Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Feedback/Ideas for and Audible Applications

Recommendations for Audible

I wish that I could provide feedback directly from the iPhone or Android app. I wish that if the application crashed it would save which items have been read or marked as finished.

In the list of books it would be nice to see how many stars each book has been rated and to be able to sort them by rating (IN APP).

I would like to be able to login to the app with biometrics (thumbprint). The android app integrates the store better than the iphone app.

When rating books, there are too many clicks required. Seems like the multiple stars could all just be on the initial screen (with the list of recommended books) rather than clicking overall stars, being redirected, then submitting and going back. When doing this to multiple books it becomes very tedious.

It would be nice to integrate the Listener page better with other book lover's social media like Shelfari and GoodReads or even blogs so that feedback can be auto posted to Amazon, Shelfari, GoodReads, and Blogs.

Why haven't improvements been made to the gamification of the Audible application? I earned most of the badges a few years ago, but no new badges ever appear or rewards for earning them, or the ability to compete with friends. Most of the application seems to just revolve around the antiquated "share feature" which in its default form is annoying and spammy. I read a lot of books and if I shared every book, every badge, and every other thing from the application with the default verbiage... it would annoy my friends. There seems to be little motivation to this, but if people could earn points or rewards for commenting, inviting friends, sharing books, and writing reviews - more people might be involved. It could track the number of people invited, make a competition out of books read, or for every 100 books offer 1 free credit.

The tracking for the number of titles in my library seems to always be off. It would be awesome if books returned would show up somewhere. I'm not sure if I would accidentally repurchase a book I didn't like, but at least I could see the books I rated poorly and the "similar" books recommended.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Design & Laws for Usable Systems

  • Dix, Finlay, Aboud & Beale (2003): Introduction to “Human-Computer Interaction.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Consider Good Human Factors

“If consideration for good human factors is given early in the design process, considerable savings in both money and possibly human suffering can be achieved.” -- Wickens, Lee, Liu & Gordon-Becker: Chapter 1 of “Introduction to Human Factors Engineering.”
“The system must support the user’s task: if the system forces the user to adopt an unacceptable mode of work then it is not usable.” -- Dix, Finlay, Aboud & Beale (2003): Introduction to “Human-Computer Interaction.”
"In other words, companies would be wise to invest early and often in a well-thought user experience for their products and services. Too many companies believe that their brand recognition will suffice when launching and maintain products. This is just not the case anymore in our day and age. A successful company will invest time into testing the usability of their products to ensure they aren’t wasting time and money focusing in the wrong areas." -- Ryan Stone

Monday, October 24, 2016

Good Vs. Bad Product Design.

