Usability – my take, my perspective…

I went to the Usability CEO speak-up session arranged at the brand new, glorious campus of NUST.

First of all – I want to say that I have the exact opposite of a Photographic memory. Infact, the movie memento is based on my life (just kidding), so – don’t take my account of the event too religiously.

To err is human, to forgive divine.

First of all, the attendance of the speakers was not 100 percent.

Osama Hashmi of Green&White fame, Murad Akhtar of TinTash and Atif Mumtaz of Brightspyre did not come.

Frankly, I went because I really wanted to meet Osama as the two technical blogs from Pakistan that I absolutely adore are his Green&White and the Tech Lahore. Obviously there are many others like Mohtashim’s IT blog but the choice of these two blogs is a strictly biased selection totally thrashing any merit of any sort.

Haris Khan, the CEO of Zigron was the host and the moderator of the talk. And like any host of any good talk show, he did a splendid and a marvelous job. He never let the talk go astray in either the pits of boredom or to the heights of excitement. I would say attaboy, well done.

The talk was a well diversified talk show kind of a thing. Babar Khan, the Country Manager of iKonami went on an extra mile to tell how his company invested in making the product they have for hospitals in the Uk easy to use for disabled people. Faizan Buzdar, the dude from Scrybe quite interestingly told of his affiliation with the Islamabad-Lahore Motorway project from his GIKI days and how there were flaws in some areas with regards to usability from a users perspective. He also seemed pretty nostalgic about his days at Elixir when he spoke very high of the Usability practices at Elixir.

That reminds me that most of the audience were the employees of iKonami and Elixir technologies.

Dr. Khalid Latif gave the academic perspective of usability and gave specific examples of functional vs non-functional requirements in usability. He talked about how usability differed in different products. He said that how regression is a more important thing in mission critical systems and how aesthetics are a more important aspect of an entertainment related web site.

An employee from elixir technologies pointed out the fact that how different kind of viewers should be catered to when making color schemes for a web site, like different color combinations that can not be distinguished from each other by color blind people. At that point in time, an employee of iKonami technologies who was in the audience too mentioned the fact that these kind of requirements are specially catered to in the medical support system by them.

Dr. Arshad Sahab, who is a personal mentor of mine since university days very wisely pointed out the paradox that like ethics, it’s extremely difficult for the right kind of people to be found for teaching usability. Since most of the people who are academically qualified to teach such subjects do not practice the concepts themselves. He also pointed out the fact that usability can’t be totally taught right out of text books, it should be an amalgam of textbook stuff with the latest findings and practices that are freshly cooked out of the oven.

The crux of the matter is that albeit it was not totally the kind of a talk I went to attend and Helvetica is definitely not the kind of film I would chose to show in a Usability talk, but nevertheless it was a treat to be there. The event was gourmet material. And was indeed very aesthetically arranged in one of the very beautiful classes of the newly made campus of NUST-SEECS.

The Chinese saying goes like “A thousand mile journey starts with a single step”. And I absolutely loved the amalgam of industry-academia in this talk.

Three cheers to the organizers, the participants and the audience.

I hope such events continue in the future!!!

7 Comments so far

  1. A for [pine]Apple (asmamirza) on December 12th, 2008 @ 11:44 pm

    I think people were expecting more on Software Usability perspective and the mixture was general usability centered.

    So I’ve heard.

    Missed the event my self though …!

  2. Talha Masood (thandak) on December 13th, 2008 @ 12:01 am


    True that :)

  3. kabirdas on December 13th, 2008 @ 1:35 am

    An excellent write up of the event. It is not very common to read such well written posts in a blog. Well done, sir.

  4. ersalan on December 13th, 2008 @ 1:46 am

    I wish they had more eye candy : P~

  5. UX on Metblogs!!! « holograph (pingback) on December 13th, 2008 @ 4:47 am

    […] Usability – my take, my perspective… | Islamabad Metblogs. […]

  6. OFK (omerkhan) on December 14th, 2008 @ 1:30 pm

    That wasn’t a class room… :P
    It was the seminar hall…

  7. Fahim Akhter (fahimakhter) on December 16th, 2008 @ 10:54 am

    Its really sad when people you expect specially speakers don’t show up. I don’t take it as a professional attitude. Anyhow about the Green & White writer, I’m a big fan and I was just going for her, cause well I’ve heard the usability talk from Faizan for hours trust me its not pretty ;p

    I don’t know I was one of the hardcore fans of Green&White untill, I felt that snobby attitude,the personal fights which I think should be kept away from a tech blog. After that honestly I lost interest.

    Anyways, about your post. Very well written and not taking any sides really are you. Which I really admire, so well very well done on the post :)

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