Archive for the 'User Studies' Category

Jun 04 2013

Navigating Stormy Seas: Project Requirements

“As UX professionals, we generally have an abundant breadth of experience across different industries and businesses. Our clients, on the other hand, have great depth of knowledge in their own domain. However, only users themselves can intimately appreciate their own needs, and user experience is the only field that considers the user’s perspective at every stage of a project.” View the entire story at UXmatters.

One response so far

Apr 23 2013

Combining In-Person and Remote Research

“In-person user research has been around the longest, and is still widely used as a great way to gather feedback on websites, advertisements, or software. In-person research usually involves letting users perform tasks on a computer while asking them questions, observing their behaviors and body language, or having them think out loud. Additional hardware can be used, such as eye tracking devices.” See the full story at UX Magazine.

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Apr 18 2013

6 Key Questions for International UX Research

“Are you worried about how customers in other countries will react to your product or service? Not really sure who your international customers even are, or what they want and need? To find out, it might be time to pop outside the domestic market and conduct an international user research study.” Read the full article at UX Magazine.

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Feb 12 2013

Why are Contextual Inquiries so Difficult?

“Contextual inquiries require a difficult balance between traditional interviewing and ethnographic observation. The name contextual inquiry is foreign to most people outside the field of user experience, and people don’t understand what this approach involves, leading to a lot of misconceptions. In this article, I’ll discuss the most common problems you’ll face when conducting contextual inquiries and how to solve them.” Read the full piece at UXmatters.

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Oct 09 2012

Accessibility Lecture on 10/10 at 7:30 in Smith 122

UPDATE: Thank you to all who attended and, especially, to our wonderful presenters from Perkins. If you weren’t able to make it, you can view the recording in your browser (it runs about 90 minutes).


“Accessibility in a Not-So-Accessible World” – Wed., 10/10 at 7:30 PM in Smith 122 or online

Presented by Perkins School for the Blind representatives – Kim Charlson, Director of the Braille and Talking Book Library, and Jim Denham, Director of the Assistive Technology Program – information and experiences will be shared to inform participants of the challenges and potential solutions for consumers with visual impairment. Current technology and real life anecdotes will both be reviewed.

2 responses so far

May 22 2012

Get Better Data in User Studies: 16 Interview Tips

“One of my favorite parts of my job is interviewing a huge variety of people about their habits, needs, attitudes, and reactions to designs. I like the challenge of quickly getting strangers to talk freely and frankly about themselves, and to try figuring out new designs and products in front of me. User research shouldn’t be like the boring market surveys they read from clipboards in the mall. Great research interviews should be like listening to Terry Gross on Fresh Air — engaging and insightful. That’s what I aim for. Here are some tips and techniques that have helped me get the most out of user interviews.”


Read the full article at Design Staff.

2 responses so far

May 01 2012

Healthcare UX: What a Broken Back Taught Me

“My experience in that emergency room changed my perspective on design forever. Within the chaotic environment of the ER, it seemed all the players within this system had no idea what their roles were or how to interact with me—the patient. Processes were so broken that I almost ended up in the Operating Room for surgery instead of going to Radiology to get a basic x-ray. I could not understand how professionals who were there to save lives—and who worked in this environment every day—seemed utterly incompetent. That’s when I realized all the mistakes I was witnessing were not of human error, but of design flaw. Poor design of patient I.D. bracelets lead me to the O.R. Bad space design and planning caused treatment delays when staff had to run back and forth for supplies. On top of it all, before getting a valid diagnosis, I was placed on a temporary ventilator leaving me unable to communicate, completely helpless, and forced to put my life in their hands.”

Read the full article at Adaptive Path.

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Apr 19 2012

Resources from Stanford’s Persuasive Tech Lab

“The purpose of [Stanford’s] Persuasive Technology Lab is to create insight into how computing products – from websites to mobile phone software – can be designed to change people’s beliefs and behaviors. [M]ajor projects include technology for creating health habits, mobile persuasion, and the psychology of Facebook. The Persuasive Tech Lab has a variety of resources compiled here to help you get started.” Read more.

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Apr 17 2012

Nudging Consumers Into Making Better Choices

“Recent advances in neuroscience and behavioral economics, cognitive psychology and anthropology are helping us better understand how our brains work and how decision-making takes place. A core finding of this work is that we are not primarily the products of our conscious thinking; we are instead the products of thinking that happens below the level of awareness. Reason, it turns out, is highly dependent on emotional value judgments and therefore is highly susceptible to bias.”

Read the full white paper from Artefact Group.

