Top ten things you should know about the Common Industry Format (CIF)

For product suppliers

  1. Do: Explain the CIF to your development team. Make sure they understand how this is different from a formative evaluation and why the report looks like it does.
  2. Do: Use the CIF for the benchmark studies of your product. The CIF is designed for these types of summative studies.
  3. Do: Encourage your customers to do their own testing of your product, using their specific user populations and tasks.
  4. Do: Consider hiring an external firm to conduct your product’s benchmark study. Doing so adds credibility to the results with your customers.
  5. Do: To avoid having two reports for internal vs. external audiences, isolate sections of the report that are for internal use only vs. those for product consumers.
  6. Do: Make the connection between the measures in the CIF and success for the business case of the product, both for suppliers and customers.
  7. Do: Get the necessary management /legal approvals to release the CIF to customers.
  8. Don’t: Use the CIF for iterative usability studies. The CIF is not designed for studies whose aim is to find and fix problems with a product feature.
  9. Don’t: Rely on a single study of your product using the CIF at the end of the product development cycle. Because the CIF is not designed to find problems during development, you need to do iterative usability studies throughout the product’s creation to find and fix problems.

More information at Top ten things you should know about the CIF.