July 11, 2005

Ipswitch & Usability

At the UPA 2005 conference, I sat on a panel with Dr. Carol Barnum, mentioned below. I've also been a long-time user of WS-FTP, one of Ipswitch's best-selling products...so this press release caught my attention. I think it's a great example of business partnering with acedemic organizations for success. Carol is a really sharp lady, and it sounds like her group often partners with area businesses, educating them on the benefits of user-centered design.

Ipswitch to Give Presentation on Building User Centered Software

"Ipswitch Inc., a leading developer of messaging, network management and file transfer solutions for small to medium businesses (SMBs), will participate in the International Professional Communication Conference in Limerick, Ireland, July 10-13, 2005.

Three Ipswitch leaders, Ben Henderson, Chief Technologist; Kevin Gillis, Director of Product Management; and Joe O'Connor, Information Development Manager will team up with Dr. Carol Barnum, Co-Director of the Usability Center at Southern Polytechnic State to present 'Making Connections--Teaming Up to Connect Users, Developers, and Usability Experts'.

The presentation will discuss how Ipswitch is working with The Usability Center at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta (Atlanta), Georgia, to rigorously test Ipswitch's products. This testing allows Ipswitch to be in tune with what its customers want. Ipswitch has built its success around understanding and addressing the unique requests of the SMB market allowing Ipswitch to build software that works the ways Ipswitch's customers run their business. Starting with WS_FTP Professional, Ipswitch has now incorporated user-centered design and testing into all of its products.

Leading the collaborative effort to plan the testing at The Usability Center is Dr. Barnum, author of Usability Testing and Research (Allyn & Bacon/Longman, 2002). 'The success Ipswitch is experiencing confirms our belief that usability testing can be promoted as part of a user-centered design process,' said Dr. Barnum. 'When connections are established between developers and users, between usability experts and developers, and between the product and documentation managers and the users, everyone reaps the rewards.'

Ipswitch is integrating usability into the front and middle stages of development, instead of being performed at the end of the product development cycle, early enough so that feedback can be incorporated into future versions of the software before it is commercially released. By doing so, Ipswitch is able to include user-centered design into the product development methodology."

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