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PhillyCHI October Meeting – Dennis Schleicher & the Raiders of the Lost Glove Box: How Anthropology and Web Design Go Together

Please join us for a very interesting discussion of anthropology and design at this month’s PhillyCHI meeting.

Date: Tuesday, October 30th
Time: 6:00PM – 8:00PM
* Refreshments & socializing from 6:00PM – 6:30PM *
Location: Wu & Chen Auditorium, Levine Hall, University of Pennsylvania
Address: 3330 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Please RSVP:

About the Presentation

In this presentation, Dennis will share some of his adventures using anthropological tools to inform design including some fascinating insights uncovered from raiding people’s glove boxes, which directly drove the experience design of the Ford vehicles owners’ website. The presentation will help attendees begin to look at Web Design through an anthropological lens, shedding new light on old design problems.

Dennis will also discuss some of the cutting edge ideas and methodologies recently presented at the EPIC2007, the premier international event for practitioners of ethnographic work in industry (not academic). In addition, he will speculate as to what might be some near-term trends we all should take note of.

About the Presenter

Mr. Schleicher is a Senior Information Architect at in Baltimore Maryland. He has a background in business and industrial anthropology and has been working awhile in the field of information technology and culture. He later moved into Information Architecture and found, to his surprise, that many anthropological tools and skills were very useful to IA and Web design.

Learn about Dennis at:

About Our Sponsor


Messagefirst is Philadelphia-based design research consulting firm. We work with companies to help them increase revenues, decrease costs, and ultimately improve the user experience of their products or services. Our goal-oriented data-driven design process improves performance and creates compelling experiences that solve business problems in a beautiful way. And unlike other consulting firms, we don’t just redesign products and service – we actually work with your team to plan and implement the design solution.

To learn more about Messagefirst, please visit:

Thank You for a Great Meeting

All of us at PhillyCHI would like to thank Dr. Kathryn Summers, Dr. Jean Fox, Michael Summers, and Nick Boswell for coming up from Baltimore | D.C. to present at our September meeting. The presentation and discussion were both engaging and educational and went far beyond a typical introduction.

For folks who would like a copy of the handout from the meeting, it can be viewed at:

Thanks again to Kathryn, Jean, Michael, and Nick for all their time and effort. We really appreciate it.

PhillyCHI September Meeting – A Hands-On Introduction to Eyetracking

Date: Thursday, September 27, 2007
Time: 6:00PM – 8:00PM
* Refreshments & socializing from 6:00PM – 6:30PM *
Location: GSI Commerce
1075 First Avenue, King of Prussia, PA 19406
* Please note: this is event is not at GSI headquarters (935 First Avenue) but at the GSI Interactive building (1075 First Avenue). *

More Than an Introduction to Eyetracking

We’ve all attended “Intro to…” presentations that are long on generalities and summary, but don’t really provide the specifics we need to decide if a new method is right for us. This introduction has been specifically designed to be very hands-on, providing attendees with an introduction that will actually help them understand and use eyetracking.

For PhillyCHI’s September meeting, Jean E. Fox, Ph.D., Kathryn Summers, Ph.D., and Michael R. Summers, M.S. will introduce participants to a brief history of eyetracking, explain some of the basic theoretical and methodological foundations of the research, and share how it can benefit usability testing. They will then conduct a live study that will allow volunteers to use the eyetracker to attempt tasks in front of their fellow participants. They will then briefly discuss how and why to set up eyetracking studies and how these evaluations are different from standard usability tests.

They’ll cover topics such as
* designing the study (specifically selecting tasks and whether to use think aloud),
* recruiting participants, and
* setting up the test environment

After the eyetracking demonstration, the presenters will briefly analyze the data and demonstrate Tobii’s data analysis software before embarking on several case studies that show detailed examples of how eyetracking data was used in real client deliverables. The focus will be on how eyetracking provides practical input to solve specific user-centered design issues. Implications for eyetracking on current research, and question-and-answer with attendees will cover a range of topics including practical ways to start using eyetracking in an affordable way.

Whether you are planning to introduce eyetracking into your user research practice, are currently using eyetracking, or are simply want to learn more about the technology and methodology of eyetracking, you are sure to get a lot of this engaging presentation and demonstration.

