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user interface experts

Does anyone work on a project where there is someone who only does user interface design?  (i.e. not a programmer as well, might have a degree in human factors or something like that)  If so, I am wondering what these people are like.  Are they contractors?  Are they respected, or does everyone think they are a pain in the ass?  Are they paid well?  Do they come back for project after project?  How big does a project have to be before they have someone like this?

At  my current project there is no such person, and our interface is sorely lacking.

Andy
Sunday, July 06, 2003

Also: what are the job responsibilities of this person?  i.e. are they responsible for talking with end users and getting feedback, and who do they report to?

Thanks for any info.

Andy
Sunday, July 06, 2003

I worked in the "web" space and the UI person was one and the same as the designer - i.e. the guy that made sure it looked pretty.

Whether or not he understood usability as well was sort of luck of the draw. I consider myself to be somewhat of a usability expert, and I always made sure my stuff was usable - except when it directly contradicted what the customer wanted, as well as tried to raise usability awareness among my fellow designers.

www.marktaw.com
Sunday, July 06, 2003

I've only ever worked one place that had a full time usability person, and unfortunately, it was right as the bubble was about to pop. She never really got into her stride to know what all of her duties were before mass layoffs. What she did do, though, was mocking up UIs in PowerPoint or Photoshop. Presumably, with enough time, she would've been able to do live-user usability testing.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Sunday, July 06, 2003

One member of our team is dedicated to "user experience" for our Windows product.

He is responsible for the following:
1. User interface design, based upon feedback from clients. He may participate directly in client feedback sessions, as well as receive input from sales, training, and technical support.

2. User interaction. I.e., forming the basis if the use case text.

3. Participating in the QA process. This typically involves making sure the user experience in the final product is as he envisioned.

Our big competitive advantage in the marketplace--according to our clients and prospects--is our product's ease-of-use. Because of this, in my opinion, he is one of the most valuable members of the team and could not be easily replaced.

He brings a unique combination of computer graphic arts experience and a degree in electrical and computer engineering to the table. This fusion of "left- and right-brain characteristics" results in a unique perspective for designing human-machine interactions, and this has been a primary key to our success.

Dave
Sunday, July 06, 2003

A friend of mine earns a living on that:

www.ergosoft.be

They record people w/ cams while the guys have to perform a series of tasks on the app (or mock up).

If the results are bad, they modify the GUI and all and it usually gives good results.

If done properly, there is value in it.

Philippe Back
Sunday, July 06, 2003

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