Home > Events > Usability and User Experience 2010
09 June, 2010

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Ninth Annual Usability and User Experience conference took place on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at Bentley University. The conference had four simultaneous tracks, giving attendees a choice of over 30 presentations, relevant to thought-leaders, designers, developers, usability professionals, usability novices, and others.

Presentation Abstracts and Biographies

Did you see that thing? An Eye-Tracking Experiment on the Reliability of Self-Reported Awareness Measures

Presenters: Bill Albert and Donna Tedesco

(Lecture; Research and Practice; General)

Participants in a usability evaluation are often asked whether they noticed certain elements after some level of interaction with a design. Have you ever wondered if what participants say they noticed is reliable? Or, if there are certain situations in which participants’ self-reported awareness is more or less reliable? In this talk we will be presenting a series of eye tracking experiments to answer these basic questions. This presentation is drawn from a recently published article in the Journal of Usability Studies (February, 2010).

In the study, 80 participants were shown 20 popular homepages for 7 seconds each and then asked afterwards if they saw 2 particular elements on each page. Half of the participants were asked whether they looked at a particular object. Half of the participants were asked how much time they spent looking at the object. Their responses were validated against their number and duration of eye fixations.

The results suggest that self-reported awareness measures are reliable in usability testing, but may vary depending on question structure and object type. Specifically:

• Usability practitioners should feel confident in collecting self-reported awareness measures from participants.
• If a practitioner wants to minimize the chance of making an incorrect conclusion, they should use a continuous (5- or 7-point) scale for self-reported awareness.
• If a practitioner wants to maximize the likelihood of confirming that a participant did or did not see an element, they should use a discrete set of questions for self reported awareness.
• Participants are more reliable in their self-reported awareness for navigation and image elements, than functional elements, regardless of question structure.

The audience will be involved by having a discussion on the reliability of self-reported awareness, currently accepted best practices, and answering specific question related to our study.

Bios: Bill Albert is Director of the Design and Usability Center and an Adjunct Professor in the graduate program in Human Factors in Information Design at Bentley University. Prior to joining Bentley, Bill was Director of User Experience at Fidelity Investments, Senior User Interface Researcher at Lycos, and Post-Doctoral Research Scientist at Nissan Cambridge Basic Research. Bill has published and presented his research at more than thirty national and international conferences. He co-authored (with Tom Tullis) the first ever book on usability metrics, Measuring the User Experience: Collecting, Analyzing, and Presenting Usability Metrics. More recently he co-authored (with Tom Tullis and Donna Tedesco), Beyond the Usability Lab: Conducting Large-Scale Online User Experience Studies. His research interests include user experience metrics, eye tracking, and the usability of health care technology. He holds a Ph.D. from Boston University in Geography (Spatial Cognition).

Donna Tedesco is a Senior Usability Specialist on the Usability and User Insight team at Fidelity Investments. She is co-author (with Bill Albert and Tom Tullis) of the book, Beyond the Usability Lab: Conducting Large-scale Online User Experience Studies. Donna received a B.A. in Engineering Psychology from Tufts University and an M.A. in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley University. She has published and presented at national and international UPA and CHI conferences.

The Power of Focus Groups in Design Research

Presenter: Kay Corry Aubrey

Out of the box; Research and Practice; Introductory

• When it’s appropriate to run focus groups (dispelling some myths and showing when and how it can work)
• Where insights from focus groups fit into design research (capturing user trends, perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes on a product or service)
• How to plan a group (putting together the moderator guide, crafting questions, designing activities, strategic use of group process)
• What it takes to be a good moderator (and how being a good moderator also makes you a better interviewer)
• How to deal with issues (keeping people on topic, ensuring no one dominates)

What you can expect to learn:
• Gain an accurate understanding of the type of user insights focus groups produce
• Where focus groups fit into Usability and UI Design
• How to create hybrid studies that combine focus groups with usability testing, card sorts and other traditional research methods
• Skills you need to run them
• Where you can go to learn these (Kay will provide a bibliography of resources)

To help you absorb her talk and get a visceral experience of the power of focus groups, Kay will conclude her presentation with a mini-focus group with 8-12 volunteers from the audience. The group will discuss content ideas for the UPA NH Web site.

Bio: Kay has worked in usability research and user experience design for almost 2 decades. She specializes in usability research and focus group moderation for technology through her consulting business Usability Resources Inc. Kay has done usability research for a range of organizations that include AT&T, Raytheon, the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Mayo Clinic, Citrix, and Memento. She is delighted that her customers see how well-designed qualitative research impacts their bottom line. You can learn more about Kay’s background on her Website: http://www.usabilityresources.net/

Beyond the Voice of the Consumer: Neuromarketing Insights into Patient Engagement with Pharmaceutical Brand Web Sites

Presenters: Dan Berlin and Jeremi Karnell

Lecture; Research and Practice; Advanced

OTOinsights, in collaboration with One to One Health, conducted a neuromarketing competitive benchmark study for web sites in the allergy therapeutic category. Fifteen participants who suffer from seasonal allergies were brought into our Quantemo neuromarketing lab and shown eight different static web pages. While exposed to the web pages, participants had their neurological (EEG) traces recorded via an Emotiv Epoch headset and their eyes tracked via a Tobii monitor. After the exposure session, users filled out the PrEmo emotional scale for each web page. These were then combined to form the Quantemo Engagement Index to determine which of the web sites was the most engaging to the participants.

Neuromarketing is a new field of market research that aims to eliminate the cognitive bias inherent in focus groups and other traditional research methods. This new research method combines users’ sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective reponses to stimuli. Traditionally, neuromarketing has involved bringing users into large fMRI machines, making the effort cost-prohibitive. But new technologies allow companies to conduct neuromarketing research in a cost-efficient manner while getting insightful data that leads to actionable insights.

In this session, audience members will learn about neuromarketing and how it can be leveraged for marketers and researchers to better answer critical questions about perception and effectiveness for digital content. We will also discuss the techniques employed by OTOinsights and why we use these modalities. The final section of the presentation will highlight the insights gained from this study, including best practices for allergy medication web sites. Session participants will also get a first look at OTOinsights’ Quantemo software interface, used to collect and analyze the neuromarketing data.

Bios: Dan is the Senior Research Associate for OTOinsights, the research division of One to One Interactive. 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 has spent his two years at OTOinsights conducting primary client research as well as secondary research to further the fields of usability and neuromarketing. Dan is an active member of the Usability Professionals Association as well as the Association for Computing Machinery’s special interest group on Human-Computer Interaction.

Jeremi co-founded One to One Interactive in 1997. During that time, he has overseen the creation of the firm’s marketing services group and its position as an industry leader in online direct response & brand marketing (focusing on Rich Media, Broadband/iTV, Mobile, E-Mail, and Consumer Generated Media tactics). As President for One to One Interactive, Jeremi is responsible for building a broad-based and highly effective business development, marketing and public relations functions. Jeremi currently oversees the executive management of OTOinsights, One to One’s research division focused on measuring engagement with media using neuro-research methods.

The Edge of the World: Why Edge Cases Matter in Usability

Presenter: John Biebel

(Lecture, Research and Practice, Introductory)

Usability professionals are generally taught to design for the majority, but what happens to the minority? Enter the world of edge cases, those examples of human behavioral interaction that defy standard categorization. Traditionally we design for the edge cases that we can reasonably project from our designs and user testing, but is there a solid background that establishes what are the ‘best practices’ for the unconventional user experience? Join ‘The Edge of the World’ for a look at the edge case in history: Societies that have survived on the fringe, languages that were lost by the encroachment of English, People with Special Needs who have inadvertently helped to shape improved building standards. As we look at examples from the physical world, we start to make a case for the importance of the minority, and how it defines our hurdles and successes. The presentation then moves through a hopelessly complex web transaction to see where edge case users are usually dropped off the map. Where do users get lost, and why did we lose them? How can we change this? We conclude by taking stock of our place in usability history: The adaptability of humans is remarkable, but we can make changes in web experience that do not intimidate the minority? Ultimately, the edge case is a direct descendant of political struggle and change, as when the under-represented make their voices heard. By understanding this kind of user, we see the edge case in its proper context. We can bypass design edge cases, or include them in a broader experience of inclusion. This is a multi-media presentation including audio and video, and audience participation is highly encouraged.

