How useful is this - HFI-Certified Usability Analyst?

12 Jun 2007 - 3:17pm
3 years ago
7 replies
16033 reads
oliver green


28 Jun 2007 - 3:55pm

I'd like to know as I'm interested in takign this? Does anyone know?

6 Jul 2007 - 11:15am
Pawson, Mark

I actually posted to this sometime ago and hit some bug that the IXDA
admin thinks may be the result of a long post in IE. So here goes
again in Firefox....
I took the full training in Atlanta last year with a colleague. Both
of us were impressed. I especially tend to be rather cynical towards
private corporations offering certificates that sound like they are
the only one. I saw too much of this in QA. However, I had to eat
crow on this. HFI staff are knowledgeable working practioners that
were open to being challenged. Overall I would give the full program
a 4 out of 5 star rating. I always like to bring one to three good
ideas home from either training or conferences that I can immediately
implement in my day to day work activities. Its my judge of whether I
got value for my time and money. Plus I hate coming home from
training and feel like people are looking and thinking "so what did
you learn for all that money?" . In this case while we were on the
second day of the usage analysis course we were able to immediately
apply HFI ideas towards a project we had been assigned to. Since
returning we have used many of the templates for usage analysis and
usability testing and shared others with appreciative colleagues. I
have found the study guide materials great resources to refer to
when tasked with usability reviews. The binders of powerpoint slides
from the course I found less useful. These two courses were by far
the best and I have continued to recommend them here to our senior VP
of marketing to get his product managers, marketers etc to take these
courses so they understand what it means to know the customer.
However, lack of training budget isn't getting me too far with that

You notice I did not say much about the web design course or the
practical research. These courses were less useful. If you have no
experience in either they would be good introductions. My Colleague
who was a developer found the technology section on the Web design
course was dated. The one knock I have against HFI, and to be fair UI
threads, books and CHI2007 conference did the same, was the slant
towards web sites and intranets. One of our flagship applications for
the energy industry is a feature rich desktop mapping application.
During the training I found it very tiring to keep being given web
site examples. Of course my colleague challenged me to see beyond the
trees and apply the concepts globally. However, I did hear an infamous
comment while there from either an instructor or one of their videos
which just made my eyes roll. "People ask us why we don't present
GUI or desktop ideas. The reason why is it has all been done".
The Practical research course was 50/ 50 for interest and content for
me. The prime reason behind the course is to make you aware that if
you cannot do the research yourself to back up your design ideas then
know how to find it on the web. Several references to research in UI
is then given. I just found some like "Driving while talking on a
cell phone was found to be distracting" was tooo dry and a wee bit
stupid. This course HFI recommends that Usability Analysts take
annually to keep up with the latest research. I would rather get that
from a conference.

Summary. I was new to HCI and looking for training. Since taking the
courses I am still learning, reading a lot, participating in IXDA
threads, going to CHI2007 conference. I am recognizing a lot of the
same material I learned at HFI in all these sources proving to me
that HFI and their instructors have done their homework to keep on
top of this field. I have since talked to four other companies that
have used HFI as consultants before purchasing their UC Gold tool.
Some were desktop apps and others websites. All spoke of the
professionalism of HFI staff and the ability to get the job done.

Finally, I suspect your question is also wondering how good is the
certificate in your career. Personally, having once had a Certified
Software Quality Engineer certificate from the American Society of
Quality, I don't think these certificates do squat in advancing your
career or getting a job. The training that HFI provides, if you apply
it, will go further than a piece of parchment. Unless you happen to
be looking for a job with one of HFI's big clients, like Royal Bank
of Canada, I think the certificate itself is just a fancy ink stamp.
And by the way you do get a fancy desktop ink stamp if you pass the
final exam. The exam to be fair requires you to have understood the
concepts to get the minimum p pass.

I am watching this thread of yours with interest because I wanted to
know how HFI was viewed by IXDA since many posts are from those who
have done grad studies in this field. I am surprised that no one has
responded. I can't be the only one in this group who knows something
about them.

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Posted from the new

6 Jul 2007 - 12:24pm

Mark Pawson wrote:
"Cons: You notice I did not say much about the web design course or
practical research. These courses were less useful. "

Mark - I had the same experience. I took the "art and science of web
and application design". It would have been a great course if I
didn't know anything about design and maybe that's what these
courses are about. I learned more from my own research than I did
taking their course.