About the Presenters

Jean E. Fox, Ph.D., Bureau of Labor Statistics
Jean Fox has been involved in the usability field since 1988, when she joined American Institutes for Research. At AIR, she worked on a variety of projects for government and industry clients. Currently, Jean works at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, where she is responsible for the usability efforts in the design of data collection applications for the Consumer Price Index and a variety of other BLS programs. She has presented at numerous usability-related conferences and workshops.
Jean has been involved in BLS’ recent effort to incorporate eyetracking into their usability evaluations. She and her colleagues are working to incorporate their lessons learned from this effort to refine their methodology. She will share her experience with others learning to incorporate eyetracking into their usability methodologies.

Kathryn Summers, Ph.D., SUMMERS Consulting / University of Baltimore
Kathryn was one of the first researchers in the DC Metro area to begin using eyetracking. She introduced NN/g, HFI, and several other organizations to eyetracking. She teaches user research, usability testing, and interaction design for the University of Baltimore’s master’s program in Interaction Design and Information Architecture. Her consulting work integrates the theoretical and the concrete through usability testing and usability design reviews. She rigorously applies recognized usability principles and test methods to careful, detailed observations of user interactions.

Along with a host of projects for major corporations, she has done research about navigation, on-line reading comprehension, and information design. She has spoken at a number of international research conferences, and published in industry journals.

Michael R. Summers, M.S., SUMMERS Consulting
Prior to founding SUMMERS Consulting, Michael was User Experience Specialist with Nielsen Norman Group, Director of User Research with Scient New York, and Senior Information Architect with USWeb/CKS Washington DC. He has advised several global organizations about user experience, including AltaVista, AstraZeneca, GSI Commerce, Major League Baseball, Morgan Stanley, Pfizer, REUTERS, and The National Council on the Aging.

Michael has been invited to speak about user-centered design to the American Center for Design, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the Association for Computing Machinery’s special interest group in Computer-Human Interaction, and the Usability Professional’s Association.

About Our Sponsor

gsi commerce

GSI Commerce is a leading provider of e-commerce solutions that enable retailers, branded manufacturers, entertainment companies and professional sports organizations to operate e-commerce businesses. GSI Commerce began its e-commerce business in 1999 and initially targeted the sporting goods category. Since fiscal 2001, they have expanded their reach and now offer solutions to companies in seven additional retail categories: apparel, health & beauty, consumer electronics, entertainment, home, jewelry & luxury goods and toys. GSI Commerce provides e-commerce solutions for more than 50 partners. They provide solutions for their partners in the United States through our integrated e-commerce platform, which is comprised of three components: technology, logistics and customer care, and marketing services. They employ approximately 1,550 people, the majority of which are based at headquarters in King of Prussia, Pa., two fulfillment centers in Kentucky and customer care center in Melbourne, Fla. GSI also offers international e-commerce solutions through GSI Commerce Europe Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of GSI Commerce. GSI Commerce trades on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange under the symbol, GSIC.

To learn more about GSI Commerce, please visit:

September Happy Hour

Please join us as the PhillyCHI happy hour resumes after the summer lull. Swing by, have a drink, and see what fellow PhillyCHI members have been up.

Date: Thursday, September 20, 2007
Time: 6 – 8 pm
Location: Kildare’s Pub
Address: 4417 Main Street, Manayunk, PA 19127
Phone: 215-482-7242
RSVP (not necessary, but nice):

About Our Sponsor

Aquent logoAquent is the world’s largest marketing and creative staffing company, with 70 offices in 18 countries. We’ve spent the past 20 years championing the cause of freelance marketing and creative professionals. Like you, we’re marketing and creative experts, so we understand the challenges you face. Inflexible schedules. Inconsistent workflow. Impossible clients. Billing hassles. As part of the Aquent Talent Network you not only gain access to assignments at the world’s best companies, you now have access to our comprehensive support system to help you manage all your business challenges on your terms.

Great Meeting – Taxonomy: Shoulders to Stand On

August’s panel on taxonomies was a real success in terms of turnout, participation, and overall good vibes. The presentations were short & engaging, and the following discussion demonstrated what a talented, smart, engaged community of practice we have here in the Philadelphia area. Thanks to everyone for coming out and sharing your ideas, challenges, and advice.

