Hiring a Usability Specialist
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When hiring an in-house usability expert, consultant, or contractor, review the specialist’s experience, including:
- Past performance
- List of clients
- Variety of project work
Here are some topics and questions to ask prospective specialists:
- Who are your current clients?
- How long have you worked for your current clients?
- Can we contact your current clients for references?
- What types of projects have you worked on and what have your roles been?
- What were the outcomes or results of the projects?
Range of Usability Skills
- What types of services do you offer?
- Do you conduct user research?
- What do you consider user research?
- What types of user research do you do?
- Do you provide the following types of services: user and task analysis, assistance in setting measurable usability goals, Web writing, or information architecture?
- Can you create wireframes of the website for our design team?
- Can you provide usability training for our internal team?
Usability Testing Methodology
- How many rounds of usability testing do you recommend?
- Where in the process do you recommend conducting usability tests?
- How do you recruit users for a usability test and how many users do you test with?
- What type of equipment do you use to conduct a usability test?
- Are you equipped to do remote testing?
- What types of metrics do you capture during a usability test and how do you use these metrics?
- How do you report the results of a usability test?
- Do you provide on-going consultation to assist design teams in implementing the results?
You can also find lists of usability consultants from the following professional societies. (Note that linking to these lists does not imply an endorsement of any specific consultant or list.)
- HCI Consultants
(Special Interest Group for Computer Human Interaction)
The HCI consultants list is a free service to the HCI community. The listing is free for any consultant who appears to be doing work related to HCI.
- Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES)
The directory contains listings created by HFES Full Members in good standing who have paid a fee to promote their services.
- Usability Professionals' Association (UPA)
The Consultant Directory is a service to people or groups looking for a usability professional for their project. Consultants pay for listings in this directory.
In addition to asking other Web professionals for recommendations or searching professional societies’ lists of specialists, government agencies have access to the GSA schedule. GSA provides a list of information technology vendors that includes usability testing. To find usability and human factors vendors and specialists, browse the list or conduct a search.