5usability expert credentials - was: Re: Thanks for showing up!
- Jul 13, 2004--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Jeff Patton" <jpatton@a...>
> --- In email@example.com, Phlip <phlipcpp@y...> wrote:Well, it sort of depends how you're lumping together. Within
> > 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?
Landmark, when most people say "usability" they tend to lump together
the 2 human factors folks (who have a degree in human factors), the
interaction designer (me), the domain experts (about 12), and the
documentation folks as usability due to the way the group was
originally formed (even though the group has now been disbanded and
Jeff's general lumping of up front folks, designers, and design
validation/testing is the most common lumping that I've seen in terms
of skill sets, interests, and activities. I most often see the first
and last group lumped together also.
I'd expand on the up-front description a bit to include to include
conducting ethnographic research which goes into the determining what
And, as Jeff pointed out, everyone has a slightly different focus. I
prefer to fall on the design and upfront parts, but I also do the
design validation and testing side too.
>Perceptions of what "doesn't suck" does vary dramatically though. For
> > I always just relied on the "doesn't suck" principle
> > myself...
example, I work with a developer whose perception of "doesn't suck"
means that *he* can use the software well enough to exercise the
necessary functionality. Luckily, the perception of the dev lead is a
little different, so I get her to tell him that an interface needs to
be changed and he needs to listen to me.
>I think that an important proficiency is the ability to be flexible
> I think others on the list could better say what proficiencies a
> usability person should have.
and adapt to the current situation. Doesn't mean cave in and just
rubber stamp things, but understanding how to adapt, when to push, and
when not to push.
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