The rapid growth of the field of user-centered design and usability has created a need to identify the skills required for professional work. UsabilityNet was represented at a workshop in November 2001 to investigate whether certification is viable at this point in the development of the profession and if so, how it might work.
As a result, UsabilityNet agreed to help draft a usability certification scheme that is derived from ISO 13407 Human Centred Design Processes for Interactive Systems.
The UPA then organised a survey which showed that while 77% of people new to the field would seek certification, only 39% of the most experienced would do so. Experienced professionals were also the most voluble in their criticism of certification in responses to the survey, and in email discussion groups.
The UPA concluded that it had neither the financial nor people resources to go it alone with a controversial certification programme.
The documents produced with the support of UsabilityNet could form the basis of any future European initiative to set up a certification scheme. For more information see the the UPA web site and the paper by Nigel Bevan.
Updated January 2006 by Nigel Bevan.©UsabilityNet 2006. Reproduction permitted provided the source is acknowledged.