Listening 1

You are going to hear people talking in eight different situations. For questions 1-8, choose the correct answer, A, B or C.

1   You hear a conversation between a man and a woman at a party.

      Where does the man live?

      A   Manchester

      B   London

      C   Birmingham

2   You hear an interview on the radio with a cyclist.

      Which country has she recently cycled through?

      A   France

      B   Spain

      C   Switzerland

3   You hear a guide talking to visitors in an art gallery.

      Why is the main hall closed?

      A   The paintings are being moved.

      B   The room is being decorated.

      C   The floor has been damaged.

4   You hear a man talking to a police officer.

      What is the man’s problem?

      A   He is looking for his wife.

      B   He can’t get into his car.

      C   He can’t find his car.

5   You hear a customer talking to a waiter in a café.

      What does she order?

      A   a bowl of soup

      B   a sandwich

      C   a cream cake

6   You hear a student leaving a message on an answering machine.

      He is

      A   confident about doing his exams.

      B   pleased he has an early morning exam.

      C   unsure about one of the topics.

7   You hear a woman called Judy talking on the phone to her friend Martin.

      What does she want?

      A   a lift to a party

      B   to ask if he wants to share a taxi

      C   to go to his house

8   You hear a footballer talking about his career.

      What is he most proud of?

      A   winning an award for being the best player

      B   holding a record for the number of games played

      C   never having received a yellow card

Answer & Audioscript

1 C   2 B   3 A   4 B   5 B   6 C   7 C   8 A


1   You hear a conversation between a man and a woman at a party.

Woman:   Hi. We met recently at a conference in Manchester, didn’t we?

Man:   Yes, that’s right. I was there to give a talk on property development for the company I work for.

Woman:   That sounds exciting. Do you like the job?

Man:   Yes. The company is based in London so I have to commute from Birmingham every day but it doesn’t take too long – and I enjoy what I do.

2   You hear an interview on the radio with a cyclist.

Presenter:   … And I understand you’re about to start on another journey?

Cyclist:   Not for a few months yet. I’m still recovering from the last trip.

Presenter:   That was through Europe, wasn’t it?

Cyclist:   Well, part of Europe. From the north of Spain. I started across the border in France, down through Spain to the south of the country. It was a fantastic trip and easier than my previous ride in Switzerland, when I had trouble …

3   You hear a guide talking to visitors in an art gallery.

Guide:   Welcome to the Arcon Gallery. This afternoon we’ll be looking at the new exhibition as well as our permanent collections. If you’ve been here before, you’ll notice the place has been decorated, so it’s easier to appreciate the paintings. Unfortunately, the builders also damaged the beautiful tiled flooring there … And we won’t be going into the main hall as the paintings there are being re-arranged. Anyway, if you’ll follow me …

4   You hear a man talking to a police officer.

Police officer:   Is everything all right, sir?

Man:   Not really. I’m locked out of my car. We parked it here and went into town but then my wife couldn’t find the keys. She’s gone to see if she’s left them in one of the shops.

Police officer:   Do you need the number of an emergency service?

Man:   Thanks, but I should be OK. My wife will be back soon – and we have a spare set of keys at home.

5   You hear a customer talking to a waiter in a café.

Waiter:   Good morning, madam. Are you ready to order?

Customer:   Um, I’d like a cup of coffee, please, and something to eat. Have you got a menu?

Waiter:   Here you are. We’ve got some lovely soup today.

Customer:   Ooh, yes, it smells fantastic. Um … and the sandwiches look lovely too. Um … I think I’ll have one of them … I’d better avoid the cream cakes, though they do look delicious.

6   You hear a student leaving a message on an answering machine.

Student:   Hi Mum. The exams begin first thing tomorrow morning – and you know what I’m like at that time of the day. I hope I can concentrate. I’ve done loads of revision but I don’t feel ready. I, er, I missed a couple of lectures this term and I don’t know enough about one particular topic. Anyway, I’ll, er, I’ll call you tomorrow to let you know how it went.

