World Usability Day New England 2007

9 November 2007

First, and most important, kudos to Sarah Horton of Dartmouth College, and Steve Fadden of Landmark College, who pulled together a fabulous, memorable program for WUDNE2007. Ben Schneiderman, founder of the HCILab at UMD College Park, was our keynote speaker, and he remained throughout the entire day to participate — his work is remarkable, and if you haven’t read Leonardo’s Laptop, you should.

A few takeaways from the day:
Five years ago, it was all about what computers can do. Today, it’s about what *we* can do using computers.
Acceptance of universal usability is a slow process. (This I simply do not understand.)
Kurzweil, Dragon, and Inspiration are important tools for many students with learning / mobility / sensory disabilities

Also, a comparison to note. WUDNE began at 9 a.m. with coffee and snacks, there was a keynote by one of the most well-respected scholars in the field of human/computer interaction, we had a team of experts who literally ‘wrote the book’ on universal usability (Sarah Horton from Dartmouth and Pat Lynch from Yale), a pair of folks from Fidelity who are involved hands-on with one of the largest financial-management web projects in the world, as well as a panel of students who are consumers of assistive technology, and Steve Fadden, PhD, director of research and a professor at Landmark College. We had a few posters, lunch was catered by Panera, break with cookies and coffee, and we wrapped it up at 3:30 p.m.

Compare that to one of the west-coast WUD events, in Seattle. Started at 3 p.m. (well, the proper program didn’t really start until 6), had a couple of two hip young speakers, a panel discussion, and then a beer party.

The important thing underrepresented at WUDNE? Young industry up-and-comers.
The strength of WUDNE? Scholarship.
The important thing underrepresented in Seattle? Scholarship.
The strength of Seattle? Young industry up-and-comers.

Something to chew on.


One comment

  1. Malcolm’s high school offers Kurzweil, Dragon, and Inspiration to all students. Every student is trained to use these tools so that no student considers them only for use with learning difficulties.

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