Category Archives: Events

May 20 PhillyCHI Meeting: Personas & Scenario-Based Design

Want to learn more about personas and what they are, why they are useful, and how to create them? Join us for an engaging discussion with Jerilyn MacLaren-Hall, an MISI Experience Strategist about personas and how she has leveraged them in many of her design and development projects.

Date: Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm (social/networking from 6:00-6:30pm)
Location: Penn State Great Valley, Room 131
Address: 30 E. Swedesford Road, Malvern, PA 19355
Phone: 610-648-3200

About the Presentation

Ever thought it would be great if you could have users of your new website, application, product, or experience by your side for every step of the design/development lifecycle? Do you often find yourself trying to “guess” which of ten great ideas your audience will find most useful? Is your team often at odds with itself – developers vs. designers, product guys vs. “the business?”

Updating your development lifecycle methodology to include persona creation as part of the upfront design and requirements phase can help solve challenges like those listed above and many others by bringing your audience into the back offices, conference rooms, and development pods where decisions are made.

Benefits can include:

  • Creating a shared understanding of the real people who will be interacting with your new website, application, product, or experience
  • Focusing decisions and solutions on what your audience needs based on good data – not assumptions
  • Eliminating tasks / features that do not directly map to user needs by helping them accomplish their goals

About the Presenter

Jerilyn MacLaren-Hall is a Strategist at MISI Company who has been promoting User Experience and Human Interaction Design for 8 years with a particular focus on the Communications/ High Tech (CHT) and Media & Entertainment (M&E) industries. Prior to joining MISI company, Jerilyn lead Accenture’s North American CHT/M&E User Experience Labs. Her project and research efforts included multi-screen/”trivergence”, mobile web design and advertising, Web 2.0 and Enterprise Portals, Service and Support, accessible design for enterprise communication services management applications, professional networking for Small Business portals, and end-to-end customer experience for broadband customers in the US (cross channel). During her career, Jerilyn has worked with CHT/ M&E clients such as: Time Warner, Web MD, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, BT, Bell Canada, TelMex, Telstra, Best Buy, SAP, and Microsoft. Some of her other clients include: KPMG, D&B, J&J, P&G, Merrill Lynch, Farmers, USDA,, and Expedia.

About MISI Company

MISI COMPANY provides User Experience and Technical Resources consulting to Fortune 500 and mid-market organizations in the public and private sector. In business for more than 30 years, MISI’s team of staffing professionals, technology thought leaders, certified usability analysts, interface designers, and system architects strive to build and enhance our client relationships as subject matter experts and industry leaders.

MISI’s User Experience (UX) group helps clients ensure the mutual success of every interaction between the business and its audience. Whether the UX team is evaluating the performance of existing interactions and user interfaces, designing and developing new ones, or validating business concepts and prototypes, MISI provides the objective, evidence-based guidance necessary to craft experiences that deliver both qualitative and quantitative business results, such as increased utilization, sales or user satisfaction, higher productivity, or maximized ROI.

MISI’s Technical Resources group sources the most sought-after technical talent currently available. We provide access to quality candidates in web technology, application development and infrastructure support. MISI has more than 500 consultants staffed in a myriad of capacities from Project Managers, Business Analysts, and Architects to Developers, Testers and Help Desk.

About Penn State Great Valley

Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies offers master’s degrees to working professionals in the fields of:

  • Software Engineering – offering study in service-oriented architecture, product line architecture, software design, agile development, and the management of software systems
  • Systems Engineering – offering study in heterogeneous systems interaction and the management of complex processes
  • Engineering Management – offering leadership skills for managing interdisciplinary engineering projects and technical staff
  • Information Science – offering computing and IT expertise and the management of IT systems

A Penn State degree is closer than you think. Courses are held in the evenings and most students complete the degree in 2.5 years. Learn more about the graduate degrees offered at the Great Valley campus and at the Philadelphia Navy Yard by calling Amanda Neill at 610-725-5382,emailing or visiting

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

Joint PhillyCHI | NJ UPA April Meeting – Bill Buxton: From the Materialistic to the Experiential

We’re pleased to partner with Usability NJ for our April meeting, where Bill Buxton will give a talk entitled, “From the Materialistic to the Experiential: A Changing Perspective on Design.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2009
6:30 PM – Meet and greet with hors d’ouevres and soft drinks
7:00 PM – Presentation
8:30 PM – Book signing – We will hand out flyers from the publisher for 20 percent off Bill Buxton’s new book.  Bill will sign a bookplate that can be affixed to the book.

Computer Science Large Auditorium
Princeton University
35 Olden Street, Room 105
Princeton, New Jersey 08542


Carpool and Public Transit Information: We will update this area with a link to our Facebook page to help people traveling from Philly.


About the Presentation

Bill Buxton will talk about the transition from where we view design as primarily concerned with the material object (the device, dress, home, service, etc.) to a new state where our focus is on the experience that result from those same objects and services. One of the consequences is that great design (which equates to great experience) cannot be confined to, nor is it the sole purview of, any one department (design, marketing, or engineering, as examples). Rather, design has to be viewed in a holistic manner, and executing great design must involve every person in the food chain that produces the product. This not only has deep implications on what designers do. It also compels us to rethink who or what is a designer, and who is not. In order to do great design in the future — whatever that may mean — implies that the most important thing that we need to design is design itself. And yet, the paradox is, this is the only way to save design as a distinct and critical profession.

About the Presenter

Bill Buxton is a relentless advocate for innovation, design, and – especially – the appropriate consideration of human values, capacity, and culture in the conception, implementation, and use of new products and technologies.  This is reflected in his research, teaching, talks, and writing – including his column on design and innovation for, and his 2007 book, Sketching User Experiences.

