CUA of the Month – January, 2010

Clare De Cleene
"As a CUA, you need to face people who outrank you and explain in a tactful way that you are there on behalf of the user. That this is not about ego trips – you're the rep of your site's audience because they're not there to do it themselves."

"You have to get across basic user-centered design concepts and principles, bring out the data, bring out the research and information, and try to convince the powers that be that the site is there for one purpose – to serve the user."
Clare De Cleene
Web Communications Manager
U.S. Courts Administrative Office

Usability Has Its Day in Court: Bringing a passion for user experience to the federal judiciary

by Douglas Gorney

Clare De Cleene is the Web Communications Manager at the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AO), an agency in Washington D.C. established to assist the federal courts throughout the country by coordinating judiciary wide policy, budget, and administrative activities. As such, she manages two mission-critical intranet sites. That both sites reflect best practices of user centered design shouldn't be surprising, considering Clare's years of advocacy and practice of user experience.

"When I was tasked to put some order to the AO's web program 10 years ago, however," she says, "we had no repeatable processes, no procedures, no policies, no standards, nothing. And I knew next to nothing about running a Web program. I'd been a librarian and a project manager – suddenly I had responsibility for the AO's entire web strategy."

In those early days of the Web, Clare felt like a pioneer. There were relatively few people who knew anything about online strategies or user-centered design, much less who'd been trained in it. "But I'm an opportunist. I wasn't shy about asking for everything I thought I might need: staff, support and a budget for consulting and training."

"One of the first things I did was to get an outside review of our online program," said Clare, "of the web sites themselves, and our technical infrastructure. Was the technology going to support what we needed to do? Were our staffing structure and levels appropriate?"

Clare had HFI come in to do a major assessment. She worked with them closely, watching HFI's UX practitioners perform a heuristic review, test the AO's sites at individual federal courts throughout the country, record benchmark results and retest to look for improvements, using the process to learn as much as she could about user-centered design.

"It was a grand opportunity," Clare says. The experience convinced her that user-centered design could help her create a better online experience for all court employees using the AO's sites. So Clare soon took HFI classes herself, passed the Certified Usability Analyst examination and became a CUA.

HFI's assessment gave the AO important feedback on how to improve its technical platform, telling them they should upgrade their statistics software and invest in more servers (for redundancy) and in content management software (CMS).

"At the time a CMS was 'bleeding edge' technology," says Clare. "I didn't know better, so I jumped into it. The content management software greatly helped us standardize during the migration of content when we initiated the redesign of our two intranet sites – the J-Net, the AO's 80,000 page intranet for all federal courts, and the AO-Web, the AO's 10,000 page intranet for AO staff. It was no small job, as you might imagine. We spent many, many hours cleaning up the language and formatting to make it Web-friendly. If our content is dense and dull – written like a law – no one will read it!"

Clare's focused, user-centered design strategy has resulted in two highly effective intranet sites with innovative features that have drawn rave reviews. A series of eight videos posted on the J-Net site to orient its users won the Telly Awards bronze medal for employee communications. Clare was also asked to be a judge for the (federal government) Web Content Managers Best Practices Awards.

Clare's management style is strategic – she takes advantage of every opportunity to make sure her technical and content teams are fully staffed ("We have always been in a growth mode," she says) and fully trained to address the agency's emerging web issues.

"I thought, if HFI user-centered training was so good for me, I should offer courses for AO staff who create web content." Clare pulled strings for a special training budget to offer these courses, many conducted by HFI. She strongly encourages employees to get their CUA certification and offers ongoing, advanced UX courses, too. She also makes sure other stakeholders at the Administrative Office understand critical aspects of her user-centered design program.

"As we performed the J-Net and AOWeb migrations, we offered courses to staffers whose pages were affected, explaining why their content was being migrated into a centrally administered, uniform architecture and design. We showed them how to design for new content and test it. We needed stakeholders to understand our online strategy. Program managers now realize that their web pages are their single most important vehicle for shaping the message they need to get out to the courts. That helps them, but it also helps us a great deal."

Clare and the AO's Web program have come a long way since she was asked to make sense of several barely usable sites. At every step, she has taken full advantage of her HFI training and the UX resources that Human Factors made available to her. She feels she could not have succeeded without them.

"When I came into this job I had never done anything like this. But in managing the Web program I felt like I finally found what I really, really enjoy doing. This is my passion. Plus, I've essentially been getting a data dump from the brains of top usability experts, like those at HFI. After ten years of doing that, I'm good now."

