5 August 2014

Rolf Molich receives UXPA Lifetime Achievement Award

Usability, UXPA

A pioneer within ’usability’, associate professor Rolf Molich, received the internationally recognized UXPA Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual meeting of UXPA (User Experience Professionals Association) on 22nd July 2014 in London for 30 years of excellent work to improve usability of systems and webpages.

Since the early 80s Rolf Molich has taken an interest in usability and user friendliness, as office systems became digitalised and computers invaded office space. Particularly the Windows-based systems were a fine object for deducting best practice for usability.

In the 90s as the internet developed, it was clear that common experiences with creating home pages that were both logic, aesthetic and easily navigated were scarce. The number of new web pages exploded, so did the variety of their looks, composition and usability. 

From Windows to Web - principles are similar

Already in the beginning of the 80s Rolf Molich realized the necessity to work systematically with usability, later - in the web epoche - also to establish norms and best practice for good webdesign. He analyzed and evaluated a large number of websites and came up with a compehensive framework of do's and don'ts that are still today accepted as common practice by the usability society.

His handbook 'Brugervenlige EDB-systemer" (in English Usable Web Design) first released in 1984, today updated several times and renamed Brugervenligt webdesign, is considered his masterpiece selling in the area of 30,000 copies and widely cited and applied in web design lectures at high schools and universities, particulary in Denmark. 

30 years in the service of user friendlines is honoured

In its reason for nominating Rolf for the prestigeous UXPA Lifetime award the UXPA committee states:

"This award is given in recognition of over thirty years of significant contributions to the development and sharing of UX evaluation methods, for pioneering research that continues to improve the efficacy of those methodologies, for authorship that has advanced the field, and for his tireless mentoring of students and colleagues.”

The prize was awarded in connection with the UXPA annual meeting on 22nd July 2014 in London. As part of the program, Rolf was interviewed on stage - an event which was vividly commented upon on Twitter and in other social media, cf. below:

Make sure that your own products are usable!

At the Department of Computer Science at University of Copenhagen, where Rolf is part time employed as associate professor when not working for his own firm dialogdesign.dk, he is a highly appreciated lecturer, whose lessons are attended by inclination rather than necessity by the students. "I provide a high service level to my students" Rolf says calling into memory his own motto: "Make sure that your own products are usable before starting to correct others".

The students in Copenhagen have demonstrated their satisfaction with Rolf's teaching by nominating him for the 2013-Teacher of the Year-prize awarded by the Department of Computer Science. According to himself, he was almost as affected by this token of appreciation as the prestigious UXPA Award which is now to decorate the homely mantelpiece.

More pictures from the UXPA Award show

Rolf Molich is interviewed on stage (Photo Tom Tullis)

Photos: Tom Tullis