Bio: John Biebel is an Interaction Designer for Monster Worldwide in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is a graduate of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City, where he majored in Painting and Photography. Besides his interests in web behavior and usability design, he paints, records music, and teaches.

Creating User Experiences Through Design Thinking

Presenter: Sarah Bloomer

What is design thinking? While there’s probably no one accepted definition of design thinking, it’s worth looking at how it’s being applied and what it means for user experience design.

Tim Brown of IDEO, who coined the term, says “Thinking like a designer can transform the way you develop products, services, processes—and even strategy.” Some business schools are teaching design thinking to future CEOs, and businesses such as P&G have remade themselves by establishing a “design thinking culture”.

What’s interesting for user experience designers is how many of our user centered design techniques are being expanded to support design thinking.

This talk is an overview of how design thinking is being used in companies worldwide, across many fields, from organizational design to product design. I’ll show techniques used by leaders in design research and collaborative techniques, and the outcome of those techniques, and then I’ll open up the floor for discussion.

Bio: Sarah Bloomer has designed user interfaces for over 20 years. In 1991 she co-founded the interaction design company The Hiser Group. With Hiser, she helped establish the field of user-centered design in Australia. Since returning to the USA in 2002, Sarah has been a senior interaction designer for The MathWorks, lead consultant at Sarah Bloomer & Co, a consulting practice focusing on collaborative design facilitation and is current Director of UX at Constant Contact.

Sarah has delivered papers, tutorials and workshops at user interface design conferences in Australia and the USA. Her tutorial, Successful Strategies for Selling Usability into Organizations, became a CHI classic.

How (and when) to have a group design workshop

Presenter: Diana Brown

(Lecture, Design, General)

Our design process requires the production, and presentation for approval/signoff, of conceptual design documents. We have found that our schedule often inhibits the generation of multiple design ideas that we would like to explore before settling on a design to committ to. Additionally, our team are often made up of people with a variety of levels of design and domain experience. We recently decided to turn those challenges into opportunities be conducting design workshops that would allow the entire team to participate in generating and iterating on design ideas. We have conducted workshops both within the product design team and with all the functional areas supporting a feature. This session will explore do’s and don’ts, lessons learned and how best to apply this technique to your work.

Bio: Diana DeMarco Brown is currently a Product Design Manager at Autodesk. Her previous experience includes designing UAV command centers and the mission planning system for a highly automated destroyer while at Raytheon. Before that, she was at The MathWorks, learning everything she could about being a usability specialist and managing usability specialists. During that time, she also earned her Ms. Sc. in Engineering Management from Tufts University, where she had previously earned her B. Sc. in Engineering Psychology.

Mining Your Data: An Easy Intro to a Tough Topic

Presenter: Lynn Cherny

(Lecture; Research and Practice; Advanced)

Got a lot of data? Or just looking to expand your skill set beyond qualitative research and simple t-tests? Whether you have survey responses, logs of user activity, or card sort data, an exploratory approach is often the most interesting and profitable start. The right types of exploration will also help you identify and protect against embarrassing data quality issues. I’ll explain and demo the use of open source (or very cheap) tools to do exploratory data description and mining on common problems in customer research. Examples will illustrate the use of the popular open source statistical language R as well as Excel add-ins and web tools. We’ll touch on visualizing textual write-in data, correlation and factor analysis, hierarchical clustering for card sort data (requiring only 2 functions in R!), and then introduce the clustering techniques frequently used in persona research. While this is a conceptually advanced topic, the ideas will be presented for the mathematically naive, with data visuals as both a tool during the investigation and end result for all explorations. Demos will be live, and there will be a handout with links to further resources on the subject, including books and courses.

Bio: Lynn Cherny is a user experience consultant with over 15 years experience working at companies as diverse as TiVo, Adobe, Autodesk, and SolidWorks. Her Linguistics Ph.D. from Stanford means she’s not afraid of textual data, unlike many quantitative researchers. Her current interests are in UI prototyping, data mining, and data visualization. Lynn can be contacted via Ghostweather Research & Design (www.ghostweather.com).

Beyond Frustration: 3 Levels of Happy Design

Presenter: Dana Chisnell

(Lecture; Design, General)

To get your users beyond just not hating the product and closer to not being able to live without it, it takes keen attention to the relationship your design has with the user. Where’s the trust? Where’s the satisfaction? Where’s the bliss?

After observing thousands of hours of usability test sessions and user research sessions, and studying the psychology of happiness, we see that some organizations are hitting the high notes of happiness in their user experiences. They’re creating remarkable, happy, even lovable experiences. In this talk, I’ll show you some samples from research I’ve done of how a few organizations have made designs that people want to come back to, that make ordinary things less ordinary and sometimes even pleasurable.

Usability isn’t just about eliminating frustration anymore.

I’ll show a marvelous short film, My Favourite Things, and heaps of examples of designs that show Mindfulness, Flow, and Meaning in design – what it is to love your users. We’ll also talk about your favorite designs and why they’re your favorites.

You’ll love this session.

Bio: Over the last few years, Dana has helped hundreds of people learn how to make better design decisions by giving them the skills they need to gain knowledge about users. Dana is an independent researcher and consultant who founded UsabilityWorks. She has been helping teams develop effective designs since 1982. She has observed hundreds of study participants for dozens of clients to learn about design issues in software, hardware, web sites, online services, games, and ballots. She has helped companies like Yahoo!, Intuit, AARP, Wells Fargo, E*TRADE, Sun Microsystems, and RLG (now OCLC) perform usability tests and other user research to inform and improve the designs of their products and services. She is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, and a long-time member of the Usability Professional’s Association and ACM’s SIGCHI. She’s the co-author, with Jeff Rubin, of Handbook of Usability Testing Second Edition (Wiley, 2008).

Integrating Critique into Your Design Practice

Presenters: Adam Connor and Alla Zollers

(Lecture; Design; General)

As designers we sometimes fall into familiar, comfortable habits and miss opportunities for growth and innovation. A critique session, like a small pinch, works to wake us up and help us to see previously unrecognized possibilities.

Intended for practitioners at any experience level, this session will guide designers in understanding the value of critiques, gain insight into how to conduct a productive critique session, and integrate the process into their current design practice.

Topics covered include:

  • The meaning of critique and how it differs from sources of feedback
  • The value of a good critique for design practitioners, design teams and project teams
  • How to conduct a critiques, including giving and receiving feedback
  • Avoiding common critique pitfalls

Critiques allow us to, challenge our thinking, build better teams, uncover blind spots, develop stronger communication skills, and discover opportunities to innovate! It is a valuable part of any design process. We hope you’ll join us.

Bios: Adam Connor is a Senior Experience Designer with Mad*Pow. His background in Film & Animation and Computer Science provides a unique perspective and approach to the field of User Experience Design.

Alla Zollers is a Senior Experience Designer at Mad*Pow. She specializes in creating holistic experiences that elegantly balance customer needs, business goals, and technical constraints. Alla has worked in completely agile environments for the past 2 years, creating designs that are iterative and always feasible to implement.

