Triangle User Experience Professionals Association (TriUXPA)

Blog

  • 06 Sep 2006 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    CREATIVITY & COGNITION 2007
    Seeding Creativity: Tools, Media, and Environments

    June 13-15, 2007, Washington DC, USA
    http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/CC2007/

    The Creativity & Cognition Conference series began in 1993 and has evolved into a lively multidisciplinary event combining research and practice. Rigorous research is expanding as theoretic foundations are emerging and goals become more well-defined. Successful practice manifests itself in a growing array of creativity support tools for discovery and composition by software and other engineers, diverse scientists, product and graphic designers, architects, new media artists, musicians, educators, students, and many others.

    Conference Theme
    The focus of CC2007 is on cultivating and sustaining creativity: understanding how to design and evaluate computational support tools, digital media, and sociotechnical environments that not only empower our creative processes and abilities, but that also encourage and nurture creative mindsets and lifestyles.
    Topics appropriate for submissions include, but are not limited to:

    * Principles for interface, interaction & software design
    * Empirical evaluations by quantitative and qualitative methods
    * In-depth case studies and ethnographic analyses
    * Reflective accounts of individual and collaborative practice
    * Educational and training methods to encourage creativity with novel interfaces
    * Social mechanisms in support of creative communities and collaboratories
    * Emerging technologies, media, and approaches in the arts and creative practices
    * Transdisciplinary methods and collaboration models

  • 27 Aug 2006 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    Join us for a panel and discussion about wireframing and wireframing
    tools. We will be exploring a variety of tools and techniques used in
    developing interface designs for desktop applications, mobile
    applications and web applications.

    Presenters:

    • Ryan West (SAS)
    • David Charboneau (IBM)
    • Jackson Fox (Lulu.com)
    • TBA (Motricity)

    WHEN: Tuesday, September 19th, 2006, 6:00pm

    WHERE: Lulu.com (see directions below)

    Sponsored by TriUPA (http://www.triupa.org)

    Where is Lulu?

    Lulu.com
    860 Aviation Pkwy Suite 300
    Morrisville, NC 27560

    From Durham, Chapel Hill and western NC

    • Take I-40 east towards Raleigh
    • Exit at Aviation Parkway (exit 285)
    • Turn right at the top of the exit ramp onto Aviation Parkway
    • Go south on Aviation Parkway approximately 1.3 miles to Southport Dr
    • Turn left on Southport Dr
    • Turn left into the second driveway on the left

    From Raleigh and eastern NC

    • Take I-40 west towards Durham and Chapel Hill
    • Exit at Aviation Parkway (exit 285)
    • Turn left at the top of the exit ramp onto Aviation Parkway
    • Go south on Aviation Parkway approximately 1.5 miles to Southport Dr
    • Turn left on Southport Dr
    • Turn left into the second driveway on the left

    Upcoming TriUPA Events

    • Coming in October: So how does UX design work in the Real World?
    • Coming in November: World Usability Day 2006!
  • 23 Aug 2006 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    What it is: "A conference on designing complex information
    spaces of all kinds."

    When it is: October 23-24, 2006 (Discount ends August 27th! Apply NOW)

    Where it is: 'nuff said.

    Why you care: "...this is not airy-fairy theoretical stuff. These presenters are practitioners, people actually doing this cross-channel, cross-media work with complex information. A primary goal of this conference is to give you the confidence to cross boundaries and engage with a wide range of problems." Check out the list of said practitioners.

    How do I...: Start here.

  • 11 Aug 2006 5:00 PM | Anonymous
    I’m the editor of DukeHealth.org, Duke University Health System’s patient Web site. I thought I’d post a series of entries that follow our progress of redesigning a section on our site, detailing decisions made along the way and hopefully getting suggestions from all of you as to how we can make it better.
    We’ve decided that our health library has to go. Or, more precisely, it needs to be wiped out and rebuilt from the ground up. Better, faster, stronger.
    Piece by piece we’ve improved our site over the last year, creating more flexible designs that are attuned to user needs. We began with a new services template that we’re rolling out to all areas in that section, along with an A to Z index. Then we revamped the locations section.

