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My UPA service award

Yes, I got an award from UPA last week at the annual conference. Thanks for all of your kind words and congratulations. A few people missed the ceremony and later said they would have showed up for it - I did not tell very many people, just the way I am. For all of you that missed it, here are some pictures.

Keith waiting to get the award from Thyra Rauch
Waiting to get the award from UPA President (and fellow IBMer) Thyra Rauch, with conference chair DeeDee DeMulling seated.

Keith celebrating the award
Celebrating the award! (a bit blurry, I think Whitney the photographer was laughing too hard to hold the camera still).

And here is the award itself:

Keith's UPA service award
"UPA Usability Service Award is awarded to Keith Instone...for your leadership and tireless work in creating the first World Usability Day, and your innovative work on the event web sites. 2006"

There you have it - nice to get the recognition, but it was all worth doing without any award. Even better than the award was seeing long-time friends and making new ones at the conference. Oh yea,I actually attended a few sessions while I was at the conference - I will blog those later.

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UPA conference

I made it to Denver this morning (6th airport in the last 5 days) and am looking forward to the UPA conference.

First, I will be learning more about World Usability Day 2006 - November 14th - check out the new website for it. For those of you in northwest Ohio - start thinking about what you want to do for World Usability Day this year. Last year I was in San Francisco - this year I will be home and looking for help to organize something locally.

Second, I will get to hang out with more IBMers - lunch on Wednesday if nothing else. Often the easiest way to find out what my colleagues are doing is to spot them "on the outside". IBM is too big.

Of course, I will also be attending a few days of the conference. My two must-sees: interaction design / agile and the panel on the state of web site usability (I was on a MIUPA / local version of this panel a few years ago). Other sessions: too hard to decide.

Finally, look for me up on stage. I get 15 seconds of "fame" this time, which will be related to something I am very proud of: serving my profession.

Some Cell Phone Owners Spurn Gadgetry

The article by David Twiddy, AP Business Writer, about cell phone simplicity is getting good distribution (Google search on "Some Cell Phone Owners Spurn Gadgetry").

I did not notice the article until I was reading my Sunday morning paper. The bagels taste better when you are reading things like:

If you bring somebody in and they have problems, it's not because they're dumb, but we were dumb with the design.
We believe there's a strong correlation between our standard of success and how usable the products are.

I am sure most of you reading this found the article long before I waited a week for my local paper to publish it. WebWord covered this article already and there are a few more blog entries about the article and usability.

Innovation and user experience

Jared's article Innovation is the new black struck home for me. Not just because he quotes IBMer Eric Tsou from the @issue conference, but because "innovation" has quickly permeated many things within IBM.

For me personally, I have worked on The Innovation Value and won an "Innovation clients can feel" award for a different project. If you have been watching ibm.com, you will notice a lot on innovation. I cannot count all of the messages tied to innovation any more.

I'd say "Innovation is the new blue". (^:

My first glimpse into the business world's obsession with innovation was last year's International Workshop on Accelerated Radical Innovation. There I started to pick up the innovation lingo and, like Jared, saw how important experience design was going to be. None of this user experience work is new, it is just becoming a lot more valuable. If this is because CEO's are obsessed with innovation, then I am quite happy to share my background and experience to help them innovate.

Innovation: "It's the user experience, stupid".

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Management by discovery

An IA Institute job posting for "System Designer / Prototyper" at Klein Associates in Dayton reminds me of the "Management by Discovery" workshop that I attended in March. The workshop was part of the Mind your leadership conference at BGSU. (I missed the rest of the conference because I was travelling to the IA Summit.)

The workshop was officially titled "The cognitive dimenions of leadership: A practitioner's toolkit." I had no expectations, was mainly attending because it sounded interesting and it was close to home - worth the risk of a day of my time. What surprised me was that I already knew a lot of this stuff because Gary Klein is well-known for Cognitive task analysis and other HCI work (not sure how I missed Gary up until then). I had "stumbled" into an HCI person presenting to a business audience, so I felt right at home.

