Many have asked us why we’ve changed the UPA name to UXPA. Good question.
There were four primary reasons for this decision:
- UXPA aligns with our Mission Statement
- UXPA reflects our work product
- UXPA represents our members
- UXPA is recognizable to people and organizations that our members work with
This was not an easy decision, but we could not ignore embracing the greater ‘user experience’ any longer. Our mission statement already reflected this shift, and our membership is already comprised of a majority of professionals who describe themselves as UX. In the last week, many members have told us “it’s about time” we’ve changed our name. We are excited about UXPA and what it means for the future of the organization.
In this post, we go into a little bit of detail on each of the four points above.
1. UXPA aligns with our Mission Statement
We’ve updated the language slightly over the years but the essence is the same. Since 1991, UXPA has been the organization supporting practitioners who research, design, and evaluate the user experience of products and services. UXPA membership is global, spanning 60 countries and 50 local chapters. Our members come from many different backgrounds, and share the common interest of creating products that meet the needs of people who work or play with them.
The evolution from UPA to UXPA concretely and intentionally acknowledges and addresses what Jeff Rubin once upon a time wrote about in our very own UX Magazine: the concept of “Usability with a capital ‘U’ — the greater experience that a ‘user’ has when interacting with a product, across a product set, across touch points, and/or with the company itself.
2. UXPA reflects our work product
After all, what is ‘Usability’ without ‘Experience’? As many of you know, the research and evaluation we perform does not happen in a vacuum. Our work is integrated within a design process, one that is informed by upfront research methods, and validated by evaluation and inspection methods. Although we’ve come a long way, the term ‘usability’ is still perceived as a narrow subset of methodologies that occur isolated within a broader “UCD” or “UX” workflow. For the UXPA, “Usability” is still a near and dear part of who we are and what we do, but it is not the only thing.
3. UXPA represents our members
You, our members, are actively bridging the gap between these research, design, and evaluation activities. You design taxonomies, information architecture, interaction models, content strategies, graphical user interfaces, interactive prototypes, technical documentation, and visual experiences. Design has not been absent from our organization: In 2009, 25% of respondents to our member survey categorized themselves as a usability professional, whereas 58% defined their role as cross functional (UCD, UX, Experience Designer) and another 15% said theirs was an interaction design / information architect/ interface design role. In our 2011 salary survey, even though 75% perform usability evaluation and user research methodologies as part of their responsibilities, 86% conduct interviews and surveys, 75% said they are responsible for creating information architecture, interaction design, and prototyping, and 33% are responsible for visual design.
4. UXPA is recognizable to people and organizations that our members work with
Simply put, the name change aligns better not only with the needs of our members, but also those who have not yet joined, and the people we work with. The term “User Experience” or “UX” has become ubiquitous across verticals and organizations as a concept that encompasses the broader spectrum of user centered research and design.
We welcome your feedback. If we haven’t addressed your question here, or you want to talk about the above points, please add your comments below or feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!