Saturday, January 31, 2009

Kern & HumanCentric join International Usability Partners

HumanCentric (United States) and Kern Communications (India) have joined the International Usability Partners (IUP). The IUP is a network of independent usability companies who have joined together to provide user experience services worldwide.

"With our new partners HumanCentric and Kern Communications we are able to offer our clients improved global reach through one point of contact," says Jakob Biesterfeldt, Manager User Research at UID and founding member of the IUP. "Both partners are leading usability and design companies in their countries as well as experts for global user experience research and design. I am very pleased that they have joined the IUP!"

HumanCentric and Kern Communications join with international usability companies from seven other countries: China, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. Providing standardized usability research, testing and design for markets all over the world, these nine companies will establish the gold standard for product usability design and testing.

"I am pleased to join the IUP," says Barry Beith president and CEO, HumanCentric. "Being part of an international network of usability researchers allows us to provide more efficient cross-cultural usability testing to our clients."

"Healthcare, education, communication, and consumer products will need to undergo a lot of change, if they have to be designed for India," says Ripul Kumar, Director User Research, Kern Communications. "As the world is looking at India for the next billion consumers, Kern will help IUP clients across the globe understand user behavior in India."

The IUP have collaborated in dozens of international projects in more than 30 countries on all five continents. Clients include Expedia, RIM, Microsoft, Samsung, and eBay.

The network establishes guidelines for international cross-cultural user research through collaborative research projects. In recent studies the IUP has highlighted cultural differences in the usage of social networks, developed guidelines for the recruitment of user research participants and studied how users perform transactions with their mobile devices in Europe and China. To ensure a close collaboration among IUP members and a highly efficient management of international projects, the IUP have started an "exchange program" in which employees of one member company work at another member company for a certain period of time. In 2008, a consultant of the German IUP member "User Interface Design GmbH" worked at the Chinese partner company "ISAR UID" for a period of 9 months and enabled therefore a smooth and fast flow of information between both IUP members and their clients.

About International Usability Partners: IUP is a network of equals, run by all partners for their clients' benefit. Each partner is an expert in global user-experience research and design, specializing in the cultural and linguistic characteristics of their home country. "IUP quality" stands for companies that offer world-class user experience services of consistently high quality in a reliable and efficient manner. All IUP members have a common understanding of the methods, processes and scientific background of the field of user experience (human-computer interaction).

IUP members have effective quality assurance and process improvement programs in place as well as regular professional training for their staff. Members also have state of the art equipment and tools that facilitate in-house and mobile user research. Facilities are conveniently located around the world in 14 cities including: Chicago, Helsinki, Hyderabad, London, Paris, Torino, Munich, and Beijing.

Contact info: Ian Collingwood, Managing Director, Amberlight Partners Ltd.

About HumanCentric: HumanCentric, Inc. is an integrated design and development company headquartered in Cary, North Carolina, with a foundation based on the commitment to make user-friendly products by studying and understanding the end user. HumanCentric leverages Human Factors, Design Research, Industrial Design, Graphic and Interaction Design and Design Engineering to simplify and enhance user experiences.

With offices in Cary, North Carolina, and Chicago, Illinois, the team of multidisciplinary design professionals is dedicated to working in an environment focused on the client, the product and the end user.

HumanCentric's facilities have a total of 19,500 square feet of office space, including three state-of-the-art usability laboratories, a design studio and prototyping workshop. At HumanCentric, the goal is to understand the user experience and use that understanding to develop intuitive and sophisticated products, systems and environments.

About Kern Communications: Kern is a leading usability consulting and user research company in India. Kern works with large financial institutions, start-ups, established software product companies, online gaming companies, and mobile phone makers to help them innovate for Indian users. Kern's strengths lie in understanding user behavior and translating it to innovative solutions.

Though Kern's fully digital usability testing lab is located in Hyderabad, Kern can run ethnographic studies, participatory design workshops, or usability testing in any city, town, or village in India in any Indian language.

1 comment:

Rashmi said...

Congratulations, this is great news.
Collaborations & networks are the keys to business success; excellent step in that direction!