The Collective Voice

Usable Research Reports: Usability Studies

Actually fielding a usability study is the moment of truth. Staying true to project goals and completing a task analysis accomplishes a ton for the seeker of usable results, but those strategies quickly become moot if researchers can’t collect quality data when it’s showtime.  Again, creating usable results isn’t about writing them better; it’s about…
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Usable Research Reports: Using Task Analysis

When it comes to generating usable results, detail is key. What exactly did the users have trouble with? Broad statements like “5 out of 15 users did not successfully complete Task 14” are sometimes found in usability study reports. A statement like this is not specific enough. How is the development team supposed to move…
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Usable Research Reports: Formative vs. Validation

When it comes to producing usable results, consistently embracing the study’s goals is critical. A project’s findings are only as useful as the questions it strives to answer, so delivering results that answer trivial questions just won’t be helpful. With this in mind, let’s talk about the two main types of usability study. Each has…
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Usable Research Reports: Introduction

A goal of human-centered design is to create a product that is useful, usable, and desirable. When designing medical devices, it is important to ensure the system can be used safely, effectively, and does not cause harm to the user or patient.  In order to make these assurances, well-designed usability studies that evaluate a medical…
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1-on-1 Interview: Rahul R. Rao, P.E., Medical Device Consultant

This month we are pleased to introduce Rahul Rao, Founder and CEO of Desert Platforms Medical Device Consultancy! He and his team are highly knowledgeable in the med-tech arena, and his interview with us was intriguing, to say the least. The interview this month mixed things up a bit, expanding its scope to all things…
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1-on-1 Interview: Brooke Castaneda Radford, User Experience Architect

We are thrilled to have Brooke Castaneda Radford as our April 2019 one-on-one interview guest! It is a tremendous honor to have her as part of this series! Brooke is a User Experience Architect at Intel and has over 15 years of experience in the field. During her interview, Brooke provides her thoughts on a…
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Mitigating Moderator Bias in Research

Moderating interviews is a crucial portion of conducting human factors or user experience (UX) research; a usability test is the moment of truth to get the data we need. Obtaining the best data possible starts with the moderator. Human beings are socially proficient creatures, and participants can pick up on inadvertent biases if the moderator…
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1-on-1 Interview: Bryant Foster, Human Factors Expert

This month we are bringing in one of our own! Long overdue, we are pleased to have Bryant Foster as our one-on-one human factors expert! Bryant is the Vice President of Human Factors and User Experience here at Research Collective. In the interview, he opens up about how he got to where he is today,…
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6 Myths About Human Factors and the FDA

Human factors validation testing and obtaining FDA clearance can be challenging. Even folks who fully understand these processes can struggle to execute efficiently. Where do these challenges come from? Research Collective has had the opportunity to work with dozens of medical device manufacturers over the years. During this time, we have seen a host of…
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1-on-1 Interview: Meet Matthew Schafman, User Experience Expert

February’s interview this year is a real treat; we sat down with Matthew Schafman, Sr. Director of Ideation and Design at Neudesic! During our interview, Matt describes his unintentional beginnings to becoming a leader in Arizona’s User Experience domain, then helps us to understand what he means by “UX in AZ”. Catalyzed by his role…
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Demystifying the FDA’s Human Factors Guidance

The FDA’s human factors guidance can be a complicated document, especially if you are: A new professional in the field of human factors? A project manager looking for guidance on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) validation test requirements? An engineer in the medical field who has heard about the FDA human factors guidance but…
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Little n, Big Insight: Sample Sizes for Qualitative Research

How many participants do you need? You’re running a study. You’ve got everything you need in place. The study plan, the moderator scripts, your data collection sheets are all ready. But how many participants do you need to do it right? Well, we could jump on into G-Power and calculate your n based on the…
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1-on-1 Interview: Meet Mike Becker, Human Factors Engineer

