Editor’s Note: What’s in a Name?

You may have heard that UPA has changed its name to UXPA—the User Experience Professionals’ Organization. This was officially announced at the UPA International Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada in June 2012. There has been reaction—some negative, but mostly positive. We believe the most important reaction is from UPA’s members, and while a few have wondered whether the name change was necessary, many members have told us “it’s about time.”

Changing an organization’s name is never an easy decision, and that was certainly true for us. However, 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 people.”

Being user-centered, of course, we did a lot of research before making this decision. One of the Board’s many ongoing responsibilities is to ensure that our organization continues to align with members’ needs and goals, and adds value to members via services, events, publications, resources, and other offerings. We regularly examine this through a variety of research and feedback mechanisms, including surveys, regional chapter calls, conference sessions, and online discussion boards. We also commissioned a brand assessment by an outside firm, hired to provide the UPA Board with a third-party perspective of our organization and offer guidance on our plans for the future.

One significant recommendation that came out of this assessment was to consider a name change that would better reflect our current members’ work activities and potentially attract new members. The assessment recommendations were evaluated and validated via a member value survey, a salary survey, and a variety of discussions at conferences and online with current members, former board members, and former and current chapter leads. All of this led us to the decision that the organization had grown into a broader space and needed a new name to reflect that.

Where does all of this leave you as a member of the UPA? Here’s a top ten list of what this means for our members:

  1. You are still a member of our organization; nothing has changed regarding your membership.
  2. You are an important member of the UXPA community.
  3. 3. You are going to get more from your UXPA membership.
  4. You will have access to a more integrated, better connected UXPA community.
  5. You will have more events to choose from.
  6. Your local UXPA chapter is working with us.
  7. You will soon see a new UXPA website, better organized content, and easy-to-find resources.
  8. You’ll stay informed on the latest in UX via more frequent, consistent UXPA communications
  9. You’ll soon have access to new tools, materials, and programs.
  10. You have a unique opportunity to truly shape the future of the organization.

And this is just the beginning. We turn to you, UXPA members and the UX community, to help us as we evolve into UXPA. We need your participation and feedback in order to create an organization that provides you with all the tools, resources, and community connections that you need and want. You can provide feedback by going to www.uxpa.org and following the links, sending an email to the Board at feedback@uxpa.org, or to me directly at publications2012@uxpa.org.

We are excited about UXPA and what it means for the future of the organization. We invite you to come along on this journey, and we welcome your thoughts, your suggestions, your participation, and your dreams.

Susan Dray, S. (2012). Editor’s Note: What’s in a Name?. User Experience Magazine, 11(3).
Retrieved from http://uxpamagazine.org/whats-in-a-name/

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