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Threats to User Experience Research Validity

featured / ux / usability

Many parallels can be drawn between experimental psychology research and summative user experience research. In experimental research, we take a systematic and scientific approach to understanding the effect of the manipulation of one or more variables, while holding other variables constant. User experience (UX) research is usually more qualitative in nature, but at FMG, we feel that UX deserves the same systematic and scientifically rigorous treatment as experimental research. In most laboratory experiments, researchers only have a small number of variables that change and these studies are tightly controlled. Independent variables are those factors manipulated by the experimenter or demographic in nature, while dependent variables are where the effects of the independent variable are measured. In UX testing, we have many independent variables (for example,... more

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Eye Tracking in UX Design and UXPA's User Focus Conference Made for a Busy October

featured / eye tracking / ux / usability

It’s been a busy October for FMG’s UX team. The week of October 13 was jam-packed with two professional conferences both chaired by our team lead, Dr. Jennifer Romano Bergstrom. David Hawkins presented at the Eye Tracking and UX Design Conference, while the rest of the team (Jake Sauser, Jon Strohl, Christian Gonzalez, and Jen Romano Bergstrom) presented at UXPA's User Focus DC 2014 Conference. To share our experiences with you, I'm including a few of the UX team's favorite takeaways.

Eye Tracking and UX Design on October 16, 2014 Eye Tracking in UX Design

David Hawkins and Jen Romano Bergstrom presented “Eye Tracking the User Experience of Forms and Surveys.” They talked about the studies we have done... more

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Work and Family are Top Priorities in October - National Work and Family Month

featured / organizational health / in the news

Negotiating the demands of work and home life is a familiar struggle for working adults. Many of us have felt stressed or tired upon returning home from work, been late to work because of commitments at home, or had to cancel a personal appointment because work was busy. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 56% of working moms and 50% of working dads say they find it very or somewhat difficult to balance work and family responsibilities. Furthermore, although much attention is focused on working parents in particular, conflict between work and home life occurs for any worker who has demands stemming from providing support to other family members, pets, self-care activities, and other commitments. October is National Work &... more

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Respecting Your Participants - Ethical Considerations in Focus Groups

focus group / market research / research design / featured / blog / qualitative

Focus groups, unlike some other forms of research, can feel quite informal. In fact, some of the best groups can look more like a table of friends chatting than a formal data collection effort. However, researchers always need to remember that focus groups (as well as one-on-one interviews and other qualitative methods) are research, and the same ethical requirements apply. If you’re working with a governmental agency or a university, you may need to have your project reviewed by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) or by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB). But even when your focus group effort does require these formal reviews, it is still important for researchers to remember their ethical responsibility to their participants.

The most fundamental ethical... more

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FMG Awarded 5-Year BPA to Assist the IRS with Experimental Economics Research on Taxpayer Services

news / government / federal contracting / featured

Arlington, Virginia - October 1, 2014 - Fors Marsh Group LLC (FMG), a DC-area research and consulting firm, has been awarded a five-year Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) to provide the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Office of Research with expertise in methods of experimental economics for use in estimating how various taxpayer services influence the level of taxpayer filing and voluntary compliance.

‘FMG is proud to announce this extension of our relationship with the IRS,' said Ben Garthwaite, senior vice president. ‘We've been a partner to the IRS for a number of years and this BPA will provide another opportunity for us to continue supporting the IRS' use of research to solve complex challenges and better serve taxpayers.'

Under the BPA, FMG will conduct... more

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Jumping Right In -Two Workshops Highlighting Eye Tracking and User Experience

featured / eye tracking / ux / usability

After joining Fors Marsh Group a few weeks ago, I’ve had the privilege of attending a few events in the DC-area. The first two workshops I attended were fantastic and both shed light on the benefits of eye tracking and mobile usability.

DC-AAPOR’s Eye-Tracking Workshop at Gallup Institute on Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

Dr. Jennifer Romano Bergstrom led a day-long workshop that introduced eye tracking, why we should/want to do it, the pros and cons, protocols for conducting, what we learn from eye tracking, and the best way to position it to clients. The participants came from very different backgrounds, and to my surprise, not many were UX practitioners. What we all had in common was that we were interested in learning more about... more

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