Usability and requirements engineering both provide means for discovering, analyzing, and fulfilling users' needs. In practice, it is difficult to manage and control user-centered design and system development processes separately. Based on a case study conducted in two software product companies, we have aimed to understand the role of usability specialists in the requirements engineering (RE) process. Our findings indicate that usability is still often seen as user interface design instead of a more comprehensive characteristic of a software product. Therefore, usability specialists had difficulties participating in early RE activities. To integrate usability as a natural part of the RE process, the usability teams have started to organize training in their companies. The main purpose of the training is to ensure that usability is not relying solely on the work of specialists but becomes a common responsibility for the whole product development organization.
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