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Usability Associates
38 Montpelier Circle
Rochester, NY 14618

Usability Associates' work experience spans a diversity of projects that were done for different purposes and at different stages of the development cycle.  The scope of experience is illustrated by the following selected projects which are arranged into three topic areas.  

Product Design Projects: Documentation and implementation of usability design.
Voice of the Customer Research: Usability evaluation studies using various methods to bring users' perceptions and performance results into the design process.
Special Projects: A variety of Human Factors and usability related efforts including personnel recruitment, ease of installation, and new technology studies.


bulletImproved Control Panel Design for Medical Product. Evaluated existing design of control panel for hypo/hyperthermia machine and, using established Human Factors principles, made recommendation for displaying output information more effectively, making graphics more understandable and consistent, and differentiating appearance of controls that needed to be operated differently.  All recommendations were implemented on later machines.
bulletServiceability Design Requirements. Specified 54 Human Factors requirements for serviceability of a production printing press. Requirements included physical handling, ease of removal/installation, ease of disassembly/assembly, visibility/accessibility, and functional stereotyping. Human Factors requirements were incorporated into overall Engineering Requirements Document.
bullet Design Specifications for Wearable Medical Device. Specified usability requirements and design ideas for development of a new medical device to be worn by patients. Factors addressed included display, controls, wearability, and patient self-reporting capability.
bulletKiosk User Interface. Supervised iterative design and internal usability testing of customized kiosk user interface for capturing images from customer videos. Final UI design iteration was used in external market test. 
bulletDesign of Graphical User Interface for High-Volume Printer. Served on team with product planners, graphic designers, and software developers to redesign user interface for new features being incorporated into the printer. Resulting design contained enhanced graphics and improved usability.
bulletWeb Site Usability Upgrade. Specified readability and navigation improvements for an existing small business web site.
bulletDigital Camera User Interface. Developed and wrote user interface specifications for the presentation and navigation of display screens on a new digital camera.
bulletAppearance and Usability Design of OEM Copier Control Panels. Led Kodak Human Factors team for redesign of two vendor copiers to Kodak specifications. Major portion of effort involved establishing layout of control panels and defining the microprocessor logic that controlled their operation. Originated and maintained a functional specification document which served as a focus for long distance communication and my monthly face-to-face negotiations in Tokyo. Developed and implemented testing plan to verify compliance of final product to functional specifications. Planned and conducted two-day training session in London with Kodak European marketing personnel responsible for translating copier legends and messages into their home languages.
bulletErgonomic Design Guidelines for Displays on Home Appliances. Interviewed client's key personnel doing research and development for washers, dryers, ranges, and microwave ovens to (1) determine their perceptions of relevant display design considerations and (2) understand their process for selecting electronic display components. Delivered a research report giving specifications for nine visual factors for control panel displays and graphical legends. Also identified guideline usage considerations and provided an implementation checklist.
bulletNew Control Panel Display.  Proposed and justified need, location, and design for an additional new display as part of a project to design a new feeder accessory for an existing copier. Identified 35 possible jam recovery situations and compared operator responses required in each situation for the proposed design and the previous baseline design. Showed that using the proposed display required simpler operator responses in more situations than the baseline design by about 4 to 1. Proposed display became new baseline for feeder accessory.
bulletHardware Design Certification. Evaluated serviceability of a production printing press to determine if design of hardware components and interfaces met predetermined usability requirements. Considerations included physical handling, visibility/accessibility, and ease of removal/installation, and disassembly/assembly for dozens of replaceable components.
bulletUser Interface Assessment. Evaluated operators’ understandability of screens and navigation when performing key tasks on a production printing press and an associated peripheral device. Considerations included consistency, terminology, icon appearance, human memory requirements, task flow, and accessibility of help information.

