Pattern Driven Usability (opportunities and challenges)


There’s been quite a bit of talk, on and off, around developing a library of patterns that interface designers could use that would mean that technology would become a whole lot more consistent and usable. So I was interested to discover that XPDesign, the methodology that PTG Global have been talking up for a while now, is essentially a part of this whole discussion.

PTG have been in the press a bit lately since they’ve launched their ‘certified usable‘ product.

The Certified Usable Guarantee: We guarantee that, on average, 90% of users can complete 90% of tasks with minimal assistance, within a reasonable time, without error, and with at least 80% satisfaction (based on a random sample of at least 300 end users using a Certified Usable™ technology product).

Craig Errey of PTG presented some of the fundamentals of XPDesign at the NSW CHISIG gathering last night. At the very least he should be congratulated for stimulating probably one of the most engaging debates around HCI methods that I’ve been a part of for quite a while.

The last one was probably back at OZCHI conference, where another PTG representative presented their work on the Citibank Mobile Banking interface and surprised many of us by stating that PTG didn’t need to iterate in their design process because they *knew* what worked and what didn’t. (Obviously, given that mobile banking is a pretty new application on a reasonably new device with many special complexities, many in the audience found this difficult to believe!)

Craig started his talk by asserting that ‘nothing particularly interesting has happened in HCI for the last 10-15yrs’. Big call. I guess that depends a lot on what you consider interesting, he then went on to challenge people to answer two questions: what is usability? and how do you make something usable?
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links for 03 April 2006

Campaign for Real Beauty – 2.0 Advertising from Unilever?

Campaign For Real Beauty

On walking through Central Station the other morning, I couldn’t help be struck by the new campaign that Dove (owned by Unilever) have launched, called the ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’. It’s actually an international campaign, but the latest version has just hit Sydney with a high impact plastering of outdoor promotion at one of Sydney’s busiest train stations (and elsewhere, I’m sure).

They describe this as an integrated-marketing campaign that undermines the basic proposition of decades of beauty-care advertising by telling women – and young girls – they’re beautiful just the way they are.

I think this is a smart and intriguing campaign.

Obviously there are a couple of *almost* contradictory objectives:

  1. to redress the typical beauty-care company media message which is that women are inadequate and require their products in order to become/remain desireable (or even acceptable to society)
  2. to position ideas of ‘beauty’ that are different to the traditional ideals, as potentially beautiful (thereby desireable)
  3. to help young girls and women everywhere to embrace a more positive body image (via Dove Self Esteem Fund)
  4. to grow brand awareness of Dove
  5. to shift more Dove products.

This is an interesting case study for the problems that FMCG products will face as they attempt to embrace 2.0 advertising. They have a media and marketing literate target audience who will struggle to not see campaigns such as this as a cynical attempt to ‘own’ (and thereby brand) an ‘issue’… so that despite the fact that they may ‘do good’ by growing awareness around these issues, at the same time, we know that they wouldn’t be doing it if they didn’t think it would be effective in growing brand and shifting product. So, it’s not an entirely satisfactory, authentic brand experience, is it?

only 8% of Australian women are satisfied with their facial attractiveness
Source: Dove Global Report

But, back on topic, why might the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty be considered a 2.0 advertising campaign?

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links for 31 March 2006