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Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) at the University of Washington Putting people first, we research, design, and engineer interactions between humans and technology. Join us. Change the world. BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (BS HCDE) The Bachelor’s degree in HCDE enables students to build a strong foundation in designing user experiences and interfaces, creating information visualizations, conducting user research, designing for the web, and building web technologies. Students graduate from the program with engineering degrees.

MASTER OF SCIENCE (MS HCDE) The Master’s degree in HCDE prepares its graduates for professional and leadership roles in user experience research and design, interface design, interaction design and prototyping, product design, human-computer interaction, human centered engineering, and program management. HCDE MS courses are offered in the evening to accommodate a diverse cohort of full time and part time students.

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY (PHD HCDE) The Doctor of Philosophy in HCDE provides unparalleled depth and experience for students interested in studying the conception, design, implementation, evaluation, and effects of technologies. The HCDE doctoral program prepares students for careers as scholars and researchers through relevant coursework, mentorship from faculty, and collaboration with peers.

USER-CENTERED DESIGN CERTIFICATE (UCD) The User-Centered Design Certificate is an evening, graduate-level program for students who want to explore a wide range of issues in user-centered design. Students learn methods for planning and developing intuitive, user-friendly product designs. This four-course certificate focuses on usability studies, usercentered design theories, visual communication and information visualization, and web design.


A Year in Review... PhD student Melissa Braxton receives Dean’s Fellowship from the College of Engineering.

Associate Professor Cecilia Aragon and PhD student Michael Brooks develop prototype to test eye-tracking authentication.

Assistant Professor Julie Kientz receives Google Research Award.

HCDE welcomes new faculty members Assistant Professor Gary Hsieh and Assistant Professor Daniela Rosner.


HCDE welcomes Linda Wagner as a Senior Lecturer in HCDE and the Director of the Master of Human-Computer Interaction & Design (MHCI+D) program (jointly sponsored by four DUB departments).

Assistant Professor Sean Munson receives research awards from Facebook and Microsoft Research FUSE Labs.

Associate Professor Charlotte Lee receives award from the NSF’s Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (ACI) division.

Professors Mark Haselkorn and Mark Zachry, and Senior Research Scientist Keith Butler receive federal funding to research and analyze how Puget Sound agencies contribute to Maritime Security.

PhD student Daniel Perry receives two best paper awards at the Extreme Science and Engineering Conference in San Diego.

Assistant Professor Julie Kientz is recognized as an honoree of MIT Technology Review’s annual Innovators Under 35 and is named Geekwire’s “Geek of the Week.”

AUTUMN 2013 Department Chair and Professor Jan Spyridakis is the co-PI on an NSF award to create an online, open source toolkit to promote the advancement of women and underrepresented faculty in STEM departments across the nation.

Professor Beth Kolko gives plenary address at InfoCamp Seattle.


HCDE co-sponsors Puget Sound World Usability Day, bringing researchers, designers, and user experience professionals to campus for a one-day event discussing usability.

HCDE welcomes Lauren Witt as the Department’s Academic Services Manager.

HCDE hosts the third annual Corporate Affiliates Day, bringing together faculty and Corporate Affiliates Partners for presentations and discussions on the latest research.

Associate Professor Julie Kientz receives a $1,384,217 NSF and NIH award to study supporting healthy sleep behaviors through ubiquitous computing.

Undergraduate students Daniel Sandoval and Mark Stamnes present work at the Convey UX conference in Seattle.

HCDE welcomes Leah Pistorius as the Department’s Communications Manager.

Julie Kientz is promoted to Associate Professor, effective September 2014.

Associate Professor Cecilia Aragon and her UW collaborators receive a five-year $37,800,000 data science award to continue work in relationships and collaborations between data science and science using an ethnographic approach. Read more on page 8.

Department Chair and Professor Jan Spyridakis is reported to be the most published experimental researcher in technical communication journals in the last 20 years by the IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication. PhD student Robin Mays receives NSF-USAID Fellowship, attends launch of U.S. Global Development Lab in NYC.

WINTER 2014 Associate Professor Cecilia Aragon presents keynote address at the first annual Chilean Conference on Human Computer Interaction (ChileCHI) in Temuco, Chile.

Professor Dave Farkas retires after 30 years teaching with the Department. Alumnus James Prekeges establishes the Dave Farkas Endowment Fund.

HCDE alumna Natasha Jones (PhD 2012) wins Technical Communication award for her PhD dissertation. More on page 13.

The 2014 HCDE Career Fair is the largest to-date with 250 students and 20 Corporate Affiliates Program Members in attendance.

Department Chair and Professor Jan Spyridakis and her students [Dr. Natasha Jones, University of New Mexico (PhD 2012); Justin McDavid, IBM (MS 2012); Katie Derthick, HCDE PhD student (MS 2010); and Randy Dowell, Boeing (MS 2009)] win Best Paper award from the Conference on College Composition and Communication.

HCDE alumnus Matt Shobe (MS 1994) announces winners of the 2014 Shobe Prize: Teams Disco and Fidgt win $10,000 in startup funds to turn their ideas into functional prototypes. More on page 9.

