I’m in the Dallas Fort Worth airport waiting on my delayed flight to arrive as I travel back to Indiana – home sweet home. The past five days I have been an attendee at Nielsen Norman Group’s Usability Week. This conference was spectacular! Currently, I’m exhausted from five days of information overload, but completely ecstatic about all of the things that I learned and all of the resources I have to look through.
In the future, it’s my plan to write about each session I attended more in depth. First, though, I want to write a brief over view about each of the five sessions I attended.
Mobile Website and Apps
This session covered three topics
- Devising a strategy
- Understanding mobile usability facts and recommendations
- Learning how to create your own usability tests for mobile devices
An interesting fact directly from the training was that the average user session on a mobile phone was only 72 seconds.
User Experience Basic Training
This session was a great overview of user experience. This session included these topics:
- Foundations and principles of UX
- UX in the project lifecycle
- Research methods
- UX teams and roles
- Stages of UX maturity and
- UX challenges today
One of the most interesting takeaways from this session was plotting the maturity of our own organization and discussing how we could become more mature.
Human Computer Interaction
This session covered
- HCI through history
- Perception, cognition, and action of humans in HCI (Humans in HCI)
- Computers in HCI
- Interaction styles
- Universal design
- Complex interface features and
- Development for HCI
An interesting takeaway from this session was that in a web environment symmetry of design had no effect on preference and users preferred designs with the fewest compositional elements.
Human Mind and Usability
This session covered more of the theory and psychology behind people and their relationship with computers. We stived to understand psychology concepts that affect design in order to
- anticipate what people will do and
- explain why people did it.
After, we talked about how we could apply these concepts to design challenges that we face today.
This was probably my favorite course. It was taught by Marieke McCloskey, who I had teach three of my five sessions. It was hands on – which definitely helped learn and apply the four previous days of things I learned. We covered the entire usability testing process including
- Planning what to test
- Writing effective tasks
- Facilitating smooth tests
- Studying logistics
- Writing accurate and helpful notes
- Analyzing the test correctly and
- Presenting findings in both informal and formal ways.
Over the next few weeks, it’s my goal to go over my notes, the slides, and the studies they provided to cement this information in my memory. My hope is that I’ll be able to start implementing the things I learned in our project life cycle at Purdue for several upcoming projects so that I can remember all of the wonderful information I learned. I’m so happy that I was able to attend this conference and look forward to continuing my education in Usability.