General End-User Prioritization Game

Presenters: Bryn Dews, Thom Brando

(Research and Practice)

At MITRE we created a monopoly-like board game to get end-users to prioritize a list of possible features/enhancements to web applications. We made the exercise more fun by making the game board colorful and using play money for them to spend to buy the features they most liked. The user chooses how much each feature is worth to them by placing the money on the item. We record the “scoring” for each round of the game with each user and then tally our results. We have a compelling list of end-user inputs to drive the next round of development. Our end users said they thought the game was fun and we were able to get useful data. Win Win kind of game! Then, we got the bright idea to put the game online so we could collect data from remote users. Not quite as much fun as the board game, but still more fun than just forcing them to rank order a list in a survey. Best news of all… our developer has built this game for us in his “down time” at home and is putting the code out into open source! We can share our great idea!! Come see what it’s all about and let us know if you could use it in your shop. internet connnection for demo… although we could actually do it all “offline” if necessary

Bios: Bryn Dews leads a team of Human Factors Engineers for The MITRE Corporation (a non-profit corporation applying systems engineering and advanced technology to solve problems for government sponsors). Bryn came to Human Factors via application development after leading several web app projects where she discovered human factors and then became a missionary for getting HF into all the IT projects. Her background is a BBA in Management from UMass Amherst with 10 years as a Business Analyst in HR. Next came an MS from BU in Computer Information Systems and 10 years leading project teams in IT. She has spent the last 7 years leading a UCD team on various projects inside Corporate IT. Bryn stays young by keeping up with her soon-to-be-freshman in high school son and soon-to-be-freshman in college daughter and eco-hubby who builds and installs rainwater collection systems.

Thom Brando is a Lead Software Development Engineer for MITRE. His background is an MS in Physics and an MS in Computer Science, both from Syracuse University. Thom worked on research projects his first 12 years at MITRE, evaluating new software technologies and building software prototypes and proofs-of-concept. Then he came to Corporate IT, where he could develop software that went all the way to production and had real users who would provide feedback! He’s been in Corporate IT now for 15 years and has been building web applications for the last 13 of those years. Thom is the biggest proponent and best customer of the Corporate IT UCD team. Thom has provided development support to the UCD team’s vision to create re-usable UI widgets that can be stored in a library and pulled out for web app development projects to provide a consistent UX across applications.

Studying Companies’ Use of Social Networks: Methodology and Top Design Guidelines

Presenter: Janelle Estes

(Lecture; Research and Practice; General)

The Nielsen Norman Group used a variety of user research methods to assess how people use postings from companies and organizations on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn.

This presentation will cover the methodology used for data collection, including a diary study and traditional usability testing.

The presentation will also include the top design guidelines for companies and organizations utilizing social networks. The guidelines will cover the following topics:

Message content: What should you include in your postings?
Frequency and timing: How often should you post?
Voice and tone: Should your postings be formal or casual?
Facilitating discussion: How do you interact with your friends, fans, and followers?
Profile information and design: What information should you include?
Building a following: How should you promote your social network presence?
This presentation is for anyone considering or already managing a presence on a social network. The audience will be encouraged to ask questions and interact with the presenter and other attendees throughout the session.

Bio: Janelle Estes is a User Experience Specialist with Nielsen Norman Group. She works with clients in a variety of industries and presents regularly about user testing and writing for the Web. Estes began her career as a research associate on the Customer Experience team at Forrester Research, where she was involved with many research efforts related to user experience and user centered design. Additionally, Estes has worked as a user experience consultant with companies across many industries, including retail, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, and telecommunications. Most recently, Estes worked at Chordiant Software as a Human Factors Engineer in an agile development environment. Estes holds a BS in Information Design and Corporate Communication, and an MS in Human Factors in Information Design, both from Bentley University.

A Socio-Cybernetic Model for Designing Leadership in the UX Community

Presenter: Will Evans

(Lecture; Design, Academic Theory; Advanced)

To design an interaction predicated on politics and power, you must commit to writing a narrative of human behavior mediated through time and space. While great strides have been made over the last 40 years drawing on a rich history of Cybernetics and Human-Computer Interaction, those models of interaction are limited in explaining social and psychological modalities of social interaction in physical space and particular in mediated online spaces which is becoming more the norm for collective and collaborative group sociality in the workplace.

Interaction Designers like to talk about context but fail to address other rich attributes important to modeling of social encounters. I want to talk about the role of Context, Perception, Posture, Situation, and Framing and how people in workgroups traverse power structures and negotiate a shared language so that we might have a better understanding of how leadership within a team, adhoc group, or company might be modeled, both in physical and mediated online spaces, proposing a framework for CHI and Interaction designers to develop better strategies of influence and leadership within these contexts.

Bio: Will Evans is Director, Experience Design for Semantic Foundry with 14 years industry experience in interaction design, information architecture, and user experience strategy. His experiences include directing UX for social network analytics and terrorism modeling at AIR Worldwide, UX Architect for social media site Gather.com, and senior interaction designer/information architect at kayak.com. He worked at Lotus/IBM where he was the senior information architect, and for Curl – a DARPA-funded MIT project when he was at the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science. Prior to Curl, Will was an interaction designer for Dataware working on various search (Northern Light) and KM related product suites including KM Suite II and QueryServer.

Designing for Hope: A Review of 4 Career Websites

Presenters: Niyati Gupta and Michelle Kwasny

(Lecture; Research and Practice, Design; Academic Theory; Introductory)

We experience a range of emotions when we interact with different elements in our real world, and the virtual world is no different. Perhaps we all have experienced some degree of confusion when e-filing taxes, frustration when trying to book an airline flight online, or happiness when an old friend sends us an online note. Likewise, searching for a job on the web can trigger intense negative feelings of frustration and disappointment, often resulting in emotions of anger or fear.

In this current market, whether one is looking for work or worried about layoffs, chances are that the feelings of uneasiness about one’s career path creeps in. As user experience professionals, we are trained to put ourselves in the shoes of our users. In practice, however, our design methodology tends to become more about deadlines, best practices, and heuristics, and we may sometimes neglect the emotions of our end users.

Through a review of 4 career websites and a small user study, we will begin to understand what emotions job seekers experience, as well as how career websites address these emotions. Specifically, we attempt to answer 4 questions:

1. What negative emotions do users bring with them to career websites?
2. What career websites are doing to ease users’ minds?
3. What positive affect are users looking for?
4. Are any of the career websites’ designs (Monster, LinkedIn, Career Builder, SimplyHired) successful in giving users hope?

Academics and professionals are encouraged to share their feelings about online job search through a hands-on exercise and contribute their experiences designing and evaluating designs based on emotions.

Bios: Niyati Gupta, User Experience Researcher, Monster. Niyati Gupta joined Monster in February 2010 and has been conducting user research on Monster’s employer and seeker products. Before joining Monster, she worked for 1.7 years as a Research Associate in Bentley University’s Design and Usability Center, and for 1.9 years at Human Factors International in Mumbai, India as a Usability Specialist. Her repertoire includes user research and usability analysis for career websites, medical devices, government portals, e-commerce websites, web and intranet applications, and wireless application protocol services. Niyati has experience conducting lab studies, field studies, heuristic reviews, comparative reviews, café studies, persona exercises and card-sort analysis.
Niyati holds a MS in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley University and MA in Social Psychology from the Mumbai University, India. She is also a Certified Usability Analyst.

Michelle Kwasny, User Experience Researcher, Monster. Michelle Kwasny joined Monster in June 2008 and has helped research and refine many of Monster’s core interactions during her tenure – measurably increasing user engagement of job seekers. Michelle completed a Masters in Human-Computer Interaction from Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, where she had the opportunity to intern for Google as a User Experience Researcher (working briefly on Gmail, Google Docs, Google Groups, and Google Sites). Prior to graduate school, Michelle was a Senior Market Research Analyst with BASES, a forecasting division of ACNielsen, one of the world’s leading marketing and media information companies. Michelle has her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Indiana University, Bloomington.