HCDE says farewell to Masashi Kato, Senior Lecturer and Associate Director of the Technical Japanese Program, celebrating his 23-year tenure with the Department.

SPRING 2014 Several members of HCDE’s faculty and staff are nominated for UW’s 2014 Community of Innovators Awards. Staff nominees are HCDE Office Manager Cassie Atkinson-Edwards and HCDE Administrator DJ Miller. Faculty nominees are Senior Lecturer Andy Davidson, Assistant Professor Julie Kientz, Professor Beth Kolko, and Assistant Professor Kate Starbird. Julie Kientz wins “Faculty Innovator: Research” award.

HCDE Professors Cindy Atman and Jennifer Turns are awarded $4.4 million from Helmsley Charitable Trust, creating the Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering Education.

Professor Beth Kolko speaks at TedxRainier about the steps needed to transform an idea into an innovation. Undergraduate student team of Jim Maddock, John Robinson, Jonathan Lee Russo, and Megan Torkildson win a Capstone Engineering award from the College of Engineering for their capstone project, “Visual Analytics for Crisis Workers.”

HCDE Associate Professor Cecilia Aragon is a co-PI for new Washington Research Foundation grant, Global Leadership in Data-Intensive Discovery.

Assistant Professor Kate Starbird and research collaborators [Jim Maddock (HCDE BS student), Mania Orand (HCDE PhD student), Bob Mason (Professor, iSchool), and Peg Achterman (Professor, Northwest University)] win Best Note at the 2014 iConference in Berlin. More on page 15.

HCDE announces updates to the Master’s curriculum, designed to make the program even more competitive, distinctive, and flexible for students. More on page 5.



Dr. Jan Spyridakis, HCDE Department Chair and Professor, is stepping down as Chair at the end of the 2013-2014 academic year. During her six-year tenure as Chair, Spyridakis has grown the Department to assume a position of international leadership in human centered design and engineering education and research. She spearheaded a department name change; more than doubled the Department’s size, including student enrollment numbers and faculty and staff positions; and amplified HCDE’s reach by connecting the Department with industry partners, including launching the Corporate Affiliates Program and instituting several self-sustaining department events. Spyridakis holds a PhD in Educational Curriculum and Institution, and a M.A.T. (MA in Teaching) English, both from the University of Washington. A pioneer in the field of technical communication research, Spyridakis was recently reported by IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication to be the most published experimental researcher in the last 20 years in technical communication journals. Throughout her chairship, Spyridakis continued mentoring students and directing HCDE’s Internet-Based User Experience Lab, researching how design features of online information affect users’ behavior, task performance, comprehension, and perceptions. In Summer 2014, Spyridakis will begin a year-long sabbatical, stopping in Portugal for a bit before finding hidden beaches and visiting her husband’s family in Greece with her husband Dimitri. She will think of HCDE, its students, staff, and faculty, as she enjoys the view from the beach with a stack of mystery novels beside her. She will also catch up on her research and her publications, and work with her doctoral students and on her grants.


“I have immensely enjoyed working with great students, staff, and faculty who have been integral to helping and make HCDE what it is today. My vision for getting HCDE to become a premier unit of human centeredness in design and engineering has been possible only because of the amazing collaborative nature of the HCDE community.”


The HCDE MS Task Force (Committee Chair: Jan Spyridakis; Members: Gary Hsieh, Julie Kientz, Lauren Witt, Mark Zachry) sought to make the program more competitive, distinctive, and flexible for students. The Task Force considered feedback from students, alumni, faculty, Professional Graduate Programs Advisory Board members, and Corporate Affiliates Program members, and surveyed job requirements for the jobs that HCDE graduates obtain. The HCDE MS degree prepares students for professional and leadership roles in user interface

design, interaction design and prototyping, information architecture, human-computer interaction, human centered engineering, program management, and user experience architecture, research, and design. The MS curriculum was revised by adding new courses, changing previously required courses into electives, and requiring coursework within three specialized content areas: Research, Design, and Engineering. Students are encouraged to gain depth in these areas by taking several additional elective courses within them. The Department has added numerous courses within the last few years to enhance the study of design and engineering, adding to the already rich set of courses that focus on user research methods. The Department has also added new courses on business strategies and ventures, and a required capstone project course.

This new curriculum gives students more flexibility to develop expertise by studying the facets of user research, design, or engineering that are most of interest while assuring prospective employers that these students aren’t just current but come from a program that’s known across the industry for shaping what’s next.

The Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) is pleased to announce an updated HCDE Master’s curriculum, effective Autumn Quarter 2014. The Department is in the process of revising the Bachelor’s curriculum, with updates projected to launch Autumn 2015.

LAUREN WITT, HCDE ACADEMIC SERVICES MANAGER Lauren Witt, HCDE Academic Services Manager, describes the benefits of the curriculum update: “We teach our students to iterate consistently and, in a field as dynamic as this, it is critical we do the same with the curriculum. This program is state of the art and that’s only possible by continuing to lead the intersection of academic theory and technology. The skill sets that industry demands keep evolving which means that what we teach in the classroom and the project experiences we offer have to move just

as fast. This new curriculum gives students more flexibility to develop expertise by studying the facets of user research, design, or engineering that are most of interest while assuring prospective employers that these students aren’t just current but come from a program that’s known across the industry for shaping what’s next.” Students already enrolled in the HCDE MS program may continue under their current curriculum or adopt the new curriculum.


