life are easier to access and simpler to use.

A wide range of events, exhibits, forums and conferences, taking place in cities all over the world, will raise awareness and debate on this year’s theme of healthcare, a topic which is gathering a lot of attention in national and international policy discussions.

The Italian World Usability Day, which will take place at the Environment Park in Turin, is set up as an interactive forum where well-known experts propose innovative human-centred design solutions to (re-)conceive products, services and processes within the broader field of healthcare.

The Italian WUD has the double aim of showing the potential for innovation when strategies are based on usability and human-centred design (in this case patients and their friends and family, medical staff, institutional staff); and demonstrating the effectiveness of this approach through the presentation of tangible results.

The Turin event will also feature a presentation and discussion of the results of the work done by the Turin-based ASSET Association, an informal but high-level think tank on the Hospital of the Future.

Over the last year ASSET organised a series of benchmark meetings that brought together over 100 experts, both from the world of healthcare and beyond, to help define an innovative model of how a future hospital ought to be structured. The result of these meetings is a rich synthesis document that defines best practices and benchmarks for the Hospital of the Future.

Thanks to the ASSET involvement, the day will be structured as a series of debates on five macro themes: technology, governance, management, communication and environment.

Each thematic session will be introduced by a discussant who will present the results achieved by the ASSET foundation in that particular thematic area, after which a group of national and international experts will provide their own take on the topic, including possible alternative proposals.

This format — presentation of results, critical analysis, redefinition of the proposal — allows for a further refinement of the ASSET guidelines, and will help shape a more operational guidance document, to be called the “Decalogue of the Hospital of the Future”.

Finally, the Italian World Usability Day also provides an excellent opportunity for institutional partners, the business world and private citizens to reflect on how to apply user-centred theories and methodologies within the healthcare system and to be informed on the latest approaches.

*****

UPA (Usability Professionals’ Association) is an association of usability specialists, people from all aspects of human-centred design, and the broad family of disciplines that create the user experience in promoting the design and development of usable products. The association’s objectives are to provide an international network through which usability professionals can share information about the techniques and methodologies in the profession; create an inclusive community for those interested in usability; change new product development processes to include a concern for the people who use them; and increase the body of knowledge about usability and user-centred design through professional education, meetings and conventions and other professional interchange.

ASSET (the Association for the Development of Excellence in Healthcare in Turin) was founded in Turin with the goal of conceiving and implementing innovative solutions to overcome the inefficiencies that currently characterise the local healthcare services. The activities of the association are taking place with support of CirPark (Clinical Industrial Research Park) and the Department of Research and Innovation Policies of the Regional Government of Piedmont.

6 July 2007

European designers to meet in World Design Capital to promote usability and design

Upa_logo
(Bloomingdale, IL: July 6, 2007) – The first European regional conference of the Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA) will take place in Torino, Italy, named the 2008 World Design Capital. Hundreds of designers and usability specialists are expected to attend.

“The UPA Europe 2008 conference provides a great opportunity to reinforce the importance of usability and user-centered design. These are essential design concepts that European UPA chapters promote in industry, education and government.” said Michele Visciola, UPA European regional conference co-chair and President of the UPA Italy Chapter.

Visciola will co-chair the conference along with Silvia Zimmermann, the International UPA Director of Organizational Outreach and UPA Switzerland board member.

The conference will be held in Torino, Italy, in 2008, when the city will host a large variety of activities as the first-ever World Design Capital – a title it was awarded by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID).

The UPA Europe 2008 conference will focus on usability and design and is expected to take place in October or December 2008. Designers, researchers and usability specialists from around the world will be invited to share and learn about innovative ways to design better products and experiences.

“This conference will demonstrate the design expertise and leadership within the various UPA chapters and usability practitioners throughout Europe,” said Zimmermann.

UPA chapter leaders will soon be invited to nominate UPA Europe 2008 conference committee members to help organize the conference.

(original press release)

12 June 2007

Daily reporting from the UPA annual conference

Patterns
Over the next few days I will post daily reports from the annual conference of the Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA) in Austin, Texas. Experientia partner Michele Visciola, is there, as well as Jakob Biesterfeldt (User Interface Design, Germany) and Robert Gillham (Amberlight, UK), companies that Experientia works frequently with.

Amberlight (UK) and User Interface Design (UID) are founding members of the International Usability Partners (IUP). The IUP are a network of independent usability companies who provide usability services worldwide, based on a common understanding of best-of-class quality and methodology.

