The theme for 2016 is “Sustainable User Experience (UX)” or “Green UX.” Sustainability and UX design are innately intertwined since they are both about creating the best experience for people. Green processes and sustainable products take into account goals such as recycle, reuse and incremental improvement. It’s about taking existing products and services and developing ways to refine and redesign them to be more effective, efficient and reusable in ways that enhance a person’s life.
Green UX draws from individual needs and goals to generate products and services that both improve user experience and increase the convenience of environmentally friendly behaviors.
This year’s theme, sustainability, coincides with the recent adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UX design lens can improve efforts to “end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all” by giving disadvantaged individuals a seat at the table. This can be done in part by taking the ‘user experiences’ of SDG efforts into account. Within this framework, “users” are the people who will be affected by SDG policies and initiatives and “experiences” relate to the encounters, interactions, etc. that people will have with policies and initiatives as SDG efforts continue.
The technological and physical (i.e., architecture) elements of achieving SDGs can also benefit greatly from UX design. Small-scale examples include water sanitation devices that can be used by individuals with limited mobility and/or food packages that are easier to store, open and re-seal. Large-scale examples include the using human-centered design principles into sustainable urban planning. Each example provides opportunities to increase equity and accessibility – fundamental aspects of human rights. Attendees of World Usability Day will gain exposure to knowledge and networks that can equip them to become more effective advocates and design thinkers.
Be sure to mark your calendar for World Usability Day 2016 (November 10th)! As the day approaches, ask yourself “is it me or the design?” Your answer may be a starting point for improving user-friendliness and sustainability on a local and/or global scale.
On November 10, 2016, those who are working to ensure that “services and products important to life are easier to access and simpler to use” will gather throughout the globe in celebration of World Usability Day. This will be the 11th year for advocates, students, professionals, government officials and leaders to take on (and expand) opportunities to create a more user-friendly world by showcasing their work, exchanging information, and sharing critical feedback.
the usability and usefulness of anything and everything. We know that user-centered design produces usable products and services. Whether or not something is usable has significant potential to make our day better or worse. Sometimes, our lives even depend on it.
Consider, for example, gear shifters for cars. You use these to put your car in park, reverse, or drive. It’s important to know which gear your car is in at all times, and to have your car remain in the gear you choose until you decide to change it.
To the left is an example of a well designed gear shifter. You can immediately see which gear you are in, and the notches are clearly meant to keep your car in the gear you choose.