The U P A voice
August 2004 Contents

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UPA Member Survey

by Paul Sherman
Co-Director of Chapters, UPA board

During the spring the UPA Board of Directors surveyed a small random sample of the membership via phone. Each Board member personally surveyed a portion of the membership.

We asked members why they joined UPA, what benefits they derive from UPA membership, how we could increase the value of their UPA membership, why they attended (or didn’t attend) annual UPA conferences, as well as several questions about the chapters, the UPA Web site, and UPA publications.

We drew a simple random sample of members from within the US (n=180) and within all other countries (n=60). This proportion roughly represents the proportion of US and international members. We received responses from 41 members in seven countries, representing the Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, the United States, and the UK.

Members indicated that they joined UPA for the following reasons:

  • To receive the conference discount
  • It’s their ‘professional association of record’
  • To keep up with the field
  • Opportunities for networking with peers

Some members felt that they didn’t derive much benefit from their membership. When asked why, we heard these comments similar to these:

  • “You get out what you put in, and I’m not putting in much” – a recently joined member
  • “UPA doesn’t really help me market and sell my services…I’m just a member because it’s the professional association for my field” – a long-time member and individual consultant
  • “I don’t receive enough regular communication from UPA” – a member from Europe

We also asked members how we could make UPA more valuable and personally relevant to them. Members told us this:

  • Provide more communications, and provide it more regularly – notify members when the UPA Web site has been substantially updated, provide more newsletters, put out User Experience magazine more frequently.
  • Offer more career resources – help members with job searches, maintain a regional referral list for independent contractors, post more job listings.
  • Create more opportunities for networking and dialog – consider providing monthly Webcasts, more frequent events, and additional opportunities for members to share information and network outside of the annual conference.

Members also indicated whether they attended the annual conference, and what aspects of the conference they valued most. Our respondents felt that the workshops and tutorials were particularly beneficial. Several stated that they based their decision to attend on the quality and availability of the workshops and tutorials.

When we asked members why they didn’t attend UPA conferences, the most frequently cited reason was cost, particularly among non-US members. Several long-time members felt that the conference didn’t offer enough expert-level content, and cited this as the main reason they didn’t attend.

Not surprisingly, members who didn’t attend conferences indicated that lower conference costs and more expert-level sessions would make UPA conferences more attractive to them. Non-US members also indicated that they would be more likely to attend a UPA conference if it was held in Europe.

The Board of Directors is following up on several initiatives as a direct result of this survey.

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