We are getting 2019 off to a great start by speaking with Mike Becker of Illumina! Based in San Diego, CA, Mike is a Human Factors Engineer for one of the most prominent biotechnology companies in the US. We are super excited to have Mike kick this year off. Among other things, Mike’s interview covers…
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Making Instruction Manuals More Usable

All too often, creating an instruction manual for a new and innovative product is a mere afterthought. Indeed, you can make a strong bet that good and usable instruction manuals just aren’t very common. But here’s the thing: user-friendly instructions for use (IFUs) can be quite important, especially for products like medical devices or dangerous…
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1-on-1 Interviews: 2018 Year in Review

A year of Human Factors and User Experience interviews has come and gone! And what a year it has been… As 2018 comes to a close, we’d like to highlight some of our guests’ responses from throughout the year. While many of us talk about and practice similar ideas, we all have our own perspectives on…
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Everything You Need to Know About the NASA Task Load Index (NASA-TLX)

Background In 1988, Sandra G. Hart of NASA’s Human Performance Group and Lowell E. Staveland of San Jose State University introduced the Task Load Index. With more than 8,000 citations since 1988, it has spread far beyond its original application of aviation, focus, and the English language (Hart, 2006). The NASA-TLX estimates one or more…
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1-on-1 Interview: Meet Tatsuro Kimura and Mami Inoue, International UX Consultants

For the first time, this month’s interview features two user experience experts: Tatsuro Kimura and Mami Inoue of U’eyes Design! Based in Japan, Tatsuro and Mami are UX researchers and consultants for Japanese and international clients alike. While they come from quite different backgrounds, both of their careers ended up in the user experience world.…
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Accessible Design Tips: POUR

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the main guideline that web developers and designers should look to for accessible design requirements. Within WCAG 2.1, four basic design principles are described in relation to accessibility. To help make these four principles easy to remember, they use the…
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1-on-1 Interview: Meet Michael Kuzel, Human Factors & Safety Engineering Expert

This month’s human factors expert interview is with Mike Kuzel, Principal and Co-Owner of 4M Consulting Group. Mike comes from a strong engineering background and is heavily involved in safety engineering and litigation matters. In the interview, he explains how he became interested in human factors, how human factors plays a role in his work,…
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Accessible Design Tips: Contrast

Revised in June 2018, The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 is the main guideline for accessible design requirements. It describes everything related to the world of accessible design: closed-captioning details, time-related factors, alt-text, spacing, and of course, guidelines for successful contrast across the user interface. The topic of contrast within the WCAG 2.1 is…
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Gestalt Design Principles

Research Collective approaches Human Factors from a Cognitive Psychology perspective. We believe that to develop products that serve the needs of people, it is crucial to understand how the human mind works. One facet of Psychology that is particularly relevant to Human Factors is something called Gestalt Psychology. Gestalt Psychology is a movement within Psychology…
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7 Common Mistakes that Can Derail Your Human Factors Validation Study

In order to market and sell a new medical device in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) desires evidence of its safe and effective use among users. Part of this “evidence” is a validation usability study that evaluates all of your identified critical tasks. As resources, timelines, and even jobs can rely…
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1-on-1 Interview: Meet Dean Barker, User Experience Expert

We are excited to introduce Dean Barker, Vice President of User Experience at Optum. Having authored ISO standards, content in industry magazines, and co-authored a book, Dean is highly respected in the User Experience field. In his interview with Russ, he discusses some of the biggest mistakes he sees and what he’d like to see…
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Cognitive Bias in Human Factors Research

A cognitive bias is a pattern or tendency to have incorrect, distorted, or irrational judgements. They come in many forms, and as a ‘blind spot’ or a ‘lens’ for how we view our environments, cognitive biases can significantly alter human decision making in a manner that is nearly always beyond awareness.  As human factors researchers,…
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The Basics of Validity and Reliability in Research

