Update, BBC Radio appearance and awards

bbc radio manchester

I’ve been super busy recently which you can probably tell by the infrequency of my posts. As a business, Keep It Usable, has grown phenomenally this year and we’ve been working day and night to make sure we do great work for every single one of our clients. We genuinely care about every business we work with and we deliver high quality work for every single client. It’s something I’m passionate about, especially with the growing amount of people entering the ux industry with no formal training or experience. It puts businesses at great risk and damages the ux profession as a whole.

I’m a mentor for the UXPA and I’m in great favour of a regulatory body / chartership to distinguish between different levels of professionals. It’s difficult for me to read between the lines of someones cv or other agencies claims of ux so I can’t imagine how hard it must be for someone commissioning an agency to know who to believe and trust. In fact, one of our clients had a bad experience with quite a well known ux agency. They were failing in their capacity on a number of levels including the delivery of work, so we were called upon to effectively rescue the client, takeover the work and meet the deadline which was by this point very tight. Of course we hit it, and they were incredibly pleased with the work, so much so that we’re now partners. But what is concerning with this story is that even agencies you should be able to trust, because they are well known, you can’t. It really is a minefield out there.

Awards

It’s because of our commitment to our clients that we’re going from strength to strength and I’m honoured to be shortlisted for two Women In Business Awards: SME and International business. Keep your fingers crossed for me! 🙂

BBC

I’ve also been invited as a guest on BBC Radio Manchester tomorrow morning. I’ll be choosing several stories form the days papers to chat about. I don’t have much time to watch the news these days so it should be interesting!

BBC Radio Manchester, 29th October, 6.45am and 7.22am

Listen live: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p002mwyt

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BBC Home page research and redesign

I conducted a quick piece of research on the BBC Home page as part of an event called BBC Connected. Did you know it’s the third most visited home page? Yet only a very small percent of visitors actually use it? As our research discovered, most people bypass the page completely, preferring to use the navigation bar or a direct url (usually saved as a bookmark). Here, we share our findings and a few of our design proposals to improve the user experience of the BBC Home page, in particular under-served audience(s).

How do you use the BBC website? Do you ever look at or click on items on the home page? Have you used it more or less since the last redesign? I’d love to hear about your experience. Share your story using the comment box below.

Research by Keepitusable.com

Badly designed road layout

Take a look at the following road layout. Can you spot what’s wrong with it?

badly designed road layout

As this photo was taken at Media City, Manchester, UK, what’s clearly wrong with this is the entrance and exit are on the completely wrong sides! In the UK, it is the law to drive on the left side of the road. Needless to say, when turning into this car park, absolutely everyone drives in using the left side of the road. This is because the brain has built up an existing schema or map of how to drive and what to expect so it takes shortcuts where it can to avoid unnecessary processing. When we’re used to driving on the left side and entering car parks on the left side, we don’t look for or consciously notice road signs that might tell us something different. So the Stop road marking (which is upside down anyway to the driver so would be too difficult to read) and the arrow pointing to the right wouldn’t be noticed by the driver.

Surprisingly, Media City is a very new development so this car park was only created a maximum of a year ago. It’s slightly ironic when you consider that Media City is the new home of the BBC who place high importance on accessibility.

This car park has all the makings of an accident just waiting to happen.

There is also another thing wrong with the design of this car park that isn’t shown in the photo. Basically, this car park is right outside the Booths supermarket. So, if you are specifically coming to Media City to shop at Booths and you see this large enticing car park right in front of the store with an obvious road leading to it you will turn into it as it’s the only visible road into the car park. This road actually is one way, and it’s an exit road not an entrance road! So if you drive down this road you are going the wrong way! They’ve actually designed it as a one way system that involves driving quite a distance past Booths then taking two left turns. It’s completely unintuitive to drive past the store and the car park, which is why so many people make the unintentional mistake of using this road as the main entrance to the Booths car park.