New Courses in HCDE EVEN MORE GRADUATE-LEVEL COURSES IN DESIGN, ENGINEERING, AND BUSINESS The Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) piloted several new courses in the 2013-2014 academic year, and will be adding them to the Master’s degree curriculum beginning Autumn 2014. The new courses give students more design and engineering options to prepare HCDE graduates for industry jobs. Three of the new courses are discussed here.

VISUAL COMMUNICATION In Visual Communication, students study principles of visual design to gain a systematic and critical understanding and be able to create visual communication components of print and interactive media. HCDE Professor Daniela Rosner taught the pilot course of Visual Communication in Winter 2014. When asked about the importance of visual communication in the HCDE curriculum, Rosner said “In every sketch we draft, message we post, or prototype we build, we make choices about the organization and treatment of visual elements. Those choices then shape how our ideas get taken up and interpreted by others. Learning how to think visually—training your eye to see visual form and understand fundamental design principles enables us to more meaningfully use and understand our visual environment.”


Rosner was impressed with the students’ quality of work and the transformation of their visual design abilities, saying: “Students without any training in design—no prior knowledge of the language or practice of typography, color, and layout—learned to not only effectively critique their work, but apply what they saw to building new, more compelling compositions. In just one quarter, I felt the quality of their work could rival that of any first-year graphic design studio.”

HCDE IN ORGANIZATIONAL CONTEXTS In HCDE in Organizational Contexts, students learn how to incubate and develop an idea, manage a design project from start to finish, collaborate across disciplines, effectively translate stakeholder needs, work with partners and end-users, and communicate

strategies for project management in organizations. HCDE in Organizational Contexts was designed by HCDE Affiliate Faculty and Professional Graduate Programs Advisory Board members Charlie Claxton (MS 2006) and Carla DiFranco, to teach the skills necessary for designers and researchers to successfully interface with employers and industry partners. Difranco is an accomplished

Web Design Studio was w I have built three producti since taking the class last q


Project Manager at Microsoft, and Claxton, founder of UX design firm Produxs and Chief Creative Strategist at UpTop, has years of experience selling design to large companies. “This course is about redefining the goal. Not only is it important to make a good product, a good app for example, but we want to help students figure out how the app will succeed once in the marketplace. It’s about knowing how to best analyze market opportunity and make key partnerships,” Claxton said. Nearly all class sessions host a business leader from the community to share success stories and provide insight into their biggest challenges and concerns. “Charlie and Carla complement each other very well,”

wonderful. ion websites quarter.


said student Boris Unigovskiy. “They provided a great business perspective as to why design matters (or should matter) for businesses as well as how to communicate ideas in business settings.”

WEB DESIGN STUDIO In Web Design Studio, students learn principles and practices of professional web site design and programming, gaining hands-on experience designing and building a successful website using industry standard techniques. Web Design Studio was piloted in Winter 2014 by Mike Sinkula (MS 2013), a former Teaching Assistant for HCDE’s User Centered Web Design course. Sinkula designed a series of step-by-step exercises to help beginning students build a website from scratch. “I’ve found that students are thirsty for this info. At the end of the quarter, students are leaving with a basic website ‘shell’ that they can use going forward for their HCDE portfolio of work. It’s a great skill set to have in the tool belt as students prepare to begin their careers,” Sinkula said.

STEPS FOR SUCCESS IN HCDE ADVICE FOR STUDENTS FROM JENNY BLACKBURN (BS 2000), DIRECTOR, UX RESEARCH & CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT, AMAZON While completing her undergraduate degree in HCDE, Jenny Blackburn began an internship at a local startup, isolute. After graduation, Blackburn accepted a full-time position, and by the end of that year she was managing isolute’s UX research and design team. She did not stop there. Blackburn has since worked as a usability engineer for Microsoft, a usability consultant, and an instructor for HCDE. She also spent six years as Director of Usability at Getty Images. Currently, she is Director of UX Research & Concept Development at Amazon. Reflecting on her career path, Blackburn said that nearly every job she accepted has been due to connections made through HCDE. “In fact, several of the people I’ve hired as either interns or fulltime employees have either been students I’ve worked with or otherwise met via HCDE connections.” When asked what advice she would give to current HCDE students, Blackburn identified three unique skills that HCDE empowers people with—skills she encourages students to practice. 1. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS

“Both in school and beyond, focus on building positive and healthy relationships. It’s critically important. Even if you don’t imagine a connection to be valuable in the future, you never know when your paths may cross again. I learned so much from my former classmates and continue to do so as our professional lives have often overlapped.” 2. FOCUS ON THE END-USER

“HCDE is a very humanistic place and teaches you to think about the customer and the end-user. Take this with you to the workplace and don’t stop asking “what does the user want?” Staying focused on the end-user helps you leap over the confusion and clutter. If you leverage your skills in this, it can be your super power.” 3. COMMUNICATE CLEARLY

“Something unique that HCDE teaches is how to communicate powerfully. While in school, hone your ability to provide clear and succinct communication. Your ideas are only as good as what you can communicate, so if you take this to the workplace, you will go far.” Jenny Blackburn serves on the HCDE Professional Graduate Programs Advisory Board and is HCDE’s 2014 Commencement Speaker.


