CUA of the Month – August, 2017

Angela Huenerfauth
“I can now quote different standards and fundamental knowledge from the CUA training that is published. I can say that because of a certain common standard, this is how it should be done. This validates our processes and gives credibility with upper management.”
 
Angela Huenerfauth

Senior Manager - User Experience Department
Siemens Healthcare

Having a CUA has really helped me with management!

by HFI

What’s your role at Siemens since you became a CUA?

I started at Siemens in June 2011. My official title was Staff Product Engineer (UX Analyst), and I became a Certified Usability Analyst in 2014. We had a re-organization in 2015, and I became the manager of the User Experience team at that time.

How long had you been there before you got your promotion?

I worked three and a half years as a UX Analyst on the next generation analyzer project, and then I became the manager of the UX Analyst team. There were about six UX Analysts at the time and several contractors. Then in January 2017, I was promoted to Senior Manager in the department, and my official role now is Senior Manager, User Experience.

How has the CUA training helped in your day-to-day work?

It’s given me a set of principles to use when performing a usability study, which provides substance and provides a scientific structure when performing studies. It’s given me tools to use as I perform software or hardware studies that previously weren’t available to me. We have a set of common standards for how we perform usability studies and having the CUA certification provided me with that knowledge. It’s the foundation for a common usability language; we all have the same set of terms and knowledge with which to communicate. The CUA training and certification helped with communication within the group as well as communicating usability study results to project core teams.

How has this changed the way you communicate with management?  

I can now quote different standards and fundamental knowledge from the CUA training that is published. I can say that because of a certain common standard, this is how it should be done. This validates our processes and gives credibility with upper management.  

What are some of the projects you are working on right now?

I’m working on the next generation analyzer project, the Atellica Project, which was released at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry annual conference. AACC has 8,000 members from all areas of laboratory medicine, and the conference is a way for them to share ideas, see the latest technology, and talk with customers.  I’m also working on unreleased projects, like additions to Atellica and updates to an older product line.

What are some challenges you face in your job and how do you overcome them?

The work done by our UX analysts is very solid and insightful, but there is always a challenge in finding the time, budget, and resources to implement all that great work. We work closely with the development team, and they value our impact to the project. Because of this strong relationship, we are able to overcome any obstacles that may be in the way.

How do you negotiate the political side?

Our department has been around for a long period of time now, and we are a credible and established group, and we don’t see political roadblocks. Basically, people realize we have done great work over the years, and our work is helpful and valuable to the end user. It’s expected that we are a part of the project team.

You mentioned the challenge of getting resources once you’ve done usability studies. How do you overcome that challenge? 

We try to make sure we get usability studies done upfront, because it’s easier to fix and change things earlier in the development cycle than it is later on down the road. It’s a much more manageable process to get agreement for changes in the early stages when concepts are on paper than when they are already in the later validation phases.  Changes can be costly and difficult to implement later in the schedule.  

What is involved in getting usability work done up front?

Our early work includes planning the workflows, getting feedback from customers, usability testing on early wireframes and concept selection for the project. These are just a few examples. We work closely with the development team to ensure the usability work is incorporated into the design.

How do you see your role as a UX Analyst changing in the next couple of years?

I don’t expect my function to drastically change, but I do see bringing in new tools and integrating better practices, like how we deal with mobile technologies and implementing better templates and procedures. As a manager in our department, I want to keep up with the times and keep our team current. We have members of our team go to the UXPA conference, and we make training available to make sure we stay current on new concepts.

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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