The full partnership has collaborated on Jakob’s and Robert’s conference paper “Guidelines for Successful Recruiting in International Usability Studies” exchanging experiences from numerous usability studies across borders, cultures and languages. Their ideas on successful recruiting in international usability studies are available here. The paper will be presented on Thursday, 1:30 pm.

21 November 2006

Encouraging participatory democracy

UX Magazine
The current issue of User Experience, the membership magazine of the Usability Professionals’ Association, just published an article by Experientia partners Michele Visciola and Mark Vanderbeeken, entitled “Encouraging Participatory Democracy: A Study of 30 Government Websites”.

Abstract

For the first time in history, a wide distribution of technology allows citizens to get involved in public governance and participate in institutional life on a very regular basis. Yet websites of public authorities are barely taking advantage of the power of the participatory citizen.

Two factors play a key role in this gap. First, the average citizen is not well informed about how basic democratic institutions function, which dramatically reduces the citizen’s capacity to influence the democratic process. Websites can help reduce the complexity of public institutions and get people to understand the way institutions and public administrations function and behave. Second, access to public services online is increasingly separated from institutional information. While online service sites are popular, the role of the institutional sites is not clear. The authors argue that these sites can and should take on the role of a two-way communications tool on topics of policy and politics, support knowledge sharing on areas covered by the authority, and create maximum transparency on what the public administration actually does.

To better understand the opportunities, challenges and evolutions that are affecting public institution websites, the authors studied the main sites of 30 public authorities and identified several innovative approaches. A first analysis shows that a lot remains to be improved. Almost all the sites analysed share three characteristics: (1) policy priorities are not concisely communicated and easy to understand, (2) there is only limited innovation in how regional or municipal institutions present themselves; and (3) there are no tools for active participation.

However, some of the studied sites provide elements of innovation that can be used as models and inspirations. The authors conclude that to improve information access, better communication strategies are needed and to increase participation, better usability is of crucial importance.

The magazine also contains Michele Visciola’s review of the book Ambient Findability by Peter Morville.

The peer-reviewed content of User Experience is not available online but printed copies of the magazine can be bought in the UPA Store.

17 November 2006

Yaniv Steiner speaking on rapid prototyping at World Usability Day Italy

Michele Visciola introducing Yaniv Steiner
Last Tuesday people across the globe attended World Usability Day gatherings and events, an initiative promoted by a professional association called the Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA).

Experientia partner Michele Visciola is the president of UPA-Italy, and in that capacity he organised the World Usability Day in Italy at the Bicocca University in Milan.

One of the speakers was Yaniv Steiner, Experientia’s director of R&D and the founder of Nastypixel which is a “prototyping sweatshop”. He has been teaching at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea and currently also lectures at the University of Architecture in Venezia and the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem.

The audio of Yaniv’s presentation on rapid prototyping is online (in English, with a short Italian introduction by Michele Visciola in Italian) and so are his slides and a number of links.

Régine Debatty, who was also a speaker at the Milan event, has a nice profile of Yaniv on her blog we-make-money-not-art.

5 October 2006

World Usability Day on 14 November – major event in Milan

World Usability Day
The Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA) organises on 14 November 2006 its second global World Usability Day, with events in more than one hundred cities around the world.

The World Usability Day event in Italy, which is also aimed at a non-specialised audience, will take place at the University of Bicocca in Milan on 14 November from 10am to 2pm. The aim is to share a design culture that puts people and usability at the centre of innovation. In particular, the day will focus on two themes:

  • How prototypes can promote usability – with speakers Yaniv Steiner (software prototyping specialist), Daniele Galiffa (3D user experience specialist), Prof. Roberto Polillo (HCI and prototyping specialist) and Roberto Giolito (Advanced Design Manager at the FIAT Group).
     
  • Integrating usability and creativity to achieve ‘pleasure of use’: with speakers Régine Debatty (we-make-money-not-art), Giovanni Padula (founder of CityO and Creativity Group Europe), Jan-Christoph Zoels (user experience designer and Experientia co-founder), Prof. Giorgio De Michelis (computer science) and Prof. Sebastiano Bagnara (cognitive psychology).

The Italian event is sponsored by Experientia and organised by Experientia’s president Michele Visciola, who is also the president of the UPA-Italy chapter, member of the editorial board of UPA’s User Experience Magazine, and author of a recent Italian book on web site usability.

During the event, which will be moderated by Visciola, Matteo Penzo will present the UXNet network.

More information can be found on www.webusabile.it.