Category Archives: Uncategorized

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”

Great Meeting – Brave New World: Usability & Web 2.0

For those who missed this Monday’s joint PhillyCHI | UPA Delaware Valley meeting, you missed a good. Jared Spool of UIE spoke on usability and Web 2.0, framing the entire discussion around user experience and the evolution of technology. But you are in luck. We are very fortunate that the talk was captured on video by Natalia. (Thanks, Natalia!)

The officers of PhillyCHI would like to thank Casey, Natalia, and Jason from UPA Delaware Valley for helping put together a great joint meeting. PhillyCHI will be helping out with planning World Usability Day 2007 with the UPA. This year’s topic is Healthcare. If you would like to participate, help plan the event, or simply want more information, you may contact either PhillyCHI or UPA Delaware Valley.

Also, much thanks to the folks at G2 (Refinery) for sponsoring the event. We would not be able to have the quality meetings that we do without the support of corporate and educational institutions in the area.

About ‘Brave New World: Usability & Web 2.0′
Once again, everything is exciting. The advent of social networks, APIs, mashups, RSS, aggregators, and folksonomies promise a world where the information and services we’ve always wanted are delivered right to our browser.

However, delivering on the promise is easier said than done. Moving from a great concept to an exceptional user experience proves to be more of a challenge than many people thought. What works on a small scale is a very different story, when put into production.

As Spiderman’s Uncle Ben pointed out, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Just because we can do all these things doesn’t mean we should do them. In the early 1980’s, the cheap availability of laser printers and digital fonts produced a plethora of documents that more resembled ransom notes than professional publications. We could easily imagine designers going wild with the capabilities of this new technology and not using the restraint necessary to ensure they produce an optimal experience.

In this entertaining and informative presentation, Jared shows examples of the usability challenges we face as the web continues to change and evolve. He discusses the implications of “The Long Tail”, the introduction of a mashup mentality in business environments, and how basic techniques, such as usability testing and field studies, change when social network is at the center of the design.

About Jared Spool, Founding Principal, UIE
If you’ve ever seen Jared speak about usability, you know that he’s probably the most effective, knowledgeable communicator on the subject today. What you probably don’t know is that he has guided the research agenda and built User Interface Engineering into the largest research organization of its kind in the world. He’s been working in the field of usability and design since 1978, before the term “usability” was ever associated with computers.

Jared spends his time working with the research teams at the company, helps clients understand how to solve their design problems, explains to reporters and industry analysts what the current state of design is all about, and is a top-rated speaker at more than 20 conferences every year. He is also the conference chair and keynote speaker at the annual User Interface Conference, is on the faculty of the Tufts University Gordon Institute, and manages to squeeze in a fair amount of writing time.

About User Interface Engineering (UIE)
User Interface Engineering is a leading research company, specializing in helping design professionals produce delightful and enticing user experiences. They work with all of the top organizations in the technology space and help thousands of designers every year. Hosting events, such as the annual User Interface Conference and the brand new Web App Summit, UIE continues to push the envelope of new design practices and techniques.

You can find more information about UIE and learn about their latest research at

Super Meeting – Maximum Value Design

Austin Govella speaksWe had excellent turnout and great discussion during Austin Govella’s “Maximum Value Design: Strategies for Creating a Larger Impact on the Business.” Given the interest in what Austin had to say from folks from all over (and some gentle nudging from Christina Wodke), we made an audio recording of the talk. We’re currently in the process of turning it into a podcast. And as soon as it is ready, we’ll send out an announcement.

You can view a few photos from the meeting at:

Thanks to Austin for taking his time to share his insights with us in such an entertaining and engaging way.

P.S. If you’re interested in contributing to PhillyCHI’s effort to produce a podcast, please let us know:


Great Meeting – Collaging: What Your Users Wish They Could Tell You

Priyanka Kakar and Steve Cleff discuss Priyanks's collagePhillyCHI had a great May meeting on the user research methodology of collaging. Steve’s presentation and exercise were really interesting and sparked a lot of conversation. The technique seems really simplistic, but offers surprisingly rich contextual understanding to a project.

For those of you who missed the meeting, collaging is a user research technique where users are shown a number of random images with the instructions to select images that they think convey what they want from a product, service, or brand.

Pictures of the event:

For the exercise on Thursday, two users from PhillyCHI (Priyanka Kakar and Jon Deutsch) participated, pulling images to describe what they wanted from the new PhillyCHI website. Both Priyanka and Jon gave great feedback as to what they would like the new site to provide users. This information will be used in the design of the new site.

Thanks again to Steve and everyone at Avenue A | Razorfish for hosting a great social & meeting!

Great Meeting – Architectures for Conversation II

Andrew HintonPhillyCHI had a great April meeting! Andrew Hinton’s presentation of “Architectures for Conversation II” provoked and entertained. For those of you who were not able to attend, both the slides to the presentation as well as a few photos are available.

For the presentation slides, please visit Andrew’s blog at (available soon).

Photos of the event are available now at

Thanks to everyone who came out. A special thanks to our sponsor, Vanguard.

Also, thank you to the University of Pennsylvania for offering PhillyCHI the use of its meeting spaces. The Berger Auditorium is a great space for presentations. We appreciate the university’s support of PhillyCHI.

Great Meeting – Knowing Smirks & Grins of Delight

Kip Voytek speaking to PhillyCHIWe had a great meeting for March. Kip Voytek of R/GA in New York came down to spend the evening with PhillyCHI and MBC (now Digitas Health – read more at Not only did Kip give a great talk on the importance of emotion in interactive products, but MBC put on a great spread of food & drink, including martinis! Approximately 56 folks were in attendance for both the social hour and presentation.

Thanks to Kip for giving such a thought provoking talk and engaging us in a great discussion afterwards. And a big thank you to Brendan Gallagher, Carly Kuper, and everyone at MBC for being the perfect hosts.

You can check out photos from the event at Flickr:

Hope to see you all at our next happy hour sponsored by Morgan Creative on Thursday April 19, 2007 from 6 to 8 pm at Loie Brasserie & Bar in Center City. Details to follow.