Charles Di Renzo Week 2 Reading Reactions COLLAPSE I liked the Wickens reading the most out of these 3. It covered the different types of experiments and under which conditions to use them. This was very fascinating to me as I love the science involved with HCI. I spoke about it in my last post, but I’m always thinking about whether or not a product can be ‘objectively good’ and if so will that mean the most products are headed down a road to imitate one another in the hopes of the being the best product on the market? I think we all feel that products can be ‘objectively bad’ because there are products that are either hard to use or they don’t accomplish their purpose very well, but can a product be deemed ‘objectively good’ if there are people who would prefer a different interface? Either way I enjoy hearing about the science and research that goes into everything. I was also glad to see the discussion of P and t values and their importance in research, as it was a really interesting part of my economics major to see how studies were conducted. I hope that my previous experience with statistics will come in use during this graduate program. I also enjoyed the Dix Ch. 9 article and how they discussed the Heuristic evaluation, we had touched on these in my undergraduate ‘Usability’ class and I enjoy using an app or a webpage and thinking about how they’ve been applied. Charles, I like that you pointed out Wicken's experiment types and the objectively good/bad products. I didn't really consider discussing either of these in my response to this weeks reading, but the way you responded reminds me a lot of other readings and lectures I've been to on how products are invented or revolutionized. Too often, it seems products are given "extra features" for the sake of doing something meaninglessly different that distract from products, but sometimes they are done poorly. I own the Samsung S2 Smart Watch. I like it a lot. It functions well as a phone and a watch, but beyond that it holds little value for me. It COULD do so much more (I'm trying to learn to build my own apps for it). I was also extremely disappointed that the SmartThings app is not in products yet for the S2 (which it was deceivingly advertised and is also owned by Samsung). Mechanical keyboards now come with distracting, but very cool lights. Makes a great expensive techy purchase, but I also wonder at the necessity (though maybe I'm a hypocrite as I type on a mechanical keyboard at work.. but I don't think it's really that much better than my built in laptop one). Shoes can track your steps, but do little more than that. The sensors is inconveniently on the bottom of your dirty shoes. It is dependent on a phone. Smart home devices are extremely expensive, for what they are and how poorly they are built. Many of the devices are built for battery installation so you do not have to wire them into a wall, but there are rarely other options to do this without the battery. Why don't they come with rechargeable batteries or solar panels? It just seems all too often, things are designed because they are cool new ideas without trying to solve problems or ask the question is there anything wrong with the current design? How could this be better? OR they do ask the questions and do not try to encourage REAL conversation or negative feedback. Growth in HCI often comes the most from negative feedback, not feel good answers. I really like the idea of doing a pilot study before the real study. This makes a lot of sense as a test run, but ideally in software development, I like doing multiple evaluations and tests. The process becomes very cyclical: build, test, revise, repeat. The problem with this is the software is only "new" once. Finding lots of users who are unfamiliar with the system can be hard for me since I work in an industry where everything is secured or confidential. Something else I wondered about the multitasking study was if the users had high familiarity with the types of tasks, perhaps the task itself was hard for them? In which case, does that reflect on their multitasking abilities? I would probably consider myself a HMM or high media multitasker vs. light media multitasker (LMM). I wonder if the results from the study or takeaway could be used to identify self-deficiencies in this area for improvement and what multiple follow-ups to the test would produce. I doubt that picking out red or blue rectangles would be hard, but you never know. Perhaps the task was distracting in itself because it was boring? I wonder if motivational factors should also be considered. Since the HMM and LMM are also self-identifying, wouldn't it be best to have a survey or tasks that also confirm their assumptions? Like, what makes you a multitasker? Do you frequently have multiple tabs open at the same time? Does it bother you to have music or a TV on while you are doing something else like work or homework? Do you perform well in high stress or high anxiety situations? Do you like to work ahead? Maybe also define for them, better, what that means? Lab tests are never going to be just like real life. They are unfamiliar spaces for the participants and people are aware they are being watched in a way that is hard to forget. So, another question I have is how different this would be if it was made it to some kind of similar test or even a video game. That way it could be tested on a larger audience without the nuances of lab testing. (Wickens, 2008) does discuss that there are varying methods to testing that involve less controlled and more realistic observation. I would like to see how some of these tests could be conducted using mixed methods. How they are setup, analysis is done, synthesis, and learn more about the backgrounds of individual researchers.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Connecting humans to computers

Lydia Hardie 
Week 1 Definitions
As someone coming in with more of a psychology background than anything, I found room for elaboration in the definition of a computer provided by Dix.  It states “By computer we mean any technology ranging from the general desktop computer to a large-scale computer system, a process control system or an embedded system.” 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Considerations with Multitasking

Katherine Anthony Reading Reaction, Week 2 - through the eyes of a journalist COLLAPSE I found the “Cognitive control in media multitaskers” reading to be extremely interesting – especially because my area of emphasis is in journalism. We have frequent discussions about the evolution of multitasking in media and the impact that has on attention span. From a content perspective, we write to appeal to an audience that has a short attention span and who is likely preoccupied and just wants the down and dirty facts. That’s where the inverted pyramid comes into play – most important details at the top and information becomes less important further down the piece.

Poetry is said to make the mysterious familiar and the familiar mysterious.

Mahmood Ramezani 
Summary and reaction!
Cognition – exploring the science of the mind
The author believes that we need a lot of background knowledge for understanding even a simple short story. Indeed cognition is really complicated, even it doesn't seem so. Also he categorizes our knowledge into generic and episodic. He also shows how vital memory is in our daily life and "without a memory, there is no self", he states.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Rehearsal Loop and an Example of the Usability Testing Process

Shelby Gosa 
Week 1 Reading Reaction
From reading the week 1 articles, it is clear to me that I did not understand the cognitive psychology aspect of HCI. There is so much more to product design than I ever thought possible. One aspect that I noted was the article discussing the impact that accidents and mishaps have on companies. I did not foresee such a large monetary impact on a company that was unrelated to lawsuits, but after reading it, it makes sense that things would need to be drastically changed to prevent such issues from happening again. I never imagined those changes costing a company so much money. Through this, I have gained a new appreciation for the necessity of human factor reviewing and trying to prevent operator error. I will also be able to better appreciate these things in my own element of biology.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Software Development Tripod of Successful Team Work

