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Dec 2005 Contents

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World Usability Day in Hong Kong

by Daniel Szuc and Matthew Gow, Hong Kong

Daniel Szuc is the Principal Usability consultant with Apogee Usability Asia Ltd. - - a Hong Kong-based usability company that assists companies like PCCW, HSBC, Cathay Pacific, Yahoo and eBay make their products easier to use. Daniel has spoken on Usability in Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia.

Matthew Gow is Project Manager for Global Hand, a matching service helping corporate and community groups partner with non-profit organisations.

In support of World Usability Day and with the kind support of Global Hand, UPA Hong Kong (HK) conducted a Usability Walkthrough of some strategically critical pages on

Matthew Gow, Project Manager of the Development Team at Global Hand, was kind enough to share his perspective:

"The closer you are to a product the harder usability becomes. World Usability Day provided the team with a refreshing perspective on a version of that is being constructed for release in December 2005."

A room full of diverse web users from the UPA HK community encountered the site for the first time. Almost immediately, hidden assumptions and usability traps were uncovered. As the evening progressed, patterns emerged and the development team went home with data that has prompted a range of improved interfaces and approaches.

Other benefits included:

  • Creating a thought-out process by which to evaluate the true usability of a website
  • Watching people analyze the site and get valuable insight on user experience
  • Getting instant intelligent feedback from users on functionality and design
  • Hearing people say things that we have been thinking but weren't sure about. As a team we sometimes wonder if we are hearing the voice of users or just the voices in our own head... so hearing users speak for themselves is refreshing.

Ultimately, the outcome of World Usability Day in Hong Kong will be an increase in the effectiveness of the Global Hand in the battle against poverty around the world. As more users find Global Hand's services accessible and user friendly, more resources will be made available to those in desperate need.

Getting this stuff right is hard but we're going down the right road.

Special thanks to Matt and the Global Hand development team for opening up their development site for pre-implementation review.

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