Home > Events > Lightning Talks
21 September, 2011

Join us:

UPA Boston is pleased to invite you to an evening of Ten-Minute Talks at Raytheon Billerica. Join the excitement as speakers try to beat the clock to present all of their material!

We hope to see you there!

The Talks – UX is Everywhere!

Just as we suspected – UX is everywhere – our presenters will talk about how usability is sneaking into every corner of the tech world, from web and mobile, through medical devices.  The session will be facilitated by Janet Kyle. 

PAGANism at athenahealth: Pattern Development in the Wild (Web)
by Jannis Brea, athenahealth

Pattern libraries have been proven helpful at places like Yahoo and eBay in establishing a more consistent user experience but seem at odds with agile development processes. Come learn how one irreverent group called PAGAN at athenahealth is currently trying to bridge the gap and what has worked (or not worked) so far.

Visualizing (and Simplifying) Social Networks Using Free Tools (Social Web)
by Lynn Cherny

The follow-follower relations on social networking sites like Twitter can be visualized as network diagrams, but they usually end up looking like giant hairballs. I’ll show how you can use free and open-source tools to diagram and then simplify such networks to make them useful as visuals. I’ll use a network diagram of “information visualization” experts and followers on Twitter as an example and comb the hairball into useful pieces in a few ways, some involving programming, others not.

jQuery Mobile: The Easy Peasy Mobile Development Framework (Mobile)
by Laura Watts 

Overview of jQuery Mobile development framework and how it can help UX professionals quickly prototype mobile sites and apps. What are the tools and skills needed to get up and running? What are the pros and cons? I’ll share that information and a brief demo of a desktop web app translated for mobile — and last, but not least, links to further reading, resources, and tips!

OMG! UX of SMS (Mobile – Tentative)
by Niyati Gupta

You already know… •People send billions of text messages to each other every year, especially teenagers. •Online communication is heavily influenced by abbreviations such as LOL, TTYL etc. •People may not be very tech-savvy but they would definitely be using a mobile phone (maybe even a smart phone). In this talk, I will summarize research related to UX of SMS. I will also share the research findings on teenagers’ impressions of SMS functionality related to receiving SMS job alerts, and the fact that SMS is a highly valued user experience.

Usability of medical devices finally gets respect! (Medical Devices)
by Beth Loring

The Food and Drug Administration has required medical device manufacturers to follow a user-centered design process and incorporate human factors since 2001, and in fact it has been a law since 1997, but until recently a lot of companies either didn’t comply for a variety of reasons. And until recently, the FDA didn’t have the resources to examine every device application for compliance to human factors/usability standards. Now all that has changed. Several factors have come into play to force manufacturers to incorporate usability: A new international standard for usability, more awareness on the part of manufacturers, initiatives to address dangerous products such as infusion pumps, and increased attention and resources at the FDA. I will go over these and make the case for more usability specialists to get involved in the medical industry – job security!

Using the Livescribe Pen in Usability Studies (User Research)
by Dan Berlin

Usability practitioners have many tools at their disposal and the Livescribe pen is one of the newer tools available to us that has proven to be quite effective. It can increase efficiency when collecting quotes, video clips, and qualitative data. A live demonstration along with tips and tricks for using the pen will be provided so that you don’t miss any of those golden quotes. This is not a sales pitch – just a fellow practitioner sharing the pros and cons of the technology.

Leveraging the Powers of Persuasion To Unite Teams Around UX Decisions (Process)
by Michael Hawley, Mad*Pow

Individually, you can be the most brilliant experience designer or strategist in the world. But we all work in teams. If you don’t know how to communicate your ideas effectively and convince others of the merits of your approach, your skills and design ideas are likely to go to waste. Persuasive skills are especially important in experience design – a creative discipline where everyone seems to have an opinion based on their own experiences and preferences. In this 10-minute talk I’ll review recent thinking on persuasive techniques and propose opportunities to apply them to user experience design in a team environment. We’ll only scratch the surface in 10 minutes, so I’ll be sure to leave you with references and pointers to additional reading. Careful, these techniques are powerful – you may find yourself applying them everywhere…

Stacking the odds in your favor: what the UPAi presentations team is looking for (Next Steps)
by Jen McGinn, Oracle

At UPAi 2011, Giles Colborne gave a talk on how to write killer proposals for UPA International conference submissions. In this talk, I’ll review his recommendations and add some of my own, so you have the best shot possible at getting your talk accepted.


