(Originally published in 2009–moved here on 9/29/2013–and still highly relevant.)
The University of Virginia hosted an outstanding usability-focused conference yesterday and today, EDUI 2009. The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia, in partnership with User Interface Engineering, produced the conference, featuring a star-studded roster of presenters (forgive the hyperbole, but this conference was an amazing value for the cost of attendance). Today I’m acting as your amateur reporter, providing a quick summary of the conference. I’ll share info from the sessions in forthcoming posts, in the interest of brevity.
I spent yesterday in an all-day session with Dana Chisnell, an independent usability consultant and user researcher who founded UsabilityWorks. She co-authored the Handbook of Usability Testing: How to Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests. The session was titled Usability Testing Without the Scary. Dana reviewed the entire process of user testing, from developing a test plan to recruiting users, working with stakeholders, summarizing and prioritizing issues, to reporting on results and making recommendations. The day ended with a reception hosted by Intalgent at their new venture/venue, OpenSpace. Wonderful networking, great food and wine, and a very funny improv performance.
Today began with a presentation by Michael Wesch, who teaches Cultural Anthropology and Digital Ethnology at Kansas State University. Dubbed “the explainer” by Wired magazine, Michael Wesch is a cultural anthropologist exploring the impact of new media on society and culture. The EDUI session was titled Mediated Culture, and showed how the media are not just tools or means of communications—they mediate our relationships. When media change our relationships change.
I attended “How Your Design Feels,” presented by Dan Rubin, founder and principal of Webgraph (a design and branding studio), co-founder of Sidebar Creative (a design collective) and Sinelogic (UI and usability consulting) as well as a web standards consultant and speaker.
Jared Spool, founder of User Interface Engineering, the largest usability research organization of its kind in the world, presented the conference keynote address, Cooking Up Gourmet User Experiences on a Fast-Food Budget.
I’ll share details on these sessions starting tomorrow.