As a usability consultant, I keep stressing the importance of involving users in designing software. User-Centered Design (UCD) is all about designing products with users, for users, not just to users.
Time Magazine has helped our cause by selecting the ultimate user – “You” – as the 2006 Person of the Year. They talk about the power of “community and collaboration” on the Web. It’s about time. Here’s a brief quote. The link to the article is below. How about hearing from “you” on this issue?
“But look at 2006 through a different lens and you’ll see another story, one that isn’t about conflict or great men. It’s a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It’s about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people’s network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It’s about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.
The tool that makes this possible is the World Wide Web. Not the Web that Tim Berners-Lee hacked together (15 years ago, according to Wikipedia) as a way for scientists to share research. It’s not even the overhyped dotcom Web of the late 1990s. The new Web is a very different thing. It’s a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter. Silicon Valley consultants call it Web 2.0, as if it were a new version of some old software. But it’s really a revolution.”