Yes, but is there an app for THAT? An Overview of User Research and Testing Methods for Mobile Devices

Presenter: Lisa Renery Handalian and Brent Shelkey

(Lecture; Research and Practice; General)

Boston is on fire with all things mobile, with full exposure to across the full range of devices and operating systems! At least once twice a month, meet ups are held to share and compare the latest functionality, tools and techniques among developers and designers, freelancers and CEOs from start-ups to established corporations alike. The only folks who are not well-represented at these meetings are the end users! As native apps move from the nifty one-offs to enterprise-level tools, being guided by user-centered design principles and processes is more important than ever.

This presentation will focus on the logistics around mobile app research and testing, specifically:

* Device Platforms: iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Palm
* Prototyping: On-device app emulators vs. Desktop click-throughs
* Recording instruments: Morae, overhead projectors, and (multiple) video cameras.

The observations shared in this presentation will be based on the learnings of the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch UX team, as well as a survey of methods gleaned off the Web will also be presented. While we don’t have all the answers to the challenges of this brave new Mobile world, we do hope to help other teams’ get a headstart in surmounting their mobile testing challenges.

Bio: Lisa (Renery) Handalian currently works as a Usability Engineer at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, where authentic/on-device testing of mobile prototypes has been a focus of hers for the past few months. Before joining Bank of America as an Interaction Designer in 2008, Lisa was an IA at Fidelity and a Customer Experience Analyst at Watchfire-Gomez/Keynote Systems. Lisa has lived and worked abroad in Turkey and Italy teaching English as a Second Language and conducting linguistic research within native Deaf communities. Lisa has degrees in Applied Linguistics from Wesleyan University and UMass, Boston, as well as in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley. Recent techy obsessions include her beloved iPhone Trixie, crowdsourcing on Twitter, and ethnographic practices in corporate settings and their role in innovation. You can follow her latest hijinks @LisaHand.

Desirability Testing: Analyzing Emotional Response to a Design

Presenters: Michael Hawley and Megan Grocki

(Lecture; Research and Practice, Design; General)

In the design process we follow, once we have defined the conceptual direction and content strategy for a given design and refined our approach through user research and iterative usability testing, we start applying visual design. Generally, we take a key screen whose structure and functionality we have finalized—for example, a layout for a home page or a dashboard page—and explore three alternatives for visual style. These three alternative visual designs, or comps, include the same content, but reflect different choices for color palette and imagery. The idea is to present business owners and stakeholders with different visual design options from which they can choose. Sometimes there is a clear favorite among stakeholders or an option that makes the most sense from a brand perspective. However, there can often be disagreements among the members of a project team on which direction to choose. If we’ve done our job right, there are rationales for our various design decisions in the different comps, but even so, there may be disagreement about which rationale is most appropriate for the situation.
As practitioners of user-centered design, it is natural for us to turn to user research to help inform and guide the process of choosing a visual design. But traditional usability testing and related methods don’t seem particularly well suited for assessing visual design for two reasons:

1. When we reach out to users for feedback on visual design options, stakeholders are generally looking for large sample sizes—larger than are typical for a qualitative usability study.
2. The response we are looking for from users is more emotional—that is, less about users’ ability to accomplish tasks and more about their affective response to a given design.

With this in mind, we were very interested in articles we saw on Desirability Testing. In one article, the author posits desirability testing as a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods that allow you to assess users’ attitudes toward aesthetics and visual appeal. Inspired by his overview, we researched desirability studies a bit further and tried a modified version of the techniques on one of our projects. This presentation reviews the variants of desirability testing that we considered and the lessons we learned from a desirability study on visual design options for one of our projects. Interestingly, we found that while desirability testing did help us better understand participant’s self reported emotional response to a visual design, it also helped us identify other key areas of the experience that could be improved.

Bios: As the leader of the Mad*Pow User Experience team, Michael leverages 15 years experience in the software industry and expertise in user experience research and usability design to deliver value to clients such as Fidelity, Autodesk and Monster.

Prior to Mad*Pow, Michael served as usability project manager for Staples, where he led customer-facing initiatives including e-commerce and Web sites, marketing communications, and print materials. In addition, Michael worked at Bentley College Design and Usability Center where he was responsible for planning, executing and analyzing user experience evaluations for corporate clients in healthcare, financial services and academia. Michael holds his MS in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley College McCallum Graduate School of Business, and a BA from the University of Michigan. He continues to explore trends within the UX discipline as a published columnist. When he’s not mentoring others in his professional work, Mike can be found climbing one of the mountains of New England with his family.

Megan Grocki specializes in helping clients discover the attitudes, intents and behaviors of their users and understand how they think about content. By facilitating a user-centered design process and being a user advocate, she is able to improve the organization and presentation of information in a way that rings true with the audience and meets business goals.

Megan also handles Mad*Pow marketing activities by managing the marketing strategy, evaluating market conditions and directing our social media strategy. She manages all our events and promotional activities while collaborating with sales to generate maximum activity. Prior to Mad*Pow, Megan served as marketing manager with Momenta as well as a user interface designer and senior product manager with Bottomline Technologies. Megan holds a BA from the University of New Hampshire, and is currently an active MITX and NHUPA member.

A die hard Red Sox fan, Megan can be found travelling the world, at her favorite local beach, baking the world’s best brownies or hanging out with her husband and two young children.

User Interfaces with Taxonomies

Presenter: Heather Hedden

(Lecture; Design; General)

Taxonomies, Topic Trees, Navigational Hierarchies, Subject Browse, Faceted Navigation, Guided Search… Designing these displayable methods of findability for content-rich sites or data repositories requires the expertise and perspectives of both the user experience professional and the taxonomy/information science professional. But these are usually different people with different backgrounds and perspectives. Rather than clash, they need to collaborate. Traditional “best practices” in each discipline (UX and taxonomy) need to be flexible and adaptable, though. Taxonomy designs need to take user interfaces into consideration, and user display designs may need to accommodate possibly large, complex, and growing taxonomies.

Based on the chapter “Taxonomy Displays” from the presenter’s new book, The Accidental Taxonomist (May 2010), this presentation looks at both various hierarchical displays (such as one-level-per-screen and expandable trees) and fielded or faceted search. Opening with a summary of definitions and a brief introduction to taxonomies, this session will examine the following issues among others:

• which display style is more suitable for different kinds of content
• what is more suitable for different kinds of users
• how to balance depth versus breadth in a hierarchical taxonomy
• what to consider in wording of taxonomy term labels
• what are the options for sorting the order of taxonomy terms

This presentation features live demos of using various types of taxonomies on public web sites and the involvement of the audience in evaluating sample taxonomy user interfaces. The presenter, who is a taxonomist, will encourage the exchange of perspectives between the taxonomist and the user experience professionals.

Bio: Heather Hedden (www.hedden-information.co), currently a contract taxonomist and taxonomy trainer, previously worked as the taxonomist at the search software company Viziant Corporation and senior vocabulary editor at Thomson Learning (now Cengage Learning). Contract clients have included Earley & Associates, Demand Media, Bain & Company, and Dow Jones. Heather teaches an online continuing education workshop “Taxonomies & Controlled Vocabularies” at Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. She is manager of the Taxonomies & Controlled Vocabularies Special Interest Group of the American Society for Indexing and past-president of the New England Chapter of the American Society for Indexing. Heather is author of Indexing Specialties: Web Sites (Information Today Inc., 2007), and The Accidental Taxonomist (Information Today Inc., 2010).

Children: Internet Understanding, Web Search Skills, and Search Results Evaluation

Presenter: Cynthia Kamishlian

(Out of the box; Academic Theory; General)

The current generation of children is the first generation to have the World Wide Web (“web”) as a permanent fixture in their lives– for these children, it has always existed. Today’s children use the web to look up information, play games, and socialize. Researcher Druin, of the University of Maryland’s Human Computer Interaction Lab, states that children are one of the largest groups of computer users today, and have perhaps been using a computer since they were in kindergarten. She notes they search not only for information related to school assignments, but also random information based on their curiosity of the world surrounding them. In addition, researchers theorize that not only are children viewing information in text, hypertext, images and video, they must also determine the relevance and validity of the information, and determine savvy search methods using no clear point of entry to the web page.

