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  Monday, July 29, 2002

  Brain power and usability testing

A bit from Jakob Nielsen's Becoming a Usability Professional

People frequently ask me what it takes to become a usability professional and get a job in the field. The answer lies in three characteristics that all great usability professionals share:
  • Knowledge of interaction theory and user-research methodologies, especially the principles of user testing
  • High brain power
  • Ten years' experience running user tests and other usability activities, such as field studies

Unfortunately, only the first of these characteristics can be taught. Usability expertise is mainly an issue of talent and experience rather than theory. Much of usability work requires pattern matching, which is why it's so dependent on brain power and past experience: Once you observe slight traces of a usability issue in users' behavior, you must deduce the underlying implications for design.

A bad usability specialist will report, "User 1 liked this, but User 2 did not." Not much help for the design team. A good usability specialist combines the observations across multiple users, distills the patterns, and arrives at a conceptual insight that can drive the design.

Two ideas:

(1) I guess it applies to any customer-centred something: it costs too much to adapt product for any customer, so you have to be able to recognise patterns and then offer related features to customise...

(2) I'm too fast for the patterns - I tend to jump fast to the patterns without describing "User 1 liked this, but User 2 did not". I guess, this is not good for a scientist: others have to be able to follow your thoughts as well...

More on: usability 

  KM and HRM: an article

KM and Human Resources Management: some pieces and thoughts (bold is mine)

There is understandably, a considerable overlap between human resources and knowledge management since
  • Knowledge creation is a human activity and managing humans is a HR activity.
  • Knowledge management is about management of intellectual capital and intangible assets and human resources management is about managing the sources of these assets.

This one I like :)

Knowledge management and human resources management initiatives are focused on harnessing the available knowledge assets and to prevent knowledge from walking out of the door. Hence, there is a need for the integration between the knowledge management initiatives and the HR policies of the organisation.

Links between HR and KM initiatives:

  • KM and HR systems - using KM system to handle HR data
  • recruitment - selecting people with right attitude
  • retention - retaining not experts, but knowledge sharing experts
  • reward system - recognising and promoting employees who adopt new behavior
  • performance management systems - changing performance measures to measure "right KM" performance
  • KM and organisational structure - adapting to leverage the value to knowledge
  • KM and organisational culture - changing with focus on trust and knowledge sharing
  • training and organisational learning  - this one I don't understand
  • exit - debriefing people and capturing their knowledge before they leave

Finally: was nice to read, but the quality is bad. I should think if I can refer to it...

More on: KM&learning 

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© Copyright 2002-2007 Lilia Efimova.

This weblog is my learning diary. Sometimes I write about things related to my work, but the views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

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