Thursday, August 07, 2008

BayCHI Monthly Program

BayCHI Monthly Program Tuesday, August 12, 2008: ...

"In The Moment: UX Research About Life Instead of Just Interfaces
Nate Bolt, Bolt | Peters

Not all UX research is about the interface. It's about the habits, moods, location, and motivations of the people using your interface. Unfortunately, that mess is unpredictable and difficult to measure, but can make or break the accuracy of your research. Here are three examples of how we've structured research to uncover where peoples' real lives meet technology:

* Web Apps. Live intercepts and remote research. Get on the user's time, instead of forcing participants to follow your time as a researcher.
* Video Games. Simulated native environment testing and six-on-one moderation with TeamSpeak. Sounds crazy, and it is. We'll show a short documentary on what all that means and how much better it is than standard video game research.
* Cars. Getting into people's cars to film them while they drive, smoke a cigarette, flip open their laptop, check traffic, and then play an iPod. Also, how to double-check safety and liability waivers.

All three examples preserve the authenticity of users' moods and behaviors by maintaining a native environment, allowing us to understand relevant background information about a user, and using a relaxed, non-sterile environment to conduct the research-preferably, the comfort of their own homes (or cars). Users also have a much bigger role in choosing their tasks and structuring the interview than the researchers. We'll talk about splitting our scripts into passionate themes and backup questions, watch actual video and audio from recent research and explain what we found.

... Knocking Down the Barriers to Search Innovation with Open Search
Dr. Larry Cornett, Yahoo!

Consumer choice is a key tenet of life on the Internet today. But with a vast sea of content at our fingertips, how do we navigate the Web in a useful and efficient way? What innovations can developers and site owners take advantage of to make it easier to deliver the best results with the most complete information to their users?

One recent innovation that will help cut through the sheer volume of information on the Web is "open search." Opening up search technology creates an ecosystem of new advancements that will benefit users, as well as developers and site owners. With open search, any developer can create new applications and innovative uses of Web search. In addition, site owners can provide enhanced data that enables more relevant results on search experiences. The outcome of each of these search innovations is that users benefit from richer, more germane, and visually compelling results that get them from "to do" to "done" in one search. Today, users have three major search engines to choose from for all their Web search needs, but open search enables companies and developers, big and small, to design and develop next-gen Web search experiences that will give users more choice on the Web.

Yahoo! is leading this charge with several open initiatives: Yahoo!'s SearchMonkey gives site owners and developers control over the appearance of Yahoo! Search results by leveraging the massive amounts of useful data previously buried in Web sites. Yahoo! Search BOSS (Build Your Own Search Service) is an open Web services platform that enables companies and developers to leverage the Yahoo! Search infrastructure to re-rank and control the presentation of Web search results for the very first time. Both of these open innovations fuel new, custom search experiences.

This session will explore the potential created when search becomes open to developers, ultimately creating more choices for users. Dr. Larry Cornett, vice president of consumer products for Yahoo! Search, heads up the team responsible for creating search experiences, including new open search products like Yahoo! Search BOSS and SearchMonkey. He will provide an in-depth overview of why open search is important, detail how site owners and developers can best leverage the next generation of search, and show how users will benefit directly from enhanced search results on Yahoo!, as well as entirely new search experiences across the Web."    (Continued via BayCHI)    [Usability Resources]

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