    Now it’s time for the educational materials.

    Processing
    My first step is deciding on the process to follow. We had success with this approach on a previous project:

    1. Content inventory
    2. Analyze existing research -- internal and external
    3. User and business requirements
    4. Wireframes
    5. Content gathering
    6. Prototype
    7. User testing
    8. Revisions
    9. Content editing
    10. Visual design
    11. Development
    12. QA
    13. Go live

    I’m always looking for a better way. A search led me to Usability.gov, which has a fairly develop user-centered design process laid out. Has anyone had success following that method?

    In a project post mortem we determined that a missing step was touchpoints -- links in and out of the existing section.

    The user impact is fairly significant, since missing this step could have resulted in broken links all over the place. We skirted that issue by keeping all the old pages live until we can fix the links.

    But now users are getting two different locations experiences, old and new, and that’s not good, especially since the old way sucked.

    So with the touchpoints step added we got:

    1. Content inventory
    2. Touchpoints
    3. Analyze existing research--internal and external
    4. User and business requirements
    5. Wireframes
    6. Content gathering
    7. Prototype
    8. User testing
    9. Revisions
    10. Content editing
    11. Visual design
    12. Development
    13. QA
    14. Go live

    I wasn’t sure I placed the touchpoint stage in the right order. It could come later. It may be best to have it near the end so we understand all the links out. Should I split touchpoints in two: links in and links out? I kept playing with the pieces and remembering steps I was leaving out.

    And several hours and a few charts later, I ended up with this:

    1. Content inventory
    2. Touchpoints
    3. Research analysis
    4. User interviews
    5. Business interview
    6. User and business requirements
    7. Review
    8. Wireframes
    9. Review
    10. Content gathering
    11. Prototype
    12. User testing
    13. Revisions
    14. Content editing
    15. Visual design
    16. Review
    17. Finalize all documents
    18. Development
    19. QA
    20. Go live
    21. User testing
    22. Iterate

    Going through this exercise made me realize this: Without a clearly defined process before you begin, the project will fail users.

    When you’re straying without purpose, the project ends up catering to the whims of what’s convenient and what the business wants.

    And if you don’t plan for user inputs throughout the project, you can be sure the user needs won’t be taken into account when timelines get crunched.

    I’m sure most of you can relate.

    In my next post I’ll discuss our research analysis and user interviews.

  • 06 Jul 2006 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    I attended DIS 2006 at Penn State University from June 25 - 28. DIS (Designing Interactive Systems) is a small (around 150 attendees) conference that complements CHI by focusing more closely on processes, techniques, and tools for design. DIS is held very other year; I also attended the 2004 conference, which was held in Cambridge, MA. On both occasions, DIS has proved to be a very interesting conference that challenges received ideas about how and why we design. Some themes I noted in this year's conference... There is still a need for better methods for inspiring design and creating conceptual designs. Papers examined "inspiration card workshops" for involving users in design, effective storyboarding practices, and creating personas for children. Although methods like participatory design, storyboarding, and persona creation, are well-established, they also are still being refined and extended. This line of research reminded me that it's important not to become complacent in the use of standard methods--we should continually question our methods, even as they serve as the basis for much of our work. For example, Alissa Antle's work on personas identified two distinct approaches not ordinarily seen in persona definition: using a theoretical framework to guide persona creation (in her work, developmental psychology), and getting users to do user research (in her work, she had teenagers interview younger children). I believe both of these approaches could be fruitfully applied in a variety of domains. Extending work on ubiquitous computing, several research groups looked at augmented home and personal devices, such as flashlights, lamps, and tablecloths. Continuing interest in such devices has created the need for frameworks to guide design, leading to research on "pre-patterns" for digital home applications, and "themes" for interaction design (actually, Scott Klemmer's work in this area is generally applicable, and his paper "How Bodies Matter: Five Themes for Interaction Design" is highly recommended). At an even higher level of abstraction, one might ask, What is the outcome of design? How do we know when design is successful? A panel on "design quality" and Sol Greenspan's keynote on "lasting principles for design" both addressed this issue, and of course delivered no clear answers, but did provoke some interesting questions:

    • Could "schools" of design (such as Modernism in art and architecture) play a role in interaction design? Schools are marked by both prototypes (e..g, Le Corbusier's houses) and social dialogue. Could more explicit recognition and discussion of interaction design "schools" improve our understanding of design?
    • Can we move beyond the ideal of making design "invisible" (as in Don Norman's "invisible computer" or Yoshio Taniguchi's "invisible architecture") to making it visibly supportive and empowering? We might envision a design artifact that helps one feel enabled and excited--design that serves as an aid to identity.
    • Do we need to rethink the role of aesthetics in interaction design? As one questioner put it, "art is not about aesthetics," but about ideas and discussion (and sometimes, provocation). Interaction design could move from "literal interpretation" to "conceptual interpretation" by refocusing on how people interpret and discuss different types of interactive systems. Alternatively, we might try to understand more carefully the specifics of aesthetic experience in the context of interaction design. Could we identify "aesthetic bugs?"

    And finally, as a nice counterpoint to the idea that we can or should always "design" an appropriate "experience" for users, consider Tuck Leong's argument that randomness should be a resource for design. -Abe Technorati :

  • 02 Jul 2006 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    If you have a happening design project that you want to show off in a big way, grab this opportunity:
    The Design Expo Raleigh (DXR) '06 has extended the entry deadline until July 7th. Entries will be judged; the best entries will get exhibit space at the DXR in October.

    Each design discipline has a unique entry form and they can all be found >>here.

    Never heard of DXR? Grab your calendar and pencil it in: October 20th til November 4th. Local designers will have work on display, there will be studio and architecture tours, speakers and lecturers, in short, a design bonanza. Check it out.

  • 28 Jun 2006 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    You are warmly invited to a complimentary reception hosted by
    Human Factors International (HFI). Our Executive Director
    Jerome Nadel will speak on:

    "Strategic usability: Strengthening business decisionshttp://www.humanfactors.com/Raleighreception.asp.

    Companies invest millions in sophisticated software and Web sites,
    yet often fall short of reaching their goals. This happens when business\n
    objectives and end-user needs are not in sync.

    Jerome will explain how usability goes far beyond interface design
    and lets you make informed business decisions that can be validated.
    The user-centered design process yields data which leads to recommendations\n
    addressing executive concerns: revenue model, value proposition, process
    improvement, and positioning. Using examples from Fortune 500 companies,
    Jerome will share a practical approach to optimize user experience while\n
    improving your overall business model. The "self-serve" Internet mindset
    has made usability a necessity, not a luxury.

    This is an ideal opportunity to network with other business leaders who
    share\n
    similar challenges.

    Hope to see you there!

    Sheryll Ryan
    Director of Business Development
    Southeast Region
    Human Factors International, Inc.
    http://www.humanfactors.com\n
    Over 25 years of global services in user-centered design

    \n\n
    ",0] ); //-->
    through user-centered design"

    Complimentary Reception -- drinks and hors d'oeuvres will be served
    Date: Wednesday, July 12th from 4:00-7:00 pm
    Location: Prestonwood Country Club, 300 Prestonwood Parkway, Cary, NC
    27513

    Attendance is by advance reservation only and space is limited.
    Please register online: http://www.humanfactors.com/Raleighreception.asp.

    Companies invest millions in sophisticated software and Web sites,
    yet often fall short of reaching their goals. This happens when business
    objectives and end-user needs are not in sync.

