Usable by Default – The Next Chapter

We are launching the next phase of our competition for designers and developers to design or develop visual or software/web/mobile prototypes and take part in an event where they can work on this with others. You can see more details on the competition site itself.

As you can see below there are prizes to be won – both in cash and in kind – including a free user testing session. Here’s more on why usability is so important to us.

What could I win?

Kent Connects and Ordnance Survey will be offering £1000 to the winners of the best prototype of each of the two challenges below (awarded on 25 November).

The winners of the best idea & prototype for both challenges will also be invited to test their idea and develop a business proposition at two special workshops.

What are we offering?

We’ll tell you about the business proposition workshop very soon, but exclusively we can reveal more about the user testing prize. As one of the winners you will get access to a live testing environment, an organised feedback workshop and feedback data on your prototype in action. This will help you to actively test and assess your prototype in a real-life scenario.

Depending on what you have developed, the organisers will meet you soon after the 25 November event to identify the best ways of testing it.

This may involve volunteers, from particular customer groups, testing it over short period of time, on a daily basis, or something over a longer time scale.

This will culminate in a workshop with the testers, to acquire the qualitative and quantitative feedback on your product – all organised by us, for you. Where this then may lead, who knows…good luck!

Usable by default

When we worked with community groups and students to help them come up with ideas, we wanted them to sprinkle into their ideas for the competition the things that they like best about the technology they use, or rather the things that make it easier for them to want to use technology!

From aspirations of improved accessibility of “getting a decent signal” to the blunt call for simplicity “simplify phone and text messages and forget all the other things”, via better use of use of your voice to make choices such as “controlling the interphone using voice”, it’s key that for most people it’s not always the most advance features they’re looking for, it’s how to design in simplicity that makes them want to enjoy their experience using technology.

You can see this in an even more colourful way from this treemap below. Click on the image to activate the visualisation and you’ll be able to see people’s individual technology wishes!

Treemap of Technology Features


You might ask why ask people who don’t necessarily have any technical skills to describe what they would prefer best to make it easier for them to use technology?

Because when people come up with ideas involving technology, they will rarely think about how the idea would actually work if it was turned into a digital tool, or if they’re very tech-savvy they will think about how all the different features a digital tool could have without thinking about why and how these would be useful to support the idea itself.

These exercises are there to help guide people through this process, so that they can think as much as users of technology as of residents of their neighbourhood, so that the idea not only works in their community but can work if used online.

How have you involved your customers or residents in shaping online services or in helping develop your tools?

Over to you!

So we’ve given you a taster of what you could get if your prototype won the competition, now it’s your turn to sign up to our event and put forward your prototype so you can win!

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