I had forgotten what it is like to sit through complete days of training - 7 hours of training split over 4 sessions by 2 tea breaks and lunch. The thought of going through this for 10 straight days at first seemed daunting - one is not used to being exposed to that much knowledge in concentrated form throughout the day, for such a long period anymore.

Funnily, it wasn't just me who was terrified of the course - my project managers - yes I have multiple for some reason - were too. Terrified the applications I currently work on would collapse without me being around to constantly fiddle with them. Can't blame them - I am the only UI resource they have in a rather UI-intense set of applications.

But I am really glad I told them they'd have to just manage without me for 10 days, because I had made up my mind to attend HFI's certification track courses. The 4 courses;

  1. User-Centered Analysis and Conceptual Design
  2. Practical Usability Testing
  3. The Science and Art of Effective Web and Application Design
  4. Putting Research into Practice
all delivered by excellent faculty, was really interesting, and not hard to sit through, even for someone who hasn't attended a full day of classroom sessions in a while. The course content, exercises, and interactive teaching style kept me awake - not as simple as it sounds...

In case you don't already know, Roaches tend to come out once it's dark, and it's a rare, suicidal, breed that ventures out amongst humans during the day. Despite my hard-wired nocturnal preference, just the fact that I was awake and at the venue on time, at 9:30AM everyday (including a Saturday), should be enough for many of you to consider calling the exorcist.

Then there was the excellent lunch - a lavish buffet. That didn't help either. In case you still haven't got the exorcist on the line, you may want to call a dietician instead... But in the end, I gained a lot more than just a couple of extra pounds.

I got to meet lots of interesting people. I established (to myself, most importantly) that I know a thing or two about user-centric design. And I got confirmation of what I have long suspected, thanks to what I do at work - that the world is filled with people who design complex software systems even though they probably shouldn't be trusted with designing a usable butter-knife.

I may not get far in my crusade against bad design at work, because there is only that much a single Roach can do, despite all his incredible-ness. But I can use what I've learned to make this humble site of mine better for all my current and would-be fans out there. I think the satisfaction that will bring me will be far greater.

All in a day's work... Greater (personal and user) satisfaction than this? Easy.