Volume 16, Issue 2, February 2021

Introduction to Volume 16, Issue 2

We are delighted to publish an essay by Lesley-Ann Noel and Marcelo Paiva titled “Learning to Recognize Exclusion.” The authors pose critical questions: Who do we exclude in our work as UX researchers and designers, and how do we work toward a more inclusive research and design practice? As part of their essay, the authors provide a valuable set of tools for us to recognize exclusive practices and practical ways to promote inclusion.   

The first article is by José Macías titled “Enhancing Card Sorting Dendrograms through the Holistic Analysis of Distance Methods and Linkage Criteria.” In this article, the author investigates potential issues in the creation of dendrograms (or tree diagrams) that are typically derived from card sorting studies. The author evaluates both distance methods and linkage criteria as a way to produce suitable dendrograms. This work is particularly important for usability engineers who work with card sorting data and are seeking new methods for analysis. 

The second article is by Khadeeja Alkhuzai and Alena Denisova titled “Evaluating the Use of Persuasive Design Cards for Novice Designers.” The authors explore how persuasive design cards can be used to improve the design process. They share valuable insights based on four design workshops utilizing persuasive design cards. As part of the paper, the author shares 10 design card heuristics that can be used during the creation and evaluation process. 

The third article by Joanie Ouellet, Jin Kang, and Audrey Girouard is titled “Cultural and Linguistic Variables in Usability Testing: A Canadian Evaluation of International Students.” The authors share the results from a usability study in which they examined how cultural and linguistic variables play an important role in usability testing. As part of their study, they analyzed data from international students coming from China, India, Nigeria, and those who are French-speaking. 



Invited Essay:
Learning to Recognize Exclusion

Who do we exclude unintentionally or intentionally in the work that we do as designers and researchers?

To be good at what we do as UX practitioners, we need to be mindful and recognize the differences around us and accommodate solutions with a positive and inclusive outcome. How can we train ourselves to see exclusion early on?

We both believe that UX professionals do not intentionally exclude people from their work and believe that through coaching, designers and researchers can learn to recognize exclusion, be aware of their own biases, and design better products and experiences. In this paper, we share some tools and experiences that we have created to help UX professionals recognize exclusion. [Read More]



Enhancing Card Sorting Dendrograms through the Holistic Analysis of Distance Methods and Linkage Criteria

Card sorting has been widely used in information architecture to analyze and improve web content and navigation. This is an intuitive and cost-effective technique also useful in user research and evaluation. However, while the implementation of sorting tasks comprises a constructive and easy-to-accomplish process, the quantitative analysis of resulting card-sorting data can be a challenge for non-skilled evaluators. Several tools exist to support sorting tasks and data analysis, but still some users utilize custom spreadsheets or statistical packages in order to enhance analysis and obtain more expressive and comparable results.

One of the most utilized diagrams for analyzing card-sorting results is the dendrogram, also known as a tree diagram, which is commonly based on an agglomerative clustering representation depicting groupings of related cards. However, several issues have to be considered by evaluators in order to produce meaningful dendrograms for decision-making. In fact, the distance method and the linkage criterion greatly influence the final dendrogram obtained.

In this paper, an analysis on distance methods and linkage criteria for obtaining suitable dendrograms is proposed. The main aim is to guide evaluators and usability engineers to produce appropriate dendrograms based on available card-sorting data. [Read More]


Evaluating the Use of Persuasive Design Cards for Novice Designers

This paper examines the use of physical persuasive cards for novice designers in ideation sessions. Through experimental study, we found that the tools a designer uses affects the kind of outcome they will get. The observations from four workshop sessions indicate that persuasive cards can be a two-edged sword, as they can affect the design process both positively and negatively.

Additionally, in this paper, certain insights are highlighted when it came to how novice designers interacted with the cards. One of the most interesting behaviors witnessed was how participants were depending on the cards while debating their own ideas, and in some situations, neglecting their own or their colleagues’ ideas as they believed the cards knew better.

Moreover, this study was able to report “The Commonality Effect” as a new finding, as session outcomes from with-card teams showed a higher rate of repetitiveness and commonality in the persuasive ideas.

This paper provides 10 design card heuristics that can be used as a guideline when it comes to producing and evaluating card-based tools. [Read More]



Cultural and Linguistic Variables in Usability Testing: A Canadian Evaluation of International Students

More than 1 in 5 Canadians are immigrants. While industries and public services in the country interact with users of diverse backgrounds, it is unclear how the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of users influence their perceived usability of services. We conducted a usability test of the website of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to explore cultural—Individualism/Collectivism, Power Distance, and Uncertainty Avoidance—and linguistic variables with English-speaking international students from China, India, and Nigeria and French-speaking international students. We found that second-language participants were more comfortable with the website’s language, and Chinese and Nigerian participants criticized the interface more than Indian participants. Our work suggests that researchers should recruit and understand participants from multiple cultural and linguistic backgrounds to ensure the reliability and reproducibility of usability test results and protocols. [Read More]