User Research Friday

An unconference at Bolt Peters, San Francisco, 27-Oct-2006

The Talks

Teresa Hernandez: Eyetracking: love it or hate it, here's how you can use it

Some people think eyetracking is great, some people think that they already get the benefits without using it. That’s all fine. Eyetracking is a valuable, but currently under used tool for understanding website usability. We’re going to talk about ways you can use eyetracking to optimize communication on the Internet, and how written communication as well as design can be optimized.

Bios: Teresa Hernandez is Director of Research at Eyetools, Inc., overseeing study development and data analysis.

Wendy Castleman: Remote Site Visits

Site visits are a crucial way for us to gather information about a user’s experience, and to identify user requirements and opportunities for improving an experience. UX practitioners have been using site visits for decades. However, they are difficult to conduct when the timing of user’s tasks are transitory or unpredictable. We have begun to pair remote usability testing tools (Ethnio) with our traditional “Follow-Me-Home” techniques for a rich, spontaneous view into what our customers are doing. I’ll talk about what we are doing and why, along with pros and cons of the approach.

Bio: Wendy is the Principal User Research Scientist at Intuit. One of her roles is to develop new UX research methodologies.

Ravit Lichtenberg : Taking Customer Research beyond the product line: 5 keys to creating optimal customer experience during an acquisition

Ravit Lichtenberg will discuss how customer research helped Hewlett Packard’s software business meet its customer retention goals during the recent acquisition of Peregrine Systems.

Bio: Ravit Lichtenberg is a customer experience design and strategy expert with Hewlett Packard’s Corporate Design group.

For more information, visit Ravit’s blog at

Rashmi Sinha: Lost in translation: remote, international user research

How should large international companies listen to customers from all across the world? Rashmi will talk about her experiences running multi-country, multi-language remote research studies (largest being a 14-country, 11 language study). She will describe lessons learnt from recruiting and translation to tools and data analysis.

Bio: Rashmi Sinha is the founding principal of Uzanto - a Mountain View based consulting company that focuses on web product strategy. She writes a blog at using social and cognitive lens to examine people’s interactions with technology.

Indi Young: "Mental Models and the University Effect"

A brief, very brief introduction to task based models and how I use them to derive application design and coordinate team projects & priorities, followed by a whirlwind tour of several international models that depict something I call “The University Effect.” In a nutshell, these are findings validating other research that if you study a process taught in college, it’s likely to be the same or very similar from country to country.

Bio: Indi was a Founding partner of Adaptive Path but currently consults independently while writing her book on mental models.

Steve August: Immersive Research: A Methodology for Remote Contextual Research

High Internet adoption rates, XML driven social software, ubiquitous digital media, and connected wireless devices have provided researchers the tools to remotely capture day-to-day customer experiences literally as they unfold. This presentation presents a methodological framework for utilizing these tools to immerse ourselves and the organizations we serve in everyday customer experiences.

Bio: Steve August is a Principal of KDA Research where he leads KDA’s online in-depth practice, and has guided the development of Revelation, KDA’s online research web application.

Lane Becker & Todd Wilkens: Research strategies: choosing and mixing methods

These days finding and fielding a good research method is not as difficult as it used to be thanks to all of the excellent books and software packages developed by people like those presenting at this event. With all of these options available, the problem is not finding good methods but finding the *right* methods for your specific project. This is even more important and problematic in the fast-paced, beta culture of the web. We’ll discuss approaches that have been successful for us in a number of different projects.

Bios: Lane Becker is a founding partner of Adaptive Path. Since 1995, Lane has guided companies, from startup stage to Fortune 100, in designing Web sites that integrate user goals and business objectives.
Todd Wilkens is a design researcher for Adaptive Path.

Blogs and Photos