Tag Archives: research

a ruler

How Deep are Your Metrics?

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An article by Ev Williams (one of the founders of Twitter) in Medium got a lot of buzz in the business world. It is amazing what a little trash talking among tech capitalists can do. But his point is really important and I want to apply it to human factors today.

My rant was the result of increasing frustration with the one-dimensionality that those who report on, invest in, and build consumer Internet services talk about success.

a car crash

Modeling Driver Steering

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This research is not quite ready for the market, but has a lot of potential to improve driver safety.

The ability to predict what a driver is going to do in the near future and to be able to prepare the car’s system for this sounds a little bit like science fiction, and it would naturally be a dream come true for the safety departments at car manufacturers. The dream is now one step closer to becoming reality…

a woman looking at her cell phone while driving

Cell Phone Distraction is About More Than Driving

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There is a great new study from Bill Thornton out of the University of Southern Maine.

The mere sight of your mobile phone can distract you – even if you are not using it…

a keyboard with social media icons on the buttons

Social Media Research

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Social Media has become a favorite source of data for all kinds of research. User Experience designers involved with social media use their access to vast data sources to make all kinds of conclusions.

To anyone studying humanity, the big data generated by social media can be hard to resist. But that kind of data is often tainted by bias, argues a new paper published in Science, and data scientists and the public should be on alert.

a woman testing her grip strength with a device

Aging and Designing for Your Real Age

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I was an early adopter of Real Age when they launched many years ago. Now they seem to have gone too commercial and I am unconvinced of the validity of the test any more. But the idea I think is still very sound. So I was happy when Lynn Strother at HFES HQ shared this article with me from the NYT. The article just focuses on physical measures, but I think that is way too limited a perspective.

Warren Sanderson, a professor of social and behavioral sciences at Stony Brook University, is working on ways to define aging other than the passing of years. With colleagues at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria, he recently published a study showing that the strength of an adult’s hand grip can distinguish different rates of aging in people with varying levels of education…

a stack of engineering papers

Design Principles Over Standards

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Principles are better than standards in UX design, according to this article by Peter Hornsby at UX Matters.

For a long time, I’ve been an advocate of creating standards, guidelines, and patterns as a way of achieving design consistency within a large organization. While these do offer significant benefits, they also introduce a number of problems into the design process…

riot police standing in a line

Natural Field Experiments to Inform Public Policy

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I am sure that many of you are following the news from Ferguson, Missouri. The death of Michael Brown is a tragedy. But the news coverage is also a tragedy, in part because of the sweeping generalizations that many media organizations are making about the police response. Here is the one that drew out my statistical ire the most. The local police confronted the demonstrators wearing body armor and with armored vehicles. There was a violent clash with demonstrators that led to many injuries. Days later, the state police confronted demonstrators without body armor or armored vehicles. There was no clash. So many of the news media concluded that police using body armor and armored vehicles arouse violence…

money and a watch

Motivational Priming

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My research in the domain of human motivation has had a profound influence on me. I never realized how important the distinction is between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. When we are motivated intrinsically, we become dedicated, passionate, and persistent. When we are motivated extrinsically, we get tunnel vision on the reward and become less concerned with the underlying activity. This can result in lower quality of performance if we can get the reward through shortcuts. A recent study by Francesca Gino at Harvard Business School found something quite powerful…

facebook logos

Ethics and Big Data Research

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A study recently published this month by a data scientist at Facebook brings up some really interesting issues about ethics, big data, and the monitoring and collection (and manipulation) of our behavior on social media. This topic is important for all of us because data is being collected for all kinds of reasons: basic research, design, user-modeling, ethnography, and many others. So no matter what sector you are in, this matters to you…

many currencies from around the world

College Students as Research Participants

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We have this debate often. How well do college students represent your target population when they are the majority of our research participants? Is the gap worth the savings in time and money needed to recruit them? How generalizable are our findings? Does this introduce fundamental construct validity problems and skew our conclusions one way or the other? So this research probably won’t surprise anyone, but I think it adds an important piece to the puzzle