Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to common questions on this page:

Why should I care about CPUX certification?
By obtaining CPUX certification you:
  • Objectively demonstrate recognized competence in the areas of usability and user experience.
  • Ensure your fundamental usability and UX knowledge is up-to-date.
  • Get access to advanced certification in specific areas of the discipline, including usability testing, user requirements engineering, interaction specification, information architecture and prototyping, and usability engineering.
  • Ensure that you as stakeholder are familiar with basic usability concepts so you can demonstrate and articulate your knowledge accordingly. CPUX-F certification is appropriate for stakeholders who cooperate with usability professionals and who want to familiarize themselves with the basic concepts and processes of usability engineering. Such stakeholders include project managers, software developers, designers, users, product managers and marketing professionals.
Which types of CPUX certification are available?

Certified Professional for Usability and User Experience – Foundation Level (CPUX-F) is currently available.

The current status of each advanced level could be found on the page advanced levels.

How do I get certified?

The examination consists of 40 multiple-choise questions. To obtain the CPUX-F certificate you must score a minimum of 28 correct answers out of 40. No aids are allowed during the certification test.

Sample CPUX-F test questions.

Certification tests are conducted by an independent, accredited certification provider. CPUX-trainers do not have prior knowledge of test questions. This independent certification increases the credibility of the CPUX-certification.

Although participation in a training course is not compulsory, we recommend preparatory training by a recognized training provider ahead of the certification. Training courses vary in length from 3 hours (a crash-course for people with previous UX experience) to 3 days.

Certification tests are organized by the training provider. The certification test usually takes place on the last day of the training. You may sign up for a public certification test organized by an accredited certification provider without prior training.

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How much does certification cost?

For example: Certification in the UK costs £285 per participant. Some training providers offer a 20% discount on the certification price for members of the UXPA-UK. This price does not include VAT. If you fail a certification test, you can sign up for a re-certification test at approximately half price. There are no student discounts. Current statistics indicate 90% pass the certification test in the first attempt. Training costs an additional £250 to £1.500 depending on the provider and the length of the training. Paid training is not a precondition for certification.

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What do I need to know in order to get certified?

All the terms, concepts and processes you need to know are explained in the publicly available Curriculum and Glossary.

A set of example test questions and answers are supplied for training purpose.

For whom is the CPUX-Foundation level intended?
We have developed the CPUX-F certification for the following target groups:
  • Usability professionals who want to ensure that their fundamental usability and UX knowledge is up-to-date
  • Usability professionals who want to pursue advanced certification in areas such as usability testing, user requirements engineering, information architecture or usability engineering
  • Stakeholders who cooperate with usability professionals and want to familiarize themselves with basic usability terms, concepts and processes so they can demonstrate and articulate their knowledge accordingly. Such stakeholders include project managers, software developers, designers, users, product managers and marketing professionals.
I have worked as a usability professional for several years. Is the CPUX Foundation level certification relevant for me?
Yes, for the following reasons:
  • To ensure your fundamental usability and UX knowledge is up-to-date
  • To judge for yourself what the CPUX certificate is about
  • To gain a personal insight into the CPUX certification process
  • To participate in the discussion about the value of CPUX based on personal experience from certification
  • To act as a role-model for newcomers in usability and UX who are considering certification
Note: The CPUX-F certification test should not be considered straightforward. Please take time to study the publicly available CPUX-F – Public Test Questions (for training purposes) before commencing the certification process.
Can I get certified without taking a training course?

Yes. Participation in a certification test based on self-study is acceptable. Please contact an accredited certification provider and inquire about their public certification test offerings. Recognized training providers can offer places in their certification test even if you don’t participate in their full training schedule.

