User Experience Professionals Association of DC

The Washington DC Chapter of the
User Experience Professionals Association  


User Focus Conference 2006 Program

October 13, 2006

Opening Panel

Setting the Agenda: Panel of Usability Advocates

Bill Schallenberg, Marriott International
Robert Jones, Rave Wireless
Michael D. Levi, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Robin Palley, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
9:10-10:00 am

Usability and user-centered design have come a long way in the past decade. It wasn't so long ago that many corporations only thought of usability and design as “nice-to-haves” or as a way to “make things pretty.” Today, user-centered design is increasingly seen as an essential part of successful project strategy. This panel discussion will address the executive level imperative for usability in organizations.

Keynote Speaker

A Consultant’s Perspective on Usability Trends in Government Web Sites

Dick Horst 10:00-10:40 am

Presentation [PDF, 2.64MB]

As federal Web teams increasingly focus on e-government services and making their Web sites citizen-centric, usability issues warrant consideration. While there is still no shortage of difficult user experiences in government Web space, it is now possible to see encouraging trends in the extent to which user feedback is being taken seriously, design affordances are being incorporated in Web interfaces, and usability engineering is becoming a part of the process in the design and maintenance of many government Web sites. This talk will examine some of these trends, as well as some of the tools, guidelines, and design resources that have helped facilitate them.

Track 1

Using Multiple Methods to Evaluate Usability

Angela Colter 11:00-11:45 pm

Presentation [PDF, 665 KB]

Each usability method has its strengths and weaknesses. To mitigate any perceived weaknesses in a single methodology, we used three separate methods to evaluate our materials: heuristic evaluation, readability analysis, and usability testing. During the presentation, we'll look at the tested materials, each method used, and how we tied everything together in the final report.

Using UCD to Generate Buy-In with Multi-Disciplinary Teams

Lori Hunter & Brian Verhoeven 11:45-12:30 pm

User-Centered design (UCD) activities, if implemented appropriately, can generate buy-in and create consensus in multi-disciplinary teams. We will briefly review our process of consolidating two government clearinghouse web sites with similar topical scope to become one larger government clearinghouse, the Child Welfare Information Gateway. Our presentation will examine how we used UCD activities to keep our project team on task, under budget, and on time.

Usability and Politics - Implementing IA in the Federal Sector

Christine Pierpoint 1:30-2:15 pm

The implementation of an information architecture generally requires striking a balance between idyllic best practices and real-world implications fraught with internal politics. IAs are frequently caught in the middle of tough choices between user-focused design and the pressures to design around internal organizational silos. This presentation will focus on how the federal sector presents an even greater challenge for IAs because of the volume of content, users, and internal stakeholders.

Designing Online Forms for Users With Lower Literacy Skills

Kathryn Summers 2:15-3:00 pm

The presentation will focus on results and recommendations for designing registration forms, online quizzes, and other interactive tools for a broad consumer audience that includes the 50% of U.S. adults who read at the 8th grade level or below. These recommendations are particularly important for those who provide medical information or information on government services.

Matching Search Technology to User Expectations:
Opportunities to Improve Medical Search Interfaces

Tom Mayfield & Renate Roske-Shelton 3:20-4:00 pm

Presentation [PDF, 631 KB]

The study addressed search interface features for helping users make sense of and find medical information. The paper will discuss interface quality in relation to needed level of medical, computer, and search literacy for finding good content. A sampling of health-related search scenarios will be shown, and the way in which interface features helped or hurt user sense-making, item selection, goal achievement, or abandonment discussed. To derive user sense-making — that is, to determine the subjects’ understanding of medical data — subjects rated their ability to explain a range of medical terms to a third party. Session attendees will experience a short version of this “medical literacy test.”

Mining Usability for Web Sites:
How to Use the Wealth of Data You May Already Have in Building the Site Your Customers Want

Ted Sienknecht & Marcia Kerchner 4:00-4:45 pm

Presentation [PDF, 290 KB]

How can Web site stakeholders assess how effectively they are meeting user needs, much less determine how to improve? Often, the usability-related data they already have is overlooked (e.g., contact center logs, satisfaction surveys, web statistics). By synthesizing these feedback sources, the goals of identifying trends in and gathering empirical support for potential areas of improvement and/or further usability study can be realized. A framework and case study for mining usability-related data will be discussed.