HCDE PROFESSOR WINS FIVE-YEAR DATA SCIENCE AWARD HCDE Professor Cecilia Aragon is Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) of a $37.8 million initiative for data science research from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation that was rolled out at UW in February 2014. The project is a collaboration between faculty teams at the University of Washington, the University of California, Berkeley, and New York University in a five-year initiative that was announced at a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy event this past year. Aragon’s role in the project is as leader of a campus-wide group focused on the “data science of data science” using an ethnographic approach. “It is critical to understand the culture of data science as a socio-technical system and not as a purely technical problem of developing better algorithms to process huge volumes of data, although those are needed as well. In the end, human insight will be required to make sense out of exponentially greater quantities of complex data,” said Aragon. Aragon’s previous research has focused on computer-supported cooperative work, visual analytics, and creativity for scientific collaborations, including the socio-technical aspects of data-intensive science. The UW team is made up of faculty from across campus, led by Ed Lazowska, Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering and Director of the UW eScience Institute. UC Berkeley’s team is led by Nobel laureate astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter and NYU’s team is led by neuroscientist and computer scientist Yann LeCun.



I created the Prize to encourage HCDE students to pursue entrepreneurship. Its purpose is to give them an opportunity to ‘go deep’ on an idea. MATT SHOBE, TECHSTARS

Four years ago HCDE alumnus Matt Shobe conceived the Shobe Prize, an investment in the ingenuity of UW students. Thanks to Shobe’s generosity, six student teams have been given the tools needed to get their winning ideas off the ground. The most recent Shobe Prize winners are team Disco, three HCDE Master’s students designing a digital tool to create and share animated photos; and team Fidgt, a collaboration between HCDE and iSchool undergraduate students, prototyping a wearable ring that controls bluetooth-capable devices to allow for eyes-free computing. The 2014 competition was the largest to-date, with more

than 20 teams competing for the Prize. “In the end, the winning teams were irresistible, and each has demonstrated a high openness to feedback and is motivated to have a final product by Autumn 2014,” Shobe said. In addition to the startup funds that the Shobe Prize offers, each team is given on-campus office space and one-on-one mentoring from Matt Shobe, HCDE faculty, and industry partners. Fidgt’s Kartik Rishi said “The access to mentors in the UW and startup communities is something we really look forward to as we navigate incredible challenges in the wearable device space.”

The 2013 winning team of Michael Brooks (HCDE PhD) and Katie Kuksenok (Computer Science PhD) thanked Matt Shobe for their experience last year. “With support from the Shobe Prize, we designed and implemented a working prototype of re:chattr, a web application for gathering real-time feedback from an audience during presentations and other events. We used the office space provided by HCDE to conduct user research and design sessions, and Matt’s mentoring was invaluable in steering some of the bigger design changes,” Kuksenok said.


The 2014 winning teams will present their prototypes at the HCDE Corporate Affiliates Day in October 2014—Disco, an app store-ready mobile app; and Fidgt, a wearable prototype ready for a crowdfunding marketplace. TEAM DISCO LEFT TO RIGHT: PHANNIPHA ARUNYAANGKUL (MS, HCDE), YI-CHUN LIN (MS, HCDE), CHIA-CHEN KUO (MS, HCDE).


Baby Steps DESIGNING COMPUTING TECHNOLOGY FOR TRACKING CHILDREN’S DEVELOPMENTAL PROGRESS By HCDE Professor Julie Kientz and her students The tracking of developmental milestones in young children is an important public health goal for ensuring early detection and treatment for developmental delay. Typically, the earlier these children are diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin, which can greatly improve

outcomes for these children. One way that early detection can be facilitated is through regular screening for a child’s completion of developmental milestones, such as when they start walking, responding to their name, or speaking words. While numerous paper-based and web-based solutions are available for tracking milestones, many busy parents often forget to enter information on a regular basis. To help address this need, Kientz and her students have developed an interactive system called Baby Steps. Baby Steps is an ecosystem of tools that helps parents track both developmental and sentimental records of their child in whatever ways they feel most comfortable, all of the records writing to a single, central database. That way, parents can track developmental progress using whatever means necessary. Currently, Baby Steps has been prototyped for access via a web portal, Twitter, and SMS messaging.


