1000's of designers are standing by to assist you... LOL
Thanks to Frank for pointing me to this video link.
- Creating a User Interface That Speaks Your Users’ Language (by Cedric Savarese) - about the challenge of finding a common language - in plain English.
- 37 Productivity Tips for Working From Anywhere (by Sarah Kessler) - there is at least one tip that will help you, I promise.
- The Next Level of Design: Being Unique (by John O’Nolan) - aka: designing with edge, thinking outside the box, "not stopping until you hit that eureka moment".
- Designing the #newtwitter (by @Twitter) - The new #NewTwitter proportions were not left to chance (at least in their narrowest width).
- Understanding Blind Users' Web Accessibility and Usability Problem (by Babu, Rakesh; Singh, Rahul; and Ganesh, Jai) - the authors outline seven stages of action and what they mean from a designers point of view (think checkpoints).
- A Case for Coding Your Wireframes (by Jake Rocheleau) - "Avoid detours by focusing on your main goals." - sounds so easy, right? Have a clear strategy in mind or else you are doomed to fail (delay at the very least).
- 20 HTML Best Practices You Should Follow (by Saqib Sarwar) - yes, we all know, but it's so easy to forget 😉
- 10 Essential Free E-Books for Web Designers (by Grace Smith) - free? freeeeeee!
- Self-Motivating Through Creative Blocks (by Cameron Chapman) - always love the sheer simplicity in which Cameron summarizes complex subjects, must-look.
- The power of brief speeches: World War I and the Four Minute Men (by Richard I. Garber) - Five minutes means a guess; four minutes makes a promise - that's why 😉
- A Complete Guide to Progressive Enhancement (by Cameron Chapman) - expaining why your website does NOT need to look the same in every browser, try to explain that to your client 😉
- Getting to Grips with Content (by Kristina Halvorson) - Prune it, Put it in front of users, Give it purpose - sounds easy? Look around...
- 8 Must-see UX Diagrams (by Andrew Maier) - yes, must-see...
- The GeoServices REST Specification: An open standard for GIS Web services (by Sterling Quinn) - now this is sweet, the full GIS capabilities of ArcGIS Server via REST 🙂
- Finding the Balance: Users’ Needs Vs. Clients’ Wants (by Oliver Gitsham) - have a rationale ready behind every decision and design choice that you’ve made!
This is big!
And here is why: ESRI, a privately held company with more than 2700 employees, was founded in 1969, over 40 years ago. The company name is an abbreviation for Environmental Systems Research Institute and therefore
not pronounced as a word but as distinct letters similar to IBM, SAP and other software companies with an acronym based name. It is thought within the GIS (Geographical Information Systems) circles, and even joked that 'old' users prefer E-S-R-I, while novice users use the 'ez-ree' pronunciation.
(from wikipedia, March 2010, which has its own section called "Pronunciation of company name").
Insides and Myths
Over time a divide elapsed, employees were proud to pronounce their company name E-S-R-I and by doing so showing they are insiders and distinguishing themselves from the 'newbies'. It became part of company culture and identity.
Rumor has it that the first week of orientation for new employees is to train them to say "E - S - R - I" spelled out instead of trying to pronounce it as a word (ez-ree), though I cannot personally confirm this. There's also been a rumor of Jack Dangermond [the presiding of ESRI] having a version of the "swear jar" on his desk, and anytime someone says "ez-ree" they have to put a dollar in.
Around the world users were confused. While it seemed to be natural to pronounce the company name ez-ree, users found themselves being corrected and lectured: "It's not ez-ree, it's E-S-R-I". Hearing "It hurts me to say "ezree". =)" from employees were not uncommon.
Forum threads tried to shed light on the ongoing discussion and various sides were quick to elaborate about the correct pronunciation in (mostly humorous) detail, e.g.
- Here in San Antonio, my new home, it is pronounced "ess-ray y'all".
- In austria we say: äsri
- When I'm in a hurry- I say 'eS-ree', and when I'm trying to sound sophisticated and smart I say 'E-S-R-I'. Isn't that the way it always works?
- As for ESRI or esree I have always called it EE ESS ARE EYE.
- Lately I've noticed that people, who aren't sure of what they are talking about, pronouce it 'Uhh, [pause] Ezree' or '[PAUSE] Eszree'. The pause before gives it away...
- Canadian pronunciation: ez-ree-eh?, or ee-ess-arr-eye-eh?
- One thing I've noticed, though, is that the tendency to elide sounds has some people pronouncing E-S-R-I rather like yes-are-eye (without the y). Will the next step in this evolution be yes-rye? (Then the only question will be Do you want that with mustard?)
- Down Under we say 'Bloody ezree' when things go ferral.
Change and Resistance
To the surprise of many employees an internal notice from 3/19/2010 read:
[...] we will be transitioning the pronunciation of ESRI to “ezree.” This effort will ensure a consistent name recognition around the world.
What followed was a big uproar from the employees side. Many of us felt robbed of our identity and culture. What seemed to work well for over 40 years should not be changed and trashed that easily!
As it turned out, after merrily 4 months and a hugely successful User Conference with almost 14.000 people (the biggest gathering of GIS professionals ever) the name change was perceived as a relief by the user community. A sense of unity was felt, finally we speak the same language, the confusion was lifted, no more lecturing, no more division between insiders and outsiders, everybody became part of the family.
Esri stepped into icy waters and in risk of p***ing some of its own employees off it opened a new world of opportunities by Speaking the Language of Its Users - I'm loving it!!
What do you think?
Have you ever heard of a comparable change / step taken? Could you imaging IBM spelled Ei-bm?
We, the people, have been around for quite some years now. Computers, software, applications and the web not so much. Therefore it is clear that applications have to adjust to the people and not the other way round.
Many design principles have developed throughout the decades, but the main difference of user-centered design to others is that
UCD tries to optimize the user interface around how people can, want, or need to work, rather than forcing the users to change how they work to accommodate the system or function.
Purpose of UCD
UCD answers questions about users and their tasks and goals, then use the findings to make decisions about development and design.
UCD seeks to answer the following questions:
- Who are the users of the application?
- What are the users’ main tasks and goals?
- What are the users’ experience levels with the application?
- What functions do the users need from the application?
- What information might the users need, and in what form do they need it?
- How do users think the application should work?
Benefits & Return of Investment
- Increased usability
- Higher degree of customer satisfaction
- Continued business
- Higher revenues
- Project management optimization
- Focus on important functionality early
- Unforeseen user requirements
- Reduced costs
- Training costs
- Help-Desk calls and service costs
- Focus on users’ needs, tasks and goals
- Spend time on initial research and requirements
- Identify your target audience and observe them (accomplishing their tasks)
- Let users define product requirements
- Emphasis on iterative design process
- Evaluate system on real target users
Nobody could state it simpler than Susan Dray: "If the user can’t use it, it doesn’t work".