So US News and World Report, the purveyor of fine business/college related lists, has made a list of the “30 careers that offer strong outlooks and high job satisfaction.” And what made the list? Well, Usability Experience Specialist, of course.

Really?  I mean, seriously?

I’ve secretly always considered my profession to be the Rodney Dangerfield of occupations.  Until, say, the last three years it seemed that for most businesses building a useable product was an afterthought. Technology and developers seemed to carry the process of product development.  It was as if management teams thought: I’ve got a great technology and great developers, so why wouldn’t this produce a great product?

I credit two big things with this seismic shift from a developer oriented product cycle to one driven by user experience: web 2.0 and the iPhone.  Companies like 37signals built great products with that were surprisingly powerful wrapped in a simple to use minimalist design. On the phone side, Apple showed that a phone doesn’t have to be limitted by a numeric keypad and a small screen, but instead can have a rich graphical interface with only 4 physical buttons.   Both of these put the emphasis not only on great technology and the developers behind it, but have also shown a spotlight on how a great user experience and putting the user first can make an incredible difference.

So, as surprised as I am to see my profession finally gaining some deserved praise, I’m happy not only for the UX/UI practitioners out there, but for every person who buys a gadget or engages with a web app in the coming year. Friendly products are ahead!

[thanks to Jenny Chang’s UX Minute Blog for drawing my attention to it.  Had she not added Drync Wine to your clippings, I never would have stumbled upon it! Hooray social media!]