On the Baby Steps website, parents can log in to respond to ageappropriate milestone questions, view a timeline of their child’s progress, add memories, and see an assessment of their child’s progress based on their responses—whether they are on track developmentally or if they should get in touch with a doctor for additional assessment. For @BabySteps, the Twitter system, parents follow the Twitter feed of their child’s birth month (e.g., @BabyStepsNov2012). The account will automatically tweet age-appropriate milestone questions with a unique closing milestone ID hashtag (e.g. #baby175). Users

respond to these questions with milestone ID and answers, either publicly via tweeting or privately via direct message to the account that originally posted the question. They are free to include any other text or additional hashtags to make a more natural and an unassuming tweet that makes sense to their own followers. Users can check the progress of their child’s development via the Baby Steps website. The SMS message system is designed to improve the reach of Baby Steps, especially for parents who may not have consistent Internet access. The way the system works

for users is very similar to Twitter, except they use mobile phones. Baby Steps SMS sends milestone questions to the user and the user responds with “Yes,” “Sometimes,” or “No/Not Yet.” A summary report is provided after completing each milestone questionnaire set. Because the eventual goal of Baby Steps is to have the state’s public health department conduct follow-up phone calls with parents based on their responses, the summary report tries to guide parents with further information if the child seems to need additional assessment. The system also informs parents about useful parenting tips

and activities they can try with their children and encourage development. By integrating a health intervention into technology that people already use daily, Kientz and her students expect to increase the completion rate of developmental screening. Kientz and her students have conducted pilot studies of the individual components and will be launching a larger, long-term study on the entire suite of tools within the next year.

DUAL-DEGREE STUDENT EXPLORES UW’S INTERDISCIPLINARY OPPORTUNITIES JULIA CHAMBERLAIN (HCDE BS) HCDE undergraduate student Julia Chamberlain is a dual-degree senior in HCDE and the Three-Dimensional Forum (3D4M) Sculpture track B.F.A, and is involved with rocketry research in Earth and Space Sciences (ESS). Chamberlain has completed UX internships at CoCo Communications, Accenture, and Infosys. Her work at Infosys led to two user interface design patents currently pending at the US Patent and Trademark Office. Chamberlain is a recent recipient of the HCDE Sakson Diversity scholarship, a Boeing scholarship, the Pilchuck Partnership scholarship, and the P. Rathvon Family Legacy scholarship.

“Instead of going to art school, I chose to go to UW because of the possibility to earn a dual degree, the unique and fulfilling HCDE program, the innovative and respected 3D4M program, and the endless opportunities a research university offers. There have been many challenging but fun quarters when I’ve had to run from my studio at the CMA to the rocketry fabrication lab up to the flameworking shop for my ongoing teaching assistantship, while taking intermittent breaks to meet with HCDE teammates and conduct user research. My style of interdisciplinary learning fits very well with HCDE. Students aren’t limited to any individual facet of the design process, from the conscientious definition of a project to its design, usability research, and technical implementation. I love getting to listen and learn about people interacting with technology and translate that into new designs that directly help them achieve their goals. I have particularly enjoyed my time as a researcher and instructor within Dr. Beth Kolko’s Hackademia lab. For three quarters, I got to facilitate and participate in educational projects subverting traditional technical teaching into the DIY worlds of physical computation and 3D prototyping to name a few. My favorite HCDE courses have been the many that encourage students to work in interdisciplinary teams, place yourself in the mindset of the user, and think about technology in completely new terms.” Chamberlain will be studying Industrial Design at the Rhode Island School of Design this summer, followed by her second scholarship to Pilchuck Glass School, a large-scale outdoor art installation as part of “Mad Campus” this fall, and an artist fellowship at S12 Glass Studio in Bergen, Norway in November before her graduation in Spring 2015.


UX Speaker Series HCDE’S WINTER SPEAKER SERIES BRINGS THE HOTTEST MINDS IN UX TO THE UW CAMPUS Many HCDE students enroll in the series, but all members of the HCDE community are invited to attend. The talks are also available for streaming online for free. In addition to Harrison, the 2014 UX Speaker Series included several HCDE alumni as well as members of HCDE’s Corporate Affiliates Program: Carmen Chacon (MS 2012) Principal Designer, Kaleidoscope Medical Design and Development as it Relates to User Research, Usability and the Regulatory Environment Peter Merholz VP, Global Design, Groupon Design in the Real World (or, at least, Groupon) Invited speakers are leadingedge voices in the UX community and bring their take on the latest topics and research in user experience—and how to incorporate these topics in real-world design practice.


Joe Tullio and Matt Terich UX Research and Design, Google Doing Your Homework: UX Design for Technical Products Andrea Lindeman (MS 2005) Senior User Experience Researcher,

HCDE is committed to advancing knowledge in human-centered design approaches. This speaker series fosters a productive conversation among researchers and practitioners across the Puget Sound region. MARK ZACHRY, HCDE PROFESSOR

T-Mobile Adapting to Change: UX Research in an Ever-Changing Business Environment Emma Rose (PhD 2011) Assistant Professor, UW Tacoma Looking for Trouble: Gathering Design Inspiration from Life’s Difficulties Amanda Mander Principal Interaction Designer, Sonosite Shouldn’t Doctors Enjoy Using Medical Devices as Much as Smart Phones? Matt Dente Principal & Designer, Fell Swoop Your UX Career Path: In-House,

In February 2014, Geoff Harrison (UCD 2005), Creative Director and Partner at Blink UX, spoke about mapping multi-device customer journeys in front of a standingroom-only crowd on the UW Campus. Harrison’s talk kicked off the Winter 2014 UX Speaker Series, a 10-week series hosted by HCDE every winter.