This Out-Of-The-Box talk will review the environment of young web users, including their internet understanding, cognitive limitations, information literacy skills, their resultant strengths and weaknesses performing web searching. We will review two search engines designed for children. Finally, research will be updated on children’s web searching skills by reporting findings of a study of the web search skills of five 11-to 12-year-old children, including their interactions with search engines designed for children and a popular search engine designed for adults. Results uncover little change in children’s understanding of the internet, but a more sophisticated web searching and results evaluation behavior than previously found.

This talk is of interest to usability professionals who want to learn more about challenges faced by children using the web, designers interested in creating web-based products for children, and anyone interested in getting a glimpse of what the web looks like to this youngest generation of web users.

Bio: Cynthia Cortez Kamishlian is currently a Research Associate in the Design and Usability Center at Bentley University. She has over ten years of technology experience, including application design and business analysis, and has worked for both industry and not-for-profit organizations. Most recently, Cynthia worked to define and implement the information technology requirements of a not-for-profit organization serving urban children, focusing on the organization’s information needs and work flow process. Cynthia is highly interested in the usability of technology designed for adults but used by children and adolescents. She also has a strong interest in the usability of education and healthcare technologies. Cynthia holds a BS in Computer Science, with a minor is Sociology from the University of Maryland at College Park, and an MBA from Babson College. She is currently pursuing an MS in Human Factors in Information Design at Bentley University.

Sun Tzu and the Art of UX Influence

Presenter: Eva Kaniasty

(Lecture; Business Processes; Introductory)

Doing your job isn’t easy when most of the world does not even know your profession exists, much less sees its value. Some suggest that the best way to build UX influence is by giving talks about “the value of user experience.” Others advocate ROI analysis. Others still claim that without executive level support, you are dead in the water, and should just look for a new job. Forget all that. What you really need is the will to fight, a plan, and some well-proven strategic advice from an ancient general. In this presentation, I’ll use Sun Tzu’s advice to take a good hard look at UX, its friends and its enemies, and help you plan for fighting a winning war for UX influence within your company.

Bio: Eva Kaniasty is currently employed at a Boston area startup, SimpleTuition, as Director of Information Architecture. Eva has over 10 years of experience in the web industry, including consulting at the Bentley Design and Usability Center, as well as web design, information architecture, content management and programming in the non-profit, healthcare, and software industries.

Eva’s education includes a Master’s in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley College, a BA from Boston University in Psychology and a Certificate in Client-Server Programming and Web Development from Clark University.

Fast, Cheap and In Control: Using an Online Diary/Focus Group Methodology to Gauge Meaningful Experiences

Presenters: Susanna Kirk and David Kozatch

(Lecture; Research and Practice; General)

Your management/client is demanding that you do interface testing with actual users but you don’t have the time or money to conduct a full blown usability study. And, here’s another catch: it takes more than a single session in front of the interface for users to truly understand and appreciate – and evaluate — its features and experience. What do you do?

We will present a case study that demonstrates tools and tips for conducting an effective online diary study, combined with an online focus group session. We will take you through all of the steps of this methodology that we’ve used successfully to test iPhone applications (for companies like Franklin Covey and Deepak Chopra) and other online interfaces that require a deeper user involvement in the interface.

Talk track for this UI case study includes:

• Review of Background and Client Objectives
• Limitations/issues re: Methodologies
• Re-framing the Objectives after an Expert Review of the prototype
• Recommended Methodology:
o Tips on recruiting the right panel participants
o Setting up the online form for use during your diary study
o Collecting online diary entries easily and effectively
o Recommended participant incentives
o Conducting an online focus group that keeps participants engaged
o Understanding and interpreting the results
• Conclusions and Implications – including how your interface can provide a more meaningful experience to support the client’s desired objectives

Bios: SUSANNA KIRK is senior consultant at DIG and has been with the company since 1999. With a background in cognitive psychology and graphic design, she brings a fresh perspective to her work as an interaction design analyst and consultant. Prior to joining DIG, Susanna worked with Dynamic Logic, a company specializing in online advertising and marketing research. Susanna is currently pursuing her MS in Human Factors in Information Design at Bentley University. Her research emphasis is on interaction design for intelligent systems and user experience design for mobile applications.

DAVID KOZATCH is principal of DIG, a marketing research and UX consultancy he started in 1989. His company’s user experience research was integral in successful launches on the Web for Google, HBO, Bell Atlantic (Verizon), and Absolut Vodka. And, more recently, his work for clients like Register.com, FedEx, and ADP have helped these companies build better experiences online. David has also served as an interviewer/moderator at a number of technology seminars, and is a contributor to UX Matters, an online publication that brings insights and inspiration for the user experience community. He occasionally sounds off on his user experience blog “Can you dig it? http:// blog.digsmarter.com.

Healthcare UX Vignettes

Presenters: Amy Cueva, Kate Brigham

(Lecture, Research and Practice, Design, Advanced)

The panelists will deliver three rapid presentations on healthcare user experience, leaving time for comments and questions from the audience.

1. Turning Stories into Data
According to recent research, 8 in 10 Internet users go online to get health info, and patients with a chronic disease are likely to share what they know and learn from their peers. Some write blogs or contribute to an online discussion, listserv, or other online group forum. These tools, however, are just the beginning of what’s possible online.
Patientslikeme.com is Real-world Treatment, Symptom & Outcome sharing communities for patients with life changing diseases. Kate Brigham will show how the website turns their stories into data, and then presents that data in a user-friendly, accessible format. Through simple surveys, visualizations, and tools to communicate with doctors, plus ongoing evolution in response to how people are using the site, Patientslikeme empowers people in taking control of their healthcare.

2. Communities of Care: Social Experience Design in Healthcare
Many healthcare providers and startups are rushing to deliver on the promise of creating supportive online communities. While they trumpet personal health records and electronic health records, at the same time they may be creating potential privacy and trust issues.

Amy Cueva will explain that to design Communities of Care, you must commit to writing a narrative of human behavior mediated through time and space. Great strides have been made over the last 40 years drawing on a rich history of Cybernetics and Human-Computer Interaction, but those models of interaction are limited in explaining social and psychological modalities of social interaction in physical space. In particular, mediated online spaces are becoming more the norm for collective and collaborative group social interactions in the healthcare industry.

Bios: Amy Cueva is Founder, Chief Experience Officer, and Healthcare Principal at Mad*Pow, an experience design agency. She partners with clients like Google, Aetna, Fidelity, and Monster to create strong cross-channel digital strategies, first class user experiences, and streamlined internal processes. She has built Mad*Pow’s user-centered design methodology as the vehicle to synergize business goals, customer needs, and technology requirements.

Kate Brigham is a senior user experience designer at PatientsLikeMe (www.patientslikeme.com), the leading online community for people with life-changing conditions. She joined the company in 2007 and has been responsible for conceptualizing and designing easy-to-use, engaging experiences for its 60,000+ patients members. For five years prior to joining PatientLikeMe, Kate developed innovative, research based educational software products and websites for students and teaching professionals. She holds a BA in economics and art history from Boston University and an MFA from the Dynamic Media Institute at Mass Art.

