Introducing usability roles in public authorities


One of the most common ways of introducing usability into development work in a public authority is by employing a usability professional. But how successful is this strategy when it comes to increasing focus on usability in the organization and how successful have these usability professionals been in introducing usability activities into the development work in their organizations? This paper is based on five case studies on the introduction of usability professionals in public authorities in Sweden. These different ways of introducing usability are discussed and analyzed. Based on this data we draw conclusions about what to consider in order to achieve a successful introduction of usability. Interviews with nine usability professionals were conducted all of which were recorded, analyzed and condensed into the case studies presented. One lesson learned from the case studies is the importance of a formal title as it shapes interpretations of what usability is about. Another issue discussed is the usefulness of a formal job description, and personal characteristics of the person working with usability. Based on the case studies we draw the conclusion that a senior usability professional is to be preferred since introduction of usability often implies organizational change as well as conflicts and discussions at a management level. Another conclusion that can be drawn from the studies is that usability work is more successful in the short perspective if it contributes directly to the design and program code instead of focusing on strategic levels such as policy, evaluation of existing systems and method development.

DOI: 10.1145/1463160.1463173

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Eriksson2008IntroducingUR, title={Introducing usability roles in public authorities}, author={Elina Eriksson and Jan Gulliksen and {\AA}sa Cajander}, booktitle={NordiCHI}, year={2008} }