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

Privacy policy

Reviewed: 18 Mar 2014

This Privacy Policy governs the manner in which Human Factors International, Inc., an Iowa corporation (“HFI”) collects, uses, maintains and discloses information collected from users (each, a “User”) of its humanfactors.com website and any derivative or affiliated websites on which this Privacy Policy is posted (collectively, the “Website”). HFI reserves the right, at its discretion, to change, modify, add or remove portions of this Privacy Policy at any time by posting such changes to this page. You understand that you have the affirmative obligation to check this Privacy Policy periodically for changes, and you hereby agree to periodically review this Privacy Policy for such changes. The continued use of the Website following the posting of changes to this Privacy Policy constitutes an acceptance of those changes.

Cookies

HFI may use “cookies” or “web beacons” to track how Users use the Website. A cookie is a piece of software that a web server can store on Users’ PCs and use to identify Users should they visit the Website again. Users may adjust their web browser software if they do not wish to accept cookies. To withdraw your consent after accepting a cookie, delete the cookie from your computer.

Privacy

HFI believes that every User should know how it utilizes the information collected from Users. The Website is not directed at children under 13 years of age, and HFI does not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from children under 13 years of age online. Please note that the Website may contain links to other websites. These linked sites may not be operated or controlled by HFI. HFI is not responsible for the privacy practices of these or any other websites, and you access these websites entirely at your own risk. HFI recommends that you review the privacy practices of any other websites that you choose to visit.

HFI is based, and this website is hosted, in the United States of America. If User is from the European Union or other regions of the world with laws governing data collection and use that may differ from U.S. law and User is registering an account on the Website, visiting the Website, purchasing products or services from HFI or the Website, or otherwise using the Website, please note that any personally identifiable information that User provides to HFI will be transferred to the United States. Any such personally identifiable information provided will be processed and stored in the United States by HFI or a service provider acting on its behalf. By providing your personally identifiable information, User hereby specifically and expressly consents to such transfer and processing and the uses and disclosures set forth herein.

In the course of its business, HFI may perform expert reviews, usability testing, and other consulting work where personal privacy is a concern. HFI believes in the importance of protecting personal information, and may use measures to provide this protection, including, but not limited to, using consent forms for participants or “dummy” test data.

The Information HFI Collects

Users browsing the Website without registering an account or affirmatively providing personally identifiable information to HFI do so anonymously. Otherwise, HFI may collect personally identifiable information from Users in a variety of ways. Personally identifiable information may include, without limitation, (i)contact data (such as a User’s name, mailing and e-mail addresses, and phone number); (ii)demographic data (such as a User’s zip code, age and income); (iii) financial information collected to process purchases made from HFI via the Website or otherwise (such as credit card, debit card or other payment information); (iv) other information requested during the account registration process; and (v) other information requested by our service vendors in order to provide their services. If a User communicates with HFI by e-mail or otherwise, posts messages to any forums, completes online forms, surveys or entries or otherwise interacts with or uses the features on the Website, any information provided in such communications may be collected by HFI. HFI may also collect information about how Users use the Website, for example, by tracking the number of unique views received by the pages of the Website, or the domains and IP addresses from which Users originate. While not all of the information that HFI collects from Users is personally identifiable, it may be associated with personally identifiable information that Users provide HFI through the Website or otherwise. HFI may provide ways that the User can opt out of receiving certain information from HFI. If the User opts out of certain services, User information may still be collected for those services to which the User elects to subscribe. For those elected services, this Privacy Policy will apply.

How HFI Uses Information

HFI may use personally identifiable information collected through the Website for the specific purposes for which the information was collected, to process purchases and sales of products or services offered via the Website if any, to contact Users regarding products and services offered by HFI, its parent, subsidiary and other related companies in order to otherwise to enhance Users’ experience with HFI. HFI may also use information collected through the Website for research regarding the effectiveness of the Website and the business planning, marketing, advertising and sales efforts of HFI. HFI does not sell any User information under any circumstances.

Disclosure of Information

HFI may disclose personally identifiable information collected from Users to its parent, subsidiary and other related companies to use the information for the purposes outlined above, as necessary to provide the services offered by HFI and to provide the Website itself, and for the specific purposes for which the information was collected. HFI may disclose personally identifiable information at the request of law enforcement or governmental agencies or in response to subpoenas, court orders or other legal process, to establish, protect or exercise HFI’s legal or other rights or to defend against a legal claim or as otherwise required or allowed by law. HFI may disclose personally identifiable information in order to protect the rights, property or safety of a User or any other person. HFI may disclose personally identifiable information to investigate or prevent a violation by User of any contractual or other relationship with HFI or the perpetration of any illegal or harmful activity. HFI may also disclose aggregate, anonymous data based on information collected from Users to investors and potential partners. Finally, HFI may disclose or transfer personally identifiable information collected from Users in connection with or in contemplation of a sale of its assets or business or a merger, consolidation or other reorganization of its business.

