The Vanguard View: Insight for Association Websites

World Usability Day: Creating Engagement

Posted by Ray van Hilst on Fri, Nov 14, 2014


Yesterday was a UX professional’s favorite day of the year… World Usability Day.

World Usability Day was created by the User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) to promote values of usability, usability engineering, user-centered design, universal usability, and basically to create an understanding of how usability makes things better.

Each year UXPA selects a topic to focus on and encourages groups to host events to explore the topic through speakers or small group discussions.  With this year’s topic focusing on engagement, the Vanguard Technology team took this opportunity to explore what engagement means as we develop websites for our association clients.

As UXPA says on their site:

User Experience is all about engagement. Technology, products and services are usable when they engage people. At work we strive to engage with those around us—whether they’re users, colleagues, or stakeholders. It means getting people on board with an idea, earning trust, and working toward mutual goals. We all know how challenging that can be.

For associations this is especially relevant as the chief goal of an association is to create engagement for its members through the website, events, volunteering, online communities and more.

What creates engagement and improves usability?

“Easy to use” is just one part of usability that creates engagement.  But in thinking about usability the team identified several opportunities to create engagement including:

  • Gamification – Cues and prods to encourage users to participate. A great example one of our team cited was Duolingo which helps people learn a new language in a fun, engaging way through gamification, email reminders and a fun experience.
  • Multi-Device Experiences – Our online behaviors are no longer limited to a computer and a mobile phone. We expect similar experiences across all devices regardless of how technical subject is. A good example of this philosophy in action is the Teamwork Project Management platform that uses engaging design across the desktop app and mobile apps to help organizations manage projects.
  • Blending Online and Offline Experiences – As we enter into the holiday season, many users will turn to their smart phones while shopping to compare prices. However, we see in the ecommerce world where online tools such as the or websites show brick and mortar inventory to help people find something immediately. Our experiences no longer are clearly defined by “online” and “in real life” and this gives an opportunity to create deeper engagement.

These are just a few examples we explored and there are many more. What are your favorites? Where have you found technology engaged you in a unique way? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Most important, don’t forget that creating engaging, usable online experiences should be a daily mission. But it is good to take one day to focus on usability so be sure to keep an eye out for next year’s World Usability Day.


Pictured Above: Peter Hernandez (Project Manager), Denise Pace (Proejct Manager), Pramila Devadas (Content Specialist) and Chris Bonney (VP of Client Experience)


Pictured Above: Ken Anderson (.NET Developer), Ray van Hilst (Directorof Client Strategy) and Peter Hernandez (Project Manager)

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