Improving Usability Outcomes for each of the Usability Practitioner Roles


  • Vince Bruno
  • Martin Dick


Keywords: usability, practitioner, role, industry, usability outcome


Abstract: This paper examines two sets of usability roles: the consultant vs the organisation based practitioner and the usability manager vs. the usability practitioner. This paper will review the current literature discussion of the usability practitioners role and present findings from interviews with industry practitioners. This research interviewed twenty one usability practitioners with five or more years industry experience. The interview transcripts were then analysed using the grounded theory methodology. The analysis provided various findings which highlighted concepts that impacted on the usability outcome of an IS project. The analysis produced twenty seven concepts which were formed into four themes, which included usability mindset, collaborative approach, usability practice and project constraints. The findings present and describe eleven of these concepts in some detail. The concepts presented are directly related conclusions discussed. This paper will focus on the noticeable differences between the various usability roles in relation to the resulting twenty seven concepts. The key findings show that usability managers look to strategic usability issues, by improving stakeholder collaboration and need to focusing on the skillsets of the usability practitioners. Consultants had a higher tendency to focus on usability activities compliance within a process, selecting and performing activities based on constraints (which include technological constraints, time and budget constraints), needed to have a degree of flexibility in their usability practice and often were used to validate usability practices in an organisation. Organisational practitioners were more focused on nurturing and educating usability understanding within the organisation and stakeholders involved in an IS project. A usability practitioner needs to be flexible enough to adapt to the situation they find themselves in when engaged in an IS project in order to maximise usability outcomes.



1 Oct 2013