In research, no two concepts are more confused with one another than validity and reliability. It’s not necessarily the difference between them that is so baffling; it’s more the fact that there is so much more to it. The tricky stuff comes when we examine the different types of validity and reliability, as well as…
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A Guide for the Aspiring UX Professional, Part 1: Getting Your First Job

New professionals entering into UX encounter a common problem. Employers want entry level candidates to have 1-3 years of experience, but how does one accumulate experience without a job? Any “entry-level UX professional” has surely felt the pain of this dilemma, firsthand. As someone who recently navigated these waters, I learned a few things along…
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Research Collective’s 2018 Reading List

Usability, UX, & Human Factors Handbook of Usability Testing: How to Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests (Jeffrey Rubin) Usability Assessment: How to Measure the Usability of Products, Services, and Systems (Philip Kortum) Measuring the User Experience: Collecting, Analyzing, and Presenting Usability Metrics (Tom Tullis & Bill Albert) The Human Factor: Revolutionizing the Way People…
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1-on-1 Interview: Meet Hanniebey D. Wiyor, PhD, Lieutenant, USPHS

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Hanniebey D. Wiyor to this month’s Human Factors and User Experience interview. Hanniebey, a Human Factors Regulatory Officer in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, reviews human factors reports for post and pre-market submissions for a variety of medical products and devices. In this interview, he shares common mistakes…
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FAQs about FDA’s Guidelines for Human Factors and Usability

When the FDA released its guidance document Applying Human Factors and Usability Engineering to Medical Devices in 2016, the intent was to provide a clear picture of the human factors and usability methods that medical device manufacturers should implement into their product development processes. A few of the guidelines include: The manufacturer should conduct a…
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Human Factors and the FDA: Buzzwords

Medical device manufacturers cannot legally market their products without clearance or approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Unfortunately, navigating this regulatory jungle can be a bit of a nightmare for those same manufacturers. Quite a bit goes into a successful FDA submission. An important, but often overlooked, aspect of a triumphant submission is…
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Getting Started with Biometrics: Galvanic Skin Response

What is Galvanic Skin Response (GSR)? The human body is comprised of various systems that respond to stimuli. Just like the body’s “fight or flight” response may cause our heart rate to increase when we hear a frightening noise, our skin has electrical properties that change based on our arousal levels. These electrical properties are…
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1-on-1 Interview: Meet Theo Mandel, UX Consultant

We are pleased to welcome Theo Mandel to this month’s Human Factors and User Experience interview. Theo, an independent UX & User Research Consultant, author and educator, shares with Russ how he discovered User Experience (UX), how it’s changed over the past couple of decades, and how UX can (and should) be applied to multiple…
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What is Human Factors?

It seems that each day more companies are wising up to the fact that designing for the end-user is an integral part of what drives a product, service, or system to be successful. Due in part to its rise in popularity, User Experience (UX) has become a huge buzzword in many industries. Yet whereas UX…
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1-on-1 Interview: Shannon Halgren, Chief UX Consultant

We are pleased to welcome Shannon Halgren to this month’s Human Factors and User Experience interview. Shannon is the founder and Chief UX Officer for Sage Research & Design, head-quartered in Boulder, Colorado. Based on her extensive experience in the area of product user experience, and in particular her passion for and expertise in UX research,…
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medical device alarms

Making Alarms More Usable

In the human-automation interaction, few tools are more important than the alarm. An effective alarm gets the user’s attention when it’s needed. Alarms support optimal performance and the fact that we don’t have to monitor the system constantly helps garner safety and efficiency.  In the healthcare arena, alarms save lives. They are the last line…
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Limitations of Voice Recognition Technology

A couple of years ago, only a handful of devices used voice recognition technology. Now, our phones, cars, navigation systems, and even home appliances seem eager to take verbal direction.  Everywhere we turn, we encounter a system that has voice control capabilities, and for good reason: efficiency and safety can drastically improve when we interface…
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jon speer interview

