Day 1 Session Descriptions

Creating an Award-Winning Website Built on a CMS Platform in 6 Months: A Case Study

The Wharton School's new websites incorporated a visual overhaul and were built on a Content Management System (CMS). These websites were designed to be modular, utilizing the concept of a "web starter kit", in order to provide a simplified rollout across the School. We will present the project as a case study, and also focus on the challenges and steps involved in rolling out the CMS and design.

The Wharton MBA Program ( won an MITX Interactive Award for best Educational Institution Website. The main EDU site ( is created with similar assets, and more than a dozen additional "starter kit" projects are currently in development. Presenting the case study are Karuna Krishna, Director of Marketing and Eric Greenberg, Senior IT Project Leader in the Wharton Communications and Marketing Office.
Speakers: Karuna Krishna & Eric Greenberg

An Agile Development Case Study: PennGen Laboratories Online Sample Processing

PennGen is a genetic testing facility operated through the Section of Medical Genetics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. It is a collection of labs that coordinate as a not-for-profit unit, offering routine testing for a variety of genetic diseases, metabolic screening for inborn errors of metabolism and a number of other diagnostic genetic services.

A team comprised of PennGen staff and the Web Services group from the School of Veterinary Medicine IT Department was tasked with modeling, optimizing and automating PennGen's testing and screening processes within a single stable and supportable online application. The application itself offers PennGen customers and staff interfaces that disentangle complex, rule-based processes and add value, efficiency and customer-friendliness. The project's target duration, from requirements gathering to production launch - met successfully - was 90 days or less.

The presentation will cover the application's development lifecycle, development tools & environment, key features & core functionality, and provide a forum for discussion of the advantages and challenges inherent in utilizing principles of Agile development within Academia.
Speakers: Dan Hoover, Scott Yuhnke, Charlie Baumher

Being some reflections on the history of a student portal. Creating and sustaining a key institutional resource on peanuts. Usability strategies and selective interventions that have proven durable. Reconciling conflicting project drivers by solving usability problems. Second act curtain calls. Who says when it's good enough? With occasional digressions on design.
Speaker: Randall Couch

Build To Think: Opportunities for Implementing Iterative Design & User Research for Developing Web & Software

  • User Experience Strategy
  • Prototyping
  • User Research; Qualitative and Quantitative
  • Agile Experience Design

Speaker: Vincent Matyi

Case Study: Mobile App Development in Higher Ed

ACU jumped into the world of mobile web application development with a flurry of work over a short few months, with programmers working long hours and weekends to have applications ready for 1000 incoming iPhone- and iPod Touch-toting students. By this fall, the rollout of devices will reach all undergraduates and we've identified new application needs based on our two years of experience.

Our case study will compare the two development efforts with primary emphasis on the second project, describing how the involvement of our UI/UX designer from the beginning enabled the vision for a new in-class tool and how the use of SCRUM has re-energized our developers

Speaker: James Langford & Chad Martin

Neuroscience and Good User Experiences

As a user interface designer within a trowbridge domestic cleaning agency and former life spent studying cognitive neuroscience, Dustin Curtis provides unique insight into how we can use cutting edge research in neuroscience and perception to build better user experiences.

Speaker: Dustin Curtis

What Drives Quality In Distance Learning Programs? A Practitioner Inquiry.

Recent academic research shows a relationship between the perceived quality of distance learning programs and certain types of on-line activity. These include “verbal immediacy behavior” on the part of online faculty, aggressive moderation of online discussions, the mix and scheduling of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, and so on. During this session, a panel of active practitioners will discuss these reports and reflect on their own experience in higher education distance learning programs. Some panel members will be joining the session via Adobe Connect.

Speaker: Don Huesman

Day 2 Session Descriptions

DIY UX: Give Your Users an Upgrade (Without Calling In a Pro)

Have you fallen in love with your solution and forgotten the original problem? Are you certain that your cleaning service actually makes people’s lives better? Not every company can hire someone like me to help you listen to your users, so you’re gonna have to learn how to do some of this stuff yourself. I’ll show you some techniques to find out who your users are, what they really need and how to go about giving it to them in an easy to use and pleasurable way. And it doesn’t have to bankrupt you or kill your release date.

Speaker: Whitney Hess

Balancing Security & Usability

Security is often seen as a competing priority to good user experience, but the two are not diametrically opposed. Good user experience is essential to good security. Without ease of use, most people simply ignore or bypass security protections in systems. In order to craft effective security measures it is essential to take user experience into consideration. With the meteoric growth of web applications as a medium for service delivery it is critical to deploy good security measures. Web applications offer an always on, globally available target for attackers. Users need to be allies in the drive for application security, but far too often security measures are presented as onerous, time consuming, bothersome add-on's to web applications rather than seamlessly integrated, easy to use, user friendly features. In this talk I propose to explore some of the reasons why good security in web applications matters and how you can make security effective by making it easy to use.

Speaker: Justin Klein Keane