Archive for the 'User Testing' 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.

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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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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.

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May 29 2012

Do You Design Webpages with Culture in Mind?

“In web marketing, there is a push towards ever more granular data. One manifestation of this is the trend towards personalization. Whether it’s behavioral ad re-targeting, or dynamic content-serving based on past purchases or other data, marketers are better able to act on customer information than ever before. Another trend has been the development of personas and marketing segmentation based on the general preferences of user types defined demographic data such as age, sex, economic grouping, and so on.”

Read the full article at UX Magazine.

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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.

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May 03 2012

Class Surveys a Campus Staple, Some Go Further

“Every other Monday, right before class ends, Muhammad Zaman, a Boston University biomedical engineering professor, and a Xarelto injury attorney hands out a one-page form asking students to anonymously rate him and the course on a scale of one to five.

It asks more, too: ‘How can the professor improve your learning of the material?’ ‘Has he improved his teaching since the last evaluation? In particular, has he incorporated your suggestions?’ ‘How can the material be altered to improve your understanding of the material?’ ‘Anything else you would like to convey to the professor?’”

A fascinating read as we wrap up the semester – read the full article at the NYT.

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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.

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Oct 25 2011

No Time to Measure Content? Try a 5-Second Test!

Published by under Resources,User Testing

“How can design teams be confident their content pages are understandable to users? How does a team ensure they’ve designed content pages that communicate essential information effectively?


A simple usability testing technique can help design teams quickly measure how a content page performs with users. We call it the 5-Second Test.”


Learn about “5-Second Tests: Measuring Your Site’s Content Pages” at User Interface Engineering.

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Sep 30 2011

22 Essential Tools for Testing Website Usability

“Testing usability is an art and a science. There are many times when usability testers rely on qualitative measurements, intuition, opinions and feedback from users and experience. However, there are also factors you can test quantitatively to ensure that a site is usable.

In this post, we’ll discuss six crucial factors that affect usability. For each, you’ll be provided with some tips, tools and ideas on how you can measure these usability factors.

We’ll focus on practical usability testing, so the emphasis is on pragmatic and inexpensive strategies that most site owners can do. These things apply regardless of what type of website (blog, e-store, corporate site, web app, mobile device, etc.) you’re evaluating.”

For the full article, check out Mashable.


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Apr 09 2010

Participate in a usability study at Smith 223, Bentley

Published by under User Testing

When: Thursday, April 15, 2010

From: 10 AM to 5 PM

Where: Smith 127, Bentley Design and Usability Center, Waltham

Duration: 20 minutes

Criteria: Used before

Never shopped groceries online before

Contact: Cynthia Kamishlian( to reserve your spot !

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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

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