Track 2

Integrating User Experience into the Rational Unified Process (RUP) for Software Development

Lisa Goldberg, Swati Gupta & Jean E. Fox 11:00-12:30 pm

Presentation [PDF, 181 KB]

The Rational Unified Process (RUP) is a structured process for managing software development. Although RUP emphasizes iterative development, it does not provide many avenues to integrate UX activities. In this practical presentation, we will briefly introduce RUP, explain the challenges of incorporating UX work into RUP, and describe how we integrated UX tasks into our RUP processes, using examples from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Usability for Mobile Devices

1:30-2:15 pm

Interface Design for Single-Handed Use of Small Devices

Amy K. Karlson & Benjamin B. Bederson

A significant challenge in the design of mobile devices is that they are often operated when users have limited physical resources available. Our research focuses on improving device usability when users have only one hand free. In our talk, we will describe a series of studies we conducted to better understand user behavior, preference, thumb capabilities, and interaction characteristics when using mobile devices with one hand, and discuss design guidelines learned from each.

The ROI of Mobile-Specific Web Sites

Douglas Brashear

Presentation [PDF, 124 KB]

Mobile phones are ubiquitous in society today. In addition to using the devices for voice communication, usage of data services has increased exponentially over the past six years. This presentation will describe the brief history of mobile phone and data device usage, the current state of handset technology and services available, and the anticipated ROI for organizations looking to deploy web content or services to mobile users.

10-Minute Presentations

2:15-3:00 pm

What Did They Say Again? Collecting and Using Stories for Usability

Anne L. Washington

Presentation [PDF, 128 KB]

Our usability team has casually collected stories from our users over the last year. In these narrative snippets, users told us how our system is a part of their regular job activities. The challenge now is to keep track of what we heard. This presentation will discuss our attempts to turn these stories into user research that we can reference later.

Measuring the User Experience in Young Children: A Self-Report Preference Scale

Ben D. Harper, Jenifer L. Maroon & Kathryn L. Gill

Presentation [PDF, 258 KB]

How can you collect feedback from young children about their preference or degree of satisfaction with a technology product? Typical methods for measuring preference in usability tests are either not intended for target audiences this young, or are impractical given the time constraints of usability testing with young children. This presentation describes innovative methods and lessons learned based on experience collecting preference ratings from four- to seven-year-old children evaluating online educational computer games.

Running with Agile

Lillian Christman

Presentation [PDF, 165 KB]

Agile software development methodologies focus on enabling customer/engineer collaboration, stressing face-to-face communication, producing a working application at the end of each iteration, and dealing gracefully with change. During my first experience as a member of an Agile team, I found no particular advantage to Agile over any solid user-centered design process. In fact, the need for the designer to work holistically often clashed with engineering’s need to segment the system requirements into small-enough pieces to assign tasks (user stories) to individual developers. However, despite this, the quality of implementation and adherence to the design were much improved over more standard development processes.

Exploring the Uses of Eye-Tracking to Evaluate Usability and Guide Design Decisions

Andrew Schall 3:20-4:00 pm

Presentation [PDF, 687 KB]

This talk will introduce those unfamiliar with eye-tracking to the technology and explain the benefits of using eye-tracking in a usability evaluation. It will provide compelling evidence that eye-tracking can now be used, with little effort, to produce quick and meaningful results that can be directly applied to making design decisions and evaluating usability. It will also caution about the need to structure design evaluations appropriately in order to gain insights from eye-tracking data.

The Usability Professional as Visionary/Strategist

Duane Degler 4:00-4:45 pm

Presentation [PDF, 135 KB]

Have you had insights and observations that go beyond the scope of a particular system or site? Are you talking with business leaders, sharing how things could be better for users overall? A quality user experience is important for organizations and their customers, citizens, and staff. User advocates can take on a “thought leadership” role within organizations and projects. How do we do that? This session explores how, and prompts participants to share their stories.



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