Establishing qualitative criteria for IA and UX in one fell swoop – how to conduct a card sort with storytelling

Presenters: Deborah Levinson and Tania Schlatter

(Tutorial; Design; General)

Have limited time for user research for a website redesign, and need to get the most information quickly? Are you working with a large group of stakeholders, and need to get everyone on the same page? We use “card sorts with storytelling” to inform all aspects of a site redesign – information architecture, feature definition, content, look and feel, etc. While traditional card sorts rely on at least 15 people to categorize site information, our version combines card sorting with observation and carefully crafted questions, uses 12 or fewer participants and takes about 30 minutes per session. This approach gets the qualitative input needed to inform information architecture and feature decisions and uncovers users’ perceptions about what they value. The softer data embedded in participants’ stories informs us about what qualities a site needs to convey outside of features and structure to be appropriate and/or address user needs. In this session we’ll introduce our method, talk about the process of developing a protocol, show examples of what we learned and describe how this informed decisions on client projects.

Bios: Debby is a co-founder of Nimble Partners. She brings designers, engineers, and communications professionals together to help create sites and applications that work the way people expect them to. She has been a design lead for ATG and a webmaster for MIT’s main website, web.mit.edu. A book she co-authored, The MIT Guide to Teaching Web Site Design, was published by the MIT Press in April 2001.

Tania has been on the front lines of change in visual communication design, starting out as a traditional typeset print designer and transitioning to digital, web and application design. She loves to create and test prototypes and hates sites and apps that emphasize style over content. Tania studied graphic design at Boston University College of Fine Art and in Brissago, Switzerland and has a M. Des. from the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology in Human Centered Communication Design, which means she’s good with Helvetica and knows a lot of cool ways to involve users in the design process.

Usability Testing for FDA Validation

Presenter: Beth Loring

(Lecture; Research and Practice, Design; General)

Most medical device manufacturers now know that the FDA requires formal usability testing of product designs as part of overall validation. In particular, manufacturers must demonstrate that all potential use-related hazards have been identified, tested, and mitigated. The product must be shown to be usable by the target population in the intended environment. This presentation will cover the basics of conducting a validation usability test, why it is critical, and what the FDA is looking for in the test report.
Topics:
• Why is usability testing required for FDA validation?
• How is validation testing different from other types of testing?
• Desiging the test (infusion pump example)
• Conducting the test
• Analyzing the data
• Severity of issues
• Acceptance criteria
• Preparing the FDA report
• Case study: Drug delivery device
• Relevant standards and regulations (US and international)

Bio: Beth Loring is Director of Research and Usability at Farm Product Development in Hollis, NH. As a Human Factors specialist with 25 years experience in product design and usability, she 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 hospital communications systems. Clients have included Abbott, Abiomed, Baxter, Cardinal Health, CryoCath, GE Healthcare, IDEXX, and Philips Lifeline Systems.
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). Prior to joining Farm, Beth held positions at the Bentley Design and Usability Center, the American Institutes for Research, and IDEO Product Development.

Storytelling for User Experience

Presenters: Whitney Quesenbery and Kevin Brooks

(Lecture; Research and Practice; General)

We all tell stories—they are an easy way to communicate. They are also an effective way to collect, analyze and share qualitative information from user research, spark design imagination and help us create a better user experience.

This workshop will look at some of the ways to use storytelling and stories to add depth to the team’s understanding of the rich context of user experience. We will look at techniques for using stories in user experience design.

We will start with why stories work: storytelling as a way of communicating.
This includes a little bit of background about stories, but is primarily focused on what role stories can play in UX work.

The first exercise is a listening exercise, showing how fundamental listening is to storytelling. It may sound contradictory to talk about listening as the most important part of storytelling, but how will you find great stories if you don’t listen carefully?

The relationships created when you tell a story is called the Story Triangle: There is the obvious connection with the story, but there is also a connection between the storyteller and the audience.

Then, with this background established, we will look at how stories can be part of UXD, and what kinds of stories can you use in your current process. We will look at how UX stories can show the big picture of the people, context, activities and problems a product must address.

These include:

• Collecting stories during user research, allowing people to share information about their experience in an easy and natural way.
• Selecting stories to share information about the culture and context of users.
• Using stories to spark and explore design ideas

Our second short exercise will look at how stories can help the UX team see (and communicate) different perspectives.

You will leave with experience about why stories work, and explore how much practical and cultural information can be communicated in a short narrative

Bios: Whitney Quesenbery is a user researcher, user experience practitioner, and usability expert with a passion for clear communication. She has been in the field since 1989, helping companies from The Open University to the National Cancer Institute develop usable web sites and applications. She enjoys learning about people around the world and using those insights to design products where people matter. Before she was seduced by a little beige computer into software, usability, and interface design, Whitney was a theatrical lighting designer on and off Broadway, learning about storytelling from some of the masters. The lessons from the theatre stay with her in creating user experiences.

Kevin Brooks is a Principal Staff Researcher for Motorola Labs and a professional oral storyteller. At Motorola Kevin researches new user interface technologies and expresses them using various media as connected user-centered experiences for the research and business sectors.
As a writer and performing oral storyteller, Kevin tells personal tales from his urban childhood of the 60’s, his 70’s adolescence, 80’s adulthood, through to his present day parenthood of adolescents. His stories for adults and family audiences resonate with humor and poignancy, as can be heard on his CD Kiss of Summer, and he has been featured performer at storytelling festivals, conferences and other venues. Kevin has given numerous storytelling workshops to engineers, designers, storytellers and even people with normal world views.

The Mind of the User: What We Can Learn from Scary Rides and Restaurant Menus

Presenter: Colleen Roller

(Research and Practice, Design; General)

•Why should fancy restaurants print their menus in a font that is elegant but difficult to read?
•Why should scary rides in amusement parks have names that are difficult to pronounce?
•How do people assess the risk of food additives in everyday grocery items?

•…And what does any of this have to do with Design and Usability?

Come to this research-based workshop and find out why seemingly insignificant aspects of information presentation can have a surprising effect on people’s perceptions and behavior.

Structured in an engaging quiz-like format, the workshop will help you understand:
•The subtle nuances of human perception and mental processing
•Aspects of information design that can have a significant impact on perception
•How mental processing affects judgment and decision making
•The practical implications for a wide variety of domains and industries

Every day, your user audience is making judgments and decisions about the products and services that you provide, based on the way they are presented. This engaging workshop will equip you with practical insight that can be directly applied to your design and business challenges.

Bio: Colleen Roller has over 15 years of experience in Usability, UI Design, and Instructional Design. Most recently, she has worked for Fidelity Investments as a Senior Usability Specialist. Colleen is particularly interested in the areas of Behavioral Economics, Neuroscience, Influence and Persuasion, and Decision Making Theory – and their application to UI Design. She has presented on Persuasion and Design for corporate audiences including various audiences at Fidelity, as well as for UPA and at Bentley University. She is forever fascinated with the workings of the human mind, and with the art and science of designing for it.

Innovation and Invention: User Centered Design

Presenter: Elizabeth Rosenzweig

(Lecture; Design General)

Research can lead to innovation and invention of new products. This presentation will outline the process of user centered innovation and invention based on proven techniques. Elizabeth has 4 unique patents in the USA for intelligent user interface design and these will be presented as examples of innovation of user centered design. This topic is generic, since Innovation and Invention happen everywhere. This presentation will address the the notion of creativity, innovation and invention by discussing benefits of doing this work and by using some examples of product and services from around the world. I would also ask the audience to provide some of examples of their own favorite inventions and innovations and we will have one portion of the session devoted to hands-on innovate problem solving.

Bio: Elizabeth has worked as a consultant and employee in several major corporations for 25 years. Her experience includes design and development, ranging from website and, applications, to hardware products and technology development. Elizabeth has completed projects for many major corporations as well as academic institutions. Elizabeth holds 4 patents in intelligent user interface design. Elizabeth is Founder and Director of World Usability Day, which she started on 2004 after her term as President of Usability Professionals Association was completed. World Usability Day has grown to include 44 countries with over 180 events. Elizabeth frequently publishes in industry journals, has written chapters in 3 published books and presents lectures at conferences around the world.

