CanUX 06

Posted on September 19, 2006

Banff is beautiful! Especially when it is inhabited by some of the best minds in UX today. The CanUX conference was a great experience. I would definitely recommend it to anybody who is interested in attending next year. There were some amazing speakers as well some awesome conversations sparked by the insights of the group.

One of my favorite presentations was done by Microsoft Windows Client Usability Lead, Joey Benedek, on testing, measuring and validating visual design (desirability). I found this extremely interesting because of my past as a visual designer.

He discussed three methods that he used to test and measure the visual design of the upcoming Microsoft Vista.

  1. The Microsoft Desirability Toolkit
  2. Instantaneous Reaction Dials (like they use to test movies)
  3. Electromyography

The thing that really interested me about the talk, and he didn’t talk about this too much, was how the desigers used this data and how they felt about receiving it. I would be very interested to know how much the data and research actually dictated the design process, from the designer’s perspective.

Visual design is such a difficult thing to measure and quantify, but I think that Joey’s research is moving in the right direction. It should be a very interesting topic to watch over the next couple of years.

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