Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


A comparative study on the competence
of usability professionals-the empirical
approach and the idealistic approach

SATO Daisuke*1, KUROSU Masaaki*1, TAKAHASHI Masaaki*2,

(The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Department of Cyber Society and Culture*1,
Japan Technical Communicators*2)


Usability, Human Centered Design, Usability Professional, Competence

Corresponding to the needs for human resource development in the usability engineering, this study intends to clarify a set of competence discuss the distinction of competence which stems from two contrasting approaches, an empirical approach that this study employs and the idealistic approach that previous studies have employed. This led us to the definition of competence necessary for usability professionals.

The first version of the list of usability competence was created based on the two semi-structured interviews for managers of usability-related industries. Then, this list was analyzed and validated by the questionnaire, which resulted in the modification of the first list. Further discussion on this second version led us to the third version of the list composed of 60 items that were then classified into seven categories. The list covers all aspects of the competence at multiple levels, from primitive abilities to practical activities.

By putting the different weights to the third version of the list against the lists proposed in other studies, we could clarify the characteristics or trends of each competence list. It was revealed that the empirical approach that this study employed was confirmed as effective.