According to National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, There are around 20 million students in the United States (Pleis, Lucas, & Ward, 2006). In 1998-99, there were about 55,200 students who are legally blind ranging in age from 0-21 years. How do these students fully engage with classroom instruction; what kind of challenges do they face in the classroom; and what kind of solutions will improve their access to classroom instruction? The main purpose of this applied project is to find the answers to these questions.
The project has been a cooperative project between the InnovationSpace and the CUbiC (Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing) lab in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering.
Life-is-Adventure is an advanced research project about school study experience of students' who are blind. It is also a experiment of visual ethnography. I always have an idea that create a photo diary of the daily life of a person who is blind to present his or her life style, interests, hobbies and social life. I wish this visual ethnography document could be a entrance that make us enter into their life and understand them. After got college girl's permission, I carried my digital camera and audio recorder to record her daily life for one week. The photo documentation is unstructured. Then I did interview with the girl with a semi-structured questionnaire and let her to tell me her story. The biggest challenge in the process is she has no idea what I shot. The sound of shutter make her feel nervous. So I try to talk to her before or after I shot photos to make her relax. After I completed whole document, I played it in front of her and explain the content of each photo to make sure she is satisfied with whole document.
At the beginning of every academic semester, many students struggle with class enrollment system in Arizona State University. Why I cannot choose this course? What kind of courses would contribute to my research direction? How can I add this course to my calendar? I really need to take this course, but it is full, how should I do? I have took two courses, but till semester starts, I have found they are in the different campus so that I have to drop one. But others courses are full already , how can I do? Even the professors also complain that the first class, I saw 30 students in the classroom, so I prepare 30 documents for the next class. But only 8 left in the next class! The education resource waste and the time cost on class enrollment and drop estimated cost 13,573,500 USD, because a un-user-friendly classroom enrollment system. Thus, what are our students' needs on class enrollment? Why so many problems happened on existing system? Why it cannot meet students' requirements? How the new system should be? We did heuristic evaluation, problem survey, observation and interview with individual student around three campuses. Then create a new system after we analyze the data we got. Finally, we evaluated the new system by usability test in real environment.
Citizens of Western societies increasingly express their desire to be “green”, to be “environmentally responsible”, and to live “sustainably”. The environmental movement, having moved in and out of mainstream public consciousness since the 1960s, is now at the forefront. “Green” is once again a prevalent color in the media, marketing, and manufacturing arenas. The topics of this research include what factors matter most to people pondering the purchase of a home and the extent to which sustainability and green are a included in their decision making. For better interaction and communication with interviewee, we created a new survey tool, named "Game Survey". Let participants play cards game in front of us. Comparing with the traditional survey, the benefits of this tool are 1) it can attract so many people join in the survey 2) participants really enjoy the survey, not just give you a simple answer or pick up A or B arbitrarily 3) It is learning process for both researchers and participants.
It is an experiment of three research methods, "watching, talking and listening". One person use one method to collect user data in the field. Each was semi-structured –following a script while also remaining open to spontaneous sights and conversions. Researchers cannot discuss in the process of data collecting. Data was collected over four-hour period on November 22, 2008 from 3 p.m. until approximately 7 p.m. at the Double Check Ranch in Winkelman, Arizona. From 3-4 p.m. Double Check Ranch owner, Paul Schwennesen, hosted a tour of the ranch in which we all participated. From 4 until 6 p.m. dinner took place outdoors at round tables covered in white linen. From 6 p.m. people mingled and took their leave. We sat at separate tables and gathered information independently over the course of the evening. After event, we went back and analyzed data separately. And then met together to share each one's findings. We found out surprisedly that the main results summarized from each method are pretty close. But through watching, researchers get more phenomenons which may be ignored by listening and talking. It is really great for discover "questions". Talking would help researcher understand more reasons. Listening would let researcher explore real feelings of users. Researchers can give different sequence and weight to these three basic methods to access to their research purpose.
Whatever the stroke is mild or serious, it could cause a serious decline in the quality of life. The rehab process is a long term and complex process. Besides perform the rehab exercise in the clinic center, it more replies on patients keeping practice at home. For understand the rehab process and the role of home exercise, we visited a Phoenix local rehabilitation center for stroke patient During the 16-week filed work, I did observation of their rehab performance, and talked to the expert and patients' family members, and some patients to understand the effects and efforts of different rehab performances and the problems they met on rehab exercise at home. Actually, I found various solution could met their requirements. After second round interview, I decided to redesign handwriting tool to satisfied their requirements of continuing rehab performance independently or with family members' help at home.
It is an experiment of observation. We were forced to only use observation to explore the potential problems and requirements in our life. One classmate, Renu and me spent a day to look around our surrounding, campus, community, public space and so one. Then we picked light rail that is brand new transportation tool in Phoenix as our focus. We took around trip from the first stop to the end for two days and did photo recording and notes. We did segmentations of normal time and rush time; passengers types and activities' of purchasing ticket, staying in the train and taking off the train. We chose "the biker" as our target. Then we spent one week to follow "the biker" and observe them at the place around rail station and internal of the light rail. We used digital camera to document their performance visually. We did photo mapping to build their activity models and workflows and then circled the steps at which most problem we found. Then, we color coded these problems and summarized them into several categories.
A park of doing this project oriented from an Italian movie, " Red Like the Sky". The boy in the movie told to his classmate while riding bike " blue color is like the breeze blows pass your cheek , and then let friends touch the tree and said the "brown color is like skin of a tree". " We lost our vision, but we still have other four sense." Actually, in the research I did with people who are blind before, I also found they desire to understand visual world and try to share their life with others visually. So, how might we can develop some solution that can met their expectations and desires? We did secondary research about blind photographer, photograph and drawing education in the blind school. Then, I did role play for deeper exploring insights, covering eyes and shooting photos with a friend's guidance in a public space. The requirements of features, button designs, control layout, form design and even the emotions come out clearly.
The idea came from the moment I saw a deaf youth group in a shopping mall. That is an amazing seconds. Around 10 excited teenagers stand in the lobby and chatted with each other through sign language. They looked exactly same with other young guys. Their topics must be fun because everyone laughed and flourished hands. But QUIET! A pure QUIET exciting chatting! A project I did with students who are blind in my Bachelors' study came back to my mind. Their interests and hobbies looks no difference with ours and even more passionate on the world around them than us. A hot topic around 2004 or 2005 of youth's life style is SMS chatting. A Thumb group showed up at that time. So how do these young people who are blind use cell phone and do they have potential needs on SMS chatting? Then we started a primary research with these questions.
A two years global project about sound branding, strategy and usability study. It included three research phase, sound and culture research, environment and product sound research and feature sound usability study. The difficulty of sound research is its abstraction. For making user describe their feelings and thoughts easily and having a standard guideline to analyze the tons of emotional feedback, we created various research tools to visualize sound and code users' data. The interesting insights we got are that Chinese users always state a emotional story to describe their feelings after heard the melodies, but American and British users would tell the researcher their understanding of music style or bands. The eastern and western users also have different color association. But they all picked up the same melody as Samsung brand sound in their mind and have the same color association of the melody they chose.
As an user experience researcher, I was required to do user life style and experience of home appliance using every year in Samsung. All these projects could be divided into two categories, advanced research which is happened before design and users' feedback research which is normally happened after products released to the market for one year. Advanced user research was broadly general research of users types, lifestyle, home design and their performance of using home appliance. Users' feedback research was more concrete and focus on target users' evaluations, preference and expectations of the Samsung products they were using. All findings would be screened and contributed to new products development.