I214 UX Research

January 16, 2012

Link to Syllabus

Filed under: course content — Nancy Van House @ 7:34 pm

Syllabus is here.

January 20, 2012

Not taking users’ lives into account

Filed under: usability examples in the news — Nancy Van House @ 8:49 pm

Not-So-Happy New Year: Rail Website Woes In China

“During China’s Lunar New Year holiday, more than 200 million people will travel home. It’s the world’s largest annual migration, and every year, Chinese tell horror stories about trying to get train tickets.

“This season, the holiday falls on Monday, and it was supposed to be different: For the first time, China’s rail ministry created a website to reserve seats. But things didn’t work out as planned.

“Volume on the new train ticket website has been so heavy — one day it got 1.4 billion hits — that it has often crashed. Other times, the website charged people money without actually giving them tickets….Huang not only said the ticket website was a mess; he also noted that the people who travel the most during Chinese New Year — migrant workers — have little education and don’t know how to use computers anyway.“You guys sitting on couches in air-conditioned offices, sipping tea, smoking cigarettes and coming up with buying tickets online, have you ever considered our lives?” Huang wrote. “Have you experienced the agony of buying tickets?”

“The letter went viral, and Huang became something of a folk hero.”

January 16, 2012

About the course website

Filed under: course logistics — Nancy Van House @ 7:47 pm

This site is temporary. We are going to be a pilot course for CalCentral.

Also, and not coincidentally, the CalCentral people are going to pitch one or more potential course projects evaluating this new tool.


Please sign up for course email list

Filed under: course logistics — Nancy Van House @ 7:42 pm

I School students know how to do this.

Others: send email to majordomo@ischool. Message:

subscribe i214

Usability Challenge: Broader Backsides and Seat Widths

Filed under: usability examples in the news — Nancy Van House @ 4:51 pm
Transit Agencies Face the New Calculus of Broader Backsides
Published: January 15, 2012
Each time a New York area transit agency decides to purchase new trains or buses, it must consider whether to make its seats wider, usually at the expense of passenger capacity.

January 13, 2012

Guest Speakers

Filed under: course content — Nancy Van House @ 3:54 pm

FYI — I’m working with a lot of people in the UX community in the Bay Area to have real-world practitioners come in and speak.  This year we’ll have a lot of guest speakers.  This should be dynamite — the Bay Area is very active in this domain, including a lot of iSchool grads.

January 11, 2012

Change of Room

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nancy Van House @ 5:23 pm

We will meet in 210 South Hall.

December 4, 2011

About Readings and Other Resources

Filed under: course logistics,readings and resouces — Nancy Van House @ 12:59 am

Scanned readings wil be in a Dropbox folder.

To access electronic readings from journals and conference proceedings and e-books available through UC, you need to connect from on-campus or use the Library Proxy Service to connect from off-campus.

A considerable amount of information relevant to this course is online in various forms.  Many consulting firms post information for clients.  There’s also an active community of UX professionals.  So company websites, SlideShare, and other such sites are valuable —  there’s more info relevant to this course in these formats than in formal publications.  However, much of it is brief  and superficial– a lot of  the best material is proprietary.  (A lot of it also is by students — caveat emptor.)  Linking to materials on other sites does not necessarily mean that I endorse the source or the sponsor. Nor does the university.

Several of the recommended books are available electronically in one form or another. As you work on your projects, you may decide you want to own one or more of these books, and you may want them fast.  Unfortunately, some of the publishers (e.g., Morgan Kaufmann/Elsevier) charge more for e-books. However, some books are available (more cheaply!) from Amazon in Kindle format.  You don’t have to own a Kindle to read Kindle books – you can read them on your computer.


First Class

Filed under: course logistics — Nancy Van House @ 12:56 am

Please answer these questions and bring to class. Yes, on paper!


iSchool student?  Yes No

If yes:

___Class of 2012

___Class of 2013


Other: Dept/major, degree objective, expected year:

Relevant work or project experience:

Relevant classes:

Why are you taking this class?

Anything else you think it would be useful for me to know?



Filed under: course logistics — Nancy Van House @ 12:55 am

Mike Kuniavsky, Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research, Morgan Kaufmann. Ordered for ASUC bookstore.

The Usability Body of Knowledge is an encyclopedia with brief descriptions usability methods and related topics, and links to readings.  Descriptions are too brief for our purposes, and references are often old, but it’s useful as a sort of dictionary for UX methods.

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