HFI Training Courses - worthwhile? Pros / Cons?

28 Oct 2010 - 5:08pm
2 years ago
9 replies
2860 reads
Malia Zoghlin
2009

I am considering the fast track HFI usability courses - has anyone taken those? I found a thread from 2007 on the topic but was wondering if anyone had more recent experience. Thanks in advance.

Here's the info on the training: http://www.humanfactors.com/training/schedule.asp

 

Comments

28 Oct 2010 - 7:05pm
JRinDC
2010

For someone who has a development background and has been interested in usability but had no formal training in that arena, it was helpful to take the 2-week CUA training and attain the certification. If nothing else, it introduces you to a wide range of practical information about both the practice and the foundational research underpinning the field. For someone who has that background already, perhaps the certification wouldn't be as important. (I do NOT mean to imply the two-week certification curriculum is a substitute for a degree in the field).

JR Key

28 Oct 2010 - 11:46pm
UsabilityArts
2010

It's worth it. Take it from me. I took the HFI CUA course and it opened my eyes and I refer to a lot of fundamentals learned in those sessions. Other people have talked long and hard about any type of training as a ripoff - that's bull. Take the classes, get the cert and apply your knowledge in context on each project. I should also mention that there's also nothing more important than staying up to date on research (after you complete the sessions) - it keeps you relevant. Good luck with your decision.

29 Oct 2010 - 4:06am
William Hudson
2009

Malia -

It depends on what you're after. For example, as an alternative, you could visit the CHI conference in Vancouver next May and have the choice of 30+ different courses plus lots of interesting papers and poster sessions. Ditto for the UPA conference in Atlanta next June and many other conference-style events with courses and tutorials. There are also the NNg Usability Week conferences (more of a training event than an actual conference). Most would be at a fraction of the cost of the HFI fast-track program, but perhaps not as focused as you need, particularly if you're just starting out.

Links: www.chi2011.org www.upa2011.org www.nngroup.com

I've attended and taught courses at all three of these in past years. The quality is generally very high.

Regards,

William Hudson Syntagm Ltd User Experience Strategist UK 01235-522859 World +44-1235-522859 US Toll Free 1-866-SYNTAGM Web www.syntagm.co.uk/design Email william.hudson@syntagm.co.uk Skype williamhudsonskype Twitter SyntagmUCD

Syntagm is a limited company registered in England and Wales (1985). Registered number: 1895345. Registered office: 10 Oxford Road, Abingdon OX14 2DS.

UX, UCD and Usability Courses in London, Hamburg and Vancouver www.syntagm.co.uk/design/schedule.shtml

-----Original Message----- From: ixdaor@host.ixda.org [mailto:ixdaor@host.ixda.org] On Behalf Of Malia Zoghlin Sent: 28 October 2010 23:41 To: William Hudson Subject: [IxDA] HFI Training Courses - worthwhile? Pros / Cons?

I am considering the fast track HFI usability courses - has anyone taken those? I found a thread from 2007 on the topic but was wondering if anyone had more recent experience. Thanks in advance.

Here's the info on the training:
http://www.humanfactors.com/training/schedule.asp

 

(

29 Oct 2010 - 4:06am
kojo
2008

I have attended the HFI track...and honestly it is useless, nothing new whatsoever...they actually keep saying that one should keep on following up what is recent and latest and they themselves have no idea what is latest, just the same old stuff since the 1990's.

and The certification is useless nobody recognizes it or even knows about it. was just a total waste of time and money if you ask me.What you really need is a master's program in Interaction design in a good university and some good books, About face is a nice read.


good luck

On Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 12:29 AM, Malia Zoghlin <malia@melonwater.com> wrote:

I am considering the fast track HFI usability courses - has anyone taken those? I found a thread from 2007 on the topic but was wondering if anyone had more recent experience. Thanks in advance.

Here's the info on the training: http://www.humanfactors.com/training/schedule.asp

 

(
1 Nov 2010 - 3:09pm
aZippel4iD
2010

Hi Malia,

The smartest thing I ever did was take the "FastTrack" in July of this year. My phone has not stopped ringing from recruiters who called because of recognizing the validity of being a CUA. I am on my second contract project directly related to being sought out because they saw I am a CUA. I always specifically mention in conversation with recruiters and clients that I am a CUA and all of them have commented, "yeah, I saw that on your resume".


