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.

August Happy Hour

For the summer, PhillyCHI will take a break on holding socials. So get out and enjoy the sun already! Look for our regularly scheduled happy hours, which are held on the third Thursday of the month, to return on September 20th (Location and time coming soon).

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