Agency, Both or Neither? Janice Von Itter (MS 2007) Senior User Experience Designer, Microsoft Reputation is Everything: Designing Social Experiences with Accountability Matt Shobe (MS 1996) Product and User Experience Designer, AngelList In Which Flying Robots Bring Us Stuff: Design in the New Age of Drones Watch the talks from the UX Speaker Series at

PHD ALUMNA WINS DISSERTATION AWARD NATASHA JONES (PHD 2012) Dr. Natasha Jones (PhD 2012) was awarded the 2014 Outstanding Dissertation in Technical Communication from the Conference on College Composition and Communication. Her dissertation on loosely networked activist organizations and the communication technologies they use to collaborate was nominated for the award by HCDE Professor Mark Zachry, Jones’s dissertation chair. “Natasha is an incredibly intelligent, innovative, and dedicated scholar. Her work transcends traditional, insider conversations of our field, connecting technical communication to compelling challenges in social justice and the work of activist-oriented organizations,” Zachry said. Jones is currently a Professor in the Department of English at the University of New Mexico (UNM). She thanks her mentors in HCDE for helping her find her passion while studying at UW.

“All of the faculty members were very interested in seeing me succeed. I was able to take classes from and be mentored by the best in our discipline (including, Dave Farkas, Jennifer Turns, Tom Williams). While I was there, HCDE hired new faculty and Charlotte Lee’s Qualitative Research Methods course ended up being a game-changer for me. It helped me discover what I was passionate about and what type of researcher I wanted to be. HCDE was great because it allowed me to design my own path as a scholar. I loved the research groups and labs that were offered.”


Photo: Dr. Natasha Jones at the 2012 HCDE Commencement Ceremony.


From MOOC Napkin Sketch to Kickstarter HCDE MS STUDENT WINS MOHAI INNOVATION CHALLENGE In Fall 2013, HCDE Master’s student Kali Kuwada participated in an HCDE Directed Research Group (led by faculty members Cindy Atman, Jennifer Turns,

and Andy Davidson) to study the effectiveness of design-based Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Through the Directed Research Group, Kuwada enrolled

in the MOOC “Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society,” taught by Dr. Karl Ulrich of the University of Pennsylvania, where she sketched an innovative concept for kitchen compost storage. She submitted her rough sketch of “Compost Caddy” to Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) Napkin Sketch Innovation Challenge, and won— receiving legal advice, a provisional patent, and $500 on Kickstarter from MOHAI to bring her idea to life. Kuwada, advised by Professor Beth Kolko, spent the next several months researching and testing compostable materials and estimating a project budget. Next, she will meet with a patent attorney and begin the Kickstarter funding process. Kuwada described the process as a huge learning experience and thanks her Directed Research Group/MOOC instructors and MOHAI for their support helping


to bring “Compost Caddy” to life. Kuwada’s goal in completing the HCDE MS degree is to develop solutions to improve educational, health, and environmental efforts. In summer 2014, she will intern at the Seattle-based global health organization PATH as a UX Intern. Her team will work on creating an app for healthcare workers in lowresource areas of Ghana and India to help diagnose and treat childhood pneumonia.

Researching at the Intersection of Social Media and Disasters TRACING THE SPREAD OF MISINFORMATION AFTER THE 2013 BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING In recent years, disaster events have become catalysts for massive convergence online. After major events like the 2011 Japan Earthquake/ Tsunami and Hurricane Sandy, hundreds of thousands—and in some cases millions—of users turn to social media platforms to share information and to collectively make sense of the event. This activity leaves a significant digital record that can be used to study and better understand mass convergence behavior during disasters as well as the role of these new technologies in our lives.

“Our focus is currently on the 2012 Boston Marathon bombing. We’ve analyzed thousands of tweets sent during the aftermath of the bombings—and during the manhunt a few days later—looking for patterns that might indicate a certain tweet is related to a false rumor. One thing that we’re really interested in is if, and then how, the crowd of social media users attacks misinformation. We want to see if we can detect and amplify a crowd correction—to let people know when a tweet or post is possibly related to a false rumor.”

HCDE Professor Kate Starbird has been leading a Directed Research Group to study how misinformation (i.e., false rumors) diffuses through Twitter and other social media sites after disaster events. Starbird described the research:

Several students in the research group began the project by “coding” more than 10,000 tweets to determine whether they spread or attack misinformation. HCDE undergraduate student Jim Maddock, recipient of a Mary Gates Undergraduate Research Scholarship for

this work, led the big data analysis; he synthesized the findings from the coded tweets and compared the different kinds of tweets across other features. For instance, Maddock found that URL links in tweets manifest differently for false rumor tweets compared to correction tweets. The data also suggest that there are distinct patterns of URLs for different kinds of rumors—e.g., a mischievous rumor looks different from a conspiracy theory rumor in terms of the variety and type of URLs linked to in the tweets.


Maddock presented the group’s research at the 2014 iConference in Berlin, where they won the Best Note award for a short paper co-authored by Starbird, Maddock, Mania Orand (HCDE PhD), Bob Mason (Professor, iSchool), and Peg Achterman (Professor, Northwest University). NETWORK GRAPH OF CO-OCCURRING HASHTAGS IN BOSTON MARATHON TWEETS.


