The UXPA defines a usability professional broadly as anyone who works on, or advocates for the usability of their products.
Some specialize in conducting usability tests or other user research while others practice usability as part of other responsibilities in designing products, services, software applications or web sites.
The training and professional background of usability professionals is equally broad. Many have qualifications in closely related fields like human-computer interaction (HCI), information design or psychology. Others have used their backgrounds in computer science, project management, journalism, fine arts, library science, or business as part of their journey towards being a usability professional.
The activities of a usability professional – or the time spent on usability activities for those with other primary responsibilities – are all part of an approach to design called user-centered design. They span the entire product life-cycle from user research during planning and early visioning to the final rollout or release of a product. There is an international standard, ISO 13407 that is the basis for many user-centered design approaches.
Broadly speaking, usability activities can be divided into:
- Research – learning about the people who will use a product and the context in which it will be used.
- Evaluation – observing (and learning from) users as they work with a product before, during and after the design and development process.
- Design – whether it is called interface, interaction, information or experience design.
Body of Knowledge
The UXPA Body of Knowledge project is working to define the work of a usability professional. The project includes:
- Activities and methodologies
- Common titles and roles
The UXPA Code of Conduct guides professional activities.