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Special Interest Groups

Creating a Hardware SIG


Roel Kahmann

The UPA is a dynamic and pragmatic organization whose members are real world usability professionals employed in a range of working fields. Included in this wide range is the practitioner working on usability in industrial design. Nevertheless the main focus of the UPA is still software related usability. I think it is time to create a forum for more 'hardware' related issues.

I propose a Special Interest Group (SIG) on Hardware Usability, that could act as a forum for exchange of ideas and experiences. The SIG would primarily be a virtual community, with the opportunity to arrange sessions or meetings in conjunction with the UPA conference or other events.

'Hardware', in my opinion, should be interpreted broadly and would focus on design and human factors related to consumer and professional products.

There are people working on product design & emotions, industrial design & usability, human factors (ergonomics) & usability. At last years' UPA conference, a two-day workshop on experiences and the role of the usability professional, was organized by Jodi Forlizzi and Shannon Ford from E-lab. At the upcoming conference of the International Ergonomic Association (IEA) in San Diego (July 30 - August 4), usability will be part of a two-day symposium on Human Factors and Inclusive Design. The IEA adopts an academic approach. So there is a potential IEA and UPA that parallels that between CHI and UPA.  In both cases, UPA would serve the practitioner.

There is a real industry need for a hardware usability where interested usability professionals could exchange information and discuss methodology.  Founding a SIG on 'hardware' or 'industrial design' is a unique opportunity to meet this need.

A previous call for participation on UTEST produced a disappointing response. Perhaps there are few UPA members active in this field of interest. On the other hand a focus on 'hardware' could be a reason for professionals to become a member.

If you are interested or need more information please contact me.

Roel Kahmann e-mail: r.kahmann@p5-adviseurs.nl