"Nothing new what so ever", what needs to be new about a card sort, open or closed? What needs to be new about a contextual interview? What needs to be new about writing a screener? The list is endless, "new" is a skewed focus. No course can teach you experience or personal insight; that comes with just doing it. I am not able to see any problem with instructors encouraging students to stay on top of what is recent and latest. I'm not sure what the difference is between recent and latest?


The courses are designed to expose students to a solid and well-rounded understanding of usability as it is achieved through user-centered analysis and concept design, practical usability testing and finally web and application design. The courses lean towards understanding and application in the areas of web site and application development. If those are your areas of interest this could be a good fit for you.

I was recently asked in an interview “how do I stay on top of what’s going on in my industry”. My answer was, “in addition to being certified as a usability analyst, I am a prolific reader, make good use of podcasts; I am active in multiple industry specific organizations and for me the most amazing is the IxDA forum. Through the form I am exposed to questions and answers from individuals with extremely diverse backgrounds and experience levels”. Well, in the end I was offered the position, however I was also offered a position at the same time from another firm; both of these positions sought me out because of being a CUA and my background. I was identified as a potential candidate because of my CUA, I was offered both positions because of my experience and insight.

Human dynamics at the adaptive level hasn’t changed much in the last “gazillion years”; so there’s just not much new to be had.

Yesterday I presented a heuristic evaluation on the current web site for the position I accepted. I started with laying the ground work for my evaluation which was based on some simple facts about human behavior that aren’t new. (1) Users scan web pages looking for links/direction, they don’t read for comprehension until they are on a destination page. (2) Less is more. The more information presented, the less chance any of it will be noticed. (3) Users have limited cognitive resources. And finally (4) what I think the primary user goal is, get what you want as fast as you can and leave.

Regarding usability principles that are presented in any coursework, learn the basics. And then be able to ask a hundred questions about them to the right; a hundred variations adapting them to the left. Be able to apply them a hundred different ways in front of you and be able to learn from your experiences a hundred different ways behind you.

What I learned that was new from the results of my CUA fasttrack experience was how many hiring managers recognize and value my certification. Oh and there were four other new advantages to the course, my instructors who were all veteran, working contractors who brought the value of their experiences of working in the field on a daily basis.

Like I said in the beginning, taking the CUA fasttrack was the smartest thing I’ve ever done.

2 Nov 2010 - 2:35pm
Malia Zoghlin
2009

Thanks all for your thoughtful comments. I am a practicitng usability researcher, however I do not have a degree in HCI. What I feel like I want most is strategies for analysis.  William, I have also looked at NNg workshops and am interested in how different these might be from the HFI course -- definitely cheaper!  There is a 3-day workshop in February in NYC that I'm considering.

I also took a look at the chi2011 site and I'll keep my eye on what kinds of training, panels and other offerings they will have for 2011.

Thanks again,

Malia

3 Nov 2010 - 6:05am
William Hudson
2009

Malia -

Looking at the CHI2010 site will give you some idea on the courses offered, although they are all proposed and selected from fresh each year. See http://chi2010.org/attending/courses.html (please excuse the illegible green-brown font; HCI conferences seem to specialize in having the least usable web sites!).

Regards,

William

-----Original Message----- From: ixdaor@host.ixda.org [mailto:ixdaor@host.ixda.org] On Behalf Of Malia Zoghlin Sent: 02 November 2010 20:02 To: William Hudson Subject: Re: [IxDA] HFI Training Courses - worthwhile? Pros / Cons?

Thanks all for your thoughtful comments. I am a practicitng usability researcher, however I do not have a degree in HCI. What I feel like I want most is strategies for analysis.  William, I have also looked at NNg workshops and am interested in how different these might be from the HFI course -- definitely cheaper!  There is a 3-day workshop in February in NYC that I'm considering.

I also took a look at the chi2011 site and I'll keep my eye on what kinds of training, panels and other offerings they will have for 2011.

Thanks again,

Malia

((

23 Aug 2012 - 11:29am
aZippel4iD
2010

I think context is very important here. It depends on your existing skills and the marketplace you are a part of. For me, it validated to others my experience and I was hired full-time within 3 months of becoming a CUA. I'm going back to pick up a CXA. Best thing I ever did.

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