Thursday Nov 19, 2009

Prague World Usability Day 2009

Just a few words about 5th Prague World Usability Day. This year, we have almost filled the capacity of the cinema, we had 290 registered visitors! We didn't use the official theme of the event (sustainability), we put together topics focused mainly on case studies.

Jakub Franc was the conference MC.  During the intro, I've presented highlights from the first year of Prague ACM SIGCHI operating as an official non-profit organization: we have 45 paying members, more than 300 people in our mailing list, we organized 8 talks and 4 trainings, and we evangelized UX on major local conferences (for example WebExpo). The second short talk was from Michal Horava, who presented the first local HCI book, which consists from several articles from different authors (including myself and Jakub).

The keynote was given by Tjeerd Hoek from FrogDesign, focused on innovations, design processes and convergence of hardware and software.

After that, there was a presentation from Adam Fendrych and Tomas Blaha about their experience of using eyetracking device during redesign of local finance website

The third talk was from the local Czech Technical University in Prague. They've presented first outcomes from Sun Center of Excellence focused on accessibility of RIA.

The last two talks were from Peter Korn and Theofanis OIkonomou focused on EU funded accessibility projects AEGIS and Accessible.

Slides, audio and more information about the conference (in Czech) is on our website

See you in Prague again on November 11, 2010!


Sunday Feb 01, 2009

Hamburg World Usability Day 2008 - Webcasts

The webcasts from World Usability Day 2008 in Hamburg have been posted. [All presentations were held in German.]


Matthias Müller-Prove is a User Experience Architect for Desktop Virtualization at Sun. Sometimes he blogs at Acetylcholinesterase –  sometimes not.

Wednesday Jan 21, 2009

Prague World Usability Day 2008

As every year, we were co-organizers of Prague World Usability Day. Theme for this year was "transportation". We had about 130 registered attendees.

In the beginning, we have introduced new form of local SIGCHI chapter: non-profit organization Prague ACM SIGCHI.
There were 3 talks in the morning: first one from Jan Kleindienst (IBM Research) about Voice User Interfaces, second one from Roman Schubert (Skoda Auto) about usage of Virtual Reality during process of car design and from Jakub Franc (Sun Microsystems) and Jan Vystrcil (Czech Technical University) about project focused on navigation of blind people in interiors.

In the afternoon there were 3 excursions: in the Virtual Reality Lab of Czech Technical University, Cave of Czech Technical University and Usability Lab in Sun Microsystems. After the excursions, who registered soon enough, could attend one from 3 trainings: UI Bloopers, Interviews & Surveys and Usability testing of webs.


More pictures:

It was definitely great day!

Thursday Nov 15, 2007

World Usability Day 2007 in the Czech Republic!

Ondrej Langr is an interaction designer working on NetBeans IDE, and he is located in Prague, Czech Republic

This was the third year in which the World Usability Day also took place here in the Czech Republic. Organized by Sun Microsystems, Czech Technical University and Dobry web (one of Czech Republic's biggest web usability and design consultant companies), under the aegis of Czech SIGCHI, it was a big success. The Czech usability community is steadily growing, and after 80 visitors at the first WUD in 2005 and 140 visitors at WUD in 2006 we had 220 registered visitors this year. The event took place in a Palace Cinema with the capacity of more than 280 people.

The topic of this year's WUD was "Get to know your user", and we had some of the top speakers. Nalini Kotamraju (Sun Microsystems) had a keynote about "What Does it Mean to Know Users?", Jakub Franc (Sun Microsystems) talked about his experience with user research on elderly people done in cooperation with Czech Technical University. Martin Klíma (Czech Technical University) shared the other side of the experience about how it was to adapt user research into a medium-scaled European Commission sponsored research project. During the break between lectures, visitors had a chance to learn more about Czech Technical University’s usability lab and about Czech SIGCHI at two booths in the lobby.

Those who were fast enough to sign-up for workshops (due to limited number of seats, all workshops were booked out during the first day they were announced!) met at Prague’s Sun Microsystems site in the early afternoon. There were three parallel workshops:

  • Introduction to Usability Testing, led by myself (15 seats)
  • User Research led by Jakub Franc, Sun Microsystem's user researcher (12 seats)
  • Web Usability Testing in Praxis, led by Adam Fendrych from Dobrý web (12 seats)

I was not able to attend two out of three workshops, so I can only report on Introduction to Usability Testing. Participants came from both local and international companies, and there were also some students. After the necessary theoretical part where participants learned how to prepare and conduct a usability study, they were led, step by step, through the process of preparing a usability study and got a chance to try a real test session in Sun Microsystems' state-of-the-art usability lab.

The most interesting part of the workshop for me was the discussion. Considering that the usability awareness in East and Central Europe is relatively small (for example, in this area WUD only takes place in Czech Republic, Poland, Bulgaria and Russia), surprisingly many participants had some experience with trying to employ user-centered techniques in their production process. However, their attempts had often failed, mainly because their companies are too technology-driven and because customers and management in this part of Europe still do not see benefits of UCD for their business.

However, the situation is improving. Sun and other members of Czech SIGCHI are building the usability community in Czech Republic and already thinking about how to make the next WUD even better!


Wednesday Aug 22, 2007

Building of Two Usability Labs in Prague, Czech Republic (Part 2 of 2)

Jiri Mzourek is a senior manager in xDesign, responsible for Sun Developer Products and SOA/BI. In his spare time, he evangelizes usability in the Czech Republic by organizing SIGCHI meetings, World Usability Day, and working closely with the Czech Technical University on usability and accessibility related projects.

When Sun's Prague office became too small, we all moved to a new building. So during the space planning, we made sure that we got a room there for a usability lab. Why build a second lab? The main reason was to have it in the same place as the engineering team so they could easily attend the test sessions.

This time, we decided to do everything on our own: one of our interaction designers, Rudolf Bock, selected the equipment. Based on our experience with the labs at CTU and at Sun in Silicon Valley, we created blueprints and made sure to have a big one-way mirror. From our experience, despite the fact that some participants feel less comfortable in this set-up, it makes a difference to observers -- they feel more connected to the participants.

We got the space with a one-way mirror in the Summer of 2006! Here are pictures of what we have now:

The lab is fully digital, again partially based on Morae. The equipment is:

  • 2x Dome camera Panasonic WV-CS570
  • 1x Panasonic WV-CU360CJ
  • 1x Data multiplex unit Panasonic WJ-MP204C
  • 1x Blackmagic Design DeckLink Multibridge Extreme PCIe
The first usability study was conducted in this lab in November 2006. Since then, we have used this new lab for the majority of our studies. We also plan to show it to the public as part of World Usability Day 2007. Stay tuned!

xDesign is a software user experience design group at Sun.
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