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Today is World Usability Day. The theme this year is communication. I’ve chosen to write about something which I find helps teams I work with communicate and explore what we design and put on the web.
Back in 2005, Yahoo! Search announced a “vision statement”.
Enable people to find, use, share and expand all human knowledge.
Somewhat ambitious, sure. A little grand, perhaps. But what a great way to think, not only about search, but also about everything we make on the web.
And it happens to form a handy mnemonic in the shape of the acronym FUSE.
At the time I was working on learning technology and intranet projects at the BBC, and found it was a really useful way to think about everything we designed, built and put out there.
If we design this site, template or widget, if we publish this content, if we make this web app, will people be able to find it, use it (more recently I’ve started using ‘understand’ as well), share it and extend it (which I prefer to ‘expand’)? FUSE?
And on every project I’ve worked in the five years since, it has still come in useful. Whatever becomes of Yahoo!, I for one, have a lot to thank them for.
[For more on FUSE, see this blog post by Tom Coates, not a fan of the acronym! In 2006, the BBC came up with its own version of FUSE – in Find, Play Share (BBC press release, Guardian article) – as its approach to all audience-facing digital output. Both work, but I find FUSE really gets people thinking.]