CUA of the Month – July, 2008

Bob Budnik
"Usability is important in everyday life, from the simplest communication to the most complex. It's not just about web design, it's in everything that we do throughout the world."
Bob Budnik
Creative Director
Best Buy

Building Trust through Usability

by Susan Seifert

CUA Bob Budnik, Creative Director at retailing giant Best Buy, landed in his career through a lucky accident.

Undecided between majoring in biology and computer science, Bob followed his parents' advice and took a graphic arts class.

"It was one of the best decisions I ever made," Bob says. "I couldn't get enough of it. I ended up taking extra time with the teacher and homework." In that first class, Bob designed a poster that won 3rd place in a National Guard Poster Contest for the State of Connecticut. He continued winning scholarships and awards for his graphic design throughout high school and college.

After college, Bob worked in graphic arts and Web design for small companies in his home state of Connecticut. In 1994, he joined Micro/MacWarehouse, eventually becoming Senior Manager of the Web in charge of marketing, design, and usability.

In 2004, Bob was recruited by Best Buy. His experience at Micro/MacWarehouse made him a perfect fit for Best Buy's new initiative, a Business Division serving business, education, and government customers.

Best Buy For Business was intended to be distinct from Best Buy. The design team was instructed to use the Best Buy logo on the website, but not the Best Buy color scheme. That decision had unexpected results.

"The first website had muted colors – tans, yellows, and grays – on a white background," explains Bob. "There were some darker blues, but none of the strong, high-contrast blue used by Best Buy. It looked like the Best Buy logo was dropped onto somebody else's website."

"We started hearing from customers who said they weren't sure if it was Best Buy or somebody trying to be Best Buy," Bob says.

There were reactions from within the division, too. "The sales reps came to work because they wanted to be Best Buy employees," says Bob. "And they weren't sure whether or not they were."

Around this time, Bob took all four HFI certification courses back-to-back over a two-week period in San Diego. He came back with some new perspectives.

"It connected the dots in my mind," Bob says. "I saw how many things I had been doing naturally were actually documented in the training and realized, wow, I'm not too far off'."

The training did more than confirm Bob's instincts. It gave him the terminology, guidelines, and research to work more effectively.

"The HFI training has made my job much easier," Bob says. "Before the training, I could tell when something was wrong, but couldn't always tell you what was wrong or why."

"Now when I review a design, I know instantly what's wrong and how to correct it," Bob continues. "I don't need to use trial and error anymore. And HFI gave me the research to show this is not just my opinion, it has basis in fact."

The training also gave Bob a new vision for the Best Buy For Business website.

"In class we learned that there's an aesthetic principle connected directly to the customer's trust levels," Bob says. "If the website isn't easy to use and doesn't have familiar elements identifying it, that trust isn't going to be there."

Bob also realized the importance of socialization.

"We had a lot of people on the IT side who didn't understand that design could make people react strongly," Bob says. "I had to explain to them that there are aesthetic principles that make people feel more relaxed, that build trust. And that this was not something I made up, but had research behind it."

"I tend to want to say to someone, 'Please just do this'," Bob continues. "But I realized you have to convince people. If they understand it and buy into it, they'll be able to move forward with it themselves. You don't have to hold their hand."

Bob and his team campaigned for site redesign. They got the okay and launched the new website in 2006. The new design used Best Buy colors and design elements. There was no longer any question about Best Buy For Business' identity. "It was like seeing a child and parent relationship to the brand," Bob says. "It's Best Buy and a child of Best Buy – the business segment."

The effects were instantaneous – and dramatic. "All of a sudden, we were getting more traffic to the site, and more sales," says Bob. "This was not a 1%-2% change, but a tremendous spike. On the bar chart it was like night and day."

Since the training, Bob is also more acutely aware of usability in his environment.

"I feel uncomfortable when I interact with something that's not usable," Bob says. "Before the HFI training, I thought it was just me, that I didn't get it, that I wasn't smart enough. But now I realize it's not me, there's just a lot of bad usability out there."

"With all the technology around us, if you have 10 little things that just don't feel right, they add up to one big thing and then it's not usable. It becomes one large piece of frustration," Bob continues.

"Usability is important in everyday life, from the simplest communication to the most complex. It's not just about web design, it's in everything that we do throughout the world."

