UPA International Conference 2010
I was not able to attend this year’s conference, but was involved in its planning and was excited to see the presentations that occurred.
I just read a review of Research Themes and Trends by Michael Hawley posted on UX Magazine.
He split the sessions he was able to attend into categories:
Optimizing and Extending Existing Research Methods presentations included optimizing testing to occur in a week or less, which I find reminiscent of Steve Krug’s recent book, Rocket Surgery Made Easy. Another described methods to combine web analytics with usability testing to create richer data sets through quantitative and qualitative data.
The Importance of Storytelling There was a presentation on InfoPal, a way for subjects to share their thoughts ‘diaries’ through multimodal processes using not only a written diary, but also recordings, pictures, drawings, voice memos etc to provide more information to researchers as well as improve the participants’ ability to share their thoughts in more places and in more ways. A discussion around how to use stories from users to help stakeholders understand more clearly what their product needs to provide.
Eyetracking Continues to Evolve and discussion has moved beyond whether or not it is a useful tool and now focuses on what results are most useful to usability professionals and how best to analyze those results.
Research Beyond Usability There were several meetings that discussed the continuing desire by designers and researchers to provide delightful, easy interfaces and create products that take the psychology of happiness into account.
Maturing the Profession Possibly the most important aspect of what we do at the UPA conferences is work towards helping to promote our goals and profession. We are striving to make our research more scientific while not losing the ‘art’ of usability research and the study presented (where different teams found very different results) brought the results of opinions in usability research into stark focus. Mentoring of not only junior associates but colleagues in our workplaces was also presented.
The next UPA conference:
UPA 2011 International Conference– Atlanta, Georgia
The 2011 conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, Georgia from June 20-24th.