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World Usability Day celebration

  • 13 Nov 2008
  • 7:00 PM
  • Bahen Centre Room 1130 (40 St. George Street)
Come celebrate World Usability Day with 3 of Toronto's usability experts in the field of Transportation.
Presenters:   Dr. Alison Smiley, Jay Goldman, and Glenn R. Miller

"To Err is Human, to Forgive Design" by Dr. Alison Smiley

Human limitations can cause drivers to make errors which occasionally result in crashes. An understanding of driver limitations in vision, information processing, attention and expectancy can be used to improve road and traffic control device design. This lecture will cover basic human factors issues in driving, and illustrate how designs such as shoulder edge rumble strips, real-time traffic signal control and roundabouts consider human limitations and are effective in reducing human error, subsequent crashes and the consequences of those crashes. 

Dr. Alison Smiley is President of Human Factors North Inc., a Toronto-based human factors engineering consulting company founded in 1982. She holds a PhD (1978) in Systems Design Engineering, specializing in Human Factors. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto where she teaches courses in human factors. She has served on a number of U.S. Transportation Research Board committees and is a current member of the Vehicle User Characteristics Committee and past Chair (1999-2001) of the TRB Group 3 Council on Operations, Safety and Maintenance of Transportation. Dr. Smiley was the 1997 recipient of the A.R. Lauer Safety Award given by the U.S. Human Factors and Ergonomics Society for outstanding contributions to the human factors aspects of highway safety. She has acted as an expert witness in several hundred accident cases, carried out research and taught about a wide range of traffic safety issues.

"Transit Camp Experience" by Jay Goldman

Toronto TransitCamp was built on everything we had learned over the course of 3 BarCamps and 12 DemoCamps, and carefully designed to use the techniques that had worked so well in the technology field to solve a very-non technology problem. We issued an announcement for the event in mid-January and held it less than three weeks later, an intense period in which we found twelve sponsors (at a $300 sponsorship cap to keep a level playing field), located a venue, crafted the TransitCamp pledge, carefully sorted through applications for the 100 participant spots, and worked with the TTC to secure their participation. The event was held at the Gladstone Hotel on February 4th, 2007, a freezing cold (5° F!) Superbowl Sunday, in a collection of rooms with deficient heating and an average temperature of 60° F, and brought together designers, transit geeks, bloggers, visual artists, tech geeks and cultural creators. This talk will cover some of the careful experience design elements that went into making the event successful and will leave plenty of time for questions about how you can apply the lessons to your own projects.

Jay Goldman has been providing a human side to technology for over ten years, as a technologist, user experience specialist, and visual designer. His career has been focused on the interaction between people and technology, and his insights have helped to greatly improve products on mobile, web, and desktop platforms, including IBM DB2 and Mozilla Firefox. Jay led Radiant Core's Professional Services Team on a wide variety of award winning engagements across many industries, and is now helping tech startups to change the world as a consultant on products, technology, and design. He has been instrumental in the continued growth of the BarCamp community in Toronto and was one of the co-conductors of the very successful TransitCamp event held in partnership with the Toronto Transit Commission. Jay has been published in the Harvard Business Review and has written The Facebook Cookbook for O'Reilly Media.

"From Lifestyle to Lifecycle: What's Next for Ontario's Seniors?" by Glenn R. Miller

Although demographers have long been telling us that society is aging, a sense of urgency is only now emerging. Not surprisingly, the focus is on problems related to pension shortfalls, declining tax revenues and rising demand for government services like healthcare. But as baby boomers enter a critical new stage in their life journey, a powerful new constituency is about to arise, demanding solutions to problems caused – albeit inadvertently – by planners and others who have helped make automobiles so central to our lives.  How will seniors get around single use, car-dependent communities when they can no longer drive? How can places where amenities and essential services are beyond walking distance be successfully retrofitted to accommodate changing needs? What kind of interdisciplinary collaborations will be necessary to mitigate the impact of growing old in neighborhoods designed for the automobile? I will explain how the concepts of universal design can be interpreted as a neighbourhood scale (10 principles) and if there is time describe a unique assessment tool developed in conjunction with Masters students in the planning program at the University of Toronto. This multidisciplinary tool was designed as a device to engage diverse stakeholders in a process aimed at retrofitting and/or enhancing the mobility of elderly residents in a given neighbourhood.

Glenn R. Miller, FCIP, RPP, is Director, Education and Research, with the Canadian Urban Institute.  Elected as a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners in 2005 for his contribution to planning in Canada, Glenn is responsible for the CUI's Canadian programming, which blends applied research, conferences, workshops and seminars with public engagement and facilitation services.  Glenn is also founding editor of the Ontario Planning Journal, the professional practice magazine of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute. His work has received awards for excellence from both the Canadian Institute of Planners and the Ontario Professional Planners Institute.  He has been providing advice to private and public sector government agencies for more than 25 years, focused on transportation, growth management, economic competitiveness and quality of life issues such as the effects of auto-oriented community design on personal mobility as the population ages.

For other World Usability Day events across the globe, please visit
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