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Usability Specialist. Group 2: Alison Baum, Erin McKiel, Lindley Shedd, & Jeff Welty December 4, 2006. Who Are They?. User Experience Specialist. Web Interaction Specialist. Usability Manager. Human Interface Analyst. Usability Research Engineer. Human Factors Specialist.

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usability specialist

Usability Specialist

Group 2:

Alison Baum,

Erin McKiel, Lindley Shedd,

& Jeff Welty

December 4, 2006

who are they
Who Are They?

User Experience Specialist

Web Interaction Specialist

Usability Manager

Human Interface Analyst

Usability Research Engineer

Human Factors Specialist

Usability Practitioner

Usability Analyst

User-Centered Design Specialist

Technical Writer

Business Analyst

Software QA Specialist

HCI Specialist

what do they do
What Do They Do?
  • Observe how users actually use technology rather than how the designer thinks it should be used
  • Make technology invisible and approachable for users by enhancing comfort, convenience, and performance
  • Doing
  • Conduct tests and evaluations
  • Analyzing data
  • User profiling
  • User interviews
  • Task analysis
  • Participatory design
  • Focus groups
  • Contextual observation

Teaching

Informing team members, clients, users, etc. of usability concepts, their importance, and how they can be applied to improve design

Promoting

Using research and experience to advance concepts, tools, and techniques vital to the usability specialization

how do they do it
How Do They Do It?
  • Semiformal conversations
  • Focus groups
  • Surveys
  • Log analysis
  • Card sorting
  • Paper prototypes
  • Usability tests
  • Ethnographic studies
  • Maintains usability and design quality throughout product/information life cycle
  • Tracks trends and investigates new technologies

Source: Calarco, P., & Bales, A (2006, November). DIY Usability Workshop: A Hands-on Approach.

Presentation for the Fall meeting of the Indiana Online Users Group and the Indiana

Chapter of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Columbus, IN.

what s in their job description
What’s in their job description?

From one Digital Projects and Usability Librarian:

  • Coordinating and managing digital library projects
  • Help faculty, librarians, and DLP staff develop project plans and grant proposals
  • Coordinate and lead user studies
  • E-text development (document analysis, TEI encoding, TEI specifications and quality control)
  • Providing contextual information for digital library resources
  • Conducting research related to digital library interface development
  • Sharing research and project updates in local, national and international conferences and publications

Source: From an email interview with Michelle Dalmau, Digital Projects and Usability Librarian,

Indiana University Digital Library Program.

usability specialist at work
Usability Specialist at Work

Pictures of a usability study conducted at the User Experience Group at IUB

where do they work
Where Do They Work?

From Local to Global:

As in-house specialists within an individual organization

As consultants on a project by project basis

As generalists on project teams with cross-specialization experience

From Private to Public:

Corporations

Universities

Government

Non-profit

Usability Firms

what they should know
What They Should Know?

Knowledge

Experience

  • User interface and visual design
  • Business operations
  • Management practices
  • Accessibility issues
  • Ethnography
  • Psychology
  • Rhetoric/persuasion
  • Business modeling
  • Creative problem solving
  • Varies according to specific job
  • 2 years work experience in usability testing and design for non-management positions
  • 5-7 years for mid-level and management positions
what do they study
What Do They Study?

“Balance of liberal education and professional specialization”

Generally Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s preferred

  • Commonly suggested education backgrounds:
  • Human Computer Interaction
  • Information or Computer Science
  • Information Architecture
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Science
  • Human Factors
  • Information Design

Source: http://www.usabilityprofessionals.org/usability_resources/surveys/2005_upa_salary_survey.pdf

how much do they make
How Much Do They Make?

Average Salary of 1,329 respondents to the UPA Member and Salary Survey = $78,445.05

Average Salary by Education Level

Individual salaries are dependent upon experience, education, geographic location, employment level, etc.

Source: http://www.usabilityprofessionals.org/usability_resources/surveys/2005_upa_salary_survey.pdf

average salary by years working in the field
Average Salary by Years Working in the Field

How Much Can They Make?