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Apr 12 2012

Audiences, Outcomes, & Determining User Needs

“Every website needs an audience. And every audience needs a goal. Advocating for end-user needs is the very foundation of the user experience disciplines. We make websites for real people. Those real people are able to do real things. Everyone is happy.

But, it’s not really that easy, is it?

The issue, of course, is that we cannot advocate for those whom we do not know—or, even worse, those whom we assume we know. So we go to the source: we interview, we learn, and we determine who, exactly, these mystery users are. In doing so, we answer the two most important questions of the discovery stage: who are our audiences, and what do they want from our website?

Then—and only then—can we begin the process toward better content.”

Read the full article on A List Apart.

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Feb 16 2012

Best (User) Voice Recording iPhone Apps

“There are more voice recording apps for iPhone than you could ever hope to try, and most them don’t offer much more than the simple functionality you get with Apple’s built-in Voice Memo app. Audio Memos, on the other hand, earns our top choice because it offers tons of control over your recordings and makes them very easy to share.”

Read the full article on Lifehacker (a great site that you might want to check out either way).

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Feb 07 2012

Attention: The Most Valuable UX Research Skill

“Years of doing UX research have taught me that the most important part of being a great and happy researcher is learning how to fully pay attention and stay engaged with each research participant. Otherwise, that day of eight hour-long usability sessions is too hard to be enjoyable.

Attention is a learned skill. It’s not an inherent character attribute; it’s as learnable as typing or playing the piano. And learning this skill pays off. Learning how to pay attention makes research easier and helps you handle the long days. And it yields richer insights. When you’re fully present you learn so much more.”

Read the full article on UX Magazine.

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Jan 17 2012

Alumni News: Seminar on Capturing Test Data

Our very own Dan Berlin is hosting a webinar covering “Best Practices for Consistent Capture of Usability Test Data” on Tuesday, January 31 from 1-2 PM (ET). This seminar is for experience designers seeking to improve their data collection methods and foster straightforward data solicitation, moderation techniques, and capture of usability test data. Best practices will be shared for capturing usability test data in consistent and comparable ways to ensure that your collected data leads to actionable insights.

An Experience Research Director at Mad*Pow, Dan received his BA in Psychology from Brandeis University, spent seven years supporting hard-to-use interfaces at a cable technology firm, jumped into the world of usability through the MBA and MS in Human Factors in Information Design program at Bentley University, and then spent his first two years in the field at a digital marketing agency building a usability research practice and investigating neuromarketing techniques.

Attendance is FREE so register for the event while you can.

2 responses so far

Dec 20 2011

MIT Suit Simulates What It’s Like to be 70

“To help young designers (along with architects, engineers, planners, and more) understand the needs of their aging clients, MIT’s Agelab has created a suit called AGNES, calibrated to give the wearer the experience of being 70. AGNES dims your sight, stiffens your neck, shortens your gait, and faithfully recreates countless other injustices of aging. It’s the opposite of military exoskeletons like the SARCOS: instead of enhancing physical performance…AGNES is an empathy enhancer.”

Learn more at

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Oct 17 2008

Biofeedback Research Methods Video


The One to One insights presentation on October 9th by Jeremi Karnell and Dan Berlin was fascinating!  Don’t worry if you weren’t able to attend.  Below, you will find a link to a file that will stream the video of the presentation when it is opened in RealPlayer.  (I apologize that you are required to install RealPlayer to view it)

OTOinsights RealPlayer video file

RealPlayer download


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Oct 02 2008

Biofeedback Research Methods

When: Thursday, October 9th, 2008  7:00-9:00 PM

Where: Bentley College, LaCava 305 A/B

What: Dan Berlin, Senior Research Associate at OTOinsights, and Jeremi Karnell, President of One to One Interactive, will be speaking about their company’s quantitative methods for measuring user engagement.  This is accomplished by measuring physiological and emotional reactions to media (Web sites, applications, video, etc).

Dan and Jeremi will be bringing the equipment that is used to gather users’ physiological response: the bioharness (heart rate, breathing rate, skin temperature, and 3D pitch), the Neurosky (EEG), and a Tobii eye-tracker.  The equipment will be demonstrated and the company’s methodology will be discussed.

To ensure that we will have space for everyone, please RSVP to

One response so far

Feb 20 2008

MS Developer Action Figures

Published by under Personas,User Studies


In a sure sign of the apocalypse, Microsoft is releasing a line of action figures based on MS developers. The bios read essentially like personas, and the intent is to get the users (in this case the developers) to collect them. One can only imagine what a line of Vista and Office end user figures would look like, but it would likely involve some lifelike pulled out hair and interchangeable confused and angry faces.

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