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3usability expert credentials - was: Re: Thanks for showing up!

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  • Jeff Patton
    Jul 13 8:23 AM
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      --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Phlip <phlipcpp@y...> wrote:
      > What kind of credentials do usability experts need?

      As always, the answer is "it depends."

      I lump usability people into three groups:
      1. up-front people: those who work at pre-development/pre-product
      stage to determine what software is appropriate to build
      2. design people: knowing what the software should do, how exactly
      does it do it? Both appearance and user interaction
      3. design validation or test people: given a piece of software
      functionality, exactly how usable is it? What adjustments could be
      made to make it more usable?

      Like developers, there are usability generalists who do all those
      things well, and specialists who focus hard on doing a particular
      thing well. Among usability people there are many different points
      of view on how any of those activities are done.

      What best credentials are depends on where you perceive risk to be
      in your project. Are customers unsure what to do? Are they sure
      what it should do, but hazy on exactly how? Do you have a product
      that does what it should, but does it poorly?

      > I always just relied on the "doesn't suck" principle
      > myself...

      Me too - sort of. If the piece of functionality is used by one
      proficient person infrequently, I let it suck. If it's used by
      hundreds of inexperienced people very frequently, sucking might get
      expensive. Especially if you have to pay to frequently train this
      people, and provide help desk support for them. Since sucking can
      get very expensive in that situation, an expert in making it not
      suck can pay big dividends to a customer concerned with ROI.

      I think others on the list could better say what proficiencies a
      usability person should have.

      Also, usability people, if you have other points of view than mine
      on the 3 classes - I'd like to hear them.


      > =====
      > Phlip
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