Yesterday was the first day at AGI 2005, the UK’s main event for GIS professionals. I must admit I was rather disappointed by the quality of the plenary session, which contrasted with some excellent presentations in the parallel sessions. Both the local Government sessions and in particular for me the session on designing GI systems with usability in mind were excellent.
Both Martin Daly from Cadcorp and Charles Kennelly from ESRI were very open about their efforts to design software with specific users in mind, and our this has developed over time – both made the point that desktop GIS by its very nature is complex. Emma Sutton of EDINA and Lesile Foutain of System Concepts demonstrated the importance of the inclusion of usability design early enough in projects – £1 spent on usability at the beginning of a project is £1000 if spent at the end.
This was really interesting stuff, we are all impressed by the design of devices such as the iPod, but can we ever hope to achieve such a high level of simple task centred design in GIS? How much are we constrained by the conventions of the win32 api ?
Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.