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From Schoolchildren to Government Leaders

Rosenzweig continues:

  • "Many regions will feature competitions for students or with student judges. In Christchurch, New Zealand, 12-year-old technology experts will offer usability demonstrations on breakfast television; and at the Boston Museum of Science, schoolchildren will experience usability tests and educational exhibits. Commitments for high-level government participation are starting to come in. So far, we have Italy's Ministry for Communications and Canada's Minister of eGovernment, and we are working to set up something in London with the House of Parliament."

For something as international in scope as this steamrolling event has become, it's hard to believe that it actually came about while two UPA members were watching a baseball game last fall. Rosenzweig explains:

  • "I was having dinner with our outreach co-chair at the time, Nigel Bevan, from London, England. We were brainstorming ideas for outreach and changing the world and so forth. The energy was very high in the bar at the far end of the dining room and I had to keep stepping over to check the score. As the Red Sox started to clobber the Yankees, we thought of World Usability Day as a way to bring some attention to the current lack of usability in today's technology."

Like any good usability professional, UPA asked its "users" (its members) about which date to set before deciding on November 3rd. Rosenzweig describes the process:

  • "We wanted to make sure that we didn't conflict with any holiday in the world. We sent out a questionnaire to all our local chapters around the world and came up with a few dates in early November, at a time when things were slow. We ultimately choose November 3rd because it also coincided with the Design and User Experience (DUX) Conference that opens in San Francisco on November 3, 2005."
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