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Job Descriptions of Usability Competencies required during the development process

Managers often wish to know what competencies are needed at different stages of the development process. Usability competencies required during the development process are grouped into five areas of activities.

The competencies given below for a Usability Professional have been derived from ISO 13407, ISO TR 18529 and the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) and are proposed only. See usability accreditation for more information.

1. Plan and manage the human-centred design process

Competency: Specify how human-centred activities fit into the system development process.

  • Identify and plan stakeholder and user involvement
  • Select human-centred methods and techniques
  • Provide human-centred design support for other processes

2. Understand and specify user and organisational requirements and context of use

Competency: Establish the requirements of the user organisation and other interested parties for the system; taking full account of the needs, competencies and working environment of each relevant stakeholder in the system. Identify, clarify and record context of use in which the system will operate.

  • Clarify and document system goals
  • Analyse stakeholders
  • Assess risk to stakeholders
  • Identify, document and analyse the context of use
  • Define the use of the system
  • Generate the stakeholder, user and organisational requirements
  • Set usability objectives

3. Produce design solutions

Competency: Create potential design solutions by drawing on established state-of-the-art practice, the experience and knowledge of the participants and the results of the context of use analysis.

  • Allocate functions
  • Produce composite task model
  • Explore system design
  • Use existing knowledge to develop design solutions
  • Specify system and use
  • Develop prototypes

4. Evaluate designs against usability requirements

Competency: Collect feedback on the developing design. This feedback will be collected from end users and other representative sources.

  • Specify and validate context of evaluation
  • Evaluate early prototypes in order to define and evaluate the requirements for the system
  • Evaluate prototypes in order to improve the design
  • Evaluate the system in order to check that the stakeholder and organisational requirements have been met
  • Evaluate the system in order to check that the required practice has been followed
  • Evaluate the system in use in order to ensure that it continues to meet organisational and user needs

5. Demonstrate professional skills

Competency: Enables HCD to be done in the organisation through working at a professional level.

  • Possess a degree of autonomy in the control of their own work
  • Have some influence on other people, a project or an organisation
  • Cope with a degree of complexity (intricacy or complication) in their work
  • Understanding of and skill in role within the working and professional environment


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