Crowdsourcing Usability

Maybe we have been going about this User Experience Professional thing all wrong. Wouldn’t it be better to allow the user themselves to just fix the device/tool/interface themselves? Cut out the middleman? (Am I writing myself out of a job?)

As usual, Europe is ahead of the states again in usability as can be seen by these examples:

parking machine stickers

from Uselog.com

a parking ticket machine that drives users nuts (see another one here). And this time to the extent that they’ve taken their fate into their own hands and added some ‘customized’ labels to the device. I think we can add parking ticket machines to the category of ‘things that always suck’, that also includes office telephones and presentation equipment in meeting rooms. I do hope that the designers saw the ‘modification’ that users made, because it shows them that really anyone can make a better design than they did…

Now with open source projects abounding, we are seeing the general public getting closer and closer to the development of products as well as developers listening closer to user feedback while they develop. There are fantastically easy bug reporting software programs that typical users can give feedback easily and we see smoother transitions from feedback to actual improvement.

The best information comes directly from the users. All we need to do is listen (or look).

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