Is a UXPA Membership worthwhile?

I’m considering becoming a member of the UXPA. Is anyone on this forum a member? Does anyone have advice one way or another about the membership?

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I’m in UXPA because a lot of my colleagues and professional contacts are too. Other things that I find both interesting and useful are the annual survey results and the excellent UX Magazine. Depending where you live, their conferences and various events are great too. Local chapters are one of the most popular aspects, but many areas don’t have one so your mileage may vary. The UXPA is not very active here in Melbourne.

The UXPA renamed itself (from UPA - Usability Professionals Association) and relaunched their website in 2012. It has a broad view of design that also incorporates IA, UX, Usability, SEO, etc, etc, and seeks to be an umbrella organisation for a range of UX-related specialities.

It’s often compared with the IxDA (Interaction Design Association), a similar professional group with an intentionally specific focus on Interaction Design. Sometimes UXPA and IxDA co-exist in a city, sometimes one of them is the only presence. It’s not uncommon for people to be supportive of both. There’s a great articulation about the similarities and differences on Josh Seiden’s blog.

Personally I get more practical value from IxDA and it’s community, but I like the professional recognition from being a UXPA member.

If neither UXPA or IxDA are present in your town/city, some alternative options are:

  • IAI - Information Architecture Institute, if your interest is strongly in the structural design of shared information environments (especially websites, software and intranets).
  • HFES - Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Mainly in USA, Canada and Europe.
  • AIGA - (previously called ‘American Institute of Graphic Arts’ but now just AIGA). If you have a formal design background and live in the USA, you’ll fit in here.
  • SIGCHI - One of the Association for Computing Machinery’s special interest groups, and a leading organisation in Human Computer Interaction (HCI). Very ergonomics focussed.
  • IEA - International Ergonomics Association. A federation of more than 40 individual ergonomics organisations around the world. It supports ergonomists and ergonomics in developing countries.
  • ]If you’re in Australia, also have a look at CHISIG - a special interest group under HFESA, although it’s really not very active any more.

I wanted to come back to this topic now that it has been a while. I joined the UXPA based on this thread and other feedback. It has been very valuable. The Kansas City chapter of UXPA is fairly active. They/we meet every month and have good presentations. I would definitely recommend finding out about the local chapter’s activity more than anything. The national organization isn’t as useful in this organization right now.


UXPA chapters must often change energy levels, so that’s good feedback to hear, @moshner.

Are you saying the general benefits of UXPA may not be so useful? I see a lot of UXPA chapters promoted on, and a lot of the benefits of my own local chapter are due to the activities and people there, not necessarily because of the UXPA affiliation.

I think the UXPA offers a structure and a common name for people to group around. Yes, it is more about the people but the infrastructure makes a difference.