Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Arizona UPA Meeting Notes: June 18, 2009

Speaker: Miguel Almaraz, AZUPA President

Bringing Usability to Life: Making everyday things better

UPA2009 Conference –Takeaways

The UPA 2009 Conference was held June 8-12 in Portland Oregon.

Conference Website

Contact AZUPA for Conference Proceeding .pdfs

The conference proceedings were purchased for the Arizona Chapter of the UPA and are available to AZUPA members. Please contact to gain access to all 42 files…that is 25.2 MB of usability related content that you can read to your heart’s content!

Conference proceedings were not offered as .pdfs for the following topics:

  • Persuasive Presentations
  • Neuro Web Design

Miguel Almaraz offered his insights from the presentations.

Persuasive Presentations: How to Craft and Deliver Compelling Usability Presentations
Presented at UPA2009 by Susan Weinschenk

Usability professionals are experts at:

  • Testing
  • Evaluating
  • Finding issues
  • Making recommendations

Challenges for Usability professionals:

  • Relaying the message to the stakeholders as a “call to action”
  • Communicating the “what’s in it for me” to business units

Key Questions to ask when preparing the content of your presentation:

  • Who is your audience? Business unites, end-users, etc.
  • Does your presentation grab your audiences’ attention?
  • Is it compelling and able to keep their attention?
  • Is it persuasive?
  • What is your call to action when you make a recommendation?
  • What does your recommendation mean to the different business groups?

Your report is not your presentation

Source: Adapted from COLOGNY/SWITZERLAND, 08SEP07-
Cover of the World Economic Forum's Global Information Technology Report 2008-2009.
Copyright World Economic Forum (

How to prepare your presentations:

  • Learn how to correlate recommendation to business department’s benefit.
  • Presentation should allow you to talk to the issue, answer questions they have yet not asked, and spur questions for you to answer during the presentation.
  • Do not tell them what you think is important…They don’t care.
  • Talk to them about what is important to them.

Presentation Tips

  • Use your skills as a Usability professional to make your presentations better. Apply the same principles to make a better experience better for the end-user, in this case your audience.
  • Pay attention to text size, amount of text, font selection, choice of background, chart vs. tables
  • Use images to tell the story


KOMO Staff & News Services.(2009, January 16)
’Miracle on the Hudson’: All survive crash into river.
Retrieved from

Group Discussion Takeaways:

  • Know your audience. Some people will interact more with the presenter some more with the graphic elements.
  • Use a disconnected image as a strategy to get audience to tune in. If the deck of the presentation is given as a handout or included in the report, the image that was designed to be an “attention grabber” needs to be clearly identified and noted to provide context and relevance when referencing the deck at a later time.
  • [For Presentations] try to have as little content in the slides as possible and have a separate handout as takeaway.
  • Author Edward Tufte on PowerPoint, “PowerPoint is a competent slide manager and projector. But rather than supplementing a presentation, it has become a substitute for it.” ( Tufte, E. (2003). Power Point is Evil. [Electronic Version] Wired 11.09. Available from
  • Presentation vs. PowerPoint document: Not every PowerPoint deck is designed to be delivered as a “presentation”. PowerPoint can be used for more than just presentations: information repository, rapid prototyping, illustrating key concepts to your stakeholders. Know your audience to know what content is appropriate to include and how to display that information.
  • Try writing a presentation outline before you design it. This technique can help you focus on the points you need to make.

Neuro WebDesign: What Makes Them Click?
Presented at UPA2009 by Susan Weinschenk

Susan Weinschenk presented ideas from her book. There are three parts of the brain.

Weinschenk, S. (2009). Neuro WebDesign: What Makes Them Click? New Riders Press (p.3)
Retrieved from

Old Brain

This was the first part of the brain that evolved. It scanned the environment and dealt with issues of survival:

  • Is it food? Can I eat it?
  • Is it a threat? Can it hurt me? Can I hurt it?
  • Can I have sex with it (to propagate my species)?

This part governs unconscious decisions and is predictable irrational and governs the automatic bodily responses such as breathing and digestion.

Mid Brain
This is where emotions are processed. This is where marketers play. Your emotions drive decisions that are made by the old brain.

New Brain
This is the part that governs conscious decisions. The old brain feeds the new brain the decision and the new brain has to justify the decision.

Research Study: Rude Group vs. Nice Group

Participants of each group were subjected to different language and scenarios through survey questions. Each group was instructed to let the facilitators know when they finished the survey. They wanted to see which group would notify the facilitators upon survey completion.

They found that Rude group were more likely to interrupted the facilitators (who intentionally had their backs turned and were engaged in conversation).

Group Discussion Takeaway:

  • We can use these types of studies to influence the behavior of Website visitors.
  • Refer to the Suggested Reading List for recommendations from the group to learn more about neuro Web design and persuasion.

Terminology from the Meeting

Usability Gestalt: term used during the meeting to describe approaching the creation of presentations or surveys as an organized and structured whole rather than the sum of their constituent parts.

Priming: is a term used by Malcom Galdwell as a method of persuading someone’s brain to respond a certain way. In his book Blink he wrote about an experiment where subjects read a list of words related to old age; these subjects were found to walk more slowly after the experiment.

Captology: is a term coined by B.J. Fogg in 1996 to refer to the study of computers as persuasive technologies

Suggested Reading List

Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click?
By Susan M. Weinschenk

The Cognitive Style of Power Point
By Edward Tufte

Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do
By BJ Fogg

-Submitted by Jonathan Mann

Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery (Voices That Matter)
By Garr Reynolds

slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations
By Nancy Duarte

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
By Malcolm Gladwell

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
By Robert Cialdini

Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive
By Robert Cialdini

-Submitted by Robert Hoekman, Jr.

TED Video: Renny Gleeson on antisocial phone tricks

Website aesthetics - what has it got to do with usability?

-Submitted byLaurie Goldstein

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