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We continue to introduce you to the members of our international alliance. Joëlle Stemp is a Founder and General Manager at Yu Centrik (Canada). She is based in Montreal, province of Quebec in Canada. 19 years ago she founded Yu Centrik, a UX & Service Design agency. She has been involved in usability, UI, and UX as well as service design for the past 25 years. In this interview we asked Joëlle to talk about her early days in UX, the importance of UX-PM Certification and the prospects for the future of this discipline.
How did you get involved with the professional field of UX?
My journey was odd. I began my career working for a newspaper in France that started designing digital services on a device called Minitel. That was long before the Internet, and this small computer was made available by the French Government to every French citizen so they could access the digital phone book free of charge as well as other Digital services through the phone line. A few years later I moved to Canada and worked right away on some innovative Internet-based services. The Internet was only available to researchers.
My work was very much focused on designing digital services and web user interface first at the University of Montreal, and later at Montreal Computing Research Center. The research center was separated into 2 departments, one which would take care of promoting and designing web services and the other where cognitive psychologists and HCD experts would work on innovative technologies.
Soon I became fascinated with the second, the Human-Centered Design approach, and I asked to be transferred to their department. I was then embedded into this amazing group, at the time the largest HCD research group in Canada. I was learning a lot while working on various digital projects and did some teaching as well about the Human-Centered Design methodology.
How did you start collaborating with UXalliance?
10 years later this UCD group was getting thinner because of multiple government budget cuts, and in 2003, the demand for HCD was higher so I left the research center and decided to start my own company. After a few years, I discovered the UXalliance browsing the Internet and decided to apply to become a member. And here we are today. My company has been part of the UXalliance since 2010.
What benefits do you see in an international alliance?
Being part of this international network of 27 world-leading UX companies has many advantages.
First of all it’s about the people who are part of it. It’s a group of UX experts who share the same passion for understanding and facilitating the use of technology to humans and also the same methodologies. We work together on international projects and have fun being together. This was and still is a real treat for me.
Over 5 years ago, 4 of UXalliance members, myself included, created the UX-PM Certification Program. It’s an international training program that empowers professionals to achieve their professional and business objectives by adopting a Human-Centered Design approach in their practice.
When we started this certification program hardly any university was offering this type of training. We grew and today the UX-PM Certification is offered in 19 countries, and in 12 languages. Of course the training program is sponsored by UXalliance. The instructors are the most experienced UX practitioners who are eager to share their methodologies to help you improve your products and services.
How important is UX-PM Certification for a professional?
It’s relevant to many professionals because they hear about UX, they read how UX is important today when developing products and services, but often they have a very limited perception of what User Experience is really about. It’s more than User Interface and the impact of User Experience is very strategic for the future of many organizations.
Today everybody needs to build the foundations of making informed decisions and well-planned design projects rather than a design or development based only on intuition.
If you want to build a career in User Experience the UX-PM training program makes you go faster in learning how to plan, coordinate and implement UX activities at each project phase (Agile or not) from the initial vision. You’ll explore some essential UX tools as well as understand the importance of defining the right UX metrics to measure to anticipate the outcomes. You can become the UX ambassador of your organization.
The UX fundamentals are a starting point to help you develop a new mindset and better collaborate and communicate with your customers or your end-users and the stakeholders. It is based on shared values, collaboration, and co-creation, and it’s a winning combination.
We’re constantly inspired and motivated by our alumni’s accomplishments, and we’re honored to be part of their success stories. So we know we’re on the right track.
If you are interested in UX-PM, come with an open mind, be curious. UX is for everyone. UX is not owned by UX Designers, so if you are a Product Owner, a Digital Marketing & Project Manager, or a professional who wants to understand the fundamentals of UX, adopt UX methodologies in your projects and encourage a customer-centered design culture in your organization, the UX-PM Certification is for you.
How do you foresee the future of this discipline?
I can see a change in the way organizations perceive Design and UX. They want to assess and increase their level of UX maturity and plan a roadmap to a human-centric transformation, and of course, they want to measure the outcomes. So, as UX professionals we all need to be ready to understand how metrics work and measure the impact of UX in our projects.
I really like a report from McKinsey about the business value of Design and about re-designing the Design department in organizations. It’s a must read. The future participants will better understand how design is related to business outcomes.