Volume 15, Issue 1, November 2019

Introduction to Volume 15, Issue 1

Bill Albert and James R. (Jim) Lewis


Invited Essay: The State of UX Research

Carol Barnum

I have been a UX researcher for 25 years. I did not come up through the usual degree programs available at the time, such as cognitive psychology and human factors. Rather, I came to the field from technical communication, seeing that there was a role for technical communicators to play in advocating for the user and promoting usability testing to understand the user experience, even if it meant conducting stealth testing on the documentation at the end of the product development cycle.

My reflections in this essay focus on the state of UX research. I am thinking specifically of usability testing, but also more generally of other common forms of UX research, such as contextual inquiry, heuristic evaluation, and in-depth interviews.


Championing HCI Education to CS Undergraduates at a Grassroots Level: A Case Study in Egypt

Shaimaa Lazem

In this article, I address how introducing HCI education to students in an Egyptian engineering institute can benefit industry. I discuss a series of action research cycles focusing on the learning design of a student-centered introductory HCI short course that successfully sensitized students to the role of end-users in technology design. The learning design was planned to circumvent the challenging fact that HCI was underrated by CS students. Formative assessment results and my reflections, as the instructor, are discussed as well.


Designing with Personas

Shazeeye KirmaniBhavana GuptaHagit VansoverJohn Glen Arellano, and Zhiya Zhu

Understanding users is crucial to designing delightful experiences for them. This paper provides a case study on how we gained a better understanding of our users before we redesigned Quotient’s (formerly Coupons Inc.) user experience. Before identifying personas at Quotient (www.coupons.com), we never truly explored the behaviors and needs of our consumers other than assuming that she is a busy mom trying to save on her groceries with coupons. This case study shows the approach in determining three personas for our “couponers”: budget, high value, and convenience. We also have examples of how these personas influenced the overall user experience and how the personas were communicated to and shared with employees at Quotient.


SMS-Based Agricultural Information System for Rural Farmers in Ethiopia

Alemu Kumilachew Tegegne and Tamir Anteneh Alemu

This paper presents a design and evaluation of an SMS-based agricultural information system that serves as a platform where rural farmers and extension officers can share agricultural information. Development of the system followed a Rapid Application Development (RAD) methodology. The system was evaluated for usability, accuracy, performance, and significance. The usability testing was based on the System Usability Scale (SUS) method. User queries and the corresponding responses recorded by the system were used to determine the accuracy of the system. The performance of the system was analyzed by gathering data for the amount of time it took to process the messages and send responses based on a user’s request. Based on feedback from 20 participants using the SUS, the system, with the score ranging from 0 to 100, scored 87.63. The Query Understanding Engine (QUE) accurately translated 90% of all incoming user requests. The mean average response system time was 3.34 seconds. These results show that the problem of a lack of appropriate and easily accessible agricultural information can be solved using a system like the one developed in this research.