This presentation gives a short introduction to some UMMs (usability maturity models), after which it delves into the experiences from recent case studies conducted during the last year in Tampere University of Technology. Some fundamental questions about how to organize one’s own usability efforts are raised, while answering these questions is mainly left for being discussed with the audience.
Organizations consistent ability to create products that have good usability can be defined as the usability maturity of that organization. This ability can be viewed either by evaluating the product itself and/or evaluating the processes by which the product is produced. This presentation is an introduction to evaluating the user centeredness of an organization’s product development processes and infrastructure.
Different usability maturity models start with an assumption that there is an ideal process to design highly usable products, and that the organization’s processes can be evaluated against this ideal to define the maturity of the organization. Evaluations can be carried out to identify what parts of the process are the most important ones to be developed. Sometimes the motivation can be a need to prove the capability of the organization to customers or other outsiders. The motivation steers the way the evaluation is carried out, particularly the level of formalism in the evaluation process.
UMM’s have been developed both separately and in parallel with software process quality models, like CMM or SPICE. They offer a possibility to fruitfully evaluate and discuss the way that an organization is dealing with usability issues but many of them are at their best only when the desired level is relatively high and also the starting level of the organization is already somewhere higher than what the reality in many organizations is at the moment.