Management by Discovery is different than Management by Objectives and other management styles because it focuses on emergent goals (instead of upfront, well-defined goals, which never happens anyway). It means a lot of story-telling, sense-making, iteration and other things we assume with a user-centered design approach. "Taking UCD to the management decision level" might be a good summary.

Jay Rothman added his expertise on conflict engagement to the workshop. This was Gary and Jay's first collaboration on this topic.

All-in-all, a good day for me - sitting with a bunch of organization development people and "peeking over the fence" back at my own profession.

IBMers at the UPA Conference?

I made a "last minute" decision to attend the UPA conference in Colorado in a few weeks. Like we did at the IA Summit, I'd like to meet with other IBMers while I am there. I have blogged this internally and emailed a few people who I saw on the program, but sometimes it is easier to reach you here.

Plans so far: an "IBM table" at lunch on Wednesday, June 14.

If you are an IBMer who is attending and I have not contacted you yet, please email me or leave a comment here. Thanks!

Information experience Labs

Just noticed a few "information experience laboratories" in academia:

University of Missouri-Columbia > College of Education > The School of Information Science and Learning Technologies
The mission of the IE Lab is to improve the users’ information experience in web-based information systems through research methodologies that blend traditional usability evaluation with human information behavior research.
University of Texas > School of Information
The Information eXperience Lab is a research facility designed to study human interaction with recorded and encoded information across a wide range of formats. The lab will enable School of Information researchers to make better assessments, predictions, and designs for the information experiences of the future.

Are there other labs using this label?

It is an interesting mix of "information *" (information architecture, information science, ...) and "* experience *" (user experience, experience design, ...). A few years ago I proposed the term as a way to describe an industry (see comments by Dirk), but the idea did not stick.

I have not seen the term used much outside academia either. A quick Googling yields a few things of note:

Any other important uses of the term "information experience" out there? I am sure there are.

Flamenco goes open source

Yee-ha! Flamenco, the leading faceted browsing research platform, has officially gone open source. See also: Flamenco section at SourceForge.

I was lucky enough to get a preview copy of the code to test out a few months ago. It was easy to install and within a few hours I had learned just enough Python to make changes. I plan on using it for some of my personal sites - perhaps reviving Usable Web on Flamenco, if I ever get the time.

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Tony Temple retires

IBM's internal UX newsletter summed it up well: "End of an Era." Tony Temple retires after 44 years with IBM. It is hard to capture what Tony has meant to the company, and to the user experience field as a whole. Here are just a few links which I have selected about Tony.

I never worked with Tony, but I enjoyed a few dinners and other conversations with him. End of an era, indeed.

Dick Berry is retiring, too, after 38 years, and Susan Mills (Director of User Technologies) passed away in December, so there is a definite sense of loss at the top of the IBM user experience family.

WBGU PBS premieres 'Return On Customer'

Catching up on email on a Saturday morning, I see I missed this from a month ago:

How do companies strike the right balance between maximizing current-period profits and building long-term enterprise value? Join best-selling authors and world-renowned consultants Don Peppers and Dr. Martha Rogers on "Return on Customer" and find out how. This one-hour business primer, based on their new book of the same name, premieres tonight, March 2, at 8 p.m. The program will be repeated at 11 p.m. tonight; 11:30 p.m. Sunday, March 5; 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 10, and 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 12.

This program illustrates how to grow the value of your business enterprise and your scarcest resource--your customer. "Return on Customer" (ROC) is a metric designed to gauge the rate at which a business does, in fact, create enterprise value from any customer or group of customers.

Dr. Rogers, a former BGSU professor, will be in the WBGU-PBS studio Thursday evening for the premiere.

I hope I can catch it on re-runs. Martha is a local.

I could not find any of details online about the show, but here is a start:

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