Usability Week 06

This week I had the opportunity to go to Neilson Norman Group’s (NN/g) Usability Week 2006 conference in San Francisco, and attend a 3 day usability training seminar by Bruce “Tog”Tognazzini, of “Ask Tog “ fame. The Tog seminar was titled “Interaction Design: Three-day Immersion“, and it was fantastic. I’ve been reading Tog’s “AskTog” website for a long time, so I was pretty sure it was going to be good, and I was not let down. More after the jump!

Tog was a great speaker, and is quite a character. His sarcastic, sardonic, and facetious style of presenting was brilliant, and even funnier to me was how much of it was completely lost on much of the audience. There were many times I had to stifle a laugh, because many of the people around me had completely missed the joke. Tog’s style of humor seems to very much like mine, so I saw some of the jokes totally coming, and yet I still enjoyed them. I enjoyed them even more when others weren’t getting them.

The content of the 3 day series was also very good. I wondered how he was going to stretch out some of the topics to fill 3 days without being boring or repetitive. When I got the conference binder, and flipped through it to preview the slides, I was even more confused…Magic tricks? Batteries? Briggs-Meyers tests? A camper with a 4 foot satellite dish? Selling televisions? What in the world is going on here?

And he pulled it off! Some of the time I had no idea where he was going with all this talk about batteries, and then POW! Here’s how it relates exactly to software usability. I’m not going to spoil it for you! You’ll have to go find out yourself.

The seminar had lots of good information, some really funny presentations, and, much like World of Warcraft, some forced grouping near the endgame.

All in all, the seminar was great, and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in computer/human interaction and UI design. There are some things I’m going to use right away, and others that I’m going to force upon people as soon as I can!

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