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A UX Certification Checklist

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 Context

In late 2015 I created and published  this UX Self-Evaluation Checklist as an online survey through SurveyMonkey.  The survey itself is oriented towards a limited audience : my fellow professional ‘user experience’ practitioners.   It is simple, short, and shallow (only about 10 questions) – and was motivated by ongoing discussions among colleagues regarding the nature of our craft.

Here’s an overview of the survey itself:

 

Analyst, Architect, Designer, Tester, Strategist

Yep, that’s pretty much the range of UX-oriented jobs these days.  We engage in lots of internecine squabbling over what is real UX (and there’s plenty of overlap) but most of our job descriptions seem to fall into those areas.

The challenge:

  1. UX-ers dabble across the range of skills, but probably to varying degrees.
  2. UX job descriptions are often a hodgepodge of “all of the above” bullets.
  3. There is little in the way of formal accreditation or certification.

What I’m going to try to do is:

You can take this survey now

(about 3 minutes)

 

The UX Evaluation Checklist

At the moment, we don’t really have a lot of accreditation tools for UX.  “You are because you say you are”,  but how do you get your hands around it?  Here’s an attempt to establish some definition, some value, and some common ground:

 

You rate yourself in each area.  (Note: Clients and Hiring Managers can use this same system to Scope your expectations when looking for UX talent).

The Rating System:

[ 0 ]   Nope  Doesn’t really apply to me.
[ 1 ]   Theoretical  I know what it means, am able to support it.
[ 2 ]   Competent  I’ve been paid to do it.
[ 3 ]   Expert  This is why you hire me.

 

the Framing

It’s Marketing / It’s Functional

There are two main ways of looking at UX:  It’s a Billboard (The focus is on styling and presentation) or It’s an ATM (The focus is on functionality and workflow).

If you’re a Billboard person, then you often work in the Marketing arena and are referred to as a Designer.  If you’re an ATM person, then you often work on Applications and are referred to as an Architect.

In practical terms, it’s usually a bit of both – to varying degrees.

[   ]  UX is a Billboard

[   ]  UX is an ATM

Rate as: [ 0 ] Nope, [ 1 ] Theoretical, [ 2 ] Competent, [ 3 ] Expert

 

the UX Competencies

Caveat:  I’ve grouped each of these high level job roles in a way that “works for me”.  Others might disagree on particulars.   But it’s a start (You can drill down to more info about the UX Task Deliverables on my website).

[  ]  Analyst : Insight : Who, What & Why?

(Sometimes called “researcher”) Needs Assessment, Profiles, Roles, Scenarios, Workflow, Business Requirements, Market Analysis

Rate as: [ 0 ] Nope, [ 1 ] Theoretical, [ 2 ] Competent, [ 3 ] Expert

[  ]  Architect : Structure : What does it mean?

Sitemaps, Taxonomy, Information Architecture, CSS, Semantic Tagging, Content Inventory, Standards, Data Modeling

Rate as: [ 0 ] Nope, [ 1 ] Theoretical, [ 2 ] Competent, [ 3 ] Expert

[  ]  Designer : Presentation : How does it Look & Feel?

Wireframes, Interaction Design, UI, Graphics, Brand Integration, Prototypes, Modeling

Rate as: [ 0 ] Nope, [ 1 ] Theoretical, [ 2 ] Competent, [ 3 ] Expert

[  ] Tester : Acceptance : How well does it work?

(Often called “researcher”) Accessibility, Psychological Assessment, QA, Card Sorting heat Maps, and other

Rate as: [ 0 ] Nope, [ 1 ] Theoretical, [ 2 ] Competent, [ 3 ] Expert

 

[  ]  Strategist : Vision : Where do we go?

Articulation, Process, Best Practices, Content Management, Evangelism, Best Practices, Guidance

Rate as: [ 0 ] Nope, [ 1 ] Theoretical, [ 2 ] Competent, [ 3 ] Expert

 

Note:

 

The larger UX challenge is often influenced by additional abilities, such as…

the “Dirt-under-the-Fingernails” Skills

Can there – should there – be more?  Probably, but I’m trying to keep this short.

[  ]  Documentation
[  ]  Coding
[  ]  Programming

Rate each as: [ 0 ] Nope, [ 1 ] Theoretical, [ 2 ] Competent, [ 3 ] Expert

 

the “Soft” Skills

Can there – should there – be more?  Probably, but I’m trying to keep this short.

[  ]  “Client facing” interaction
[  ]  Persuasiveness
[  ]  Presentation
[  ]  Entrepreneurship

Rate each as: [ 0 ] Nope, [ 1 ] Theoretical, [ 2 ] Competent, [ 3 ] Expert

 

Take the UX Evaluation Survey

It’s on SurveyMonkey : Takes maybe 3 minutes?

 

The survey is Extensible & Scalable

  1. This evaluation can also be used by hiring managers to scope and clarify their needs.  One of the biggest headaches in the employment marketplace is that just about every UX job description is an undifferentiated grab-bag list of the usual suspects.
  2. This evaluation can be extended to include ratings for  the more granular aspects of our UX Competencies and Skills.  For example – You might drill down to rate specific aspects of Design individually:

[  ]  Wireframes
[  ]  Interaction Design
[  ]  Graphics
[  ]  Prototypes
etc.

For more detail, you can drill down to those UX Task Deliverables on my website.

 

 

Follow-Up

I got a little over 50 responses to my first posting of the UX Certification Checklist in late 2015.

In mid-2016 I realized that socialNets bred unique publishing dynamics.

I decided to try a new publishing strategy and experienced remarkable success.

There have now been more than 700 responses to the survey, as a result.

 

Relevant:

Re-Posts, Pointers, and Hooks

The UX Certification Checklist

The Value of Re-Posting

The Logistics of Re-Posting

 

 

 

© The Communication Studio LLC

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