CUA of the Month – June, 2012

Ahmed Saad
"I could identify when something looked good and felt right as everybody was happy with my designs, but I didn’t realize there was a science behind web design."
 
Ahmed Saad
Certified Usability Analyst
Sr. Web Designer

A path of natural evolution into usability

by Sheldon Kreger

Although a strong artistic mind can take you a long way in the world of web design, there is always another aspect of your work to improve. Ask any skilled professional or artist if their education ever stops, and the answer is no. Sometimes, approaching your work from a new angle can create an experience of enlightening surprises. Ahmed Saad — our CUA of the Month — was excited to take a look at his profession from a different perspective.

“Early in my career, when I chose things like colors, placement of graphics, and arrangement of text on a page, I thought those were all matters of design skills and artistic taste. Certainly, I could identify when something looked good and felt right as everybody was happy with my designs, but I didn’t realize there was a science behind web design.”

But, Ahmed is no stranger to education. Before completing his CUA, he had earned certifications as an ACE-Adobe Certified Expert, CIW-Web Design Specialist, PMP-Project Management Professional, SEO Specialist, and Bachelor of Architecture. Like many CUAs, Ahmed’s career has taken a path of natural evolution into usability.

“After graduating from college, I discovered that I really enjoyed graphic design. A company I worked for had me doing graphics for software applications. Eventually I decided to focus on web design.”

“I’ve been working in web design now for 11 years. I have designed more than 100 internet and intranet portals for many featured organizations such as Aljazeera Channel, Qatar; e-Government, Qatar; Public Works Authority, Qatar; 4 Governorates including Cairo, Egypt; NTP Software, USA; Iraqi Media Network; Iraq; Ministry of Planning, Kuwait; Human Rights Commission, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Ahmed has worked in both web design and other kinds of printing design. These two areas encompass most of his professional life. However, he has some very interesting hobbies, including calligraphy and designing shelving units. All designs and more information about him could be reached at his website www.ahmedsaad.com.

“About a year ago I heard about usability. I was working with a company that had interest in usability. It was my first encounter with user-centered design. I was excited to learn more about the field, since it was very easy to see its importance. After all, you aren’t designing for the company owners, you’re designing for the end users.”

Ahmed was surprised to find out how little representation the field of user experience had in his region of the world. After all, he is the first Egyptian and second Arab CUA.

“There are many web design firms in this region, but none of them are integrating user-based design. After learning about user experience on my own, I was determined to take HFI’s training. Really, it was beyond my expectations. It was really the most interesting course I have taken.

“Now, it’s like I have a reason for every single element in my design. I used to think of web design as a matter of art, with no rights and wrongs. Today, I understand that web design is both art and science — it has a function and the targeted users must be highly considered. The courses inspired a shift in my perspective.”

Ahmed is ambitious about using this knowledge to push his career forward. Learning about usability has opened a whole new realm of creative energy which drives Ahmed to not only improve the quality of his designs, but to share these new insights with other people.

“I have two goals. One is to really specialize in usability. I’m interested in making a career as a usability expert. Second is to help people do things online more quickly and effectively. I feel great helping people accomplish things that might be more difficult to do in real life. For example, many cities are crowded and something as simple as filling out a five-minute governmental form could take up your entire afternoon due to traffic and the crowded public buildings. Having these things online improves our quality of life substantially.

“I really want to share this knowledge with designers where I live. If we don’t integrate this knowledge, we won’t be as successful at making people’s lives around us easier.”

Currently, Ahmed continues his work in web design with a special emphasis on usability. However, he is excited to specialize as a user experience professional.

“I am really interested in joining a company to specialize in usability, especially if they are targeting business opportunities in the Middle East. For such companies, it could be an added value to have a usability expert who has a good understanding of the culture in the market they are targeting.”

CUA of the Month

Each month we highlight the successes and achievements of a different member of our CUA community. If you are a Certified Usability Analyst and would like to be considered for CUA of the Month recognition, please send a brief professional bio to hfi@humanfactors.com

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Reviewed: 18 Mar 2014

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