Source: http://www.usabilityprofessionals.org/usability_resources/surveys/2005_upa_salary_survey.pdf

what do employers want
What Do Employers Want?
  • Analytical skills
  • Flexibility
  • Independence
  • Time management
  • Oral and written communication skills
  • Knowledge of usability tests and evaluations
  • Problem solving skills
  • Ability to plan
  • Ability to appropriately implement findings
  • Ability to see beyond yourself and think about others.

Source: http://www.upassoc.org/usability_resources/jobs/index.html

are there jobs
Are there jobs?

Outlook is good!

  • “Employment of computer specialists...is expected to grow very rapidly as organizations continue to adopt and integrate increasingly sophisticated and complex technologies.”

Source: Hecker, Daniel E. (2005). Occupational employment projections to 2014. Monthly Labor Review 76, 70-101. Retrieved on November 29, 2006, from http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2005/11/art5full.pdf

the good the bad and the possibilities
The Good, the Bad, and the Possibilities

Travel

Every day is different !

  • A dynamic profession
  • Emerging and changing trends in the specialization:
  • Anticipated standardization in web design
  • Focus on “the total user experience”
  • Increasing emphasis on social psychology
  • Importance of business sense
  • Examining foundations of principles and methods
what do they read
What Do They Read?

Journal of Usability Studies

http://www.upassoc.org/upa_publications/jus/jus_home.html

Interactions

http://www.acm.org/interactions/

Usability News

http://www.usabilitynews.com/

UPA Voice

http://www.usabilityprofessionals.org/upa_publications/upa_voice/

useit

http://www.useit.com/

brightlycoloredfood

http://www.brightlycoloredfood.com/

A List Apart

http://www.alistapart.com/

where do they belong
Where Do They Belong?

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

http://www.hfes.org/web/Default.aspx

Human-Computer Interaction Resource Network

http://www.hcirn.com/index.php

Usability Professionals’ Association

http://www.upassoc.org/people_pages/consultants_directory/index.html

American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA)

http://www.aiga.org/

ACM/SIGCHI

http://www.sigchi.org/

STC/Usability and User Experience Community

http://www.stcsig.org/usability/index.html

sources
Sources

Calarco, P., & Bales, A (2006, November). DIY Usability Workshop: A Hands-on Approach. Presentation for the Fall meeting of the Indiana Online Users Group and the Indiana Chapter of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Columbus, IN.

Chen, E., Krug, S, & Instone, K. (2001). Role: Usability specialist. The 4th AIGA Advance for Design Summit. Retrieved October 25, 2006, from http://www.aiga.org/content.cfm?contentalias=usabilityspecialist

Dick, D. (2006). The career path for usability professionals: A review of the UPA DC June 7, 2006. Usability Interface,12(2). Retrieved November 27, 2006, from http://www.stcsig.org/usability/newsletter/0610-careers.html

Hecker, Daniel E. (2005). Occupational employment projections to 2014. Monthly Labor Review76, 70-101. Retrieved November 29, 2006, from http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2005/11/art5full.pdf

Learnmore Resource Center. (2006). Interview with a usability specialist. Retrieved October 25, 2006, from http://www.learnmoreindiana.org/careers/hitech/us.xml

Sherman, P. (2006, June). 2005 UPA member and salary survey. The UPA Voice, 8(3). Retrieved November 13, 2006, from http://www.usabilityprofessionals.org/usability_resources/surveys/2005_upa_salary_survey.pdf

Wilson, C. (2005, Jan.). Usability and user experience design: The next decade. Intercom. Retrieved November 27, 2006, from http://www.stc.org/intercom/pdfs/2005/200501_6.pdf

Job listings surveyed from Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com

thanks
Thanks
  • Special thanks to Jae Ho Kim from the User Experience Group at IUB and Michelle Dalmau from the Digital Library Program for taking the time speak with us concerning their work.
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