I would also point out that it's a certificate for "usability
analyst" not interaction designers that might be why less people
have responded. I took a course a couple of months later at Cooper
and I don't think I'll ever take another course from HFI. Coopers'
materials were outstanding. I was able to walk away with some
outstanding documentation that I could actually implement into my day
to day job.

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Posted from the new

10 Jul 2007 - 12:31pm
bryan.haggerty ...

I took the 2 week Fast-Track session in DC back in March of this year.
There were definitely things which I was impressed with but also
noticed areas they need to work on.

I think if you are a person who has been doing user experience design
and usability you won't find a lot of new things here. If you're a
person looking to transition into the user experience field I could
see these courses as being a good fit.

One of the more interesting things I got out of the courses was
actually more of a side effect. A good portion of the courses,
students willing, is the discussion of stories and challenges from
other people in the field in the context of the course materials.

The binders of slides are not of much use post courses, but the
bundled quick cards actually do prove to be useful. Saves you the time
of scouring the net to find and catalog a lot of information (worth
the cost of the courses certainly not but a nice side benefit).

A major issue I had a problem with the materials was the frequent
grammar and spelling errors. You can tell a lot of the materials were
not written by people who speak English as their first language. It
just made it not look polished.

If you're on a budget I would recommend the User-Centered Analysis &
Conceptual Design and Practical Usability Testing courses. The Web
Design course was certainly a bit dated and when taught is rushed
since there is so much to go over. Putting Research into Practice was
a fun course as the instructor was certainly skilled at presenting the
materials but a lot of the information is very accessible online, even
on the HFI site itself via their webcasts and newsletters.

The certification exam was actually a little tougher than I had
expected. A lot of what was taught were things I knew or was very
familiar with and when I studied I kind of blew through the study
guides. Taking the exam I realized I should have spent a little more
time on some of the finer points. I passed no problem but I think I
owe them a little more credit for making a decently challenging exam.

In closing:
If you're new to the field or looking to get more background in it,
worth the money.
Will it advance your career--probably not, but what's wrong with
another bullet point on the resume.

Bryan Haggerty
JPMorgan Chase

** for good measure-- Certified Usability Analyst

On Jun 12, 4:17 pm, "oliver green" <oliver... at> wrote:
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10 Jul 2007 - 12:45pm

I am taking the last 2 classes in DC at the end of July, and taking the
test in September.

I know most of the material but I've learned a lot of terminology. I've
learned to speak more clearly and succinctly about my designs, why I do
things the way I do, why we should integrate the user in the process, etc.
I feel I've become more polished.

The class I really liked was "Putting Research into Practice" - it's
common sense to us, but it's nice to have actual data to point to when
trying to convince your client to not use blinking red text... we've all
been there!

Susan Patrick
User Interface Designer
The Midland Company
(513) 947-6072

"Design is a process - an intimate collaboration between engineers,
designers, and clients." - Henry Dreyfuss, Industrial Designer

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10 Jul 2007 - 9:48pm
Adam Connor

I just received my certification from HFI in June. All in all I've
had a mixed experience with them. When I took my first HFI course
back in 2003 - it happened to the the web design course thats come up
in this thread - I was appalled. The material was horribly outdated,
and the instructor wasn't good at all.

A few more bad experiences followed - however their expertise was
pushed heavily by the company I work for, so a year ago I started
taking the courses again as they came around my neck of the woods.

I will say that they have updated quite a bit - and the folks I've
dealt with from their staff have been very knowledgeable.

I would have to say that the most valuable take-away from the
training is the course books. I'm 26 and don't quite fit in with
the corporate culture, so now when I talk about a UX issue, now I can
point to something and say "See, someone else who you do recognize as
an expert agrees with me."

As far as credentials go the certification hasn't done any wonders
for me, but it does look good on my resume.

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Posted from the new

17 Jul 2013 - 4:58am

Thinking to take courses but not sure if they will be of a great value. Is there's a chance that having list of topics practicioner with 3+ years of experience could prepare to the exam properly? Or do I have to fly all over to States and take 2 weeks courses in order to be ready to the exam? What are your thoughts, guys?



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