Racing with the Clock: VERY Rapid Design and Test

Presenter: Will Schroeder

(Lecture; Research and Practice; General)

This experimental project grew out of the frustration we all feel when told that time and resources are not sufficient for design and testing of small (but possibly important) features and changes. We decided to see just how fast a new feature could be designed, prototyped, and tested. To ensure that we produced a winner, we did three designs – and tested them – in parallel. In two hours.

A mixed group of volunteers (developers, QE and usability people) at The MathWorks conceived, prototyped in paper, and tested three sketch designs for a small enhancement feature to a key in-house software application. The feature’s current (at that point) design was also tested, so we ran a total of 12 usability tests. Planning and preparation took three people nearly an hour. The work was completed in two (2) lunch hours on successive Tuesdays. No work was done in between sessions except by the facilitators (and precious little of that – about 15 minutes.)

One participant said, “It created a shared understanding of the challenges involved in creating an optimal solution.”The developer in charge said, “You guys came up with a couple of things we never thought of, although we have been working on this for a month,” and “This was a very efficient exercise.”
The most interesting (and, we think, valuable) results are not so much the designs that came out of the process as:

• The fact that this crazy exercise produced something the very first time. (The dog talked – let’s worry about grammar later.) The “recipe” – schedule, preparations, and materials – are of interest if only as proof that it can be done – and be effective.
• What we learned “point-to-point” in the various steps (the problems of transition and maintaining focus)
• What worked surprisingly well in such an extremely compressed time frame – and what needed more time even with ideal execution and facilitation
• The importance things we left out that might well have been included
• Observations of the group’s dynamics and the perceptions of individuals about the design process
These results invite reconsideration not only of how small projects of this type are planned, but also of the importance of information sharing in this (and in any) technique. We ignored its significance in planning and failed to reinforce it enough when facilitating the work.
The talk will include a design/information sharing exercise and a discussion based on its outcome.

Bio: Will has been a Principal Usability Specialist at The MathWorks since 2005. Previous indentures include seventeen years designing and testing hardware and embedded software at Foster-Miller, Inc. and twelve years as Principal at User Interface Engineering doing usability consulting and research on hardware, software, and the web. He has designed and implemented an eye-gaze target acquisition system for DARPA (what you see is what you shoot) that worked, and a multi-target tracker that almost worked. He has completed a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Mathematics at Harvard, an MBA at Babson, and a summer course in High-Temperature Corrosion at MIT. His article describing research on water-spray mixing of air and methane at coal faces filled two full issues of the Journal of the Mine Ventilation Society of the Union of South Africa. He holds several patents, including a construction system for geodesic domes.

Usability in Healthcare: The Needs of a Unique Community

Presenters: Daniel Sloat and Cheryl Baker

(Lecture; Business Processes, Design; General)

Anyone who has seen the news in the last few years knows that healthcare is a very hot topic. The demand for a more cost effective healthcare system coupled with the drive towards electronic medical records pushes the IT world to come up with new solutions in a short amount of time. This creates a great opportunity, but has also presents interesting challenges for usability professionals. Primarily, we have a short amount of time to understand a complex community of hard to access users and the stakes are high.

Do you ever wonder why healthcare IT seems stalled in the dark ages?

Like many other fields, healthcare has a great need for well-applied usability practices. There are, however, several key differences between the needs found in healthcare and other fields. The way technological changes are embraced, the modus operandi of training practices, the various skill sets of end users who must work in tandem, and the criticality of error reduction are just some of the things that set healthcare apart.

In this presentation we will explore many of the key divergences and the implications of usability in a highly complex and sensitive domain. The format of this presentation will be a traditional lecture with a question answer period following, but in-line questions and organic discussion tangents will also be entertained.

Bios: Dr. Daniel Sloat is a Senior Software Designer as well as the Chair of the Centricity Business Design Council at GE Healthcare and a new member of the UPA in Boston. A four-time alumnus from Binghamton University, he has a background in systems science, software development, UI design, visual design, usability, cognitive psychology, and nursing. Daniel is interested in the symbiotic relationship between humans and computers, usability in healthcare IT, exploring new paradigms of online collaboration, and application for human-based adaptive algorithms. In his spare time, Daniel writes web sites and illustrates.

Cheryl Baker is a Senior Design Engineer at GE Healthcare. A graduate of the University or Illinois, her interest in User Interface design began while working for an Apple Developer. During her 19yrs at GE/IDX she helped lead transitional platform, cross application, design efforts, managed a corporate wide User Interface Team and is currently responsible for the user interface design and usability of the Clinical Research Management Project. In Sept of 2008, Cheryl was awarded recognition in the GE HealthCare IT, Innovation eXchange for one of the top 5 most promising ideas on how “we can evolve our solutions to appeal to customers looking for an easy to use, low cost solution”. Her idea is currently being piloted. Aside from being a member of Boston UPA, she enjoys the outdoors, visiting with friends, scuba diving and plans to sail to with her husband to the far reaches of the world.

Health Everyware

Presenter: Juhan Sonin

(Lecture; Design; General)

Mobile computing technologies promise to revolutionize the relationship that people have with their health. Immediate access to, sharing of, and aggregation and analysis of data will put the power of our well being quite literally in the palm of our hand. However, we face the same risks that have plagued personal computing: technology has moved more quickly than people’s ability to design successfully for it, threatening to produce a generation of apps that are ineffectual and actually slow adoption of mobile health platforms.

Health Everyware provides a common sense set of mobile design best practices, specifically tailored for the health market. These exemplars of effective mobile design will serve as an open blueprint that arms engineers, visionaries and designers to craft highly usable and desirable health applications for the various, evolving mobile platforms. This will be used to illustrate just how these best practices translate into creating truly remarkable mobile health services.

Specific mobile design best practices being covered include:

– Let data scream
– What interface?
– Lust to dust
– Grid it
– Type less, less type

In Health Everyware, design provocateur Juhan Sonin will fire up the audience’s brain cells and sense of humor, illustrating failed methods, clarifying best practices, and showing in one application after another how you too can design exceptional mobile experiences. While directly focused on the health industry these principles and practices have value in any mobile application, from Nexus One to iPad and beyond. Ample time will be dedicated to question and answer, and audience participation.

Bio: Juhan Sonin is the Creative Director of Involution Studios Boston and has been designing mobile health experiences for over a decade. Juhan has taken a leadership role on various design and usability workgroups for organizations such as HIMSS (Health Information and Management Systems Society) and CCHIT (Certification Commission for Health Information Technology). In 2009, when the Obama Administration prioritized the redesign of Medicare.gov as a key plank of their health reform, Juhan was hand-picked to reconceptualize the service. Juhan holds a patent for mobile service content networks. His apps have been featured in The New York Times, BBC International, Billboard Magazine, National Public Radio, and voted one of PC World’s Top 100. His application design experience includes working for Apple Computer, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), and the U.S. Department of Defense. He currently teaches product design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Unmoderated Remote Usability Testing: Good or Evil?

Presenter: Kyle Soucy

(Lecture; Research and Practice; General)

Recently, there has been a surge in the number of tools that are available to conduct unmoderated (“automated” or “asynchronous”) remote usability testing. This surge is changing the user experience industry and it forces us, whether we want to or not, to take a closer look at what the benefits and drawbacks are of unmoderated testing and whether or not we should incorporate it into our usability toolbox.

In this session we will cover: what you can learn from unmoderated testing, how actionable the data is, how it’s conducted, when it should be conducted, benefits and drawbacks, and an overview of some unmoderated testing tools that are currently available. If there is time, a discussion with attendees about their experience with unmoderated testing will also take place. The content of this session is aimed at anyone who conducts usability testing or is interested in it. The material is good for both the novice and advanced UX practitioner.

