Home > Events > Smorgasbord
17 October, 2012

Join us:

As per usual, please RSVP at http://uxsmorgasbord.eventbrite.com

UXPA Boston is pleased to invite you to our monthly meeting at Autodesk in Waltham for a Smörgåsbord of exciting short talks.


Seven speakers have agreed to reprise their Ignite talks from UXPA 2012, but there is room for more. Short talks of all manner are welcome. Submit your proposal here:



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

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

Ignite 1 – Jen McGinn (User Research)

Jen McGinn describes several options for conducting usability tests with inexpensive (or free!) tools.

Jen is currently leading the user research for several products, including cloud.oracle.com and Oracle Social Network. Jen is a reviewing editor for the Journal of Usability Studies, on the Board of Directors for UPA Boston, and is a member of the UPAi 2012 conference committee. You can follow Jen on Twitter at @jenmcginn.

Ignite 2 – Katherine Wahl (User Research)

User Research on the Cheap: The user interview: the only real cost is your time.

Katherine Wahl is an internal usability consultant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she has worked for the last five years on a range of projects from very small Web sites to enterprise wide applications. Katherine’s recent work focuses on usability research and evaluation using a variety of methods and a modest budget. She has more than fifteen years of experience in project management, communications, and Web site development across of range of industries. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Villanova University and Master’s degree in Policy Science from the UMBC.


Ignite 3 – Dan Berlin (Social Media Strategy)

Dan Berlin shares advice on developing your content strategy for social media.

Dan is an Experience Research Director at Mad*Pow. He received a BA in Psychology from Brandeis University and then spent seven years supporting hard-to-use interfaces at a cable technology firm. After sitting as a participant in a usability study, Dan realized his calling. He then made the jump into the world of usability and enrolled in Bentley University’s MBA and MS in Human Factors in Information Design program. Dan spent his first two years in the field at a digital marketing agency building a usability research practice and investigating neuromarketing techniques. After striking out as a consultant for a while, Dan found his new home at Mad*Pow. He is on the education committee for UPA 2012, is a repeat guest lecturer at Endicott College, and has presented at both local and international UPA conferences. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @banderlin.

Ignite 4 – Bob Thomas (Mentorship)

Being a successful mentor requires an organization’s support for a mentorship program; getting buy-in from all parties before committing to a mentoring project; structuring the mentor-mentee relationship to the benefit of everyone involved; and pinpointing the methodology or best practices for mentoring. How can you make mentoring work for you?

Mentoring is different from managing. It’s different from teaching. These are important skills to have, but they usually involve managing projects and people, or teaching skills and behaviors. They maintain a manageable status quo or have a limited scope. On the other hand, mentoring involves a social contract, where the mentor wants to set up a one-to-one relationship to effect a change in the person being mentored. As a mentor, you want to bring the mentee to a higher level, say from a Junior Designer to a Senior Interaction Designer, a Business Analyst to a Usability Researcher, or a nervous User Experience (UX) Practitioner to a confident UX Moderator.

In this presentation, Bob Thomas will explain his “Five Rules for Mentoring New User Experience Professionals.”

Bob Thomas is Manager of User Experience at Liberty Mutual, where he has worked to expand usability best practices and build out a user experience team. His background includes usability research, usability testing, graphic design, and product management, and he has over 20 years of experience in the technology industry. Bob holds an MS in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley College, an MBA from Suffolk University, and a Bachelors in English from the University of Nebraska. His current interests include integrating web analytics and market research into the usability process. You can follow Bob on Twitter at @bobthomas.

Ignite 5 – Michael Ryan (Mentorship)

Mike has had a number of mentors who have influenced his UX career over the last decade. He will share tips to mentees by exploring the following questions: 1) Why should I get a mentor? 2) What are the different kinds of mentor relationships? 3) Where do I find a mentor? 4) How do I choose a mentor? 5) What should I expect from the relationship? 6) How do I engage with my mentor? 7) How can I give back?

Michael Ryan is Principal User Experience Engineer who performs user research for Liberty Mutual. Michael has been working in user experience since 1995 for companies including Thomson Reuters, Trend Micro, HP, Staples, Welch’s, Keds, and The MathWorks. He graduated from Bentley University’s Master’s Program in Human Factors and Information Design in May 2008. He is an active member in UXPA Boston and Boston CHI and has presented at Boston UXPA and UXPA International conferences. You can follow Michael on Twitter at @ryaninteractive.

Ignite 6 – Jen McGinn (Mentorship)

Jen McGinn shares her past successes and failures as both a mentee and a mentor.

Jen is currently leading the user research for several products, including cloud.oracle.com and Oracle Social Network. Jen is a reviewing editor for the Journal of Usability Studies, on the Board of Directors for UPA Boston, and is a member of the UPAi 2012 conference committee. You can follow Jen on Twitter at @jenmcginn.

Ignite 7 – Susan Mercer (Mentorship)

Susan Mercer shares her perspective on informal mentoring, including what makes a good mentor and mentee.

Currently a Senior Experience Researcher at Mad*Pow, Susan previously worked in the Design and Usability Center at Bentley University, while earning her M.S. in Human Factors in Information Design. Prior to that, she worked as a Product Manager for Constant Contact. Susan is an old hat at consulting, and has worked with clients ranging from startups to Fortune 500 firms. She has experience in online education, retail, business services, financial products, and healthcare industries.