Using Visualization to Help People Make Better Decisions About Traffic Patterns Making decisions about where to go to avoid traffic snarls can be a pain, but some of the latest research coming out of HCDE suggests that there is hope. Research by HCDE’s PhD student Ray Hong, MS student Yeaseul Kim, Professor Cecilia Aragon, and Professor Jong-chul Yoon from Kangwon National University, is changing the way people assess traffic data. Imagine you are a home buyer,

looking for a place to live in a community where you have just found a new job; a job seeker, wondering about your quality of life should you take a position in any of several companies; or you want to go out with your friends to a restaurant, but you are hungry and do not want to have to wait a long time to eat. In all of these situations you have multiple destination options in which you are trying to get to

from a single spot, and you want to reach your desired destination as quickly as possible. If there is no traffic congestion, the solution is simple; you can look at a map and pick the route that is closest to you. But what if you live in a major city like Seattle where it may be much slower to travel in one direction versus another? Then a map based on geographic distance no longer suffices, because a location five miles west may take an hour to reach during rush hour, while a location five miles north may be only ten minutes away. Using a tool they developed called Traffigram, Hong and the research team came up with a novel algorithm that rapidly computes a distorted map based on travel times and serves it to clients via the web or a mobile device. Traffigram’s map visualization system uses


isochronal cartography, a technique where temporal data (such as traffic patterns) are used to distort the map in a way that provides the user with a faster way to visually assess traffic conditions. Unlike a regular map, in an isochronal map congestion expands areas, while ideal travel conditions make the map shrink in comparison to the actual distance scale of a traditional map (for a comparison see the figure to the left). The results of an initial study the group conducted found that users were able to save time and increase accuracy when tasks involved a choice of multiple destinations during times of traffic congestion. Hong presented the group’s research on Traffigram at CHI 2014, the premier human computer interaction conference.

FROM SOCCER TEAM TO DESIGN TEAM BRADLEY JACOBSON (HCDE MS) Bradley Jacobson is a first-year HCDE Master’s student and a member of the UW Huskies Men’s Soccer team. “I love being a student-athlete, and have loved it from my first days as a freshman in high school to the day I arrived at UW to begin a new chapter in my life.” Jacobson graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Psychology, where he also played soccer for the Big Green. “I was fascinated with why people act in certain ways and what contextual factors affect those actions.” His research led him to HCDE Professor Sean Munson’s research in promoting positive social behavioral changes. After meeting with Munson and visiting UW, Jacobson knew HCDE was the perfect program for him to continue his academic and athletic pursuits.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my courses at HCDE, especially Sean’s Directed Research Group, “Technology Support for Health & Wellness.” One of my favorite courses was HCDE 518, User-Centered Design, taught by Andrew Davidson. Throughout the course, I worked with a small team on many phases of the design process, including initial brainstorming, user research, ideation and sketching, prototyping, and usability testing, in order to create a smartphone application. The experience taught me many effective design strategies, as well as important skills for teamwork and meeting deadlines while maintaining an exceptional quality of work. Similar to my experience on a soccer team, I have been invigorated and inspired by working with diverse teammates on many multifaceted projects that require each member to show their individual strengths at different stages of the design process.”


Corporate Affiliates Program Members Sponsor Usability Projects Students in Professor Sean Munson’s Winter 2014 Usability Testing class gained real-world experience by partnering with members of HCDE’s Corporate Affiliates Program (CAP) on usability projects. Most students in the HCDE MS program and all students in the UCD certificate program take the Usability Testing class, and for most it introduces them to the variety of methods used in usability research. CAP members at the Strategic Partner level may sponsor HCDE class projects, and the following are examples of projects sponsored in Winter 2014.


INTEL FIREFOX BROWSER The team of Ryan Kaufman, Seth Kornfeld, Hidekazu Saegusa, and Lasifu Ta worked with HCDE CAP member Intel to test a Firefox browser designed to work in two operation modes: desktop and mobile.

user’s reactions so the team used video recording, which became their primary deliverable after arranging related clips to illustrate a particular issue they uncovered. “Working as a team, we shared our ideas on how to approach and solve a problem. We each brought different insights and experiences to the table, which ultimately gave us all a more comprehensive understanding than if we had worked individually,” Kornfeld said.

MICROSOFT USER RESEARCH MOWA MOBILE APP The team described the experience as holistic; their study evaluated the browser in each mode of operation as well as the transitions between the two. The study goals were focused on observing expectations, sentiment, and also problem discovery throughout the process. Intel was interested in capturing the

The team of Nicole Fugere, Qian Zhang, and Yamini Venkataraman worked with HCDE CAP member Microsoft UX Research on a comparative benchmarking of Microsoft’s MOWA app with similar apps in the social communication market: Facebook, Whatsapp, and Google Hangouts.

The team studied iphone-using young professionals and adjusted their tests relative to how familiar the users were with the other apps. Most of the feedback received from their usability test related to the design of the app. “Our client said to consider ourselves a team of outside researchers, which was helpful because we didn’t have to feel like we were critiquing the client’s work, rather we were simply presenting the results of our findings.” The group presented at Microsoft headquarters in front of 20 Microsoft user researchers and were given a tour of the Microsoft usability labs.

