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World Usability Day at SafeCo Insurance Company
By Jason Valalik
Jason Valalik is a certified usability engineer and has been conducting user centered design and usability research for over 8 years. He has worked for such companies as Nike, Intel, and Ziba Design in the creation of intuitive user experiences through behavioral research and observation. His focus now is on interactive experiences, but he has been involved in product and environmental experience research as well. He is currently working at Safeco Insurance to drive user friendly web experiences through consumer insights.
At Safeco Insurance Company the User Centered Design Team created a variety of activities and events to raise corporate awareness around usability and user centered design. The culture here is not fully aware of the benefits these practices bring and World Usability day last November afforded our team the opportunity to create some buzz.
The team brainstormed many ideas and settled on four that we felt would give us the most bang for our buck. These were an article that appeared on the intranet, development of a usability breadcrumb activity, and a usability booth and brown bag session.
Safeco Today Article
The second activity was the creation of usability “breadcrumbs” to highlight known issues in our daily environment. This activity entailed finding known usability problems and tagging the issue with a Post-it™.
1. On our soda vending machines: Where does your drink come out?
2. On the elevators: Which button do you hit to hold the door open? HURRY!
Major Themes at the Booth
1. What does poor usability cost American businesses?
2. Five reasons not to do usability testing.
3. Please! Don’t make me think.
Some other themes we focused on within the booth were explaining how usability aligns with our corporate goals and explicitly discussing the benefits. We then developed a board of Safeco applications to show how completely different some look from others and explain the benefits of creating a consistent experience.
The booth also included a video of actual user testing to demonstrate the technique and how participants respond.
After employees explored the booth area they could sign up to take a lab tour to see how everything works.
Usability: A Business Case
This was a good day for Safeco, our team and our mission; we raised awareness, worked hard, and had fun. We have a great opportunity here at Safeco to integrate usability and user centered design into web applications, web sites, the culture, and everything we do. We are on the road to success and you will be hearing about us in the future.
I am looking forward to next year’s World Usability Day.
140 N. Bloomingdale Road
Bloomingdale, IL 60108-1017
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