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June 2005 Contents


Take Breaks! A Simple Way to Improve Your Heuristic Evaluation Results
As primary tools in the usability field, heuristic or expert evaluations can be rich areas for methods studies and improvement. Early results of one methods study suggest that performing evaluations in limited segments, with breaks between each segment, may increase the effectiveness of the evaluator in identifying usability problems.

By Laura Faulkner

The Mystery Of Recruiting
We love a good detective novel, so it is no surprise that the sometimes mysterious nature in which market research operates gives us a similar kick. As the great Sherlock Holmes poses the endless questions for his unfortunate sidekick, Watson, it behooves us to do the same in our line of work: What is the ultimate goal of the ubiquitously mysterious end-client? Who will benefit from this study? Who ultimately has the means, the motive and the opportunity to participate?

By Lauren Lundgren and Tina Osinski

How to Create a Winning Tagline
The name of your company or consulting practice can offer prospects a clue into the work you do, which is especially necessary if it’s not readily understood, but if it bears your name, you’d better have a tagline to do the explaining.

By Ilise Benun

What Kind of Teamwork Improves Usability?
Professionals are increasingly working in networked teams where electronic media and asynchronous communication play an important role. So how can communication behaviours in these contexts predict usability? Do efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction in the communication process lead to the same for the resulting documentation?

By Kirstie Edwards

Projects and Events

UPA Joins Forces with Design for Democracy
When I first started the Voting and Usability project, back in late 2000, I assumed that this would be a short-lived project. But five years later, our activities have only increased and broadened in scope. The usability of elections and other interactions with our government are even more important today, as governments around the world move much of their communications with citizens online.

By Whitney Quesenbery

World Usability Day Update
Plans are forming all over the world. The first annual World Usability Day looks like it will be a great success. Several local areas are in the process of planning their events. The different types of activities range from events at a local science museum, to multiple visits to development centers and open house events in usability labs.

By Elizabeth Rosenzweig

UPA “Mini UPA” Conference a Success
Sometimes conference materials speak for themselves.
Weighing in at over two hundred and fifty pages (double-sided!), the three-pound tome prepared for the Fourth Annual UPA-Boston “Mini UPA” Conference contained the presentation handouts, abstracts and bios of thirty-two presenters. To the Boston chapter’s Advisory Board, this was a strong indicator that this year’s incarnation of the “Mini UPA” conference might be the most ambitious and well attended event the chapter has ever hosted.

By Chris Hass

Boston UPA Chapter Awards Scholarships
To recognize and reward students and professionals who have a stated interest in pursuing or furthering a career in the usability and human factors field, the Boston Chapter of the Usability Professionals’ Association awarded three scholarships to underwrite the conference registration fees for the UPA Conference in Montreal. Scholarship winners will also receive $100 for expenses related to the conference in Montreal held from June 27 to July 1.

By Chauncey Wilson


Thumbnail: Ginny Redish
Ginny Redish has been called the “mother” of usability. With 25-plus years of experience, honors from the ACM, IEEE and STC, and two groundbreaking books to her credit, she certainly deserves the title. Ginny’s career in usability started, not with software or the web, but with government documents. It was the 1970s, and a movement called Plain Language was underway. The idea behind Plain Language was to cut through the gobbledygook that made up much public-sector information.

By Cliff Anderson

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