Engineering for the User

Thursday 27 January 2005

7.00pm (Coffee from 6.30pm in HC 033)

Cerys Giddings - WebSphere MQ Customer Collaboration Team Leader, WebSphere MQ Test, IBM and Keren Lyndon - Websphere Business Integration Brokers Ease-of-use Leader, Product Usability Design Group, IBM

Southampton Institute, Herbert Collins Building, HC 024

Usability in IT is often considered to be an important factor only for simple applications, gadgets and web pages, usually for an intended audience of novice users. In the development of complex software applications and those applications aimed at a technical audience, usability is often seen as an optional extra.

In IBM Hursley we develop a range of complex software for an audience of technical professionals. The usability of this software and the problems our customers have faced have come under scrutiny in recent times and this talk focuses on the usability of complex software and methods of improving the experience for the user.

The speakers will describe what usability is, what it is not, and why it is so important. They will discuss the IBM processes for ensuring the usability of our software products including the User Centred Design process and software testing.

The importance of the "Total User Experience" is discussed together with examples of problems encountered in our own roles, including a video clip from a usability evaluation session. The speakers will also look at the changes that have been made, and how they can improve the usability of their products in the future.

This talk should appeal to anyone who is interested in usability in IT, software testing and making products easier to use. This will also be of interest to people wanting to find out more about the IBM UCD and new User Engineering process.