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World Usability Day

These are my blog entries about World Usability Day. First one was November 3, 2005.

World Usability Day - Ohio (and Michigan)

We have not finalized our plans for the November 14th World Usability Day activity in northwest Ohio (it will be small), but if you are in the area, there are lots of "regional" events you can go to if you are willing to drive 2 hours.

To the north is a full day conference at Michigan State University (serving the whole state of Michigan).

To the east are two events in northeast Ohio: a daytime event at Kent State University and an evening session at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

To the southeast, there is 1 event in Columbus, at Nationwide Insurance. (October 30 update: this event is for Nationwide employees only. I will let you know if there is anything open to the public in Columbus.)

To the south, LexisNexis in Dayton is hosting a conference.

Some parts of Indiana are within a 2-hour drive, but the Indiana World Usability Day 2006 Conference is farther, in Indianapolis.

Also, you can partiicpate in World Usability Day without leaving your home or office, via Webcasts & Podcasts. There are some webcast-only events and several local events are being broadcast so that you can attend online. Note that some of these webcasts might take place on November 13th for us here in the Eastern US time zone.

Later, I will send out news about our local gathering here on my blog and also at NWOACM (the local group sponsoring it).

World Usability Day website updates

The web site for World Usability Day was down for a few hours this week to put the next version in place. With 2 months to go, they are switching from "save the date" mode to "here are the events" mode. The next big switch will be "here is what is happening right now" (on November 14th).

Some of the new things (maybe they were online before but I just noticed them):

The site looks awesome this year.

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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.

World Usability Day is over

World Usability Day was a big success! The web site hiccupped only a little as we maxed out at about 400 simultaneously visitors (rough count). Parts of the site were dynamic (db-intensive) and we were ready to take those features down if needed to keep the whole site running, but that never had to be done.

Press coverage was more than I expected and now we wait for the stories from each event to roll in. [broken links removed 2006-Sep-16]

I now get to relax and enjoy DUX.

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The last beer of a 36 hour day

World Usability Day has been keeping me busy. I am learning a lot about CivicSpace (see the case study).

The map is our "cool" feature but it has been a challenge getting it to work on most browsers. We are a vicitm of our own success - with so many events, the map is becoming slow.

I will be flying out to DUX in San Francisco just as the New Zealanders kick off the big day. My final "job" will be to help close World Usability Day at the DUX reception, even if it means having to drink the last beer. A dirty job, someone has to do it!

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