What is the origin of the CPUX certification?
The proposal for CPUX certification was developed by the German UPA’s “Quality Standards” working group. For more (in German) see: http://www.germanupa.de/aktivitaeten/arbeitskreise/qualitaetsstandards/ In 2002 the UPA International (UPA-I) created a proposal for certification. The usability Body Of Knowledge (BOK, see http://www.usabilitybok.org/) was an important part of this proposal. The proposal was shelved because of resistance from the UPA-I membership. The Board of the German UPA had previously expressed interest in certification. The UPA-I committee decided to let the German UPA continue work on the certification initiative. The German UPA assigned the task to its working group on “Quality Standards” (Arbeitskreis “Qualitätsstandards”). The working group developed, tested and refined the certification documents and founded the UXQB, which is now in charge of certification.
Are there elements of usability not covered by the certification test?
Yes, there are several. Perhaps the most important is social skills. We believe that social skills are difficult to test. We have asked many colleagues how you can test social skills objectively. Until now, we haven’t received any usable suggestions. Social skills should be a part of additional training programs beyond foundation level certification. We strongly support training programs that emphasize the practical application of the methods of usability engineering in analysis, design and evaluation, and also train social skills such as active listening, observation and moderation.
How were the certification test questions tested?
The first set of test questions was tested at the German UPA conference in Chemnitz 2011 with approximately 50 conference participants. We received constructive feedback and were encouraged to continue working on the certification project. The second prototype was tested at the UPA-I conference in Las Vegas in 2012 with approximately 50 conference participants. Participants confirmed that the certification test was both appropriate and relevant. Since then, the curriculum, the glossary and the certification test tasks have been discussed thoroughly in the German UPA’s working group for quality standards. Maintenance and quality assurance of the existing certification documents, and the development of additional certification procedures has now been handed over to the UXQB.
Why are you disregarding design in CPUX-F?
Design constitutes about 25% of the curriculum and we do not consider that it is disregarded. David Benyon, the author of “Designing interactive systems”, starts his design section by saying “Design is messy”. CPUX-F deliberately focuses on the areas and concepts in the design process where the community has a consensus.
Is the title “CPUX” not misleading? After obtaining the CPUX-F you surely cannot be considered a professional. The title suggests competency in User Experience (UX) but this is not tested. Surely, you can only certify competence in usability?

The certification attests that the certificate holder has passed the foundation level certification test. We use the term “professional” in the same meaning as the related certification system for Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering (CPRE). After obtaining their foundation level certification you are not a “professional” but have demonstrated foundation level knowledge. Just like Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering we strive for consistency in the titles. We consider it reasonable to use the uniform titles CPUX-F, CPUX-UT (Usability Testing), CPUX-UR (User Requirements Engineering) and CPUX-M (User Experience Management). A person who is certified as CPUX-F may use the title “Certified Professional for Usability und User Experience – Foundation Level” in full – “Foundation level” must be included.

We are testing UX competency according to the ISO 9241-210 standard, which contains a recognized definition of user experience, which we believe can be tested.

Is practical experience considered in connection with the CPUX certification?
No, we do not check the practical experience of people who want to be certified. Certification solely depends on your abilities to answer certification test questions correctly. We believe that the CPUX-certificate is one of many ways to demonstrate knowledge of the area of Usability and UX alongside other academic qualifications and industrial experience.
Several other organizations offer usability certification. Why should I choose CPUX?
The CPUX certification program is completely transparent. Our curriculum, glossary and a complete set of certification test questions are publicly available at any time. You are clearly informed as to what to expect at every stage of certification. The CPUX certification program is based on recognized standards, in particular the ISO 9241-series. Importantly, it is based on the experience of practitioners with at least 15 years of experience. Gaining an international consensus from these experts is of major importance to us. We are systematically internationalizing CPUX. We work jointly with other professional stakeholders throughout Europe. We plan to continue to improve our certification program based on experience and feedback.
The usability area is complex. Is it really possible to learn the basic concepts in just two days?
We strongly believe in the proverb, “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” We openly present our curriculum, glossary and sample certification test questions. You are then free to form your own personal opinion about our offering. We believe that within two days you can learn enough to participate constructively in discussions about usability within a project. Our motto for the foundation level (CPUX-F) is “Do You Speak Usability?” We consider a two-day course much more useful than the alternative: no course at all. In our experience the main target groups for CPUX-F have at most 2-3 days at their disposal for usability training. Related certification programs like www.ireb.org (requirements engineering) and www.istqb.org (software testing) use a similar approach for their foundation levels. It is important to note that we welcome feedback! We sincerely believe that even certification can benefit from listening carefully to users.
Once the full certification program is available, and I have passed all certification tests, will I be a usability expert?
Expertise only comes from practical experience. It is generally accepted that it takes 5-10 years of work in a specific area before you are recognized as an expert.