The taxonomy panel was such a success that we would like to continue the conversation by having another panel in 2008 on going beyond taxonomy. We will discuss the many ways in which information professionals may extend the power of their classification schema by employing controlled vocabulary, ontologies, and other machine processing. Interested in speaking? Just let me know.

Many thanks to Emily, Julia, and John for sharing their experiences and leading such a great conversation.

Below are the slides from each of the presentations as they are on SlideShare. Thanks to everyone for sharing!

If you’re interested in keeping up with PhillyCHI presentations, Take a look at SlideShare from time to time. We will be posting presentations under the PhillyCHI user account. Thanks!

Dave Cooksey
PhillyCHI Chair

Dave Cooksey, GSI Interactive – “Taxonomy & User Experience”

Emily Culbertson, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – “’s Rollout of Topic Taxonomy”

John Ferrara, Vanguard – “Machine Processing of Taxonomy”

Julia Remick, YellowBook USA – “The consumer-based search: a taxonomic reaction”

PhillyCHI August Meeting – Taxonomy: Shoulders to Stand On

“Taxonomy: Shoulders to Stand On”
Date: Thursday, August 23, 2007
Time: 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
* Meet & greet from 6:00 pm – 6:30 pm *
Location: Berger Auditorium, Skirkanich Hall, University of Pennsylvania
210 South 33rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
RSVP (not necessary, but nice):

For this month’s PhillyCHI meeting, we’ve assembled a panel to discuss a foundational topic: taxonomy.

Most of us know that taxonomy has something to do with organizing things. We hear it occasionally during meetings or when speaking to certain system specialists who contribute to our projects.

Few of us know, however, that taxonomy is the practice of classification, which originally began as a science devoted to the classification of living organisms. And that over time, taxonomy has become known as the classification of just about anything and everything.

Even fewer of us get down into the weeds and do the work that goes beyond simple classification that makes today’s information systems work: meta data, facets, controlled vocabulary, thesauri, synonym maps, ontologies, tagging…

What’s troubling about this divide between those that know about taxonomy and those that don’t is the very importance of taxonomy. For many of us, our waking hours are spent creating applications, websites, and interactive products that could not function without well-structured, carefully crafted information structures.

This month’s PhillyCHI meeting will explore in practical and tangible terms the specific ways taxonomy is important to the work we do. We will discuss the design, implementation, and governance of taxonomies by examining four real-world case studies:

  • a user-centric catalog for a large e-commerce site and its impact on the user experience
  • a content-heavy non-profit information site
  • a system processing data through controlled vocabularies and thesauri
  • a consumer-driven search engine

Whether you are a librarian, a designer or developer facing ever-increasingly complex information structures, or a product manager tasked with getting the client on board with investing in meta data, you’ll find interest in this meeting’s discussion. Plenty of time will be reserved at the end of the meeting for discussion, so bring your tough questions!

Panel Participants

Dave Cooksey, GSI Commerce, Inc

Dave is an Information Architect who works to ensure usability and findability a place at the table during the design & development of e-commerce sites. He currently focuses on taxonomy & faceted search/navigation, user research techniques, usability practices, and how to bring business & design closer.

Emily Culbertson, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

As web managing director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Emily oversees user experience and information architecture. Previously, she has managed health information Web projects for pharmaceutical and consumer products clients at I-SITE and at the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

John Ferrara, Vanguard

John is an Information Architect and human-computer interface practitioner responsible for structure, information design, and interface usability at Vanguard. He is experienced in design and administration of a variety of evaluation methods including: user testing, heuristic evaluation, cognitive walkthrough, surveys, and quantitative methods.

Julia Remick, Yellow Book USA

Julia is an Information Scientist within the Internet operations of Yellow Book USA, working primarily to ensure the integrity of their website’s taxonomy and to maintain its cohesion with the current search logic. She examines site metrics to determine keyword frequencies and search trends, forecasts how the development of new logic will interact with the present structure of the taxonomy, and is currently exploring new tools to expand and enhance the performance of the current taxonomy.