    Jerome will explain how usability goes far beyond interface design
    and lets you make informed business decisions that can be validated.
    The user-centered design process yields data which leads to recommendations
    addressing executive concerns: revenue model, value proposition, process
    improvement, and positioning. Using examples from Fortune 500 companies,
    Jerome will share a practical approach to optimize user experience while
    improving your overall business model. The "self-serve" Internet mindset
    has made usability a necessity, not a luxury.

    This is an ideal opportunity to network with other business leaders who
    share
    similar challenges.

    Hope to see you there!

    Sheryll Ryan
    Director of Business Development
    Southeast Region
    Human Factors International, Inc.
    http://www.humanfactors.com
    Over 25 years of global services in user-centered design

  • 14 Jun 2006 5:00 PM | Anonymous
    The last Triangle UPA meeting (Wednesday 6/7, hosted by Lulu) focused on using personas in design. Robert Barlow-Busch (of Quarry Integrated Communications) presented an overview of personas: "rich descriptions of key customer groups, packaged in an engaging format and backed ideally by first-hand, ethnographic-style field research." Personas have many uses--not only can they inspire and guide design, but they can bring together different groups with an organization. In particular, they encourage communication and collaboration between marketing and user experience groups. Personas help UX and marketing talk about key assumptions, develop shared understandings, explore new products and feature spaces, and make better decisions about product scope and design. (For this collaboration to be effective, though, multiple roles and departments (sales, marketing, product management, engineering/development, etc.) must be involved throughout the creation and use of personas). Robert distinguished between primary personas (who "will be unsatisfied with a product designed for anyone else"), secondary personas (less demanding, and lower priority for design), and anti-personas (used to challenge assumptions about who the customer is). UX practitioners should strive to develop clear primary personas, because these personas illuminate the key tradeoffs and compromises in a design problem. In particular, when multiple primary personas are identified, it suggests that multiple products may be needed, so that each can be tightly focused on a particular problem and type of user. Robert pointed to Geoffrey's Moore claim that technology companies should "put all their eggs in one basket" to develop narrowly focused, but highly usable and effective products which avoid feature creep. Once developed, personas must be "marketed" to the organization. Robert told one client "the personas have to attend every meeting" and "we should never again talk about 'the user'". In other words, personas should guide every element of the design cycle, including recruiting participants for usability tests. To gain this impact, personas must be credible. Therefore, they should be clearly documented--UX professionals should explain the research and analysis methods they use to develop personas. For more on personas, see the recent book on personas, in which Robert has a chapter. - Abe Technorati :
  • 12 Jun 2006 5:00 PM | Anonymous
    RDU's first BAR Camp is looking for volunteers to provide logistical and day-of help. Sponsors are also being sought; anyone who can provide (money for) meals, whiteboards, poster material, pens, etc. please contact the BAR Camp organizers. How? Check the wiki for that information and more.
  • 24 May 2006 5:00 PM | Anonymous
    Here is the latest information about Robert Barlow-Busch's full-day persona design workshop:
    Getting Started With Personas
    Thursday, June 8, 2006
    9:00am to 5:00pm
    Durham, North Carolina
    Hilton Raleigh-Durham Airport Hotel
    Chances are good you've heard something about "personas" recently, as
    they've become a hot topic in design, usability, documentation, and
    marketing. But finding concrete, comprehensive information on how to
    create and use personas can be difficult. In this workshop, you'll
    get a hands-on introduction to personas that demystifies the process
    and explains how to use them in the design and documentation of
    websites, web applications, and software.
    Taught by Robert Barlow-Busch, Practice Director of Interaction
    Design at Quarry Integrated Communications. Look for an invited
    chapter by Robert in "The Persona Lifecycle", the first authoritative
    book about personas, published earlier this month. Workshop
    participants will receive a free copy of the book.
    To learn more, visit:
    http://personas.mollyguard.com/

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