1-on-1 Interview: Jon Speer, Founder & VP of QA/RA, Greenlight Guru

The medical device industry certainly goes through a lot of change while having a significant focus on regulatory issues. One person who is very familiar with all of this is Jon Speer, founder and VP of QA at Greenlight Guru. Russ caught up with Jon recently to ask a few questions about Greenlight Guru and obtain…
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1-on-1: Interview with Product Design Leader and UX Executive – Pree Kolari

This month Russ spoke with Pree Kolari, a UX Executive at eBay about the strategies and challenges in the UX industry.  Russ: Coming from a large company like eBay, what advice would you give to start-ups or mid-sized companies that are developing their UX strategy?  Pree: I’ll use the analogy of eating a giant cake, vs. a…
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1-on-1: Interview with a Human Factors Expert – Sarah Blair

Each month, we interview a human factors expert to get their take on the Human Factors and User Experience industry. In this month’s installment, Russ talked with Sarah Blair, Lead Usability Engineer at Minnetronix… Russ: How did you get your start as a Usability Engineer?  Sarah: I joined Minnetronix right out of graduate school in the Project…
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1-on-1: Interview with a Human Factors Expert – Gerard Torenvliet

Each month, we interview a human factors expert to get their take on the Human Factors and User Experience industry. In this month’s installment, Russ sat down with Gerard Torenvliet, Sr Manager of Human Factors and User Experience at Medtronic. Russ: How did you get your start in Human Factors? Gerard: When I was in high…
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1-on-1: Interview with a Human Factors Expert – Dr. Emily Hildebrand

Each month, we interview a human factors expert to get their take on the Human Factors and User Experience industry. In this month’s installment, Russ sat down with the most recent human factors expert to join our team, Emily Hildebrand… Russ: Tell us a little bit about your background in Human Factors? Emily: Over the…
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1-on-1: Interview with a Human Factors Expert – Randy Sieffert

Each month, we interview a human factors expert to get their take on the Human Factors and User Experience industry. In this month’s installment, Russ sat down with Randy Sieffert. Randy is the Director of UX Research at ServiceNow and former Head of Global UX Design at HP. Russ: Let’s jump right in…in your career…
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The Most Powerful User Experience On The Internet

Google is one of the most prominent companies in the world, especially on the Internet; Google’s rise to the top is due to good ole’ fashioned innovation.  Rather than ranking searched results by how many times search terms appeared on the page (the strategy of most search engines at the time), Google was a search…
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ux psychology

Historical Antecedents of UX: The Psychology Department

As a movement associated with innovation and success, the user experience is becoming increasingly popular in worldwide business. And, while UX and human factors leave many people excited about the future, it’s easy to forget about the past.  We don’t often think about the steps that were taken to reach where we are now as…
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human-centered design roi

The Basics of ROI in Human-Centered Design

Return on Investment in Human-Centered Design In business, everything comes down to money.  As painful as it is to admit, the essential business question boils down to ‘Will investing in human-centered design (HCD) pay off, or not?’  Well, it’s time to wise up; HCD can make (or save) you some serious cash. A little bit…
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Six Pro Tips: For Graduate School Success

Professional Tips for (Graduate School) Success The goal of this book is to provide you with all the tips, tricks, advice, wisdom, strategies, suggestions, recommendations, counsel, and information – did I miss any? – that will help you overcome the barriers you will experience as you pursue your Master’s or PhD in the Human Systems…
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Client Spotlight: Vantage Mobility International (VMI)

A brief history of VMI Since 1987, Vantage Mobility International (VMI) has become one of the leading producers of wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) in North America. Their goal is to build leading-edge mobility products that meet the needs of their customers, while also providing customer services that demonstrate their genuine care for the wheelchair user…
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1-on-1: Interview with a Human Factors Expert – Chris Rockwell

