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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I've been online since 1971 and I like to smoothe the way for everyone else. Among other things I co-founded Sympatico, the world's first easy-to-use Internet service (and Canada's largest).

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Today is World Usability Day

Today, November 14, is World Usability Day. From its charter, the following message, which I endorse:

Technology today is too hard to use. A cell phone should be as easy to use as a doorknob. In order to humanize a world that uses technology as an infrastructure for education, healthcare, government, communication, entertainment, work, and other areas, we must agree to develop technologies in a way that serves people first.

Technology should enhance our lives, not add
to our stress or cause danger through poor design or poor quality. It is our duty to ensure that this technology is effective, efficient, satisfying and reliable, and that it is usable by all people. This is particularly important for people with disabilities, because technology can enhance their lives, letting them fully participate in work, social and civic experiences.

Human error is a misnomer. Technology
should be developed knowing that human beings have certain limitations. Human error will occur if technology is not both easy to use and easy to understand. We need to reduce human error that results from bad design.

We believe a united, coordinated effort is
needed to develop reliable, easy-to-use technology to serve people in all aspects of their lives, including education, health, government, privacy, communications, work and entertainment. We must put people at the center of design, beginning with their needs and wants, and resulting in technology that benefits all of us.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, agree to
work together to design technology that helps human beings truly realize their potential, so that we can create a better world for ourselves and future generations.

We agree to observe World Usability Day
each year, to provide a single worldwide day of events around the world that brings together communities of professional, industrial, educational, citizen and governmental groups for our common objective: to ensure that technology helps people live to their full potential and helps create a better world for all citizens everywhere.

There’s more, but it detracts from the message. Also, I am shocked that I had to fix a number of typographical errors, since such errors reduce usability and yet this text came from the “Usability Professionals Association”! Perhaps eternal vigilance is the price, not only of liberty, but of usability as well. I encourage you to speak up whenever you see poor usability and have some way of telling those who could improve it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in.
When is the first gathering of this Kind occuring.

Shall I join you in organizing this event ?¸

Nice manifesto.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 at 9:08:00 a.m. EST  
Blogger Rohan Jayasekera said...

Jonathan, there were events yesterday in many cities around the world, and this will happen on November 14 every year. There is a list of events at, though this list is not complete: the one I went to in Toronto isn't there, and it would not surprise me if there had been one in Montréal too.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 at 12:44:00 p.m. EST  

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