User Research, Interaction Design,
Human Factors/Usability Testing
& Accessibility Reviews
by a multidisciplinary team of human factors engineers,
interaction designers, and web developers
The Aerospace Medical Association is the largest professional organization in the fields of aviation, space, and environmental medicine. This international association of aerospace medicine specialists, flight nurses, physiologists, psychologists, human factors specialists, and researchers has provided its expertise to federal and international agencies on a broad range of issues including aviation and space medical standards, the aging pilot, and physiological stresses of flight.
UCD provided a full site redesign for the AsMA including content inventory, a new IA, site navigation, graphics design, and site development. Included in the site design were a number of applets that provided site maintenance capabilities directly to the office staff as well as providing on-line community capabilities for its members.
In the Help America Vote Act of 2002, the Election Assistance Commission, in consultation with the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), was mandated to submit a report on human factors, usability, and accessibility to Congress. Subsequently NIST was asked to develop usability performance requirements for Human Performance-Based Standards and Usability Testing to be part of the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines that are being developed to enhance voting systems.
UCD worked with NIST to develop a conformance test based on human performance benchmarks. UCD performed background analysis; proposed a test protocol including a standard ballot, standard instructions for the voter, and a selection of statistical analyses to determine performance; and conducted multiple conformance tests (testing thousands of participants in performance based tests) to show construct validity, repeatability, and reproducibility from various locations in the US.
Note: In November 2008, the NIST team received a gold medal from the Department of Commerce for scientific achievement in voting based on the work performed by UCD.
UCD, Inc., under contract to the National Cancer Institute, designed and developed QuitPal – an iPhone-based application to assist people in trying to quit their smoking habit. The application was developed through a series of user centered design activities including (1) an environmental scan, (2) a literature scan, (3) focus groups, (4) mockup design and development, and (5) usability testing. The application incorporates health information, behavior tracking and feedback, as well as social support features to assist people in becoming smoke free.
To assist users in trying to stop smoking, personal smoking behavior is monitored through the device and specific feedback is provided to encourage them to stop smoking based on their individual smoking habits. Visual displays and information feedback are used to inform the user on their progress towards a smoke-free lifestyle. Capitalizing on the capabilities of the modern smart phone, videotaping and social media are used to create a support network to aid users in meeting the goal of becoming smoke free.
Feedback is provided throughout the quitting process to inform the user of positive health changes that occur as the person continues to stay smoke-free. Major milestones are announced to the user at weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly intervals. Users also have the option to share their accomplishments via Facebook or Twitter.
The QuitPal application was launched in the iPhone store in October 2012. More information can be found on http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/tobacco/smoking/quitting/nciquitpal-app.
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
Established in 1959, the IDB supports the process of economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Bank is the main source of multilateral financing in the region; it accomplishes this by partnering with governments, companies, and civil society organizations within its 26 borrowing member countries. The IDB lends money, provides grants and offers research, advice, and technical assistance to support key areas such as education, poverty reduction, and agriculture.
The National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) at The University of Iowa is the world's most advanced ground vehicle simulator. Developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) it consists of a six-degree of freedom hexapod containing a full size vehicle cab inside. The hexapod is attached to a motorized turntable that moves in real time within a basketball court sized room to accurately simulate the driving experience. Driven by $80 million worth of software and sophisticated hydraulics, if participants execute an evasive maneuver, they feel the side-to-side movement like a real car: if they run off the road into the gravel, they feel the vibration from the simulated road.
UCD performed a system safety analysis and assisted in designing the system monitoring and emergency control panel.
The Technology Transfer Center provides services to support the National Cancer Institute's technology development activities. The TTC's responsibilities include negotiations of transactional agreements between the NCI and outside parties, including universities, pharmaceutical entities, and biotechnology companies while ensuring that regulations and the policies of the National Institutes of Health are followed.
UCD initially conducted an expert review of the TTC website. The results of this work resulted in an additional contract to provide a complete redesign of the site including a new IA, site navigation, and graphics design. Included in the site design were a number of applets that provided site maintenance capabilities directly to the office staff. UCD has been providing site maintenance on the site since it launched in 2007.
Founded in 1988, Capital One Financial Corp was a U.S. based bank holding company specializing in credit cards, home loans, auto loans, banking, and savings products. Even before it’s recent purchase and assimilation of Maryland based Chevy Chase Bank, it was a member of the Fortune 500 with the 8th largest deposit portfolio in the United States. The company helped pioneer the mass marketing of credit cards in the early 1990s.
Over a three-year period, UCD conducted numerous user-based tests for CapitalOne as part of its continuing redesign efforts for its customer on-line services. UCD also provided a training course to the design staff of CapitalOne entitled: The Psychological Basis of Usability.
Vapotherm, Inc. is a privately held company that develops, manufactures, and markets respiratory devices. The company's breakthrough technology centers on the benefits of high flow delivery of breathing gases through a patented process for heating and humidification.
