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Both these gentlemen are offering day-long seminars in London this spring:

  • Jakob Nielsen - Fundamental Guidelines for Web Usability for £458
  • Steve Krug - Do-It-Yourself Usability Testing: The Workshop for £525

I have read both of Steve's books and I watched a video seminar of his workshop. I have read a tremendous number of Jakob's Alertbox posts as well as a couple of his books.

I am looking for some feedback from anyone who has been to either of their seminars. Will I get much out of these expensive seminars beyond what I have already learned from their books/postings?

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put on hold as primarily opinion-based by JonW 2 days ago

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9 Answers 9

I obviously can't comment on the quality of my own seminar, but I want to point out that we also offer a seminar on do-it-yourself user testing at this year's Usability Week conference. Please see the full London agenda.

Ideally, you should go to all of these seminars, including even both days on user testing. There is so much to say about that topic, and each speaker will prioritize their material differently, so by attending both you get a broader picture which will improve the quality of your own tests. And user testing has so high ROI that both conference fees will be earned back after the first study.

Hope to see you there,

Jakob

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I've been to Usability Week in the past, and every presentation I've been to by Jakob has been incredibly useful and worth every penny.

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Glad to see Jakob on UXExchange. :)

I went to Usability week a few years ago. This was one of the first times I realized the difference between UX Research (Nielsen) and UX Design (Norman). Although I value research, my heart (and personal talent) were on the other side of the coin. I am a "Norman" rather than a "Nielsen".

At that session, I heard Bruce Tognazzini. He was standing in for Don Norman. I loved him and he helped me form my own point of view on UX Design. The Nielsen presentation, unfortunately, I found really dry.

Part of it might have something to do with story telling. Bruce told great stories and Jakob seemed to rely more on charts and facts. (I might be coloring my own perception, but it was 4 years ago).

Anyway, I thought it was a useful, but you have to know your own budget. Part of conferences is networking with other people. I hope this point of view was helpful.

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I respect Jakob Nielsen and I've learned from a lot of his articles, but I attended the full week of Usability Week 2009 in London, and unfortunately it was much worse than what I expected mainly for three reasons:

  1. Almost all of the tutorials were incredibly boring due to the way they were presented: a bunch of slides full of text that the presenter just reads our loud most of the time (as if we can't read). The presenters had poor presentation skills with the exception of Jakob and Bruce Tognazzini who were the most interesting. And I think Jakob would've done a tremendous job in the presentation if only he got rid of those full-of-text slides.

  2. Almost all of the tutorials seemed like they were aimed at people new to the field. I barely learned anything new, even though I have a relatively modest experience. You would get much much more out of a few usability/ux books. I would have absolutely no problem with this if they indicated the level of each tutorial in its page. (I've told them about this but obviously they ignored my suggestion).

  3. I was looking forward to learn more stuff derived from their experiences on working on various projects, but didn't get much of that.

That being said, I've learned much more from the attendees of the conference who came from a plenty of big companies with a lot of interesting stories to share.

But will networking alone make it worth the money? I don't think so, not with uxexchange around at least. :P

There were a couple of the attendees that I used to hangout with that liked the conference though. I'm just sharing my own experience with you.

Hope this helps :)

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Very interesting. UX London looks very dynamic this year, and is probably worth checking out. –  Alastair J Feb 24 '10 at 11:20

I have been to usability week (Jakob's seminars) twice and stayed for the whole week both times. I don't regret going either of the times.(I should note my company paid for the registration and travel expenses) However some of the sessions can be basic. If you have been focusing on usability for more than a couple years, and have to pay for yourself...you might be disappointed in the amount of new information you get.

If you have a fair amount of experience/knowledge I would recommend staying away from the general courses (usability testing) and go to one of the more specific courses (agile and usability)

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It does not appear that Jakob's "Fundamental Guidelines for Web Usability" is designed to teach you how to do a user test but shares a lot of what Jakob and his team has learned from years of experience doing user tests. That is very different from what Steve's workshop which is designed to get you doing user testing quickly.

I have attended the Nielsen/Norman Group's Usability Week twice and recently Attended Steve Krug's Rocket Surgery Made Easy one-day workshop followed the next day with Whitney Quesenbery's workshop on story telling.

I think they are both very valuable. It has been a few years since I was able to attend a Usability Week, but I found them very educational and they cover a wide array of inter-related topics from usability research, information architecture, and design. I like the format of going for the whole week or just going to the panels that you are interested in. I find Jakob Nelisen and Bruce Tognazzini to be great speakers and they are able to keep me attention and while Don Norman is a genius I have trouble staying awake during his presentations.

Steve Krug's recent workshop was great for me. It was very hands on with participants actually running other workshop participants through a user test during the workshop. I made big changes to a user test after this workshop that I believe made the test a lot more valuable.

I recommend both of them based on your current needs. Steve will get you started doing testing immediately while Nielsen/Norman Group's usability week can give you a wider breadth of training.

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UserFocus also have some training.

(I don't work for them, just saw it on their site this afternoon, and thought of this thread).

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I have been to Usability Week twice: in Sydney 2009 and San Francisco 2010. Both times I found the material was very useful, informative and usually well presented. They make good use of video examples of actual users during testing and this is both enlightening and often entertaining. Like a lot of IT related material though, it can be a bit dry and perhaps some work needs to be done on the delivery to engage the audience.

One of the best things I found is that the event seems to attract a high quality, highly motivated group of like minded people and it was good to see what other people were doing from around the world.

Plus it gets you out of the office for a while. (oops did I say that out loud?)

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I've just attended mobile UX in San Francisco seminars one and two. Here is my reponse in meta:

anyone going to NNg conference in San Fancisco?

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