7   You hear a woman called Judy talking on the phone to her friend Martin.

Judy:   Hi Martin. It’s Judy. How are you?

Martin:   I’m fine, thanks. Are we still going to the party together?

Judy:   I’m going, yes, but don’t worry about giving me a lift. I’m going to share a taxi with my flatmate. But I was going to ask if I could pop round later to collect my phone. I left it there yesterday.

Martin:   Yes, sure. I’ll see you later.

8   You hear a footballer talking about his career.

Presenter:   Well, Dave, how do you feel when you look back at your career?

Footballer:   I’ve been fortunate enough to play for some top teams. It’s a pity I was injured earlier in the season. If I hadn’t missed those games, I might have broken the club record for most games played. I’ve had a few yellow cards, sure, but my discipline record has been good, I think. All in all, I’m most pleased about being voted player of the year last season.

Listening 2

You are going to hear part of a radio interview with a man called Simon, who is a usability expert. For questions 24-30, choose the correct answer A, B or C.

24   How does Simon explain the meaning of usability?

      A   It considers design from different points of view.

      B   It focuses on the use of an object.

      C   It focuses on the attractiveness of an object.

25   What does Simon say about the design of the traditional potato peeler?

      A   People think it is too complicated.

      B   It is not as easy to use as modern versions.

      C   It is still popular.

26   What was the problem with the cash machine?

      A   The instructions were difficult to read.

      B   The instructions were in the wrong order.

      C   There were too many instructions.

27   What area of usability is Simon no longer involved in?

      A   household appliances

      B   software

      C   websites

28   What does Simon think is the main cause of poor web design?

      A   Planning is carried out too quickly.

      B   There are technical problems.

      C   The design is too simple.

29   What does Simon say about most companies now?

      A   They do not realise the importance of good design for websites.

      B   They appreciate the need to keep their customers happy.

      C   They offer training in usability.

30   According to Simon, what kind of people enter the field of usability?

      A   computer programmers

      B   people who have just finished university

      C   people from other areas of work

Answer & Audioscript

24 B   25 C   26 A   27 A   28 A   29 B   30 C


Presenter:   This evening we’re talking to usability expert, Simon Baldwin. Simon, what exactly is usability?

Simon:   It’s about how objects are designed, and if they’re designed in a way that makes them as effective and simple to use as possible. It’s about designing from the point of view of the user rather than creating something that just looks attractive.

Presenter:   Could you give us an example of good design?

Simon:   Yes, sure. The traditional potato peeler, the old-fashioned knife with a shortish blade at a ninety-degree angle and a slot down the length of the blade. You can see by looking at it how it works. People have been using it for years because it’s uncomplicated – and it works. It looks unimaginative but unlike some modern gadgets, it’s very easy to use.

Presenter:   What about an example of a poor design?

Simon:   Yes … I was trying to withdraw money from a cash machine at my bank the other day. They’d changed the order of instructions on the screen so that the most common choices – like asking for money – were at the top of the list, which was great. But the screen had also been changed. It was at an angle that reflected light so badly that it was difficult to see.

Presenter:   What kind of thing do you assess for usability?

Simon:   Well, I used to work with companies making household appliances. But recently usability has become important in software design and websites, which is the area I’m involved in now.

Presenter:   What’s the biggest mistake made by website designers?

Simon:   There are some technical issues which are important but … I suppose to put things simply, you must be able to find your way around a website easily. Anything that makes this difficult is going to cause problems. People shouldn’t rush the planning stage.

Presenter:   Is it a difficult area to find work in?

Simon:   Quite the opposite, actually. In the past companies were less concerned about usability but now they realise that if their site doesn’t offer users what they want easily, they’ll go elsewhere. So good web design is now seen as important and there are lots of people helping companies to do this.

Presenter:   So how do people get into the field of usability?

Simon:   You need to be comfortable with computers if you’re interested in web design, though you don’t need to be a programmer. People get into usability from different backgrounds rather than entering it directly from university. You might have experience in marketing or customer service, or you might have a background in graphic design. These are all common ways into usability.

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