(This is an open letter to The Association of Computer Machinery)

Dear ACM Events team,

This is a light-hearted constructive criticism of your events sign-up form. It is meant to be helpful.

In a previous life I was an engineer but I went to the light side and became a Human-Computer Interaction professional.

My profession is user-centred designer – user researcher and ux designer.

One of the great things of studying in university was getting access to your wealth of academic research. Since then, I’ve stayed a member of the ACM as I didn’t want to loose that access.

Even though I recognise that your focus (certainly up ’til now) has been computer professionals who write, develop, create technical works, I still stayed a member. I think sometimes UX people feel like the unpopular cousin. 😉

(Aside: I say up ’til now, as I am well aware of the recent update of the ACM Code of Ethics ((Link to ACM Code of Ethics I am also continually amazed by the human-centred design articles, commentary and thoughts that are expressed in the pages of CACM. Not forgetting the Interations magazine.)

Be still my beating ♥

You can imagine my happiness when I saw the below mail that popped into my mailbox – “Register now: March 7 Talk on inclusive UX Design with Google’s Jen Devins and Nithya Sambasivan ((Link to the ACM’s event page!

Finally! The ACM is holding a really interesting talk about my profession. I’ve got to sign-up.

I quickly scrolled to the bottom of the form to get my details submitted, but when it came to my professional role….my heart sank. These are the only professional roles I could find.

No explicit mention of user researcher, user centred designer. All I could do was choose “other”. 🙁

I’ve had the same issue when I’ve registered for other events and talks. The most applicable box(es) I can put myself in are:

  • Researcher – industry
  • Practicioner – Software/Apps Designer/Dev/Eng or
  • Practicioner – systems architect/Designer/Engi

I appreciate that you’ve got statistics, metrics, and other data to run, but I’d argue the data you’re gathering is skewed, as you’re possibly not gathering the right data.

Me, a practictioner – user centred designer, is definitely not the same as Jane, a practictioner – Software Engineer.

What I’d like to suggest

Please consider including some professional roles for human-computer interaction professionals.

If you ask me, the least would be:

  • user researcher and
  • ux designer

I hope you’ll consider my suggestion. Thanks for reading this.



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