Claire Davison 
Week 1 Readings
Dix, Finlay, Aboud & Beale’s Introduction to Human Computer interaction begins by discussing what make a usable design. The components that are presented as necessary to make a computer system usable are aligned with Neilson’s Heuristics, which have been presented in other ISU HCI classes and are commonly used as a guideline for a user interface heuristic evaluation. While the chapter does state that HCI is an inter-disciplinary field, it puts a heavy emphasis on computer science. This idea has shown up in other readings and mentioned in discussions before but through experience, research and presentations from experts in the field; I believe otherwise. The authors do identify themselves as computer scientists and acknowledge that their view is not shared by everyone in the field; but I believe an HCI team with members who felt that one discipline was more important than the other would suffer compared to a team who believed each psychology, design, and computer science or engineering were equal “legs” in a tripod.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Software Development Risk Management: Is Training Enough?

Rafael Robles 
Week 1 - Wickens Ch. 1
Chapter 1 of WIckens is an introduction to applied psychology and the goals of Human Factors. Where I work, there have been a few software tools acquired to replace the existing systems. These tools are designed for users from a variety of backgrounds and use cases. It is interesting to see how the software through the lens of human factors and HCI.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Hamburger Menus

What are Hamburger Menus?

Hamburger button

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Screenshot of Wikipedia mobile app with hamburger icon and opened menu
The hamburger menu is a symbol consisting of three parallel horizontal lines (displayed as ☰) that is used as a button in graphical user interfaces. It is often displayed in the top left or top right of a user interface.[1] It is called a "hamburger button" for its resemblance to a hamburger.[2]
Selection of a hamburger button typically results in a menu of pages or options. Hamburger buttons have been criticized by TechCrunch as a "poor design choice" in apps for mobile devices.

Rekindling the Discussion

From slack #general:

UX / HCI related items

hidden nav reduces overall user engagement 2014

Monday, September 5, 2016

Academics, Doctors, and Superego

Arah Dauer Wk 1 Reading Reaction
This week's reading included a chapter that had a significant amount of cognitive psychology covered. Since HCI is really a marriage of the creative as well as the scientific, I am glad that the Science of the Mind chapter went into such detail regarding the experimentation on humans and their inner ear and central executive. Initially, the discussion of cognitive psychology's roots in introspection made me think there would be a lack of scientific principle in the field. However after the contrast of current practices of experimentation my fears subsided.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Academia: conflicting emotions behind the moments of clarity

Katherine Anthony 
Katie Anthony_Introduction
Hi all! 
My name is Katie Anthony (though you'll see my name is Katherine - I'll answer to either) and this is my first HCI course. I am a second-year graduate student in journalism and my thesis focus will be centering around the older adult, clinically depressed population and their interactions with technology - specifically networking sites for socializing. While I think most of us can say things like "well this population just doesn't understand the technology and it scares them", there isn't much talk about the interface building and the audience impact. I'm very eager to be a part of this class and strengthen my knowledge and thesis "claims". Outside of journalism, I'm fairly involved in the School of Education as their communications graduate assistant and I am also the newsletter editor/creator for the Central Iowa chapter of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). I'm excited to discuss and work with you all!

We have very different focuses but I've seen a lot lately related to helping the elderly become more engaged via new technology. I think it is a great cause. When I was younger, say middle school or high school age, I used to volunteer a lot for local retirement communities. We would visit once a week and play games, chat, paint nails, and just have very simple but engaging interactions with the residents. One year, one of the places I volunteered for had an area for adults with dementia or Alzheimers. A lot of the conversations we would have would be very repetitive, but sometimes they would remember things, especially a particular patient who kept a diary of sorts. I wonder how networking sites might help them to at least maintain or engage with family. For some people, it's a lot like living in dorms, but for others they feel trapped. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Defining Success

I recently asked someone close to me what they considered success. I'm not sure what I was expecting the answer to be, in fact I don't think I set any expectations. The answer could have been money, cars, some feel of happiness, power, a title, or the ability to do whatever they wanted. In short, the answer could have been very materialistic.

