5th November(instead of 8th because of Diwali) was celebrated as World Usability Day. Bangalore was not untouched by the phenomenon, though it would rather had been a major thing. But clearly with over 120(My guess) it was not ignorable event. Long time since the usability aspects have been ignored by the technologists. iPhone and iPod have clearly shown the way. They were nothing radical in concept but they infact radically changed the usability part of the respective equipments.
I must add here that I was late for the event. But none the less I did have the opportunity to hear Mr MP Ranjan on Designing. His take on the Design for the user and design in various fields. Pretty much the whole talk is online at his blog http://design-for-india.blogspot.com/. But it was real experience to hear it from the horse's mouth.
Next Sarit from HFI presented the findings of usability test of Indian Railways Online reservation site at http://www.irctc.co.in/ . Ironically it was the awarded Genius of the Web award for the best PSU. Not very astonishing though considering that most PSU sites are actually unusable. It was interesting to note that how difficult it was to get a simple reservation done. It was nightmarish to someone who is not 100% aware of nuances of the Indian Railways. I strongly believe that the way US Government has a policy of certifying usability of all government websites and making sure that they are readable and usable by even a student of class 4, must be implemented in India. This is something 100% lacking with the Indian Government IT Usage Policy. Though I dont like to say it but, I strongly feel, reservations, favorism and corruption is reflected here.
An interesting workshop with teams given topics to come up with ideas for a useable solution for different problems. Different teams worked up solutions for better working models of the real life problems in health care tracking, mobiles for the elderly and mobile for the illiterate.
Shawn from http://babajobs.com told about how he is making life better for the bottom of the pyramid people like cooks, maids and drivers to be searched and found via his social networking site.
Mr Gururaj and Dr R Washington talked about health care system they had designed for Karnataka Health Trust. A truely exciting work. How they are tracking the sex worker and their health records. How its easier for everyone to make use of it.
Overall a really nice event. With something to take home for everyone, and I am not just talking about the goodies that I got. :-)