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Project: Usability in the Enterprise

Call For Participation: The Business of Usability: Developing Metrics to Justify our Existence and Budgets

What: A workshop taking place at the Usability Professional’s Association 2006 Conference.
When: Monday, June 12th from 8 AM to 5 PM
Where: The Omni Interlocken Hotel in Broomfield, Colorado


UPA’s “Usability in the Enterprise” research project was started a little over two years ago in an attempt to develop a set of standardized metrics for measuring the effects of usability and user-centered design practices on the business performance of the organizations in which they are deployed.

This workshop will bring together the pundits and published authors, researchers, engineers, marketers, designers, and project managers, who have weighed in on how to best quantify and qualify our value-add, return on investment, and total cost of ownership.

We will also invite manager- and director-level practitioners to share their insights on justifying their budgets, headcounts, and resource needs to their powers-that-be.

The end goal of the workshop is to advance the overall goal of the research project: to provide valid ways of measuring return-on-investment (ROI) for a variety of user-centered design methods, and then to test those metrics by collecting benchmark data from industry-leading organizations.

Invited Expert Panel

The following invited experts will present position talks and serve as discussion leaders in the working sessions throughout the day:

  • Nigel Bevan of Serco Usability UK
  • Kaaren Hanson of Intuit
  • Bill Jensen of SimplerWork
  • Aaron Marcus of AMandA
  • Randolph Bias of Univ. of Texas
  • Arnie Lund of Microsoft

Call For Participation

We are recruiting 25-30 usability/UCD managers and directors to attend the workshop, share their insights, experiences, and perspectives, and collaborate with the workshop facilitators and expert panelists toward the development of a standardized and valid set of metrics for measuring the positive effects of the work we do.

We’ve prepared an interactive website for submitting a response to this call for participation. At a base level, candidates should meet the following criteria:

  • Must have at least 7 years experience in the usability field, or in a customer-centered area of their organization.
  • Must have held a management position at more than one company, or, if they are a consultant, for clients from a variety of industries.
  • Must be able, legally, to share their work experiences, business metrics, and processes with the workshop.

Submit your reponse to this call at the Call for Participation website.

Why Should You Attend?

The goal of, and hence the expected deliverables from, this workshop are part of something that has never been done before. While there is a plethora of anecdotal and non-generalized metrics revolving around the measuring the benefits of usability, there have never been an empirical set of metrics that could be applied to any industry, any corporate culture, any size of business, etc.

Your participation in this workshop will allow you to say that you were part of this groundbreaking, original work. Our hope is that this work will increase the overall acceptance of usability around the world, throughout the IT, government, education, and consumer markets.

You’ll also get to hear and work with some of the most forward-thinking usability and business experts in the field today. Our expert panel was selected specifically because of their dedication to advancing the business of usability. They have each published and presented on measuring organizational effectiveness, developing and testing metrics for usability, and/or methods for justifying our budgets, headcount, resources, and professional existence! You’ll find that each expert takes a slightly different perspective, from an academic view, to a consulting view, to a large company view, to an “outside looking in” view. We hope you’ll find these perspectives helpful within your organizations.

How Will We Choose Who Is Invited?

We will use a semi-blind review process, whereby your name will be obscured, but your organizational affiliation(s) and experience will not be. We feel that a good cross-section of experience is necessary to be an effective attendee. Our reviewers have been selected from the UPA membership, from our Expert Panel, and from UPA “Usability in the Enterprise” committee members. Each position paper will be reviewed by three reviewers. We would ideally like to have 5 “manager/directors” per expert for our working group sessions, so we intend to invite a total of 25-30 candidates.

Deadlines and Dates

  • The Call for Participation willl be open between March 15th and April 15th, 2006.
  • The deadline for submissions is April 15th, 2006.
  • We will notify candidates as to whether or not they are invited to attend by May 1st, 2006.
  • Invited candidates must confirm their attendance by May 15th, 2006 and must register for the workshop at the UPA 2006 conference web site.
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