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PhillyCHI March Meeting- Dorothy Danforth: Foundations of a Great User Experience

Our March meeting will feature Dorothy Danforth, presenting on the Foundations for a Great User Experience: Crafting Compelling Research Strategies for New Products and Ventures.

Event Details

Date: Thursday, March 26, 2009
Time: 6:00-8:00 PM  * Meet & Greet from 6:00-6:30 PM *
Location: Tyler School of Art
Room B089
Temple University
2001 N. 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
RSVP: Please let us know you are coming at

About the Presentation
User Experience professionals are commonly called upon to fix a problematic design or help drive product enhancements. There is a wealth of research methods to help assess the successfulness of an existing interface. But what about the early phases of a new product or concept? Do these same methods still apply? How can you best tailor your approach to gather useful input when your product and/or company are still in the formative stages?

For this month’s PhillyCHI talk, Dorothy M. Danforth will discuss various low overhead, high-impact research methods available to Web Designers and UX professionals when creating new products, scenarios for when and how to use these methods, as well as general insights on how to get the most out of early stage R&D processes. Some illustrative examples and ideas from past product-concept research efforts will be provided.
Talking points to include:

  • considerations when developing a UX focused research plan for a new product or concept
  • how brand and corporate culture can impact and possibly drive interface decisions
  • how the research process can identify organizational knowledge gaps (and vice versa)
  • integrating UX research within the creative (visual design) and engineering processes

The presentation is open to anyone with interest, but could be particularly helpful for…

  • Web & Graphic designers who find themselves in the “accidental” UX consultant role
  • Product managers who would like some ideas on how to better integrate UX research into their product development lifecycles
  • Early and mid-level career UXD professionals

About the Speaker
Dorothy M. Danforth is founder and principal consultant for Danforth Media (, a user experience design consultancy. With more than twelve years in interactive services, Dorothy has provided software design and usability guidance to a number of companies such as Applied Materials, Bath & Body Works, Comcast, Levis, Palm, Pfizer, Radio Shack, Reuters, Toys‘R’Us, and Wharton.

Dorothy has made a career out of working with startups and developing new product concepts. Previous to her work as a consultant, Dorothy was Vice President of Product Management for pcFirst, a PC services startup acquired by FusionOne. She established the Web Services department for Telocity, a DSL provider acquired by DirecTV. As an early “pre-launch” Telocity employee, she spearheaded their usability lab and initiated the company’s web design processes and standards through to the company’s IPO. In addition to her user experience design work, Dorothy has been a founding member of a fine artists’ online collaborative, a web chat service provider, and two volunteer management non-profits.

About Our Sponsors

Graphic and Interactive Design Program at Tyler School of Art
GAID at Tyler School of Art is known for the quality and rigor of its BFA and MFA programs. GAID’s mission is to educate designers who aspire to practice design for communication at the most creative levels of the profession. Tyler’s graduates are working in all areas of the design industry.

The GAID facilities in Tyler’s new home on Temple’s main campus are spacious and state-of-the art. Tyler students have ready access to a rich array of academic courses. The proximity to students from Temple’s many programs in academics and the arts offers the breadth of experience that is essential to the designer’s education. To learn more about GAID, visit:

Aquent is the talent agency for marketing and design professionals. We pair marketing and design specialists with challenging jobs to create inspired, productive partnerships. Partnerships that produce meaningful work for our client companies and the talent we represent. For information about Aquent, please visit

About PhillyCHI
PhillyCHI is the Philadelphia region’s chapter of the ACM SIGCHI, an interdisciplinary academic and professional group interested in Human-Computer Interaction, User Experience, Usability, and other related disciplines. PhillyCHI holds monthly meetings and socials to network and discuss current topics in HCI. Learn more at:

Panel discussion: "User-Centered Design: Keeping It Real"

PhillyCHI’s October 2008 panel discussion on the topic: “User Centered Design: Keeping It Real”

-Dave Cooksey:
User Experience Lead, gsi interactive

-Steve Cleff:
Account Planner, Avenue A, Razorfish

-Zoey Juhng:
Design Director, Bressler Group

-Michael Summers:
Senior Director, Usability, gsi interactive

-Maria Keares Wyant:
RA, Wyant Architecture

Video-on-demand: World Usability Day 2008 – Scott Page "Making Transit Useful in Philly"

PhillyCHI and UPA Delaware Valley present a World Usability Day recording of, Making Transit Useful in Philly”


-Scott Page:
Interface Studio LLC

Making Transit Useful in Philly
Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is a national movement focused on encouraging growth and development in a way that leverages the value of local transit. In Philadelphia, many rail stations are located in areas that are largely vacant and underutilized. This, combined with a strong car culture, leaves Philadelphia’s rail infrastructure – one of the best in the country – largely overlooked.

Interface Studio LLC, an urban design and planning firm based in Philadelphia, was engaged by Neighborhoods Now to explore the opportunities to transform two under-used rail stations in Philadelphia into active and vibrant neighborhood amenities. The lecture will cover the key challenges to making transit useful in Philadelphia and share the findings of the study which tackles TOD as a far-reaching design problem.

Video-on-demand: World Usability Day 2008 – Kenneth Allendoerfer "User-Centered Research and Development for the Next Generation Air Transportation System"

PhillyCHI and UPA Delaware Valley present a World Usability Day recording of, “User-Centered Research and Development for the Next Generation Air Transportation System”


-Kenneth Allendoerfer:
Federation Aviation Administration (FAA)

User-Centered Research and Development for the Next Generation Air Transportation System
The US air traffic control (ATC) system, one of the nation’s most complex information technology and communication networks, is increasingly plagued by congestion and delays. To address these problems, the FAA has embarked on a major redesign of the system, known as NextGen, which will change how controllers do their jobs and how they interact with technology. Meanwhile, the current generation of controllers, who began their careers using information technology with very different user interfaces and with very limited capabilities, is nearing retirement age. Now that a new generation of controllers is being hired and trained, we have the opportunity to modernize the ATC user interfaces, but which designs are the right ones? Which elements of the old systems should be preserved and which should be replaced? How do we manage this transition without disrupting operations? I will demonstrate and discuss several recent projects at the FAA Research Development and Human Factors Laboratory which use user-centered design and evaluation methods (such as cognitive task analysis, eye tracking, and click path analysis) to explore these issues.