August 31st, 2006
I go to 20+ conferences a year and while many of the conferences have excellent programs, I often find myself learning the most from the after-hours activities. Often, these activities happen in bars, with a group of like-minded, extremely bright people. No specific agenda is on the table, yet somehow, the conversation turns out to be fun, thought-provoking, and interesting.
Inspired by some excellently produced podcasts, such as the Gillmor Gang and Slice of SciFi, I thought we could reproduce the fascinating discourse I’ve experienced at these non-official conference events for everyone’s benefit.
Thus was born the idea of the SpoolCast. I’ve gathered up a great group of folks to get us started with our initial forays:
Nate specializes in remote usability. After pioneering and directing the User Experience department at Clear Ink in 1999, which included the construction of Natural Environment and Remote Observation laboratories, Nate co-founded Bolt | Peters. He now serves as CEO where he has overseen hundreds of user research studies for Hallmark, Oracle, Time Warner, Levi’s, Restoration Hardware, and others. Beginning in 2003, he led the creation of the first moderated remote usability software, Ethnio, which is being used around the world to increase the ease-of-use of software, web applications, and web sites.
Nate regularly gives presentations on remote user-research methods in both commercial and academic settings. Working with faculty at the University of California, San Diego, he created a degree titled “Digital Technology and Society,” which focused on the intersection of technology and mass population usage. He also completed a year of communications studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he was jailed briefly for playing drums in public without a license.
A Project Director for Human Factors International and with more than 10 years of experience consulting and leading design teams. Lyle is recognized by many as a web design expert, with extensive experience in Internet, intranet, extranet and corporate portal design, and he’s also well-versed in GUI and handheld interfaces. He’s a skilled facilitator who enjoys leading workshops and helping teams organize and operate in an efficient manner. He’s done enough technical work in the past to be able to recommend solutions that are pragmatic and workable from a technology perspective, but will vehemently deny any ability to hack PERL code, use the scary, but powerful UNIX command line or code HTML using the vi editor. Lyle has led teams for small start-ups, and for massive multinational corporations; he enjoys the unique challenges each new project presents.
For reasons we can’t explain, Lyle is on the Board of Directors of the Usability Professionals Association and has an amazing story about chasing a bear with a canoe panel. (Being on the UPA board and chasing a bear aer very similar activities, in my opinion.) Lyle is occasionally inspired to add something to his insightful blog, Croc-O-Lyle.
Kyle Pero Soucy
Kyle Pero Soucy is the founding principal of Usable Interface, an independent consulting company specializing in usability and user-centered design. With over six years of experience conducting user research and testing, she has developed a keen understanding of how to merge business and user requirements to create highly usable and profitable web sites and applications. Her clients have ranged in industries from pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer to publishing powerhouses like McGraw-Hill. She has created intuitive interfaces for a variety of different products, everything from web sites to touch screen devices.
Kyle is the Chair of PHICHI, the Philadelphia Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (ACM SIGCHI). She is very passionate about the continued growth of the user experience design community. Kyle is also a member of the Usability Professionals Association, the Interaction Designers Association, and the Information Architecture Institute.
Joshua Porter is the founder of Bokardo Design, a small shop in Newburyport, Massachusetts, focused on social web design. Joshua is a leading authority on the topic of social web design which he began researching while working as a leading member of User Interface Engineering’s research team and as our Director of Web Development. He has written extensively on such topics as Web 2.0, Ajax, web standards, and on-site search systems.
Prior to UIE, Joshua received his Master’s degree in Information Technology and his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has extensive experience and knowledge in the areas of human factors, usability testing, and web site design and development.
DeWayne Purdy is the Associate Director of Operations for University Marketing and Public Relations at the University of Northern Iowa. E-Communications for the university is his primary realm, including managing e-newsletters, and design and maintenance of the University of Northern Iowa’s main web site and numerous departmental sites.
He is the campus evangelist for standards-based web design and usability, including encouraging CSS and accessibility. Research is a key part of the web process at UNI, with the web staff conducting hundreds of usability tests during summer freshman orientation and throughout the year.
When not cooking up web sites for UNI, he tweaks the usability of his homebrewing process in his continuing search for the perfect beer.
Rashmi Sinha is the Founding Principal of Uzanto – a Mountain View based consulting company that focuses on web product strategy. At Uzanto, Rashmi focuses on Customer Research and Social Technologies such as Recommender Systems & Tagging. She has also been working on MindCanvas, an innovative research platform to rapidly gather customer insights for the design of technology products. Unlike traditional surveys, MindCanvas uses Game-like methods to understand users mental models, and preferences.
Have you heard of SlideShare, the world’s largest community for sharing presentations on the web? Dr. Sinha is the the CEO of that, too!
Prior to Uzanto, Rashmi worked as a researcher at the School of Information Management, UC Berkeley. She received her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Brown University. She is also co-Program Chair of the monthly BayCHI Program. When she has absolutely nothing else to do, she adds thoughtful posts to her blog.
Originally a freedom fighter in the civil rights movement, Jared went on to serve as an advisor to Ronald Regan and was solely responsible for the tearing down of the Berlin Wall in 1989. After working at a failed soft drink start-up company, 6-Up (who knew they were so close), he went on to found User Interface Engineering, a think tank which concentrates on solving all the worlds problems, one usability report at a time. He is famous for his speaking style, his sense of humor, and the unusual reputation of being the person who discovered that the word “gullible” had been removed from the dictionary.
Well, that’s the SpoolCast Crew. They are quite a bunch when they get together. I can already tell, from just our first recording session, that these podcasts are going to delight and insight. I’m sure you’ll be pleased.
As we go forward, we’ll have guests on our show and we’ll discuss a variety of topics related to usability, user experience, and design. If you have any topics you’d like to hear about, we’d love to hear from you. Just leave a comment below.
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