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Last week’s World Usability Day stated that every citizen and customer has a right to expect products and services that are easy to use. Is the onus on designers or their clients to achieve this, and what is the biggest challenge in trying to resolve usability issues?

Product-creating companies rarely champion human usability. Only when the market demands it do businesses embrace it. History shows us that the best products are born of a designer’s desire to create something better. The greatest challenge (still) is that products, like their creators, need to be smarter. Technology needs to catch up with us – just look at the average TV remote or ring the automated Odeon Cinema booking line to understand this.

Patrick Hunt, Creative director, Therefore

The first responsibility obviously lies with the client. If you don’t ask, frequently you don’t get. The designer, as supplier, also has a moral and professional duty to be aware of all relevant aspects of their trade and make recommendations regarding sustainability, inclusivity, cost/ benefit and so on, as appropriate. The biggest challenge in resolving usability issues is deciding which users should take priority – we may all be equal, but we are not all the same.

Colum Menzies Lowe, Head of design and human factors, NHS National Patient Safety Agency Good design is intuitive and should, naturally, be inclusive. The biggest challenge is designers thinking they must compromise to fulfil the lowest common denominator, or clients thinking it costs more to cater for the minority. The best design solutions are inclusive, by taking a holistic view of the problem from the onset.

Mike Crump, Head of design management, British Airways

Designers and their clients must consider the business case for inclusive design. By designing products which meet the needs of disabled people, general usability will improve, delivering both real social benefit and increased market share.

Tony Manwaring, Chief executive officer, Scope

All design should be based on insights from observing human behaviour in its natural setting. By examining everyday interactions we become inspired to generate things that are truly useful and deliver value in a usable and delightful way.

Fran Samalionis, Service design, Ideo

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