UCD provided a Human Factors evaluation of a new CPAP machine being developed by Vapotherm prior to its submission to the FDA. The Human Factors evaluation included operational evaluation of the equipment for both ease of use and safety.
The National Cancer Institute is one of 27 Institutes and Centers of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Its primary function is to conduct and foster cancer research, support promising research projects, and disseminate the results of research to the public. Its web presence consists of cancer.gov, a public-facing website, as well as numerous division websites that support both the public and the research communities.
UCD has supported the NCI since 2001 by providing expert reviews, accessibility reviews, user-based tests, user surveys, user interviews, user profile development, design services, design mockups, and other applied research. UCD has also provided training courses to the NCI including: Introduction of User-Centered Design, Introduction to Usability Testing, and The Psychological Bases of Usability.
Note: The NCI office that UCD works for has received numerous awards for UCD-assisted projects: a WEBBY award, a FREDDIE award, ACSI best in customer satisfaction in the e-government Portals/Department Main Sites category, and five plain language awards.
Developed for Nextel by Kangaroo.tv, the Nextel FanView (now Sprint Fanview) provides in-car camera channels, audio feeds, audio replay, and access to NASCAR’s time and scoring system on a personal, handheld device. The device, which was available for rent at NASCAR NEXTEL (now Sprint) Cup Series events, was included in TIME Magazine's list of Best Inventions 2006.
UCD was involved in the development and testing of the FanView product by providing expert reviews, design consultation, user-based testing, and contextual inquiry throughout the development process.
Note: UCD's work on the FanView product lead to additional work directly with Kangaroo.tv when they repurposed their product for the use at NFL football games.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is the sole scientific agency of the US Department of the Interior. The USGS employees approximately 8,600 people to study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural disasters that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines: biology, geography, geology, and hydrology.
Over a four-year period, UCD conducted numerous projects for the USGS that included expert review, design consulting, and user-based testing.
Note: The USGS received a WEBBY award for one of the projects in which UCD provided user-based testing and design consultation.
The US Department of State is the department of the Federal government responsible for international relations for the United States. It was the first executive branch department. Its responsibility is to advance U.S. objectives and interests in the world and to support activities of other U.S. Government entities involved in foreign affairs including the U. S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Agency for International Development. It also provides multiple services to U.S. citizens and to foreigners seeking to visit or immigrate to the U.S.
UCD provided a number of services to the US State Department including user profile development activities and user-based testing on both the State Department website and its website for students (future.state.gov). UCD performed an expert review of the search function and provided design recommendations; UCD provided expert review and design consultation on the redesign of the State Department’s home page.
K12 is the largest provider of online curriculum for grades K through 12. The company offers a complete range of courses across the academic spectrum that are delivered to students through a variety of mechanisms - including both online and in brick and mortar classrooms. Beyond the courses themselves, K12 adds service offerings to complement and enhance the learning experience such as daily lesson plans, teacher support, and global learning networks.
UCD worked with K12 to conduct user research of the primary audiences for K12 courses: students, families, and teachers. The effort included a multi-faceted approach to address varying needs and situations across grade levels, regions of the country, and instructional settings. The resulting user, environment, and task analyses provided grounding for developers of the online and classroom experience.
The Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (CRCHD) of the National Cancer Institute was established in March, 2001. The Center’s primary mission is to initiate, integrate, and engage in collaborative research studies with NCI divisions and NIH Institutes and Centers to promote research and training in cancer health disparities research to reduce the unequal burden of cancer in society.
UCD assisted the Center in developing its first website including developing user profiles, providing design consultation, and conducting user-based testing. UCD also designed and developed a dynamic news search tool and a tool for the distribution of multimedia materials for the website. After the website, UCD developed an intranet for the Center staff that included an applet to assist in maintaining the photo archive, an applet for maintaining the publications database, a tool for the dissemination and maintenance of questions associated with Requests for Proposals, and an on-line meeting request tool. UCD also assisted the Center in the production and on-line distribution of the first newsletter, designed and developed two on-line communities for researchers, and provided site maintenance services.
Government Printing Office
Since 1813 when Congress mandated that the public was to be informed about the work of Government, the Government Printing Office (GPO) and its predecessors have been doing that. GPO provides publishing and dissemination services of government publications to Congress, Federal agencies, Federal depository libraries, and the public. Many of the publications are produced in a printing facility in Washington, DC near the Capitol. More recently, GPO decided to move some publications from a print based operation to one that includes more digital information processing both for information input and dissemination.
UCD provided usability services as an early phase of the digital change in the FDsys program (Federal Digital system). The FDsys changes allow Congress and Federal agencies to create and submit content to GPO electronically. After submission GPO can preserve, authenticate, manage, and deliver this material upon request. UCD provided user interviews, design, and testing for both the Submission (information input) and Access (information dissemination) parts of the program.