CUA of the Month

Each month we highlight the successes and achievements of a different member of our CUA community. If you are a Certified Usability Analyst and would like to be considered for CUA of the Month recognition, please send a brief professional bio to

Privacy policy

Reviewed: 18 Mar 2014

This Privacy Policy governs the manner in which Human Factors International, Inc., an Iowa corporation ("HFI") collects, uses, maintains and discloses information collected from users (each, a "User") of its website and any derivative or affiliated websites on which this Privacy Policy is posted (collectively, the "Website"). HFI reserves the right, at its discretion, to change, modify, add or remove portions of this Privacy Policy at any time by posting such changes to this page. You understand that you have the affirmative obligation to check this Privacy Policy periodically for changes, and you hereby agree to periodically review this Privacy Policy for such changes. The continued use of the Website following the posting of changes to this Privacy Policy constitutes an acceptance of those changes.


HFI may use "cookies" or "web beacons" to track how Users use the Website. A cookie is a piece of software that a web server can store on Users’ PCs and use to identify Users should they visit the Website again. Users may adjust their web browser software if they do not wish to accept cookies. To withdraw your consent after accepting a cookie, delete the cookie from your computer.


HFI believes that every User should know how it utilizes the information collected from Users. The Website is not directed at children under 13 years of age, and HFI does not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from children under 13 years of age online. Please note that the Website may contain links to other websites. These linked sites may not be operated or controlled by HFI. HFI is not responsible for the privacy practices of these or any other websites, and you access these websites entirely at your own risk. HFI recommends that you review the privacy practices of any other websites that you choose to visit.

HFI is based, and this website is hosted, in the United States of America. If User is from the European Union or other regions of the world with laws governing data collection and use that may differ from U.S. law and User is registering an account on the Website, visiting the Website, purchasing products or services from HFI or the Website, or otherwise using the Website, please note that any personally identifiable information that User provides to HFI will be transferred to the United States. Any such personally identifiable information provided will be processed and stored in the United States by HFI or a service provider acting on its behalf. By providing your personally identifiable information, User hereby specifically and expressly consents to such transfer and processing and the uses and disclosures set forth herein.

In the course of its business, HFI may perform expert reviews, usability testing, and other consulting work where personal privacy is a concern. HFI believes in the importance of protecting personal information, and may use measures to provide this protection, including, but not limited to, using consent forms for participants or "dummy" test data.

The Information HFI Collects

Users browsing the Website without registering an account or affirmatively providing personally identifiable information to HFI do so anonymously. Otherwise, HFI may collect personally identifiable information from Users in a variety of ways. Personally identifiable information may include, without limitation, (i)contact data (such as a User’s name, mailing and e-mail addresses, and phone number); (ii)demographic data (such as a User’s zip code, age and income); (iii) financial information collected to process purchases made from HFI via the Website or otherwise (such as credit card, debit card or other payment information); (iv) other information requested during the account registration process; and (v) other information requested by our service vendors in order to provide their services. If a User communicates with HFI by e-mail or otherwise, posts messages to any forums, completes online forms, surveys or entries or otherwise interacts with or uses the features on the Website, any information provided in such communications may be collected by HFI. HFI may also collect information about how Users use the Website, for example, by tracking the number of unique views received by the pages of the Website, or the domains and IP addresses from which Users originate. While not all of the information that HFI collects from Users is personally identifiable, it may be associated with personally identifiable information that Users provide HFI through the Website or otherwise. HFI may provide ways that the User can opt out of receiving certain information from HFI. If the User opts out of certain services, User information may still be collected for those services to which the User elects to subscribe. For those elected services, this Privacy Policy will apply.

How HFI Uses Information

HFI may use personally identifiable information collected through the Website for the specific purposes for which the information was collected, to process purchases and sales of products or services offered via the Website if any, to contact Users regarding products and services offered by HFI, its parent, subsidiary and other related companies in order to otherwise to enhance Users’ experience with HFI. HFI may also use information collected through the Website for research regarding the effectiveness of the Website and the business planning, marketing, advertising and sales efforts of HFI. HFI does not sell any User information under any circumstances.

Disclosure of Information

HFI may disclose personally identifiable information collected from Users to its parent, subsidiary and other related companies to use the information for the purposes outlined above, as necessary to provide the services offered by HFI and to provide the Website itself, and for the specific purposes for which the information was collected. HFI may disclose personally identifiable information at the request of law enforcement or governmental agencies or in response to subpoenas, court orders or other legal process, to establish, protect or exercise HFI’s legal or other rights or to defend against a legal claim or as otherwise required or allowed by law. HFI may disclose personally identifiable information in order to protect the rights, property or safety of a User or any other person. HFI may disclose personally identifiable information to investigate or prevent a violation by User of any contractual or other relationship with HFI or the perpetration of any illegal or harmful activity. HFI may also disclose aggregate, anonymous data based on information collected from Users to investors and potential partners. Finally, HFI may disclose or transfer personally identifiable information collected from Users in connection with or in contemplation of a sale of its assets or business or a merger, consolidation or other reorganization of its business.

