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Editor’s Note: Making Ourselves Usable, Useful, and Appealing

We know that our profession is concerned with making products and services more usable, useful, and appealing so that end-users have a better user experience.

The same can be said about what we ourselves need to accomplish within our own business environment. We need to learn how to make sure that our clients have a good client experience.  In the end they must feel that we are not only usable and useful, but essential to achieving their business objectives.  During the past decade our profession has changed dramatically. There are more of us. The business community and the general public are aware that the users’ experience of products and services can be improved, and that there are professionals whose role is to analyze, evaluate, and document the processes for achieving better results. We have improved our techniques, established our credentials, become more aware and sensitive to other stakeholders in the entire process, and, where applicable, have proven the return-on-investment for our involvement. One of the key challenges is for us to understand the business perspective, and how decision-makers view our contribution.  In that process, we should employ some introspection in order to run our affairs in a more business-like fashion.

The business community has also changed. Since the collapse of the technology-driven internet bubble economy of the turn of the century and the rise of multiple international centers for product/service development in a global economy, our business customers for our services are more cautious and demanding. They have higher expectations of the quality of our services. In some ways this is good, and though it is not new, perhaps the pressure has been turned up a little.

Fortunately, we have grown more professional and business-savvy. We can respond with thoughtful, proven, best-of-practice skills and further experience. Our special issue addresses what we’ve learned and what we can do to put our own knowledge to work for our benefit, for the benefit of business, and the benefit of our end-users.