Usability in Civic Life: Government & Industry Day
Corporate and Government Executives Introduced to Usability
On June 23, 1998, Washington-area corporate and government executives were introduced to an approach to product development that can reduce usability problems that currently waste tax dollars and reduce corporate profits.
The Usability Professionals' Association (UPA) -- a professional society of user-oriented designers and evaluators -- hosted the government/industry executive breakfast to inform executives about the benefits of employing usability engineering techniques during product development. Usable technology and consumer products contribute to increased productivity, reduced user risk, enhanced performance, and lower development time and costs.
Keynote speeches were delivered by:
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Ann Brown
- U.S. Department of Commerce Deputy Under Secretary for Technology Gary R. Bachula.
- Vice President Al Gore sent a letter of support for the UPA and this event.
The pervasive lack of usable technology products is a crisis that adversely affects every facet of American commerce. Poorly designed products result in lost productivity and increased costs. For example:
More than $500 billion is spent annually in the U.S. on computers, networks,
and information technology, yet overall productivity levels show very
little return on investment.
Only 9% - 16% of software development projects are completed on time and on budget. The 52% that are eventually completed cost almost twice the original budget and contain 42% of the features originally intended.
UPA members educate and instruct organizations on employing usability engineering techniques that bring together producers and users to determine how to make interactive business tools and consumer products that work for people. Using proven user-centered design techniques, they gather feedback from customers and internal users, resulting in the development of usable technology products that effectively meet user needs.
The U.S. Automotive Association (USAA), newspaper newsrooms, the Pentagon, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Sun Microsystems and numerous other software and hardware design firms are among the organizations that have employed user-centered design techniques to change or create products and processes that have greatly contributed to overall productivity, profitability, effectiveness and efficiency.
The UPA Executive Breakfast was part of the events surrounding the annual conference, "Capitalizing on Usability," which took place June 22 - 26 in Washington.
Major sponsors of the 1998 UPA Conference are Microsoft, IBM, Sun Microsystems, M&I Data Services, Lucent Technologies, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, National Science Foundation, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of the Census, PC Computing Magazine, and Attachmate.
UPA, founded in 1991, brings together usability professionals with the
ultimate goal of making products that are efficient and enjoyable to use.
Its membership includes anthropologists, architects, computer programmers,
designers, educators, engineers, human computer interaction specialists,
human factors researchers, psychologists, systems analysts, technical
writers, usability engineers and many other specialists.