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Completeness of Solution

Some companies can provide only pieces of your usability solution—some may only perform usability testing or training, while others may offer expertise in projects or do high-level change management consulting. You can try to piece together a solution, but the parts will not entirely match. Certainly, all good usability consultants have a similar philosophy and work from similar principles. However, even small discrepancies in the interpretation of research or nomenclature can reduce credibility and confuse the internal stakeholders. Therefore, select a consultancy that can provide a complete and integrated solution, including the elements listed below.

  • Support for institutionalization:

    • Strategic consulting— consulting on the strategies for usability within the organization

    • Expert reviews— evaluation of existing technology products, such as applications or Web sites, to see what usability problems they contain

    • Introductory training— training on the basics of usability

    • Detailed skill-level training— training on more detailed skills for in-house usability professionals

    • Methodological standards— standards for a user-centered design process

    • Design standards— standards for the visual and interaction decisions for projects

    • Templates and tools to support the standards— tools to make standards easy to implement

    • Recruiting of usability practitioners— help and advice in finding qualified practitioners

  • User-centered design on specific projects:

    • High-level user interface design— consulting expertise in high-level design for critical and showcase projects

    • Graphic design— graphic design expertise that dovetails with usability

    • Detailed design and functional specifications— user requirements from a usability point of view

    • Usability testing— consulting and help with the design and implementation of standard usability test protocols

  • Ongoing support:

    • New research updates— a strategy for keeping the staff up-to-date on the latest work and research

    • Usability audits— periodic audits of standards and processes

    • Mentoring— mentoring of both executives and practitioners to advance their expertise



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