INTEL MOBILE APP FOR PARENTS The team of Marly El Khoury, Katelyn Barrows, and Weston Thayer worked with HCDE CAP member Intel to help evaluate the usability of a digital parental control system. Intel supplied mockups and wireframes of a tablet application, which the students converted into a paper prototype for the test. The team studied six parents who used their finger and a dry-erase pen in place of mouse and keyboard to conduct a set of tasks with the prototype. From the parents’ behavior and feedback, the students answered Intel’s research questions and gave guidance on how to fix usability issues before the app went into development. The team’s process is shown in the figure to the left.

GOOGLE CLOUD STORAGE The team of Pat Dugan, Monica Caraway, and Koen De Couck worked with HCDE CAP member Google to execute a usability study of Google’s relational cloud storage offering for developers, Google Cloud SQL. The team had three major goals for the study: to investigate the developer user experience relative to using the Google Cloud SQL, to better understand and quantify obstacles that exist on competing services, and to provide Google with actionable recommendations based on usability issues uncovered during the team’s study. The team tested several of their users remotely, using the following programs: Google Hangouts (screen sharing), Chrome Remote Desktop (remote manipulation), Hellosign. com (digital consent form signing),

I really enjoyed both planning and conducting this study...this was the first time I had conducted a study that focused on a very niche user-group (in this case cloud developers). I also really enjoyed the opportunity to work with my team’s Google representative, Joe Tullio, and look forward to future opportunities to work with him again.


HCDE’s Corporate Affiliates enjoy a special connection with HCDE that fosters long-term relationships, leading to technical exchange, collaboration, and interaction with faculty, students, and alumni.

Join today! and Camtasia (screen recording purposes). At the end of the course, the team sat down to evaluate their lessons learned about how to conduct usability studies in the future. Their conclusions are as follows. Lesson 1: Recruit early and often. Lesson 2: Prepare for constant change. Lesson 3: Expect things to break. Lesson 4: Remember Murphy’s law of remote testing.



Friends of Human Centered Design & Engineering Many thanks to our friends who support the mission of HCDE. Included below are people who have given to HCDE in the past year. If you would like to support HCDE, please visit us online at Christina & Zoran Abraham

Alberta & Stanton Cox

Joan Kelley

Terry Phillips

Paul & Margaret Anderson

Mary Deaton & Duncan West

Julie Kientz

Aileen & Glenn Pruiksma


Peter Delaney

Jerrod Larson

Judith Ramey

Brandi Arnold

Jill DeMarco & Rodney Wentworth

Joy Tollman Lashley

Constance & Norman Rice

Emily Bauer & Mr. Hoffman

Blake DiCosola

Shirley S.L. Lee

Marcia & William Ruthford

Barbara Beach

Ann Marie & Donald Eberhart

Jaana Linsenmayer

Matthew & Amy Shobe

Annalise Beck

Athena Canones Epilepsia

SNUPI Technologies

Michael & Sirina Berg

Benjamin Erickson

Christine Loucks-Jaret & Terrence Jaret

Blink Interactive The Boeing Company Suzanne Brainard Caelus LLC: UX Research & Design Denise Carlevato Monica Carstens Carl & Rebecca Chatfield Darryl Chinn & Deborah Woo-Chinn Kenneth & Jean Cook

Facebook David & Jean Farkas Lori Fisher Kai Fujita Edward & Janet Galore Google Eileen Shan-lin Hsu Noah Iliinsky June Foundation

Robert MacDonald Microsoft Corporation Constance Miller & Carol Leppa Kathryn Mobrand Roxane Neal & Daniel Ahlstrom Sean Norsworthy Kimberly & Mark Parris Carolyn & Robert Pendle Jasen Peterman Theano Petersen

Jan & Dimitri Spyridakis Irini Spyridakis Kent Sullivan & Julie Solon Matthew Tevenan Schwab Fund for Charitable Giving Michio & Sharon Tsutsui Ariel Van Spronsen Darivanh Nang Phanivong Vlachos Carolyn Wei Sean Williams  

We have worked hard to prepare a complete list of our donors. Despite our best efforts to avoid errors and omissions, these can occur. If you contributed as a donor and your name was inadvertently omitted, misspelled, or listed incorrectly, please accept our sincere apologies and contact us at 206.543.2567 or to let us know.




BACHELOR OF SCIENCE Human Centered Design & Engineering

CECILIA ARAGON Associate Professor

MASTER OF SCIENCE Human Centered Design & Engineering

CYNTHIA ATMAN Professor & CELT Director

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY Human Centered Design & Engineering


CERTIFICATE User-Centered Design

KEITH BUTLER Research Scientist Principal ANDREW DAVIDSON Senior Lecturer


ROBIN DONOVAN Assistant to the Chair




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JAN SPYRIDAKIS Professor & Chair


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University of Washington College of Engineering

LINDA WAGNER Senior Lecturer; HCI+D Director

428 SIEG HALL CAMPUS BOX 352315 SEATTLE, WA 98195-2315

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The Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering has degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate level, as well as a certificate program in user-centered design. Putting people first, we research, design, and engineer interactions between humans and technology.

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2014 Designing Up  
2014 Designing Up  

Vol. 3 | 2014 Designing Up is published annually by the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) in the College of Engineeri...