Personal Information as Provided by User

If a User includes such User’s personally identifiable information as part of the User posting to the Website, such information may be made available to any parties using the Website. HFI does not edit or otherwise remove such information from User information before it is posted on the Website. If a User does not wish to have such User’s personally identifiable information made available in this manner, such User must remove any such information before posting. HFI is not liable for any damages caused or incurred due to personally identifiable information made available in the foregoing manners. For example, a User posts on an HFI-administered forum would be considered Personal Information as provided by User and subject to the terms of this section.

Security of Information

Information about Users that is maintained on HFI’s systems or those of its service providers is protected using industry standard security measures. However, no security measures are perfect or impenetrable, and HFI cannot guarantee that the information submitted to, maintained on or transmitted from its systems will be completely secure. HFI is not responsible for the circumvention of any privacy settings or security measures relating to the Website by any Users or third parties.

Correcting, Updating, Accessing or Removing Personal Information

If a User’s personally identifiable information changes, or if a User no longer desires to receive non-account specific information from HFI, HFI will endeavor to provide a way to correct, update and/or remove that User’s previously-provided personal data. This can be done by emailing a request to HFI at Additionally, you may request access to the personally identifiable information as collected by HFI by sending a request to HFI as set forth above. Please note that in certain circumstances, HFI may not be able to completely remove a User’s information from its systems. For example, HFI may retain a User’s personal information for legitimate business purposes, if it may be necessary to prevent fraud or future abuse, for account recovery purposes, if required by law or as retained in HFI’s data backup systems or cached or archived pages. All retained personally identifiable information will continue to be subject to the terms of the Privacy Policy to which the User has previously agreed.

Contacting HFI

If you have any questions or comments about this Privacy Policy, you may contact HFI via any of the following methods:
Human Factors International, Inc.
PO Box 2020
1680 highway 1, STE 3600
Fairfield IA 52556
(800) 242-4480

Terms and Conditions for Public Training Courses

Reviewed: 18 Mar 2014

Cancellation of Course by HFI

HFI reserves the right to cancel any course up to 14 (fourteen) days prior to the first day of the course. Registrants will be promptly notified and will receive a full refund or be transferred to the equivalent class of their choice within a 12-month period. HFI is not responsible for travel expenses or any costs that may be incurred as a result of cancellations.

Cancellation of Course by Participants (All regions except India)

$100 processing fee if cancelling within two weeks of course start date.

Cancellation / Transfer by Participants (India)

4 Pack + Exam registration: Rs. 10,000 per participant processing fee (to be paid by the participant) if cancelling or transferring the course (4 Pack-CUA/CXA) registration before three weeks from the course start date. No refund or carry forward of the course fees if cancelling or transferring the course registration within three weeks before the course start date.

Cancellation / Transfer by Participants (Online Courses)

$100 processing fee if cancelling within two weeks of course start date. No cancellations or refunds less than two weeks prior to the first course start date.

Individual Modules: Rs. 3,000 per participant ‘per module’ processing fee (to be paid by the participant) if cancelling or transferring the course (any Individual HFI course) registration before three weeks from the course start date. No refund or carry forward of the course fees if cancelling or transferring the course registration within three weeks before the course start date.

Exam: Rs. 3,000 per participant processing fee (to be paid by the participant) if cancelling or transferring the pre agreed CUA/CXA exam date before three weeks from the examination date. No refund or carry forward of the exam fees if requesting/cancelling or transferring the CUA/CXA exam within three weeks before the examination date.

No Recording Permitted

There will be no audio or video recording allowed in class. Students who have any disability that might affect their performance in this class are encouraged to speak with the instructor at the beginning of the class.

Course Materials Copyright

The course and training materials and all other handouts provided by HFI during the course are published, copyrighted works proprietary and owned exclusively by HFI. The course participant does not acquire title nor ownership rights in any of these materials. Further the course participant agrees not to reproduce, modify, and/or convert to electronic format (i.e., softcopy) any of the materials received from or provided by HFI. The materials provided in the class are for the sole use of the class participant. HFI does not provide the materials in electronic format to the participants in public or onsite courses.