Joint Boston-IA & UPA Boston Meeting
"Ten-Minute Talks 2010"

July 2010

On July 21, 2010, .

Topic: ""

Date: July 21, 2010

Speakers: A Panel of 6 Speakers

Location: Staples headquarters
Framingham, Massachusetts

Staples headquarters, 500 Staples Drive, Framingham, MA.

On July 21, Staples headquarters in Framingham, Massachusetts, .

Talk Descriptions

  1. W3C WAI Accessibility Guidelines: Why they are important, and how you can make a difference

    Jeanne Spellman, W3C Web Accessibility Initiative, & Kim Patch, President and Founder of Redstart Systems

    Jean and Kim outlined the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) accessibility guidelines (WCAG 2.0), and the updates in process of the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) for browsers and the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG). They talked about how individuals who think about accessibility can contribute to the process. Then they asked the audience questions designed to get the process started.

    Jeanne Spellman is the W3C team contact for the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines Working Group and the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines Working Group. Prior to joining W3C, Jeanne has worked as an independent web developer and accessibility consultant.

    Kimberly Patch is President and Founder of Redstart Systems, a company dedicated to improving the speech interface. Kim is also an invited expert for the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative User Agent Accessibility Guidelines Working Group.

  2. Transcribing and Captioning Online Video

    Tole Khesin, Director of Marketing, 3Play Media

    A new report from Pew Research Center showed that 70 percent of adult Internet users have watched or downloaded online video. Unfortunately the percentage of video made accessible through captions is shockingly low. Part of the reason is that traditional captioning services are cost-prohibitive and not set up to handle online video efficiently. Tole discussed different options for transcription and captioning. He also demonstrated 3Play Media's latest Interactive Transcript Plugin, which goes beyond captions to provide video navigation, search, and other capabilities that improve user experience and accessibility.

    Tole Khesin is a principal of 3Play Media. He is also an angel investor and a founder of several companies, including MK Engineering, a cleantech company that was sold to GE Energy, and Digital Pickle, a media services company that was sold to Paran Holdings.

  3. Usability's Brand Problem

    Joe Ranft, Design Consultant

    In his role as an independent design consultant, Joe has found a curious dichotomy. Clients describe what they need as "usability", but this can be anything from design strategy, to information architecture, to high-end final screen designs. When he brings up the idea of conducting actual usability, clients often decline, thinking it's too expensive, or time-consuming, or unscientific. So "usability" as a brand name for great user interface design seems to be doing well, while "usability" as a brand name for user testing is not doing so well. This talk explored this idea further and began to offer some solutions to the problem.

    Joe Ranft is a design consultant specializing in early product concepting, online strategy, information architecture, customer experience, usability, and user research. His clients have included Fidelity Investments, athenaHealth, Motley Fool,,, and several early stage Internet start-ups. Prior to consulting, Joe was VP of User Experience for Fidelity Investments, where he managed design teams for,, Active Trader Pro, and several other Fidelity Web sites and Windows applications.

  4. Why Does it Think That? Improving Interaction Design for Personalized Recommendation Systems

    Susanna Kirk, IBM User Research

    A growing number of online "recommender systems" gather personal information about our preferences and interests, leveraging this to generate targeted recommendations for movies, music, books, products, news items, significant others, etc. As algorithms get smarter, these recommendations can be helpful and even delightful, but user research tells us that acceptance of these systems rests heavily on how we present and explain recommendations. This mini talk introduced current research on how users evaluate and respond to personalized recommendations, and discussed emerging insights on the design of "explanation interfaces" that can facilitate a conversation between users and their recommenders.

    Susanna Kirk is wrapping up a year-long graduate internship with IBM's Collaborative User Experience research group and will be finishing her MS in Human Factors in Information Design at Bentley this fall. Susanna's research on recommender systems grew out of a student project she conducted for a recommender engine in development at Sun Labs. Her current work on the Collaborative Reasoning team explores how intelligent systems can support collaboration and information sharing across social networks. Prior to moving to Boston, Susanna worked as a user experience researcher for DIG, where she continues to consult on meaningful interaction with supportive interfaces.

  5. The User Edit Method: What is it and how can I use it?

    Christopher LaRoche, Senior Lecturer at the College of Professional Studies (CPS) at Northeastern University

    The User Edit (also known as the Usability Edit) is a usability method that can find usability issues and errors in documentation. Chris explored this method, its different flavors, when and where to use them, and the advantages and disadvantages they present.

    Christopher LaRoche is a Senior Lecturer at the College of Professional Studies (CPS) at Northeastern University. He has worked as a technical writer, information designer, interaction designer, and usability specialist in the computer software and hardware industry for fifteen years. His work has specialized in content development and creation for many mediums, Web site design and development, and performing and applying numerous usability evaluations and methods to products. He has worked at a variety of companies, including Sun Microsystems, Genuity/BBN, Domain Pharma, Fidelity Investments, Paragon Imaging, H&R Block, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts during his career.

    Chris teaches classes in usability, information architecture, and Web design and development. He is active in the usability community and regularly presents at national and international conferences. Chris has an MA in Irish history from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and an MS in Human Factors from Bentley University.

  6. More Effective and Actionable Personas Through Embodiment of 3-Dimensional Characters

    Traci Lepore, Principal Interaction Designer, InContext Design

    We all know the issues UX Designers have with personas. One reason is that they seem like words on the paper and not "real". This mini-talk provided a quick overview of a recently developed short workshop designed to explore and introduce how acting techniques for character development and embodiment can enhance our insight into Personas and ways in which we can find the connection that makes them "real". By gathering this insight we can then make our Personas truly actionable. This workshop was designed by collaboration between Traci Lepore and Byron Stuart, founder of Dramatic Diversity. This talk gathered feedback from participants and will hopefully generate more feedback that will help refine the workshop moving forward.

    Traci Lepore is a User Experience Designer who is committed to understanding and spreading insight about the metaphors between UXD and theater that can help derive a more human-centered design process. Traci has almost a decade of UXD experience working across a broad range of enterprise and consumer level applications for high tech, manufacturing and corporate business services industries. She is a skilled researcher and designer who is excited by the challenges of meeting the user needs, business and technical constraints to achieve the best design. Currently she is also a regular columnist for where her Dramatic Impact: Theater and the Creative Process of Design articles help to articulate her point of view. Traci holds an M.A. in Theater Education from Emerson College, and a B.S. in Communications Media from Fitchburg State College. Prior to being a UXD she was a graphic designer who worked mostly with marketing collateral development.

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