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bulletRisk Analysis and Usability Testing of User Manual for Medical Product. In compliance with FDA requirements, (1) performed risk analysis on use of handheld over-the-counter medical product and (2) evaluated comprehension of instructions with emphasis on content affecting safe and effective operation of the product.  Resultant report of findings included recommended changes to both the user manual and the product design.
bulletHeuristic Evaluation and Usability Testing of Consumer Product. A potential OEM product was evaluated against three competitive products to inform management decision about marketing the product.  Both the heuristic analysis and usability testing found the product to have inferior usability to its competitors.  Consequently, the product was not launched.
bulletUsability Testing of Touchscreen Digital Camera. Conducted usability testing on a UI software prototype for a new digital camera with a novel touchscreen user interface. Planned and administered recruiting and usability test, analyzed data, reported results and recommended improvements.
bulletComparison Testing of Competitive Digital Cameras. Conducted usability testing on a software simulation of a new digital camera with novel graphic animations and its two key competitor models. Planned and administered recruiting and usability test, analyzed data, reported results and recommended improvements.
bulletUser Interface Improvement for Medical Software Application: In a series of moderated usability sessions, physicians were shown current and proposed GUIs for a software application that assists them in making diagnoses for dermatological diseases. In each session, a pair of physicians evaluated the GUIs by discussing their concerns and preferences. A final report summarized the key deficiencies identified for both GUI versions and recommended improvements to address them.
bulletDocument Processing System Prototype.  Coordinated, designed, conducted, and analyzed end-user usability tests of graphical user interfaces on a system of workstations. The testing took place on a prototype development system consisting of networked computers, high speed document scanners/processors, and manual scanners located at the Internal Revenue Service's development facility in Detroit, Michigan.
bullet Evaluation of User Interface for Entertainment Kiosk. Planned and conducted usability testing for the graphical user interface of a kiosk intended for use in a public entertainment venue. The highly interactive user interface provided a fun user experience with pictures and included keyboard and trackball input capability and voice, music, text, and graphic output. Arranged rental of usability lab and participant recruiting. Planned and administered test, analyzed data, reported results and recommended improvements.
bulletEvaluation of Operating Instructions. Developed and ran usability test to determine which of two different forms of jam recovery instructions should be marketed with a new copier. Test participants used both forms in a balanced experimental design and their performance was recorded as they attempted to complete a set of jam recovery tasks. The results showed a poor completion success rate for both instructional forms and so neither was used. Instead, the microprocessor logic was redesigned to simplify the jam recovery procedures.
bulletWords versus Symbols on Control Panel. Conducted a study to designate whether words or symbols should be used on the control panel buttons of a copier being designed for use by casual, walk-up operators. Used paper and pencil prototypes of both word and symbol control panels and compared the two in terms of subjects' performance in "running" copier jobs and their preference. As a result of the study, which was done late in the copier development process, symbols used on engineering models were replaced by words on the production models.
bulletDesktop Blood Analyzer Development. Planned, conducted, and analyzed customer feedback sessions to assess alternative designs for a blood analyzer. Over the course of two days, customer groups were rotated through three different feedback sessions running in parallel. The feedback sessions addressed different human factors aspects of the product design.
bulletAppearance and Usability of Advanced Image Capture Device. Planned and moderated focus groups in major cities to evaluate preferences for appearance and usability of concepts for a new hand-held image capture device. Incorporated an adaptation of the Pugh concept convergence technique into the group sessions. Conducted internal pilot focus group prior to taking it external. Led interdisciplinary team of internal and external resources to develop twelve alternative product designs to use in the focus group evaluations.
bulletHigh-speed Copier Mainframe and Accessories. In separate studies, developed and moderated numerous customized focus groups to identify preferred design concepts, measure attribute tradeoffs, and evaluate sensitivity to product quality for copier mainframe, form feeder, and finisher.
bulletAlpha Testing of Copiers in European Market. Coordinated and conducted internal trade trial to collect user behavior, preferences, and attitudes during launch of copiers in Belgium, The Netherlands, England, France, and Germany. Established and documented testing procedure and trained country marketing representatives in its administration.
bulletBeta Testing of Copiers. Participated on marketing teams responsible for launch of various copiers. Helped plan logistics and data collection procedures. Observed, surveyed, and interviewed copier users at customer sites.
bulletDesktop Photofinishing User Interface. Conducted usability testing for the implementation of a new algorithm to enhance photos. Planned and administered test, analyzed data, and reported results.
bulletDesktop Printer User Interface. Conducted usability testing of a web-based user interface for system administration of networked printers. Planned and administered test, analyzed data, and reported results.
bulletWeb Sitelet Usability Testing. Tested usability of alternative web site page designs for incorporating images into an e-commerce web site. 
bulletMailing machine User Interface. Tested intuitiveness of control panel operation prototyped in Visual Basic.  Planned and administered test, analyzed data, and reported results.

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bulletEvent Analysis. Determined Human Factors considerations potentially contributing to the occurrence of a specific event in a hospital setting. Used contextual observation and interviewing to identify factors related to information displays as well as workplace layout and environment.
bulletHedonomics. Built a database of quantitative methods for measuring usability, emotional response to products, and product branding. Discovered 64 references through extensive literature search. Categorized the nature of each method along six dimensions and linked each method to an annotation of its details.
bulletGlobal Co-Development. Conducted interviews with U.S. product design and usability managers about their experiences with multinational collaboration for product development. Focused on process and outcomes that contributed to success or failure. Deliverables included lessons learned about planning/organizing/interacting and fishbone diagrams of outcome causes and effects.
bulletProduct Accessibility. Coordinated logistics and briefings for a corporate program contracted to a university for evaluating user accessibility to a representative sample of the company’s products.
bullet Benchmarking Study. Interviewed product design and usability managers from five major companies about their contribution to the design of total user experience, organizational best practices, and vision of the future.
bullet Mailing Machine Usage Survey. Utilizing network of call center resources, conducted effective phone survey of 200 customers under a tight deadline.
bulletUser Interface Development for Image-capable Workstation. Wrote successful $1,000,000 unsolicited proposal to Internal Revenue Service for developing an interactive simulation showing how, in ten years, IRS personnel could be processing taxpayer account data. Supervised Human Factors team in implementing proposal under contract. Deliverables included software code for GUI prototype, a UI usability test whose participants were IRS personnel coming to the test site from different IRS Service Centers, a videotape demonstrating the user interface design, and a 200-page document defining details of the user interface design.
bulletWizard-Of-Oz User Interface Prototype. Originated a wizard-of-oz continuous voice recognition laboratory demonstration of an information management system for potential customers. Used a man-in-the-loop ("behind the screen") for demonstrating capability to research how users would vocally interact with user interface before the speech recognition technology to do so was available.
bulletPost-WIMP User Interfaces. Investigated research being done on post-WIMP (Windows, Icons, Menus, and Pointing devices) user interfaces with emphasis on haptic and eye gaze technologies. Collected information by surveying literature, phone-interviewing researchers, and visiting MIT Media Lab.
bulletHigh Volume Copier/Printer Installation. Observed and analyzed installation procedures, instructions and packaging. Documented problems and causes in a database usable for defining improvements to reduce installation time.
bulletDesktop Mailing System Installation. Observed and analyzed installation procedures, instructions and packaging. Recommended improvement to increase success rate and time to install.
bulletProfessional Recruiting. Recruited Human Factors candidates for manager, senior, junior, and intern levels at Fortune 500 company. Seventy-five percent of candidates referred to the company for interviews were hired.
bulletParticipant Recruiting: Complete recruiting and incentive payment services were provided for dozens of usability tests for two companies. Users of consumer and commercial products were screened for various experience qualifications and scheduled for testing times.

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