Archive for the ‘courses’ Category

Agile UX & UCD Courses (and IxDA talk) in November – Hamburg and London

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Ever had a hard time selling usability or user-centred design to your technical colleagues or managers? Not sure how to fit UX & UCD activities into an Agile scrum (Brit. informal; a disorderly crowd<g>)? We have an evening talk and two one-day courses coming up on these and related challenges in November:

The Psychology of Nerdiness and Its Impact on User-Centred Design (in English; Betahaus Hamburg, 19:00 04-Nov-10)

Agile User Experience & UCD (in English; Empire Riverside Hotel, Hamburg, 09:00, 05-Nov-10)

Agile User Experience & UCD (in English; St Pancras, London, 09:30, 15-Nov-10)

October 2010 News

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Our Agile UX & UCD course was well-received in Brussels. We are running it again in London and Hamburg in November. Also, two of our courses have been accepted for the CHI 2011 programme in Vancouver next May – Card Sorting for Navigation Design and Agile UX & UCD. See our courses schedule page for more details.

September 2010 News

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

We still have places remaining on our Web and Intranet Usability Course on 13 September in central London. This course is ideal for development teams, managers and those wanting to move into or already getting started in usability. For experienced usability practitioners, the course provides practical activities that can be used with teams to help sell the case for usability and user-centred design.

Our two people-skills courses have been combined into a single day, focusing on communicating and negotiating with emotional intelligence (Gordon Brown could have done with this according to Tony Blair’s autobiography!)

We recently completed an interesting usability and user experience evaluation of a SharePoint collaboration site for a European Central Bank. It involved a design review and usability testing with internal users. We discovered some challenging issues around terminology and people’s perception of some of the solutions (‘a blog? I couldn’t possibly use that for a serious project at work’). Get in touch if you need usability, accessibility or user experience expertise.

July 2010 News – Additional course dates, venues and free reports

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

We’ve been making arrangements over the past couple of months to go pan-European (at least on a small scale) with our UX and UCD courses. I’m pleased to be able to add dates in Brussels and Hamburg to our regular London series for later in 2010. Plus, for London and Brussels, you can book three places across any of the courses and only pay for two. See our course schedule for more details.

Also, we’ve recently released our User Experience Benchmarking Report on US and UK clothing e-tailers (the top 6 of each according to traffic figures). It was a close-run contest between the two sets of sites, with the UK coming out just a bit ahead on average scores. However, if it weren’t for the USA’s top performer, the results would have been heavily in favour of the UK contingent. (I have tried very hard not to take sides – I was born and raised in the US and have been living in the UK since the mid-1970’s.) Download the full report to read the exciting details – a small taster is given in the overall summary chart below.

Click for full benchmarking reports

Click for full benchmarking reports

Are your abstractions too abstract?

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

A recurring theme in user-centred design is making sure that your technology is speaking the same language as its users. In web design failure to do this can make navigation difficult at best or frustrate users into leaving your site altogether. However, it is an extremely common problem – partly because the process of generalization (grouping related things under more abstract headings) is a powerful tool in building systems. Take Microsoft Outlook for example. Outlook manages email, appointments, contacts and tasks. This works fine for users when they are looking at the separate user interface elements with these names, but what on earth is an ‘item’? An item, it turns out, is any one of these things that Outlook manages. So when you are creating an email in Outlook and want to attach another email or a calendar entry, what do you do? By far the easiest thing is to drag and drop the attachment needed, because most people do not realize that the menu equivalent needed is called ‘attach item’ (more recent version of Outlook have a ribbon icon that helps a little, but not enough to get over the terminological issue).

So, when we start trying to get computers to do the things they are good at, we invent abstractions of related concepts and make up names for them (a C++ programmer can wax lyrical on this topic – just mention polymorphic collections and inheritance!). The step that frequently gets omitted is that if any of these names find their way into the user interface or web navigation, do users actually understand them? One very effective way of finding out (particularly if you have a lot terms or concepts to test) is to use card sorting. We are running our one-day card sorting course in London next month where you will get first-hand experience of both paper-based and online sorting. For more details and online booking, see (early booking finishes on 11 June).

If you can’t make it to London, you will find that we have lots of free card sorting information and tools (including analysis software) at

UCD/UX/Usability Course Series – Card Sorting First Up

Monday, May 31st, 2010

We are running a series of UCD/UX/ Usability courses in London along with associated soft skills courses tailored for IT and New Media staff.

The first of these is our new full-day card sorting course focussing on navigation design, developed for the Nielsen Norman Group Usability Week conference in Las Vegas last year. This covers a wide range of topics – both our own sorting tools and other resources – including online sorting services. Attendees will receive a free license for our analysis software, Syncaps V2, which normally sells for £150. (A user in Texas recently wrote to us saying “we love the capabilities”). The course is scheduled for 5 July with an early booking discount available up to and including Friday, 11 June.

Best of all, a three-places-for-the-price-of-two discount is available both within and across the whole series of courses. The full list includes:

  • Card Sorting for Navigation Design
  • Web Design for Usability
  • Communicating with Emotional Intelligence
  • Agile UCD
  • Persona-Driven Design
  • Negotiating Skills
  • Ajax Design & Usability

Further details and online bookings are available at

CHI & UPA 2010 Conferences

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

We ran two courses at the CHI conference in Atlanta – Card Sorting and Ajax Design & Usability. The latter coincided with news from Morgan Kaufman that they will be publishing my book on Ajax UX later next year. I also attended a couple of interesting courses while I was at CHI, the only down side to the whole conference being that I got diverted to Belgium on my return and had to spend a couple of days in Brussels followed by a very expensive (but quite short) train ride from Brussels to London. I did fare better than those who stayed on until the end of the conference, as many were stuck in Atlanta for an extra week. (No offence to Atlanta, but it isn’t really a two-week holiday destination unless you rent a car.)

The very first UPA conference to be held outside of North America starts in about 10 days. On Monday evening (24 May) we’ll be running our Ajax course again, followed by a full day course on Web Design for Usability. I’m keeping an eye on alternative routes for returning from Munich, but hopefully flights will be running as usual.

Finally, if you like to let us know what courses are of interest to you at conferences and as one-day events, please fill out our brief survey at before 22 May 2010.

You can also enter our raffle for a GBP 35/USD 50/ EUR 35 Amazon voucher by completing the questionnaire. It will only take a few minutes.