A colleague in our office recently underwent Human Factors' usability imporovement ceterification. She proudly published the link to her certificate on MSN Messenger.
A software company in Bangalore that I was dealing with was very excited about their Human Factors certification.
A colleague in the US who was part of the Flora2000 usability redesign team in 2004 also went thru Human Factors training and told me how her market rate has increased.
And recently the no. 1 newspaper in India, The Times of India, proudly advertised their newly redesigned website in their print edition boasting how good it was and that Human Factors had redone it.
Want to rush in for Human Factors' training?
Now the fact, the sad fact, is that Human Factors' own website is extremely poorly designed, something that both my colleagues who underwent the course agreed. The Times of India is also a very poorly designed site, cluttered and with space wastage. Ditto with the company in Bangalore whose own website at that time was poorly designed.
Look at the New York Times site and compare it to Times of India; NYT is a clean, readable site, with attention paid to details such as spacing between letters to improve readability; TOI is extremely cluttered with everything shouting: click me 1st.
Who are these Human Factor people? Well they are experts at hype. They have published reams of papers and given seminars on their usability improvement techniques, they proudly label their technique the Schaffer- Weinschenk Method after their founders and pitch it as the leading usability improvement technique in the world. Unfortunately, whatever that technique is, it does not produce stylish, uncluttered, easy on the eyes websites. Their websites all have the look from sites we used to see in 1999 - 2000 with only a focus on information rather than the readability of the information.
This is what happens when you fall for hype instead of using your common sense.On one side is Human Factor's own poorly designed website and their poorly designed flagship projects: Staples.com; TimesofIndia.com, etc, on the other side is their own hype about how good they are. And you go fall for the hype.