CUA of the Month – December, 2011

Dave Ade
"Something that's starting to interest me more are every-day items that we all have to deal with. Now, I think about good usability whenever I buy new products – whether it's appliances, electronics, etc."
 
Dave Ade
Certified Usability Analyst

Looking for a Certified Usability Analyst?

by Sheldon Kreger

Many accomplished Internet professionals today have had successful careers unfold as time has passed. While many individuals are satisfied with their current levels of skill, the best are those who are pushing their knowledge to new heights.

That's just one of the reasons why Dave Ade – our CUA of the Month – sought his certification with HFI. Although Dave had extensive experience in human factors before his training with HFI, he explains that his dedication to excellence sparked his interest in learning more.

"With 14 years' experience in front-end design & development, I thought the CUA would be a good career boost. Since my contract was about to end, I signed up for the CUA and the new CXA. I expected a good mix of what I already knew and new material to reference. It's always nice to say why a certain type of user interaction should be used or to develop for an expected user experience, and have the backup research to prove it. It really seemed like the next step to take as I develop within my profession."

Along with the educational aspect of the CUA class work, the title itself verifies a high level of expertise and dedication to user experience as a field. Dave explains that the best companies to work for are often requiring the CUA to be considered for a job. This ensures the quality of the team members for the company, but also suggests that the employees can expect to be working with other intelligent and skilled professionals.

"Companies that understand the importance of usability also understand the value that a CUA certified employee brings to the table. When the business creates requirements they want A, B, and C done. Developers check off A, B and C, and wash their hands of the project. If that was the best way to complete projects, make money, and satisfy customers, then there wouldn't be a usability industry. The best companies understand this and know the ROI of a CUA."

Throughout his career in web development and user experience, Dave has seen how the knowledge of a usability expert can affect design decisions. Furthermore, he played an active role in making concrete changes in both web and software interfaces.

"I learned a lot about the research on usability. I now have a lot of proof – coming from verifiable studies – which helps me justify my initial usability decisions. It's much better than following the 'but I like' opinions that come out in meetings."

Dave looks forward to seeing how his career unfolds. His interest in user-based design is a passion – something he thinks about whether he is working or not. He keeps his eyes set on the future, imagining how the field of usability will mature as time passes.

One of the things Dave finds fascinating is the way usability has expanded outside of the software world. By thinking creatively about poor product designs he encounters in his every day life, Dave hopes to help make a more usable world for us to live in.

"Something that's starting to interest me more is the usability of every-day items that we all have to deal with. For example, my refrigerator's ice maker has two pressure buttons for the light under a single thin sheet of plastic – one to turn it on, one to turn it off. Since there's no tactile difference and the buttons aren't backlit, what's the point of putting it on there, since I have to turn on the overhead light just to see the buttons? The company could have either added a couple inexpensive LEDs, or saved a few bucks and not put the useless light feature on the fridge in the first place. Now, I think about good usability whenever I buy new products – whether it's appliances, electronics, etc."

Dave also signed up for the new CXA certification and took the 4-course track in August.

"I planned on taking some time off between the two certifications, since I've never had a break between jobs. When the first CXA test is offered, I'll be one of the first Certified User Experience Analysts available, which is pretty exciting. I hope to use my experience and new skills to improve usability in both the digital and physical world." Note: As of 12/13/2011, Dave is an HFI-Certified User Experience Analyst. Congratulations, Dave!

You can contact Dave Ade at daveade@hotmail.com

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 hfi@humanfactors.com

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Reviewed: 18 Mar 2014

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