Personal Information as Provided by User

If a User includes such User’s personally identifiable information as part of the User posting to the Website, such information may be made available to any parties using the Website. HFI does not edit or otherwise remove such information from User information before it is posted on the Website. If a User does not wish to have such User’s personally identifiable information made available in this manner, such User must remove any such information before posting. HFI is not liable for any damages caused or incurred due to personally identifiable information made available in the foregoing manners. For example, a User posts on an HFI-administered forum would be considered Personal Information as provided by User and subject to the terms of this section.

Security of Information

Information about Users that is maintained on HFI’s systems or those of its service providers is protected using industry standard security measures. However, no security measures are perfect or impenetrable, and HFI cannot guarantee that the information submitted to, maintained on or transmitted from its systems will be completely secure. HFI is not responsible for the circumvention of any privacy settings or security measures relating to the Website by any Users or third parties.

Correcting, Updating, Accessing or Removing Personal Information

If a User’s personally identifiable information changes, or if a User no longer desires to receive non-account specific information from HFI, HFI will endeavor to provide a way to correct, update and/or remove that User’s previously-provided personal data. This can be done by emailing a request to HFI at hfi@humanfactors.com. Additionally, you may request access to the personally identifiable information as collected by HFI by sending a request to HFI as set forth above. Please note that in certain circumstances, HFI may not be able to completely remove a User’s information from its systems. For example, HFI may retain a User’s personal information for legitimate business purposes, if it may be necessary to prevent fraud or future abuse, for account recovery purposes, if required by law or as retained in HFI’s data backup systems or cached or archived pages. All retained personally identifiable information will continue to be subject to the terms of the Privacy Policy to which the User has previously agreed.

Contacting HFI

If you have any questions or comments about this Privacy Policy, you may contact HFI via any of the following methods:
Human Factors International, Inc.
PO Box 2020
1680 highway 1, STE 3600
Fairfield IA 52556
hfi@humanfactors.com
(800) 242-4480

Terms and Conditions for Public Training Courses

Reviewed: 18 Mar 2014

Cancellation of Course by HFI

HFI reserves the right to cancel any course up to 14 (fourteen) days prior to the first day of the course. Registrants will be promptly notified and will receive a full refund or be transferred to the equivalent class of their choice within a 12-month period. HFI is not responsible for travel expenses or any costs that may be incurred as a result of cancellations.

Cancellation of Course by Participants (All regions except India)

$100 processing fee if cancelling within two weeks of course start date.

Cancellation / Transfer by Participants (India)

4 Pack + Exam registration: Rs. 10,000 per participant processing fee (to be paid by the participant) if cancelling or transferring the course (4 Pack-CUA/CXA) registration before three weeks from the course start date. No refund or carry forward of the course fees if cancelling or transferring the course registration within three weeks before the course start date.

Individual Modules: Rs. 3,000 per participant ‘per module’ processing fee (to be paid by the participant) if cancelling or transferring the course (any Individual HFI course) registration before three weeks from the course start date. No refund or carry forward of the course fees if cancelling or transferring the course registration within three weeks before the course start date.

Exam: Rs. 3,000 per participant processing fee (to be paid by the participant) if cancelling or transferring the pre agreed CUA/CXA exam date before three weeks from the examination date. No refund or carry forward of the exam fees if requesting/cancelling or transferring the CUA/CXA exam within three weeks before the examination date.

No Recording Permitted

There will be no audio or video recording allowed in class. Students who have any disability that might affect their performance in this class are encouraged to speak with the instructor at the beginning of the class.

Course Materials Copyright

The course and training materials and all other handouts provided by HFI during the course are published, copyrighted works proprietary and owned exclusively by HFI. The course participant does not acquire title nor ownership rights in any of these materials. Further the course participant agrees not to reproduce, modify, and/or convert to electronic format (i.e., softcopy) any of the materials received from or provided by HFI. The materials provided in the class are for the sole use of the class participant. HFI does not provide the materials in electronic format to the participants in public or onsite courses.