Recent Projects


Client: National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) Intranet

Project Scope: Within the NHGRI there was concern that their internal web site (intranet) didn’t support the needs of the Institute’s programs as well as it could. The evaluation provided user-driven data that was used to make informed redesign decisions rather than ad hoc changes. The first stage of this evaluation was a series of interviews and observations of staff members as they used the intranet to locate information they needed and an analysis of the web logs and search box entries... The web team addressed issues identified during the first stage. The second stage was an institute-wide survey to gauge satisfaction levels with the revised Intranet. That survey was distributed several months after the recommendations from the first stage had been implemented in order to give the institute staff time to become accustomed to the revised Intranet.

Methods Used: Effectiveness Evaluation, "Let the user drive" Informal Usabilty Testing


Client: National Cancer Institute Center for Bioinformatics (NCICB)

Project Scope: In this situation the NCICB had hired an outside firm to gather user data and redesign their web site. The purpose of the evaluation was to corroborate the design and provide user data for fine-tuning it. Most of the usability testing sessions were done remotely using web conferencing software since the audience was geographically dispersed. Because the needs and backgrounds of the site’s audience were extremely diverse and highly technical these sessions were user-driven - rather than asking participants to complete a pre-defined set of tasks on the site, the participants located materials of interest to themselves. Both the interim and final report detailed areas were participants had difficulties with the site and gave screen sketches for addressing the issues.

Methods Used: Usability Testing, User Interface Design


Client: National Cancer Institute (NCI), Health Information National Trends (HINTS)

Project Scope: The Division of Cancer Control and Population Studies (DCCPS) within NCI was preparing to launch a web site presenting challenging statistical data. The intended audience included not only researchers but also non-researchers. Several rounds of usability testing with representative users from the different niche audience groups provided critical information about barriers-to-use and allowed the project team to confidently build to meet the needs of both audiences.

Methods Used: Usability Testing, Prototyping


Client: U.S. Surgeon General, National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

Project Scope: NHGRI was in the process of building My Family Health Portrait, a web application to assist people in recording their family health history, and was seeking expertise in user centered design and usability testing. On-going iterative usability testing was a key factor in producing a tool that was intuitive and easy to us. A follow-up survey posted on the site showed a high percentage of people using the tool were satisfied and very likely to recommend it to someone else.  

Methods Used: Usability Testing


Client: National Atlas

Project Scope: The National Atlas sought assistance in redesigning and testing a new interface to their complex web-based mapping application. An initial round of testing with representative users revealed areas of difficulty and critical data for the redesign. Subsequent rounds of usability testing allowed the team to refine the difficult-to-use sections.   

Methods Used: Usability Testing, Prototyping, User Interface Design


Client: National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

Project Scope: NHGRI had launched a major redesign of their web site two years ago and in the interim their site had grown significantly. They sought assistance in determining how well the architecture and content was serving its audience, both inside and outside the institute. The final report described areas that were working well, including areas that received high praise from users, and outlined adjustments for areas that needed improvement.   

Methods Used: Effectiveness Evaluation


For confidentiality reasons, industry clients are not specifically linked with projects.

Client: An insurance firm.

Project Scope: This firm had recently merged and sought an expert review of an acquired product in order to determine the feasibility of continuing to develop it. The final report provided an unbiased analysis of the user interface and functionality, describing its current state and outlining difficult-to-use areas.

Methods Used: Expert Review


Client: A travel expense management company.

Project Scope: This company requested a usability review to help them identify areas for improvement to the user interface of their . They had recently added new functionality and as a result the user interface had become more complex. The final report outlined problem areas and provided recommendations for improvements that fit within the existing framework.

Methods Used: Expert Review


Client: A medical knowledge provider company.

Project Scope: This company requested a usability review of their point-of-care clinical decision support system used in hospitals and and other high pressure medical settings. The final report described difficulties users encountered with the system and outlined recommendations for making the system work more intuitively.

Methods Used: Expert Review, Usability Testing


Client: An on-line document repository firm.

Project Scope: This firm requested user interface design expertise when they embarked on a major redesign. In this case the deliverable was key screen mockups (storyboards) that captured the information hierarchy, navigation, and screen flow for primary sections of the application. The development team was able to take the annotated key screens and move straight into development.

Methods Used: Audience Analysis, User Interface Design


Client: A data storage manufacturing firm.

Project Scope: This firm sought assistance in making its web site for its external selling partners more effective. Interviews and workplace observations established a clear mismatch between the company's assumptions of their audience's needs and the audience's actual needs. Final reports included a synopsis of the users' needs and sketches for a re-design to meet those needs.

Methods Used: Audience Analysis, User Interface Design