Projects: Friends of Usability

Friend of Usability - Justin Hamilton, Peace Software


Friends of Usability are everywhere!

Justin Hamilton joins many other newly-famous inhabitants of New Zealand receiving acclaim, and for similar reasons – receiving an award for vision, perseverance and excellence.

Peace.com is an international software company providing customer and commodity management software.

Miriam Walker of Peace, which is headquartered in New Zealand, explains why she gave Justin a Friends of Usability award recently.

Miriam relates that she was new to the company and came on board when the research team had to put in a business case for their project. Miriam put in a business case for usability work as part of the process.

Justin Hamilton, at the time Director of Product Management, was not her manager, but one of the directors who worked on the committee and was one of the project sponsors.

According to Miriam, Justin was ‘THE first project sponsor” of usability at Peace, said Miriam. Justin received the Friends of Usability award because he was leaving that position and
Miriam bought wanted to make sure he received recognition for his contribution to that work in particular.

One of most significant outcomes was usability workshops to 40 plus people within the company, providing training in usability skills. The one day workshop presented paper prototyping, usability testing and why and how they could conduct tests themselves. Task analysis, context inquiry, and “our own usability standards” were discussed. Peace employees are now doing design and usability analysis.

Thanks to Justin, with the traction the project provided, Peace now has introduced usability throughout the life cycle. It was a powerful impetus for getting together a usability team around these activities and it is and continuing after he left.

Miriam reports that she gave “cake and a certificate --.so the award can be shared with team mates”. We think that’s an excellent way to draw crowds – and attention to usability.

What was Justin’s reaction to receiving the award? Miriam reports that he was “Really chuffed**….pleased…was parading it around”.

Miriam said she would definitely give the award again. She believes in awards and gives awards for good work internally to raise usability awareness.

**For non-Kiwi speakers: that’s a good reaction.

Profile written by Everyl Yankee, March 2004

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