In December 2005, he was appointed Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research. Prior to that, he was Principal of his own Toronto-based boutique design and consulting firm, Buxton Design.

To learn more about Bill, visit

About our Sponsors

Princeton University

Usability NJ
UsabilityNJ, the New Jersey chapter of the Usability Professionals Association, is an organization of professionals in user interface design and development and related fields that supports usable design in products and services. Learn more at

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

PhillyCHI Happy Hour | Tweetup – Thursday, April 9, 2009

PhillyCHI would like to invite you to join us for our monthly happy hour. We’re extending a special invitation to those already using Twitter and folks interested in learning more about Twitter and tweeting to join us this coming Thursday at National Mechanics bar.  We’ll project a live-Twitter stream so everyone can join in and experience mediated sociality together!

* Due to the many meetings this month, we’re meeting on the second Thursday of the month, not the third Thursday. Thanks! *
Event Details
Date: Thursday, April 9, 2009
Time: 6 – 8PM
Location: National Mechanics
Address: 22 S. 3rd Street Philadelphia, PA 19106
RSVP: Not necessary but nice:
Re-Tweet Me Please
Announce the tweetup on your Twitter posts to get the word out.
About PhillyCHI
PhillyCHI is the Philadelphia’s chapter of the ACM SIG-CHI, a professional and academic group for those interested in user experience, information architecture, usability and other related disciplines. Find more information at:

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:

PhillyCHI | CreativeConnects Happy Hour – Wed, March 11

* Please note, our regular third Thursday happy hour will replaced by this joint social. *

Please join PhillyCHI and CreativeConnects for a joint social this month. Pass the word and meet your colleagues for a drink and conversation at Alfa Bar in Center City Philadelphia.

Event Details
Event: PhillyCHI | CreativeConnects Joint Happy Hour
Date: Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Time: 5:30-8PM
Location: Alfa Bar, Walnut Room
Address: 1709 Walnut Street, Philadelphia
Parking & Mass Transit: There are two parking garages located on 16th and Chancellor St.
The closest SEPTA stop is the Walnut-Locust station.


Join us for CreativeConnects, a free social event hosted by The BOSS Group for creative, marketing, communications, advertising and web professionals. Come network with colleagues, meet new people, keep up with industry news and get leads on jobs and business opportunities.

No formal program, no RSVP required, lite bites and one drink for the first 35 attendees courtesy of The BOSS Group.

About the BOSS Group
The BOSS Group is, literally, where talent and opportunity meet. It’s where creative and marketing communications professionals come to find jobs and assignments, resources and industry connections, and where clients find the talent that will help them succeed.

We’re committed to meeting the employment needs of employers and individuals with equal success. Our unparalleled staffing expertise for the creative industry and close partnerships with our talent and clients alike offer a true competitive advantage. The BOSS Group is a certified Women’s Business Enterprise.

About PhillyCHI
PhillyCHI is the Philadelphia’s chapter of the ACM SIG-CHI, a professional and academic group for those interested in user experience, information architecture, usability and other related disciplines. Find more information at:

PhillyCHI | UPA Joint Meeting on 2/26 – Angela Colter: Determining Readability

WHEN: Thursday, February 26, 2009, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
* Meet & Greet from 6:00 – 6:30 PM *

WHERE: John M. Huntsman Hall, Room 260
Wharton School of Business
3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Parking Info:

RSVP: Please let us know you are coming at

Determining Readability: Ensuring Users Can Understand Your Content

Organizations spend countless hours and lots of money worrying over the usability of their sites. But this usually means simply seeing if users can navigate the site, operate widgets, and perform critical functions. Rarely do they ever test to see if users can read, understand, and use the site’s content.
This presentation by veteran readability tester Angela Colter, will examine the how’s and why’s of readability testing.

About the Presentation

The newly minted revision of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines include the directive to “make text content readable and understandable.” WCAG 2.0 success criteria are meant to be testable … so how do you test for readability?

This presentation will cover how to determine:
1. the reading ability required by text content
2. the reading ability of users
3. whether or not users understand text content

We’ll talk about readability formulas: what they are, how they work, how to apply them and why many in the plain language movement dismiss them altogether. We’ll also discuss low literacy as an accessibility issue and how to recruit low-lit participants for usability studies.

By the end of this session, you’ll be able to determine the grade level required to understand a sample of text, choose which readability formula to apply, and communicate what the results do — and more importantly, don’t — mean. And hopefully, you’ll have a better understanding of why and how to consider
the needs of poor readers.

Do you write text content? Conduct user research and usability tests? Or generally want to make sure that your content is understood by the widest audience possible? Then this talk is for you.

About the Speaker

Angela Colter is a freelance usability and accessibility consultant in Philadelphia.

She has worked on numerous readability projects for the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Justice, and Pfizer. While a senior usability specialist at UserWorks, she was the lead researcher for a Government Accountability Office study on the readability of credit card disclosure materials.

Angela is a doctoral candidate at the University of Baltimore researching how to make search engines easier for users with low literacy skills.

About Our Sponsor

Liberty Personnel Services is a staffing firm formed with the guiding principles of professionalism, integrity and efficiency. We are committed to building long term relationships with our clients, job seekers, and our own employees. Our clients include Fortune 500 companies and small corporations ranging from start-ups to companies over 100 years old. Our proven system enables us to deliver a superior service for both the employer and job seeker. For more information:

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:

About the UPA Delaware Valley

The Delaware Valley Chapter of the Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA) provides networking and professional development opportunities for usability professionals, information architects, designers, and other professionals and students in the Philadelphia metro area, including Philadelphia, central
New Jersey, and Delaware. Our focus is on sharing information about professional
skills and skill development, methodologies, tools, and technologies. Learn more at: