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.