It’s World Usability Day!

Today, it’s World Usability Day. More than a hundred events will be held around the world by passionate people — I am one of them — who believe that usability is key.

Swiss switch

Usability is about making products, even complex ones, easy to use by everyone. Of course, that is the ideal goal and you would probably agree with me that we are really far from it! It’s even worse: it looks like appliances like ovens became less usable in the past years. A few years ago I shot a 2-minute video showing a well-known Swiss politician explaining how he struggled with his new unusable oven. This was part of a project launched during World Usability Day 2006. The video (in French) is still available on Dailymotion.

Unfortunately, the oven is an example among thousands of others. Ironic as it sounds, I am writing these lines on a PC which is far from being a model of design and usability — I wish I could use my Macbook at work! But I am unfair. My PC is far better than my unengaging desktop phone. By the way, do you know why we, employees of companies and public bodies around the world, seem to be condemned to use these horrible phones ? How did they survive to the iPhone era?

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Tired of Batteries Falling Out of Your Hearing Aids?

Maybe it’s because I’m a newbie (less than three years) hearing aid wearer with mild-to-medium hearing loss, but this has been a subject of continued annoyance for me.

Of course, my batteries aren’t falling out of my hearing aids when I’m wearing them. No, they tend to fall out when stuffing them into pockets, bags, drying boxes, jewellery boxes, and all the other various places I put them (shhh I know it’s bad) when I take them out of my ears. Which happens, because I like my deafness when I’m alone at home, don’t need extra volume on noisy fellow travellers when I’m in public transport, and use my earbuds quite a bit for phone, music, and podcasts.

Caveat: all this might be way less true now that I’ve tasted Venture.

In any case, even if I don’t change my nasty habits, it seems that now that I’m carrying these V90s my battery-falling-out days are over. Look at the photograph closely (it’s not easy to photograph, and easy to miss):

V90 battery compartment design

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