This work is a continuation of earlier (pilot) work and part of an ongoing study to define and understand the HCI/UX professions; specifically understanding (a) investigative methods, (b) successful communication methods, (c) conditions leading to successful products/services, and (d) differences among professional roles and job titles.
We believe that this work will primarily benefit three audiences: (1) HCI/UX students; (2) HCI/UX professionals and (3) instructors teaching in HCI/UX (or related) programs.
(1) Audience one: HCI/UX Students
HCI is a rapidly evolving multidisciplinary field. As instructors who are responsible for teaching students how to become professionals in the field of HCI requires a means of evolving an understanding about professional roles, i.e., the scope and profile of professions in the field. Further, there are many job titles that professionals claim in the HCI field, e.g., usability engineer, information architect, developer, and interaction designer. However, a succinct understanding about the various job responsibilities of these titles and how they vary, overlap, and change across different organizations and time has not been documented. This is important knowledge that will help students seeking entrance in the HCI field.
(2) Audience two: HCI/UX professionals
This study is also intended to help HCI professionals do their work better by documenting and reflecting how investigative and communication methods were associated with successful technology products and services. We also hope that this will ultimately lead to ideas about how some methods can be improved. This study builds on earlier work in which we found clear differences among HCI professionals that were associated with communication failures. While it is obvious that UX professionals need to communicate amongst themselves about end-users, it is less obvious how to maximize that communication.
(3) Audience three: Instructors teaching in HCI/UX (or related) programs
Finally, this study is meant to understand the perception in the HCI professional community about commonly taught HCI methods. Methods and theoretical frameworks HCI professionals use to understand how people interact with technology have come from many fields, including (but not limited to) anthropology, psychology, computer science, graphic and industrial design, and sociology. However, many of the methods that we teach (and use) have also come from popular literature. As we teach students about this evolving field, it is important that we understand what methods are really used, what has been successful, and under what conditions particular processes and/or methods have been more or less effective.