The content in this session is aimed at being 100% practical and applicable. Attendees should be able to immediately apply what they learn in this session to evaluate whether or not unmoderated usability testing is a good fit for them. This session will also give attendees the information they need to start conducting their own unmoderated tests. The material that will be covered in this session is an extension of an article that was written by the presenter for UXmatters.com: http://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2010/01/unmoderated-remote-usability-testing-good-or-evil.php

Bio: Kyle Soucy is the founding principal of Usable Interface (www.usableinterface.com), an independent consulting company specializing in product usability and user-centered design. Her clients have ranged in industries from pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer to publishing powerhouses like McGraw-Hill. She has created intuitive interfaces for a variety of different products, everything from web sites to touch screen devices. Kyle is the Founder and Past President of the New Hampshire Chapter of the Usability Professionals’ Association (NH UPA), she has served as the Chair of PhillyCHI, the Philadelphia Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (ACM SIGCHI), and she is the local UXnet Ambassador for New Hampshire. She is very passionate about the continued growth of the usability and user experience design community.

Search, Scent, and the Happiness of Pursuit

Presenter: Jared Spool

Nobody wakes up in the morning with a smile on their face, thinking “Oh Boy! Today I’m going to search a huge web site!” Instead, they arrive at your web site with the simple goal to find something on your site that’s important to them. If they find it, whether they search or not, they’ll be happy. When they don’t, frustration follows.

Teams often turn to a sophisticated built-in Search capability to help their users find what they seek. However, our research has shown that technological magic isn’t going to make the users successful. Instead, it’s a simple understanding of what the users are seeking and how they look at it.

In this presentation, our own Jared Spool will share some of Search’s best-kept secrets. You’ll see:

* How to form a search implementation strategy around your customer’s mission (and why that’s the fastest way to success)
* A hidden resource on your server that shows you exactly how to make search more effective
* Why focusing on “searchers” is a design strategy that gets teams into trouble

Bio: If you’ve ever seen Jared speak about usability, you know that he’s probably the most effective, knowledgeable communicator on the subject today. What you probably don’t know is that he has guided the research agenda and built User Interface Engineering into the largest research organization of its kind in the world. He’s been working in the field of usability and design since 1978, before the term “usability” was ever associated with computers.

Jared spends his time working with the research teams at the company, helps clients understand how to solve their design problems, explains to reporters and industry analysts what the current state of design is all about, and is a top-rated speaker at more than 20 conferences every year. He is also the conference chair and keynote speaker at the annual User Interface Conference, is on the faculty of the Tufts University Gordon Institute, and manages to squeeze in a fair amount of writing time.

From Card Sort to Redesigned Intranet Site: A Success Story

Presenters: Bob Thomas, Elke Oberg, Katelyn Thompson

(Lecture; Research and Practice; General)

Measured Progress, one of the top three educational testing companies in the U.S., relaunched its intranet site (Insite), in 2004. By 2008, the site had outgrown its structure, housing thousands of documents employees couldn’t find. In-house interviews at Measured Progress suggested that employees who actually did use the website wasted up to 20 minutes each day looking for information on the company’s intranet. Employees were at a loss to find information, often encountering pages made up of bulleted lists of links through which to scan.

In May 2008, we presented the results of an open card sort of Measured Progress’ intranet site at the annual Boston UPA conference at Bentley. The goals of the card sort were to make it easier for Measured Progress employees to find information on the intranet, i.e., to “lead with the need.”

We then used the results from the card sort to design a new intranet site. The goals of the project were to focus on the information architecture, navigation, and organization of the website; to make it easier for Measured Progress employees to find information; and to make the site attractive to employees.

This presentation briefly analyzes Insite’s previous navigational hierarchy and employees’ use of Insite; reviews the results of the open card sort in which employees participated; and concentrates on the development and design of a new navigational hierarchy and organization, which resulted in the complete redesign of the site. We will also discuss the implementation of a content management system (CMS) specifically chosen for a .NET environment. The CMS allowed the Electronic Marketing Coordinator to outsource content editing to specific departments within Measured Progress.

The presentation will discuss the pros and cons of broad-and-shallow versus narrow-and-deep navigational categories in creating the primary and secondary levels of an information architecture, and show the resulting medium deep-and-broad hierarchy of the new website.

This case study will also reveal employees’ reactions to the website, including big wins and lessons learned.

Attendees will be able to ask questions at key points throughout the presentation. There will also be a Q&A session at the end of the presentation.

Bios: Bob Thomas is Manager of User Experience at Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. Before joining Liberty Mutual, Bob was a Research Associate in the Design and Usability Center (DUC) at Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts. Before joining the DUC, Bob was the Director of Product Management for Bitstream Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Bob holds an MS in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley College, an MBA from Suffolk University, and a BA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

For the past nine years, Elke Oberg has been responsible for electronic communications at Measured Progress, an educational testing company in Dover, NH. She has conducted multiple successful redesigns for both internal and external websites. Elke received her degree in magazine writing and editing from Columbia College Chicago, but turned to web design soon thereafter when she and her husband created a website that chronicled their one-year trip around the world.

Katelyn Thompson is currently contracting at Staples, Inc. as a Usability Analyst, where she conducts user research within the retail space evaluating how customers make purchasing decisions. Katelyn has conducted card sorts to inform the navigation of tax software and the organization of documents within an internal resource database. She is a graduate of the MS Human Factors in Information Design program at Bentley University.

What’s the Latest Research on the Design of Web Pages Show?

Presenters: Tom Tullis, Fiona Tranquada and Marisa Siegel

(Research and Practice; General)

One of the challenges faced by usability people who work in the web design field is keeping up with the latest research about what makes a web page usable, efficient, effective, and appealing. This workshop will focus on the empirical evidence from human factors and usability studies done in the past four years on the presentation of information on web pages. Some of the topics and research to be discussed include: page layout, links, approaches to navigation, text & fonts, tables, forms, and home pages.

Recent empirical studies, from 2006 to the present, will be used to answer questions like, “Does placing an image
next to content on a page tend to draw attention to the area?”, “Does underlining text links help or hurt?”, “What does eye-tracking data tell us about the effects of font size and type on reading speed?”, and “Can users really determine their reactions to a home page after viewing it for only 50 msec?”. Whenever possible, demonstrations and in-session experiments will be used to illustrate the studies and their results.
Bios: Thomas S. (Tom) Tullis, Ph.D., is Vice President of Usability & User Insight at Fidelity Investments. He joined Fidelity in 1993 and was instrumental in the development of the company’s usability team and a state-of-the-art Usability Lab. He received his B.A. from Rice University, M.A. in Experimental Psychology from New Mexico State University, and Ph.D. in Engineering Psychology from Rice University. With more than 30 years of experience in human-computer interface studies, he has published over 35 papers and holds eight U.S. patents. Prior to Fidelity, he held positions at Canon Information Systems, McDonnell Douglas, Unisys Corporation, and Bell Laboratories. He is a member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, ACM SIGCHI, and the Usability Professionals Association. He is co-author (with Bill Albert) of the book “Measuring the User Experience: Collecting, Analyzing, and Presenting Usability Metrics”, and co-author (with Bill Albert and Donna Tedesco) of the new book “Beyond the Usability Lab: Conducting Large-scale User Experience Studies”.

Fiona Tranquada spent three years as a technical writer before moving into the field of usability. She has worked at Fidelity Investments since 2004, conducting many flavors of user research on internal and external-facing websites. In her role, she provides usability feedback throughout an iterative design process and has also done extensive live site and visioning studies to help drive strategic product direction. Fiona has a B.A. in Professional Writing and Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon and a M.S. in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley College. She is a member of UPA and Boston CHI.

Marisa Siegel is a web designer and usability specialist at Fidelity Investments. She graduated from WPI in 2008 with a major in MIS and minors in Psychology and Spanish. She has published several papers at conferences and journals in the fields of HCI and MIS, including America’s Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS), ACM’s Human Factors in Computing Systems conference (CHI), and the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (IJHCS).