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Usability in the Urban Environment: Street Parking Signs

arlington dc / user experience / usability / blog

How often have you been in a city, as a resident or a visitor, and come across something that seemed so insanely complicated that it boggled your mind? “Why on earth did they do this this way? They should have just [enter brilliant alternative idea here].” Usability in the Urban Environment is designed to be a monthly blog series that seeks to apply basic usability standards to issues that residents and visitors grapple with daily when interacting with an urban environment. First on the agenda: Washington, DC’s parking signs.

DC Parking Signs

Look at the image to the right and ask yourself if you could answer the following pertinent questions relatively quickly from this signpost:
a) Can I... more

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Coverage of Tony Gwynn’s Death Likely to Affect Perceptions of Smokeless Tobacco Risk – But in what Direction?

featured / health research / tobacco / behavioral research / advertising research / blog

Hall of Fame baseball player Tony Gwynn died much too young Monday at the age of 54, succumbing to salivary gland cancer. Gwynn had used smokeless tobacco during his 20-year career with the Padres, and his passing has people talking about the dangers of smokeless tobacco and its tie to our nation’s pastime. How the conversation is framed, however, will determine if this will be an opportunity seized or missed for prevention/cessation efforts.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/tony-gwynns-death-has-mets-thinking-about-smokeless-tobacco-1402968225

Players know the risks, but they choose to use smokeless tobacco anyway. At least that’s the line they’re giving reporters. We face this challenge with our work with youth as well. It is essential for the communicator to realize that there’s a difference between knowing... more

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Usability testing your signs and designs: The Washington Nationals logo takes a bow from DC road signs

arlington dc / usability / user experience / blog

While driving the beltway last year, you may have noticed road signs with the Washington Nationals’ Curly W (see photo). On first impression, this seems like a great idea. The symbol would presumably aid in recognition while the highway was congested with hurried fans trying to make that first pitch. However, while the ‘Curly W’ logo blankets the ballpark and Nationals merchandise, it can’t be found on any road signs. So what happened to all those Curly W’s?!

Nationals Logo on Road Sign

In a Washington Post article from February, Dan Steinberg investigated this and uncovered some interested findings. The D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT), conducted a survey with ballpark attendees to determine if... more

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Creating Usable Personas

client work / usability / user experience / blog

UX practitioners use many tools to evaluate websites and apps. Utilizing a variety of tools is what UX research is all about! Give a UXer a webpage and voila! In no time they can evaluate a webpage with any number of their tools. When the evaluation is complete, the end product is a detailed list about what works well and what does not work well from the end user’s perspective.

Common UX evaluation tools include usability heuristics, eye tracking, think aloud protocols, personas, and focus groups. Normally, UX research is focused on the use of these tools to evaluate other products. What happens then when you don’t need to fix a broken website and you actually need to fix one of the tools you... more

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Focus Group Best Practices: Conducting Groups with Children and Young Adults

qualitative / focus group / featured / blog

If you’re looking for advice on conducting focus groups, you will find no shortage of information, suggestions, and strategies. However, most of the information out there assumes that your focus group participants will be adults. Doing qualitative research with children and young adults is a very different experience. For one thing, your research will typically involve much more careful scrutiny by your IRB or other oversight groups, as you’ll need to make sure that your study topic and questions are safe and appropriate for minors. But even once all the necessary approvals have been received, you will also likely need to use some different moderating techniques than you would with adults. Here are four things that we’ve learned to keep in mind when leading... more

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World No Tobacco Day: The higher the tax, the less death and disease

tobacco / social marketing / behavioral research / current events / blog

On May 31, the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners around the world will celebrate World No Tobacco Day. This year’s theme is to raise taxes on tobacco. According to WHO, research shows that higher taxes are especially effective in reducing tobacco use among lower-income groups and in preventing young people from starting to smoke. Increasing excise taxes on tobacco is considered to be the most cost effective tobacco control measure. The World Health Report 2010 indicated that a 50% increase in tobacco excise taxes would generate a little more than $1.4 billion in additional funds in 22 low-income countries. Hi Megan

We already see the positive impact of high tobacco taxes in the United States. According... more

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