What is the UK UPA?

Well to start off with,  UK UPA stands for The UK Usability Professionals’ Association. So if you’re not a Usability consultant, this article might not be of much interest to you. But if you are a Usability consultanty and want to know more about the UK UPA, then read on.

The UK UPA is a not-for-profit organisation run exclusively by volunteers, created to organise events with the help of sponsors and partner organisations, for the benefit of the UK User Experience community. So when you take a look at their website and like me start to turn up your nose at how un-sexy it looks given who it’s for, just remember; not-for-profit organisation!

The UK UPA is affiliated with the International Usability Professionals’ Association. To join, you have to pay a fee of either $35 per year for students, or $100 per year (plus $25 joining fee) for professional membership. It’s in dollars because the fees go to the global organisation as opposed to the UK group.

Benefits of joining

They offer a wide range of benefits including networking events, discounts off other UX events and products, UPA members directory, publications such as ‘User Experience Magazine’ and ‘UPA voice’ but I think most of all, in the site’s own words, “they provide a friendly network where usability professionals can share information about techniques and methodologies with like minded people.” On their website they have sections devoted to current jobs available within the market, recommended training and development courses, committee updates and upcoming events (held monthly, where even non-members can go along to for a small fee of £5 for students and £10 for non students). You can even volunteer to be a speaker if that’s your thing!

Whether you’re part of a small collective who have a passion for garden gnomes, or an industry professional within a certain field, it’s always good to know there is an association with like-minded people that you can be a part of to share thoughts, learn from and keep track of what’s new. You don’t have to be a member to be classed as a User Experience Professional, and even as a recruiter it’s not the first think I’d look at when reading through a CV. But if you are passionate about what you do and want to be a part of something that promotes usability, then it’s worth looking into. As for the gnome lovers, perhaps a trip to your local Homebase or B&Q will do!