Process Planning

  • Identify key stages of strategic planning
  • Activities and examples related to strategic planning processes
  • Align strategic plan to HR policies

2016 Chi4Good

You will have to scroll pretty far down to get to the interesting bits. The conference is already over.
- Page 8 - About the Conference
- 17-19 is Awards but mostly about the winners
- 22 About Keynote speaker
- 70-71 About Exhibitors

Topic links are shown for each day, and clicking on the topic will take you to a list of the presentations under each topic. Original web version:

Interview Questions - Getting to Know Me

Interview questions for Desarae
I’d like to start off, by thanking you for taking the time to put this together. I was thrilled to have a fellow HCI student reach out to me online, but your genuine interest in our friendship and learning experience is refreshing. You are a wonderful person, Holly, and I’m glad to be getting to know you. I’m sure a decade from now we will look back on this interview with fun smiles.

Monday, August 29, 2016



What is your background, what are your interests in HCI?  

My name is Desarae Veit. This is my second semester of graduate school at Iowa State. I'm a Senior UI/UX designer (user interface/user experience). I've been working in UI/UX for over 10 years. My first degree is an associate in science and my bachelors is in art and design with a minor in military science. My goal is to graduate with a PhD in human computer interaction. My hope is that I will gain practical experience that may be applied to my current role to advance my career.

I would like to learn more about analysis, predictive analytics, multivariate testing, and how to apply cognitive psychology to improving software development (I am specifically interested more in web design than VR).

Contact Information

Question 1

Hey Desarae,

Sounds like you're really proficient with UI/UX.  You mentioned that you're doing this program (and eventually a PhD) to advance your career but I don't see that you've mentioned the career?  Are you working right now somewhere where you can use your UI/UX experience?

UX Can Be Fatal

John Hudson 
Week 1 Reading Reaction - UX can be fatal.
The chapter from Reisberg’s book was filled with a useful spread of history, theory and principles of cognitive psychology. I found it to be an interesting overview of the psychological foundation for HCI (covered more in-depth in the other readings). I appreciated the computer metaphor provided by Reisberg as he explained the concept of “working memory.” This has proven useful in my own professional career when considering a list of feature or benefits. List too many and it becomes all too overwhelming for the user!

Thursday, June 2, 2016


Style for Dignity is a website built for dig·ni·ty events and fundraisers. The goal of the group is to raise funds and/or awareness for social justice issues. A list of the charitable entities and goals are listed on the website.

Names: Izzy and Sophie

I was thinking today, randomly, that there are many names I like. While scrolling through Facebook I saw a picture of my friend Izz. I really love her nickname. So I thought I would take this opportunity to record a couple new names to my favorite names list.

Mob Mentality Shames Average People into Infamy

I stumbled onto a series of stories. They are about people whose lives have been altered or ruined by Internet attention. The catalyst for each story's popularity is different. Some of the stories may resonate and seem deeply offensive, others may not resonate. The common denominator (seems to be) that an ordinary (not famous) person/people became infamous for an action that triggered hundreds of thousands of people. Basically lots of people shared stories because they agreed/disliked or felt something after seeing an interpretation of a situation.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Author: Marissa Meyer

About the Author

Marissa Meyer was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, home of Almond Roca and Stadium High School, which was made famous when Heath Ledger danced down the stadium steps in 10 Things I Hate About You. Marissa didn't actually go to Stadium High School, but she did attend Pacific Lutheran University, where she earned her bachelor's degree in Creative Writing. She still lives in Tacoma, now with her husband. Cinder is her YA debut.

Rebecca Soler is a film and voiceover actress who won a 2009 AudioFile Earphones Award for her narration of After by Amy Efaw. Her audiobook credits include work by authors such as Judy Blume, James Patterson and Sarah Dessen. Soler has also narrated the popular young adult series The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Her voice over credits include various video games, like Star Wars: The Old Republic and Red Dead Redemption and television shows such as Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. She lives in New York City. 

Marissa Meyer on Cinder, writing, and leading men

Which of your characters is most like you?

WORDS: Crass

I started the Word section of this blog to keep track of my favorite phrases, words, and way to use them for writing. This has a side benefit, dear reader, to inspire you to expand your vocabulary.

Today's word is Crass.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

NAMES: Names I Like (Inspired by Gail Carriger's Books)

Where Did the Idea Come From?

Gail Carriger is full of fun and interesting names for her characters. Her latest series has inspired me to incorporate a new section into my blog about my favorite names. I'm not sure if I will ever use any of these, but perhaps if I ever get another dog, have a child, or need to name a video game character I will have a ready-made list of ideas. To find additional names outside of this post or similar topics to other posts there are tags at the bottom that link to related categories.

