Usability Professionals Association (UPA) Rebrands as UXPA

The Usability Professionals Association announced at its annual conference on June 5, that the organization is changing its name to “The User Experience Professionals Association”, or UXPA , to reflect its broader constituency and mission.  “The UPA has long been the authoritative source for practitioners who research, design, and evaluate products and services. While we recognize our roots in usability, we feel that our mission and vision are better represented by the broader User Experience umbrella,” said Rich Gunther, UXPA president.

The name change comes amidst an ongoing rebranding and reinvention of the organization, which comprises over 10,000 international and local professionals in 40 countries. “While we historically have focused on evaluation of products and services, mainly usability testing and expert review of products, we are seeing increased interest from our members in upfront field and ethnographic research, as well as design methods and theory. Furthermore, many of our members are increasingly involved in User Experience Strategy. Our new organizational model allows us to deliver content on all four of these pillars: Research, Design, Evaluation, and Strategy,”, said Carol Smith, UXPA Vice President.

In remarks to the annual meeting UXPA Treasurer Ronnie Battista noted “The broader term User Experience has become the global de facto business term.”  Further  in explaining the rationale and decision-making process, Battista said “If there is any organization equipped to embrace the new, I think it’s us. And while we have had some missteps along the way, we have been making great strides in other areas.”

UXPA plans to deliver “compelling benefits to their members,” such as developing a new website, expanding conference and professional development offerings, and offering a variety of Special Interest Groups in areas ranging from Healthcare to eGovernment User Experience. The organization’s quarterly magazine, “UX Magazine”, will now also be offered in an online format. “Our members value the social, professional network that UXPA provides, as well as the professional development and educational opportunities. We intend to use the website and our events as a conduit for these things,” said Amy Kidd, UXPA Director of Events. Cory Lebson, UXPA Director of Strategic Partnerships, noted that “We are hoping to use this name change as a way to reach out to, and more closely align with, other like-minded organizations.”

In an open letter to UPA members, Gunther notes “This much is clear: the turf war stops here. It must. We can spend the next ten years arguing which sub-discipline “owns” User Experience, but it won’t come to anything. I call on my counterparts in all other UX-related professional organizations to look at ways we can work together. This is not a power play or land grab. ”  He extended to members of  other professional organizations, such as IxDA, ACM-SIGCHI, AIGA, IAI/ASIS&T, STC, HFES, British HCI, APCHI, the Service Design Network,  to discuss cooperative and collaborative efforts with “a goal towards a loose confederation of organizations that doesn’t ‘unite’ us so much as it connects us.”

The UXPA operates chapters in a number of cities and countries around the world. A number of these chapters will also be undergoing rebranding and alignment with the new international body.  Visit the UXPA website (note:  the revamped website is still in design, so the current site uses UPA branding) or read the full press release.


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