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Usability – Make Life Easier

Published on 07 November 2012
Updated on 19 March 2024

Have you ever had a problem reading a person’s name from their conference badge? You can usually find about the name of the conference, although you already know what conference you are attending. You can find the name of the venue,  although you should already know where you are. You can find the dates, although again, you should know what these dates are. Yet the three most important pieces information – name, organisation, country – are very often lost in this mix.

Today (8th November) is world usability day, a good occasion to reflect on things that make our lives easier. At first glance, it may look as just another day celebrating everything and anything. But if we see past this initial triviality, some careful consideration could lead us to a very fascinating subject: simplicity could be more complex than we thought.

Designing a conference badge should be extremely simple. So why then do so many conference organisers get it wrong?  Here is an example of a ‘good enough’ conference badge from the Internet Governance Forum in Baku which I am attending this week.

baku name tag

1 reply
  1. ald
    ald says:

    Jovan, so right you are. From
    Jovan, so right you are. From the user’s point of view, the name is all important. The ORGANIZER, however, may have collateral had other – collateral – messages in mind (of which she may not be even fully aware): it may have wanted to signify (and anchor) (a) the (self-)importance of the event; (b) the relative position of the participant vs. organization, (c) order of presedence, (d) whatever… The language of such a tag is never innocent or univoque. The skill of the diplomat comes from reading all these messages, weighing their importance, and finding degrees of freedom, rather than frustration – turning them to his advantage. Orders or precedence led once to war. Here you have a current example. AND, of course, it may all just be a bumbling secretary (always blame them). Aldo


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