CUA of the Month – July, 2009

Jeffrey Mahacek
"I had been designing websites for 13 years, but was interested in learning a systematic approach to design. That's the reason I took the CUA training – to provide a research-based foundation for the knowledge I have."
Jeffrey Mahacek
User Experience Consultant
Fortune 500 company

HFI is proud to recognize our 2,000th CUA: Jeffrey Mahacek

by Doug Gorney

The CUA certification program is growing fast! It took 5 years to get 1000 CUAs. Yet in only two more years we've surpassed 2,000 Certified Usability Analysts (CUAs) worldwide. First launched in April 2002, HFI's CUA program has quickly grown to become the leading credential for usability practitioners.

We're proud to recognize Jeffrey Mahacek as our official 2,000th CUA. HFI's Mark Cohen, Vice-President of Marketing, recently caught up with Jeff and visited with him about the CUA program and his experience working with HFI.

Mark: Jeff, tell us about what your job entails.

Jeff: I'm the User Experience Manager for a Fortune 500 company responsible for the customer-facing websites. My job is to oversee all the user research that we do – whether it's focus groups, surveys, contextual inquiries, user testing – and manage relationships with our vendors. I'm also the internal champion for user experience and a user advocate for the organization. I drive enhancements to the organization, both from the project level – with tactical changes that we are making – and from the cultural perspective – getting people in the organization to start thinking about user experience and start considering UX in the decisions that they're making.

Mark: What made you choose to become a CUA?

Jeff: I heard about the CUA certification through HFI, who I had first approached as a possible vendor to work on some projects. I had a background in product management and design, but when my company placed the mantle of user experience on me, this was something new and exciting. I started reaching out to different vendors and partners who could teach me about what I needed to know to be successful in my job. I reached out to HFI to assist me with projects, ended up working with them, and I've been very happy with the results. I also learned about the CUA program from the HFI team. I had been designing websites for 13 years, but was interested in learning a systematic approach to design. That's the reason I took the CUA training – to provide a research-based foundation for the knowledge I have.

Mark: Are there other CUAs in your company?

Jeff: Yes, recently our Web Dev group hired several people who have gone through the program.

Mark: Now that you're the 2000th CUA, what does that mean to you?

Jeff: It's one more facet of the story I get to tell. When I'm explaining to someone what a Certified Usability Analyst is, or what that aspect of my training has been about, I used to say there were around 1400 or more in the world. Having CUAs on our team is a great investment, because when we're looking for partners we want to do business with, we can say we have CUAs in our group... and there are only so many of them in the world. Now, I can say there are over 2000 CUAs in the world, and I KNOW, because I was the 2000th! It's a fun part of the story and highlights the value and uniqueness of the certification.

Mark: I understand you partnered with HFI to redesign a call center application for your company and you've also utilized one of our dedicated teams for an ongoing metrics program. So, what was it like to work with HFI on these initiatives?

Jeff: It's been a great relationship with HFI, and I knew it would be from the first second Chris and Phil from HFI walked in the door. That first meeting with them, I was not looking for a vendor; I was not looking for someone to come in and complete a project for me. I was really looking for a partner.

One of the greatest things about working with HFI is that it's never just a group of guys coming on site, getting a job done, filing a report, and leaving. Every step of the way, whether in the planning process, or working with the teams that came on site to do contextual inquiries, I was able to learn with them.

This was especially important when I was looking for a user experience vendor partnership. I was looking for a group who cared about the success of my company and my personal growth in understanding user experience design. That was one of the greatest things about HFI – in addition to being very professional and the great quality of work – I was able to learn about what they were doing and why they were doing it.

It wasn't about one initiative – it was, "Let's understand everything about your organization because that's all going to come into play with how we accomplish these goals." It was that kind of partnership, rather than just a vendor relationship, that really brought me to HFI.

Mark: What else has HFI brought you in terms of value-add?

Jeff: I like the people! Aside from all the knowledge and all the help, I've developed great personal relationships working with the people at HFI. I've really enjoyed everyone I've worked with – whether it's been Chris, who brought me in, or Steve, who's my project director, or Mandar from India, who came out and helped us with the contextual inquiry. All of them are great people to work with; each of them was willing to take the time to talk me through why they were doing what they were doing, and what their thought processes were, so I could absorb as much knowledge from them as possible.

It's important to me to foster a culture of support within our organization for user experience because it's not just about getting some tests done. In my organization, it was about turning the tide from being focused on an acquisition model to a retention model. We needed to start paying attention to people after they've come in the door. Being able to introduce people in my organization to the team from HFI who were personable, who could have that cultural conversation about user experience, not just a metric driven conversation, but really run the full gamut – were big wins for HFI for me.

Mark: Jeff, thank you for taking time to share your story with us. Congratulations on being the 2000th CUA!

HFI celebrates our 2000th CUA and applauds Jeff for his accomplishments in user experience!

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.


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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
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(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.