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UX Power in the Heartland
by Jim Garrett
Our Certified Usability Analyst of the month for May, Jennifer Gracey, comes from the international consulting firm, Sogeti. Jennifer is based in the Des Moines, Iowa office and is in the unique situation that within her company she is part of a coordinated, international network of HFI Certified Usability Analysts.
Sogeti is one of the world's leading providers of IT consulting services. As a member of the Capgemini Group, one of the world's largest consulting services companies, Sogeti has local branches in twenty-three cities in the U.S. and 20,000 experts worldwide in fifteen countries.
At Sogeti what is your title?
I’m a senior consultant and I focus on the area of user experience. . I’m the only HFI Certified Usability Analyst in the Des Moines office, but we have several other consultants who are also usability evangelists. We’re an international company so we have Certified Usability Analysts all over the country and all over the world. We’re a big proponent of the usability aspect and being able to sell that to our clients.
Do you interface with these other Certified Usability Analysts and coordinate with them?
Yes we have coordinated on some client presentations and some pitches. We also have an online community of Sogeti employees from around the world and we have a group dedicated to usability where we can share resources. Our group is open to everyone, not just CUA’s, but anybody that works as a usability type person that does design, development and is interested in usability. If we find a really good resource, we’ll share it and brings us all together even though we might be half way around the world from each other.
What is your primary role with your usability work there?
Usually it’s more as a front end designer designing the user experience. A recent project was a data warehousing project where we were doing a three year road map for a large company and they had me come on as a business analyst. My usability background really helped with that because I needed to gather a lot of information from many different people and figure out how the people and all of the applications interact with this massive database where years worth of company data is stored.
I was able to gather the requirements and document the current state of this large database and how the users interact with it so the skills that I learned in the HFI courses about interviewing techniques, surveying and gathering information really came in handy on that project.
What current projects are you working on?
The project that I’m on currently is more related to usability and we’re actually having two to three sessions a week to redesign a web application. We’re doing a lot of wire framing, white boarding, and story boarding and capturing the UI requirements. Then we put together wire frames and doing task flow analysis to figure out what their current work flow is and what their work flow should be in the future with the new system. We’re going to make it more efficient for the users that own the product. Even though they are not technical people, they will still be able to update the data and utilize the site for years to come to perform their jobs more efficiently.