DeWayne Purdy

DeWayne Purdy Prioritizes Usability Testing at UNI.edu

DeWayne Purdy
Associate Director of Operations in University Marketing and Public Relations
University of Northern Iowa
Attended UI8, UI9 & UI10

What is your role at the University of Northern Iowa?
I'm responsible for the design and maintenance of the University of Northern Iowa's university site. My staff includes visual designers, web designers, and a Flash developer.

What was the highlight of the UI conference for you?
I've learned many techniques for drawing insights from user research. I've especially enjoyed conference sessions focused on making web sites work by addressing accessibility and usability issues.

The conference speakers have been very approachable and interested in talking with attendees. They are frequently chatting with attendees throughout the entire conference, not just on the day they present. The speakers made it much easier to find time to talk with them.

How has the UI Conference impacted your work on the UNI site?
Based on what I learned from UI9, I focused much more attention on making the UNI web site easier to manage and more efficient. We've created an environment of continuous testing at UNI.  I have tried to prioritize usability testing and usability research within our university, helping us to learn more about how our users interact with the UNI web site.

I have also been able to promote positive design practices to other web developers on campus. We've used the methods I've learned to usability test our site's structure against the needs of our users, including faculty, alumni, prospective students and their parents.

I also have a much greater commitment to designing with XHTML and CSS to make the UNI web site easier to manage and more efficient. Our interest in learning more about CSS even resulted in the university recruiting Eric Meyer, a past UI Conference speaker, to come to campus for a CSS training session.

Why have you chosen UI conferences over others?
Attending the UI Conference gives me the chance to meet top-notch speakers who are always available to answer questions about my specific Higher Education issues. It's always a well organized event with excellent seminars. Plus, I've really enjoyed the social events!

I also really like that the UI Conference provides practical suggestions and design recommendations that I can take home and implement. My learning has continued following the conference because I continually use the speakers' suggestions as a resource for my specific work.