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Ergo-X Symposium: Exoskeletons in the Workplace

All-Day Workshops

Monday, October 1, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

WK1 – Usability Testing:  A Hands-On Workshop to Improve User Interfaces
Pam Savage-Knepshield, Diane Quarles, Chris Paulillo, Na Gaither, Heidi Kim, Kate Cohen, and Charlie Hernandez,  US Army Research Lab; Jeff Thomas, Headquarters, Department of the Army; Katy Badt-Frissora, ASRC Federal Vistronix; Rachael Lund, Naval Surface Warfare Center;  Cheryl Coyle, SAS Institute; Courtney Savage, Contracting Resources Group
LEVEL: Beginner, Novice, Experienced. FEE: $400 Members, $450 Nonmembers, $250 Student Members, $300 Student Nonmembers.

Usability testing is an important element of the user experience (UX) toolkit. Watching users and talking with them about what they are experiencing as they interact with a system, a product, or an app can provide valuable insight into the UX. Whether trying to be fit, have fun, or do work, users expect to be able to pick up a new app or device and use it right away. This full-day workshop provides step-by-step procedures for conducting usability testing that will enable attendees to provide the UX that users have come to expect. Attendees will learn proven, quick, and practical usability-testing techniques to identify usability issues, their relative risk, and potential mitigations. First, participants will choose a Web site or a digital handheld product from those provided and, working in small groups, will develop a usability test plan, set usability objectives, choose usability measures and metrics, script a usability scenario, create a moderator guide and data collection instruments, perform the role of moderator and participant, and collect and analyze results. This workshop aims to empower attendees to design and run their own usability tests without having to set up an expensive lab. The workshop is designed to be an interactive, hands-on learning experience and consists of presentations, demonstrations, and individual and group exercises. The instructors bring a wealth of real-world usability experience to coach attendees through the process. This workshop does not require previous software product design experience or programming skills and is ideal for students, basic and applied researchers, and UX research professionals new to usability testing who wish to learn the fundamentals for improving system design and the UX. Attendees should bring a laptop, tablet, or smartphone with wireless Internet connectivity and be willing to take on the perspective of the user. Buffet lunch is included in the workshop fee. Facilitators have a broad range of experience designing hardware, software, Web sites, and handheld apps and conducting iterative usability tests as part of the design/development process in industry and academia and for the government.

WK2 – Behavioral Data Analytics
John D. Lee, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Linda Ng Boyle, University of Washington

LEVEL: Experienced. FEE: $400 Members, $450 Nonmembers, $250 Student Members, $300 Student Nonmembers.

The rapidly evolving areas of data analytics and machine learning, as well as the increasing demand for experts in quantitative user experience, present challenges and opportunities to human factors engineers. Machine learning may be unfamiliar to behavioral scientists, but data scientists may likewise be unfamiliar with many important features of behavioral data. This full-day workshop for experienced attendees (i.e., those with good working knowledge of R) provides practical skills in behavioral data analytics. The workshop also addresses important conceptual and ethical issues concerning the role of machine learning in user experience design. Participants will learn data tidying, visualization, and aggregation skills. They will then apply these skills to multilevel modeling and machine learning. The workshop includes exercises and examples using the statistical package R that include complex data reduction, visualization of multilevel response data, creation of machine-learning models, as well as visualization of model predictions and cross validation performance. The workshop also includes a brief survey of machine-learning techniques and associated resources in R that participants might fit their particular needs. Attendees will be provided instructions to download R, RStudio, and several associated packages prior to the workshop, and they will leave with code to perform the analyses covered. Participants must bring their own laptop computers and have a working knowledge of R. This workshop is intended for both academics and practitioners in any application domain that involves quantitative analysis of behavioral data who want to broaden their statistical knowledge to include modern machine-learning technology.  

WK3 – Observing and Interviewing in Context: Methods to Fuel Design and Innovation
Keith Karn, Human Factors in Context LLC, and Mark Rogers, Consultant

LEVEL: Beginner, Novice, Experienced. FEE: $400 Members, $450 Nonmembers, $250 Student Members, $300 Student Nonmembers.

Contextual research includes observation and interviewing techniques originally developed by anthropologists. These techniques help us gain insights about how people understand and use products and systems, carry out tasks to achieve goals, and interact within the environment (physical, social, and technical) in which they live and work. While these topics are the pillars of the human factors and ergonomics profession, most professionals in our field have had little opportunity to learn how to use these qualitative, contextual techniques or to practice the skills needed to conduct this type of research. This full-day workshop will help fill this gap by providing participants an opportunity to learn the techniques and practice the relevant skills. The workshop involves a hands-on, interactive approach that exposes participants to all phases of contextual research, from study design and planning to analyzing data and communicating results. Participants will practice the interviewing and observation skills critical to conducting contextual research, as well as analysis and presentation techniques specific to this type of data. Participants need no special tools or prior knowledge in order to benefit from the workshop—just curiosity, a desire to learn, and a willingness to engage in the exercises. While the target audience for this workshop is professionals in human factors and ergonomics, students and professionals from other disciplines will also benefit. At the conclusion of the workshop, participants should feel equipped to apply these techniques in their own work in order to fuel future system and product innovation and design.