Each month, we’ll interview a human factors expert to get their take on the Human Factors and User Experience industry. In this month’s installment, we sat down with Chris Rockwell, President of Lextant, a leading user experience firm based in Columbus, OH (and a good partner of Research Collective). Russ: Let’s jump right in…how would you…
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An overview of “Better Together: The vital role of patients and end users in developing safe and effective medical devices”

Every few months, Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology releases a new journal publication on recent events, changes, and perspectives happening within the Medical Human Factors community. The July/August 2017 issue features a compelling piece regarding the important role that end-user and patient input have within the design process for medical devices. (Special thanks to Pat Patterson at…
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Design Strategies: The Swiss Army Knife

The Swiss army knife design strategy With its red handles, white cross, and an assortment of tiny tools, the Swiss Army knife has become a cultural icon. It allows one to condense their junk drawer into a single, pocket-sized item, and take on the world’s toughest challenges. If the Swiss Army knife is the go-to…
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Understanding Fitts’s Law

Fitts’s Law Have you ever wondered why the exit window buttons are often in the corner of the screen?  Why is the brake pedal larger than the accelerator? Why keyboard keys on the outer edges are significantly larger than the letters in the middle?   Fitts’s Law is relevant to us in a number of…
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System Usability Scale_main image

The Pros and Cons of the System Usability Scale (SUS)

In 1986, a man named John Brooke developed a short questionnaire intended to measure the perceived usability of various computer systems. Simply a “quick and dirty” scale for usability testing, Brooke made the questionnaire freely available to various colleagues and “anybody else who might find it useful” (Brooke, 2013).  Little did he know when he…
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Build It!

UX Tablet Prototyping Box Many automotive and med-tech manufacturers today design devices that require users to interact with touchscreens. Often, these touchscreens range from just a few inches wide to potentially several feet wide. As a result, there is a significant need for the UX community to have a stable, workable platform to “house” prototyping…
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data types

Data Types: How do they work?

Data Types: Introduction Back in 1946, a Psychologist named Stanley Smith Stevens determined that there were four distinct data types: ratio, interval, ordinal, and categorical/nominal. These data types categorize different variables and give a direction as to how one should analyze those variables. Categorical/Nominal Data We use this type of data to label, or categorize,…
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1-on-1 Interview: Russ Branaghan, Human Factors Expert

With Dr. Russell Branaghan Each month, we interview a human factors expert to get their take on the Human Factors and User Experience industry. In this month’s installment, we sat down with the founder and President of Research Collective, Dr. Russell Branaghan. Question: What is the most common human factors mistake you encounter? Answer: I think…
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Human Factors in History: Designing the STOP Sign

What’s yellow, bedazzled in glass beads, and made out of plywood? Believe it or not, we’re talking about the STOP sign. The red, reflective, octagonal traffic sign we see so often today did not always have these classic characteristics. This article explores the history of STOP sign designs and how human factors (vision & perception) and…
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Design Principles: Forgiveness

————————————————————————— Hi Dave, Please see the attached for October’s invoice.  Thanks! Anders ————————————————————————— Whoops, sorry.  Forgot to attach.  Here you go! Anders Attachment: Oct_2015 Invoice ————————————————————————– I’m guessing something like this has happened to you at some point over the years, right? We use email for everything and we are accustomed to clicking “send” after…
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Research Design: Between-Subjects vs Within-Subjects

Research Design: Understanding the basics of within-subjects and between-subjects designs is crucial for any decision-maker who is conducting research.  Participant design is a core concept, yet even experienced researchers sometimes have difficulty. Google search histories can surely confirm this. Here are the essentials: in a between-subjects design, two or more subject groups experience their own…
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10 Pro Tips for Collecting High-Quality Interview Data

Collecting High-Quality Interview Data User Experience Researchers, ideally, run a ton of studies.  Whether it’s qualitative or quantitative, formative or summative, many things can harm the quality of the data you collect. The following is a list of 10 tips to help you prevent that from happening: 1. Run a pilot No matter how much…
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