Technical Issues, Trends and Perspectives
Reed Johnson and Ed Connolly
Usability Systems Inc., Alpharetta, GA, U.S.A.
When business executives are asked "What do you consider to be your most valuable asset and why?", the answers vary between money, time and people. Time and money are certainly important and nothing would get done without people. The correct answer, however, is people because people make decisions on how all of the corporate assets are to be used. Companies strive for better results. The way to have better results is for people to make better decisions. People make better decisions when they have better information.
The Usability Engineering Industry is about people and obtaining information. It is interesting to see this field grow and realize the tremendous impact it could have; where so many people can benefit and find themselves in a win-win situation. An amazing aspect of usability engineering is that any organization, company, educational institution or government agency can have happy customers and workers if they choose to. The biggest obstacle preventing this transformation is lack of information.
Two companies may be customer-oriented and both may have an ongoing usability engineering program, yet their customer satisfaction results may differ substantially. One company recognizes the benefits of usability engineering better than the other.
The difference is a matter of Perspective; a matter of one's vantagepoint, one's approach, one's viewpoint, one's outlook. And it is not just a single person's perspective but a few select people that have the power to make or break the process. The ripple effect of their decisions can be tremendously important to