Techniques for Understanding the User Experience

Speaker: Demetrios Karis , Verizon Labs

Date: Friday, November 19, 2004

Time: 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM

Refreshments: 1:15 PM

Public: Yes

Location: Patil Seminar Room (32-G449)

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Host: Jaime Teevan, CSAIL

Contact: Jaime Teevan, (617) 253-1611,

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Reminder Subject: TALK: Techniques for Understanding the User Experience

What techniques are available to understand the user experience on web sites, and especially on complex commercial web sites?  How can we obtain a comprehensive understanding of the user experience when users differ from each other so dramatically?  Traditional laboratory-based usability evaluations are certainly necessary, but far from sufficient.  Based on eight years of experience working on (an online yellow pages), I'll describe the different techniques we've used, some of their strengths and weaknesses, and present some interesting examples and anecdotes.  Techniques include different types of usability evaluations,heuristic evaluations, comparative and benchmarking studies, longitudinal studies, log analysis, online surveys, choice-based conjoint analysis, remote automated testing, field studies, and the analysis of direct user feedback. 

I will use examples to show why no single methodology or source of information is sufficient, and that for a comprehensive understanding of the user experience, information from multiple sources must be combined. For example, I will discuss how combining the results from a log analysis and a field study gives a much more comprehensive picture of SuperPages use on a cell phone than information from either source alone. I will also give some examples that show why multiple test sessions are often required.  The comprehensive program I will present has 10 parts, and I will talk about the first five:  usability studies (with novice, experienced, and special populations), comparative studies, field studies, analysis of direct user feedback (i.e., email sent to the site), and the use of a panel of experts over months or even years (diary studies).


Demetrios Karis has led the User Interface group at Verizon Labs for eight years.  Before SuperPages, he worked on a variety of telecommunication products and services, including Airfone and a number of speech-based systems (including both IVR and ASR technologies).  He also carried out applied research.  Demetrios has a BA in Psychology from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Cornell University.  After Cornell, he spent five years doing basic research in the Cognitive Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) before moving to industry, first at Grumman Aerospace, and then at GTE Labs, which became Verizon Labs after the merger of GTE and Bell Atlantic.

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Created by Linda L. Julien Email at Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 6:21 AM.