Who needs World Usability Day?
World Usability Day is the largest gathering of industry professionals, world-class academics, government leaders, and students facilitating the progression of usability, user experience, and user-centred design. Each year, the World Usability Day community holds over 150 events in more than 40 countries. World Usability Day was founded to explore ways to ensure that the services and products important to life are easier to access and simpler to use.
World Usability Day Estonia is the #1 conference for User Experience professionals in Estonia and the largest UX-web- and interaction design event in Baltics. WUD is accompanied by hands-on workshops and tutorials on the days before and after the main event.
Interview with the organizers: Liina Martõnjak & Halina Mugame
What is World Usability Day about? Who needs this and why?
Liina: The idea behind the concept and the events, not only in Estonia but elsewhere, is to make technology products and services better for people. It’ s aim is to draw attention to how technology is affecting people who are using these products. Quite often the process of building something new is either technology-driven: "we have this great technology, so let’s do something with it" or, market-driven: "oh, we can make a lot of money if we put this out there."
Why do we need an event such as this in Estonia?
Liina: Going to UX conferences abroad takes time and money and not everyone can afford it. At the same time, it is important to educate oneself with new knowledge, methods and crafts and also to get inspiration from cool things people are working on in different countries. I’m hoping that this conference does that all: gives the opportunity to learn, network and get together as a community.
We are also aiming to bring the topic of UX closer to the public and larger audience. Think about an average person who buys a cell phone or uses an online service. Very often, they blame themselves, when they can’t figure it out. But never think of it so that the service or product is not usable.
Who is organizing the event?
Liina: Event is now officially run by a non-profit organization EstCHI, which was created by Trinidad Wiseman and Tallinn University, but we also have volunteers included.
What are the topics of this year’s event?
Halina: Last year we were focusing on AI, Service Design and new tools for improving one’s day-to-day tasks. The future of human-computer interaction is also always one of the topics addressing many challenges (public engagement, participation, privacy, emotion) currently faced by computer sciences. We’re now imagining examples of human-computer interaction personalized to our individual needs, but just a few years back, we were imagining inventions as simple today, as the computer mouse.
This year we will have talks about accessibility, UX writing, UX psychology, engagement and many more.
Who are you expecting to visit the event?
Halina: For the last 3 years, the number of participants has grown to almost 500. This year we are expecting over 600 people. We are expecting anyone working in or studying UX, UI, Product Design, IXd, Motion, Visual Design, also Product/project managers, Directors, VP's C-Level. This event is open and relevant to anyone interested in forward-thinking future design.
Liina, you are currently on parental leave raising two little boys. What do you miss about your job?
Liina: What I liked about working professionally as a UX practitioner is that, for me, no two days were generally exactly alike. There were always new challenges to solve and new challenges to work on. To be honest, being at home with two kids under 3 years old is quite the same - no two days are alike. I have never really stopped working, just the essence of my job has temporarily changed from UX projects to organizing a conference. I love to learn new things, so this has been an interesting challenge. When I started 3 years ago, I was dreaming that one day the event will be held in Culture Hub with proper catering and amazing speakers’ list, so I’m really excited about the fact that this year this actually comes true.
UX Designers are in high demand. But there is huge versatility needed to become a UX professional. What are your tips for students and juniors who want to become UX specialists?
Liina: When you start your first job as a UX professional, then you must not be afraid to ask questions if there is something you don’t know. People appreciate your passion and are happy to help. When you think that this could be a job for you, but have zero experience, then start off as an intern. If you show that you are eager to learn and care what you are doing, then it would be a lot easier to get a job offer. Companies don’t always only look for experience, but also - if the person would fit into their team.
Halina: Yes. The role of a UXer tends to include elements of testing, business analysis, project management, psychology and research. You have to be comfortable running collaborative design sessions with researchers, designers, product manager, and engineers to generate design ideas directly from research themes. If you’re forward-thinking and curious about UX design trends and someone who thrives in a fast-paced and dynamic environment, you just might have what it takes to be a successful UX designer. The field of user experience (UX) design is exploding and is definitely an ever-expanding career track.
Halina, is it true, that the role of UX designer means designing endless wireframes?
The main purpose of UX is to build online experiences which engage and retain users. In order for that to happen speaking to people and researching are critical rather than being in a vacuum making 100s of wireframes.
If you have proposals about topics, presenters or are interested in co-organizing or presenting your company to the local UX community, please contact us: email@example.com