WORDS: New Words (Inspired by Gail Carriger's Books)

While reading/listening to a new series I discovered a few new words that I really like and would like to take note of. I will be trying to replace other words in my vocabulary with these, because they sound elegant.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

Audible version Chapter sixteen where they are in the hive had me laughing out loud. My stomach hurts from the 'kerfuffle'. While hearing this nutty predicament I just had to start my review. The verbiage used in Gails books may only be described as smart. In an old school manner of intelligence, every book stands out with an amusing vocabulary and even more amusing antidotes.

AUTHOR: Gail Carriger

I made this drawing as a nod to the Finishing School series. I loved the books and made a quick doodle of some of the characters.

BOOK REVIEW: Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Etiquette and Espionage is a spin off of Gail Carriger's steam-punk world that started with, "The Parasol Protectorate." I loved the Parasol Protectorate and many of Gail's other books. The Parasol Protectorate includes: Prudence, Soulless, Heartless, Blameless, and Changeless. More on that series in another review.

BOOK REVIEW: Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger

Waistcoats and Weaponry is a book in a series about daring adventure through Scottland, Britain, and the ether. This book in the series focuses more on werewolves and the reader finally gets to know more about Lady Kingair (Sidheag Maccon).

BOOK REVIEW: Fairest: The Lunar Chronicles - Levana's Story UNABRIDGED by Marissa Meyer (Book Series)

marissa meyer

Now begins the waiting game

This book includes a preview of the final book, winter. So, I'll spend the next 6-8 months patiently waiting for it to come out and then probably forget half the plot.

The book just before this one left so, so many unanswered questions on the table so I'm glad from the preview that it sounds like we will be skipping back forward to the present.

This book in the series is all set in the past to give us a character background on the queen, her husband, and the two princesses.

Some is expected but most is not. I want to day more but would hate to spoil the book. I enjoyed the mini story but wish this was book .5 and not placed where it is but then again it's good to have a little mystery and this would ruin too much of that for book 1-3.

Disappointed that I still don't know what happened next other than the winter teaser. Now begins the waiting game.


It's too bad dirigibles never really became in-style, but this article does make me wonder what other uses we might have for helium. With space travel and the eventuality of potentially colonizing another planet like Mars on the horizon, is it an issue?

BOOK REVIEW: Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger

Waistcoats and Weaponry is a book in a series about daring adventure through Scottland, Britain, and the ether. This book in the series focuses more on werewolves and the reader finally gets to know more about Lady Kingair (Sidheag Maccon).

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

SITE UPDATE: Moving All Book Reviews

My main blog,, is getting a little cluttered with various genres and hobbies so I will be moving all my book reviews to as of today (May receive another url soon like etc. still open to ideas). Other genres may also move to genre specific sites at a later date.

All old posts will remain on this blog and some new book reviews make appear here as well, but if you ONLY want to read book reviews... head on over to the new site.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Workiva Discussion

Workiva Discussion

I’ve added the details of this document to BlackBoard so that we can continue the discussion and collaborate as a class if anyone is interested.

Questions for discussion

These are my questions from the Week 4 Google Docs, in case they are not included in class maybe we can discuss them here?
  • How big is your UX/UI team?
  • Who do you consider your stakeholders and what kind of evaluation/testing do you do to ensure ongoing feedback?
  • Is the iteractive container (computer buttons that expand) part of an open source frame work- is that polymer (
  • What considerations have your team made for 508 compliance and Accessibility testing? (not including performance, I did see it's SSAE 16 Type II compliant and looked at a couple of the case studies -

Reviewing Workiva's Website

    • I noticed that their primary site is missing key components of accessibility compliance and web standards. I scheduled a demo, but doubt I will be able to do it before Friday's class. This may or may not reflect on the Workiva product line, but would be a consideration for me as a corporate client.
    • The site is responsive
    • The site is written on HTML5
    • Uses Open Graph Protocol
    • I'm curious why they choose to use IE=Edge
    • The site appears to use a framework
    • They use Google Analytics on their main site, I wonder what kind of analytics they use for their products and how they integrate results.
    • Built on Drupal
    • Google Tag Manager Integration
    • Using Clicktale

Other Topics for Discussion

Since we are on the topic of empathy in relation to UX, I found this article the other day  (Seung Chan Lim, 2014). It's a well written piece that starts off with a story that leads into scientific research and evaluation of empathy.