WK4 – “You’re Too Academic” – Enhancing Human Factors Research and Practice With Methods From Anthropology and Design Research: A Case Study From a Financial Institution
Damla Kerestecioglu, Angeli Humilde, Ryan Kealey, and Gary Fernandes, TD Bank Group

LEVEL: Beginner, Novice. FEE: $400 Members, $450 Nonmembers, $250 Student Members, $300 Student Nonmembers.

 The research landscape is changing. Academic walls are opening, and now more than ever before, graduates are seeking research-oriented roles outside of academia. This transition can be jarring and uncomfortable, especially when working with companies that are not aware of the value of research or when working with researchers from unfamiliar and diverse disciplines. In this new landscape, industry researchers (including HF/E practitioners) are being exposed to and asked to innovate on research methodology that is unfamiliar to them (e.g., bringing ethnographic approaches to observational studies in HF). The aim of this full-day workshop is to educate researchers of any level who wish to learn more about conducting research within an industry context, especially those who want to work in interdisciplinary teams with a diversity of thought and experience (typically outside traditional HF industries). Attendees will gain experience with research methods and testing procedures that may be outside their normal education and learn how to effectively use them. The workshop will attempt to answer questions such as “What is the difference between ethnography and interviews?” “How do I frame my results for stakeholders?” and “How do I enhance HF with mixed-methods approaches?” Attendees will leave with a better understanding of the research ecosystem within a corporate environment and, more specifically, what that can look like within a cross-border financial institution. The multidisciplinary team of presenters will share their insights, combining anthropological and human factors-based results in order to develop richer research results. The workshop presenters will help attendees synthesize their diverse research methodologies and insights, help them decode the language of “the business,” and help communicate findings to various stakeholder groups to achieve the most influence. During lunch, where attendees will be on their own, it is intended that a data sample will be collected at the Reading Terminal Market (a short walk or ride from the hotel). Here, attendees will collect ethnographic and contextual inquiry data to bring back to the afternoon portion of the workshop for discussion and analysis. Key themes include flexibility vs. rigor in research, human factors, anthropology, and mixed methods; decoding business language and culture; how to prioritize; framing the context for discussions with non-researchers or people without an academic background; and learning how to apply new methods and using them to enhance one’s own research.

Morning-Only Workshop

Monday, October 1, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

WK5 – Enhance Your Qualitative Research Through Engaging Videography and Nonlinear Editing Techniques
Carie Cunningham and Adam Emfield, Nuance Automotive

LEVEL: Novice, Experienced, Expert. FEE: $225 Members, $275 Nonmembers, $150 Student Members, $175 Student Nonmembers.

In user experience (UX) research, the participant is often as much the focus as the techniques and tools themselves. Participants’ feelings and actions provide insight to research questions. When findings are shared outside of research teams, participants often are underutilized through a lack of advanced video shooting and video editing. This workshop demonstrates how researchers can set up and record videos of participants in challenging environments. It also shows innovative editing techniques to create more engaging video clips, resulting in better information dissemination. Although the practice of recording participants in a room with no specific framing, and then presenting a roughly edited video of a simple clip that demonstrates a trend or theme among participants greatly complements other qualitative and quantitative measures, the video collection methods can be improved to demonstrate more compelling arguments from the participants’ statements or behaviors. Learning and applying visual aesthetic rules and advanced editing techniques can accomplish this. In addition, the presenters will teach techniques for working in challenging environments where perfect framing is not an option. Anyone with an interest in understanding these methods is welcome to learn, discuss, and participate in the UX data collection and editing situations. Presenters will cover editing and shooting techniques in detail through demonstrations and hands-on exercises. No experience is required, although some familiarity with the topic would help. Participants do not need to bring any equipment. 

Afternoon-Only Workshop

Monday, October 1, 1:30 to 5:00 p.m.

WK6 – Mental Models and Their Impact on Scholarship and Practice: Improving Diversity and Inclusion in HF/E
Christine Kaunas, MPH, Executive Director for Interprofessional Education & Research at the Texas A&M University Health Science Center

LEVEL: Any level. FEE: $100 Members, $125 Nonmembers, $50 Student Members, $75 Student Nonmembers.

The purpose of this dynamic workshop is to reveal the pervasiveness of mental models and the influence they have on our decision-making processes in academia and in practice. Participants will learn from relevant literature and will engage in individual and group activities to explore how mental models advantage some yet disadvantage others in the workplace and beyond. Strategies for remediation will be discussed. This workshop is appropriate for students, practitioners, and scholars of psychology, systems engineering, and other disciplines related to human factors/ergonomics. This workshop can accommodate up to 100 attendees.