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Evangelizing

The central usability group must provide information and share the lessons learned on the value of usability. This means making presentations on a regular basis. These presentations can share project examples, new research findings, and progress in the metrics of usability. Beyond formal presentations, it is necessary to implement a constant process of communication with individuals and small groups, including quiet lunches and personal opportunities in social gatherings. Usability practitioners need to exploit every possible venue for communication and sharing. Most importantly, the team members need to convey their excitement about and commitment to the usability effort: They need to evangelize!

When missionaries travel to new countries, they translate their beliefs into the local language. They translate their ideas and value systems so they fit with the local traditions and needs. In a similar manner, the usability evangelist must talk the business language of the organization and translate the value of usability so it meets the objectives of the development teams and other groups. It is great to share some of the jargon of usability, but especially in the beginning of the institutionalization process, it is best to incorporate the knowledge of usability into the local language. If you are talking to business people, talk about conversion rates and call time. It's advisable not to use usability jargon exclusively, including terminology like “target acquisition,” “scenarios,” and “function allocation.” The usability evangelist needs to have the ability to translate these concepts into familiar terms.


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