Elsevier Book Giveaway

Elsevier has been kind enough to donate 3 books to give away during this session. 3 lucky attendees will walk away with a copy of one of their newest books:


Our Host:  Raytheon Billerica

Special thanks for our host for the evening, Raytheon. 


Wednesday, September 21st

6:00 – 7:00 pm Refreshments & Networking
7:00 – 7:30 pm Announcements
7:30 – 9:00PM Presentations and Q&A

Presenter Bios

Jannis Brea is a User Experience Associate at athenahealth, where she works on developing the pattern library and on UI design. Prior to working at athenahealth, she worked as a student computing technician at Harvard and studied the neuroscience of aesthetics and of language development. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Neurobiology from Harvard University.

Lynn Cherny consults in data mining and statistics, information visualization, and UX for data-centric products. She has 18 years of experience in UX and a Ph.D. in Linguistics that’s turning out to be useful for handling textual data.

Laura Watts has over 10+ years in the UX design and development field. Currently a UX Designer for MIT’s Information Services & Technology department, she collaborates on a wide variety of web app projects (desktop & mobile) for the Institute. Long ago forced by necessity to learn HTML, CSS, and some Javascript, she’s continued to sharpen those skills and explore the latest ways to translate a static design into a functioning app. Laura holds a B.S. in Graphic Design from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and is pursuing a Masters in Human-Computer Interaction at DePaul University.

Niyati Gupta leads the User Experience Research team at Monster.com. She is especially interested in mobile applications and conducts research on Monster’s iPhone, iPad and Android apps. Before joining Monster, she worked as a User Experience Consultant at Bentley University’s Design and Usability Center, and as a Usability Specialist at Human Factors International. Niyati holds a MS degree in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley University and a MA in Social Psychology from Mumbai University, India.

Beth Loring is Director of Research and Usability at Farm and acts as program manager for research and testing-related programs. As a Human Factors specialist with 25 years experience in product design and usability, Beth is an expert in methods for user requirements gathering, user interface design, and usability testing. Beth has worked on the design and evaluation of a wide array of medical products, such as insulin injectors, patient monitors, point-of-care devices, blood chemistry analyzers, and surgical instruments. Clients have included Abbott, Baxter, Cardinal Health, CryoCath, GE, IDEXX, and Philips. Beth holds an MS in Engineering Design from Tufts University and is a certified Human Factors professional. She has authored over 20 publications and is co-author of the book Moderating Usability Tests: Principles and Practices for Interacting with Joseph Dumas (Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2008

Dan Berlin is an Experience Research Director at Mad*Pow. Dan spent 7+ years providing technical support on hard-to-use interfaces then discovered the user experience community and found his calling. After graduating from Bentley University with an MBA & MS in Human Factors in Information Design, he spent the next two years at a digital agency developing a neuromarketing platform and instituting a usability practice. He was on the presentations committee for UPAi 2011, is on the education committee for UPAi 2012, and is the outreach coordinator for UPA Boston. Dan also holds a BA in Psychology from Brandeis University.

Mike Hawley is the Chief Design Officer at Mad*Pow. In this role, Mike leads an incredibly talented group of interaction designers, user researchers, information architects and content strategists to deliver meaningful value to clients in a variety of industries. Mike holds an MS in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley College and a BA from the University of Michigan in Molecular Biology. Yes, Molecular Biology.

Jen McGinn is a Principal User Researcher for Oracle, in Burlington, MA. In addition to being on the Presentations committee for UPAi 2011 and 2012, she is a reviewing editor for the Journal of Usability Studies, has been a CHI reviewer for the last 5 years, and is on the Board of Directors for UPA Boston.

Janet Kyle is an independent consultant specializing in the users’ experience from a design and information architecture perspective. She has been recognized over her career for design innovation and has received awards for leadership as well as building programs that inspire creativity and cater to the human spirit. She holds a Master’s degree in Psychology and is a graduate of Vesper George School of Art. She has also helped clients develop collaborative environments by working with teams that historically haven’t played well together. Outside office hours, Janet is a genealogist and coaches people on reigniting creativity and passion in their lives. Janet is on the board of the Usability Professional Association’s Boston chapter and is co-organizer for Boston Design Jam, 2011.