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We’re seeking people who think they’re going to “retire” – whatever that means – within the next 5 years to tell us about their experiences with preparing for the next phase financially and otherwise.

It’s a 2-hour conversation. We’ll bring cookies. (Or fruit, if you’ve had too many cookies over the holidays).

We put “retire” in quotes because we’re wondering what it really means these days. And that’s the conversation.

I’m going to ask questions about what your big worries are in preparing, what you think the event of retiring will be like, and what happens afterward. We will talk about money, but no specifics.

Times and dates available – BOSTON:

  • January 11 evening
  • January 12 afternoon or evening
  • January 13 late morning
  • January 26 afternoon

Besides the cookies, we’ll also pay the participant $150.

Ideally, we’d also like to have the person there who the participant makes all their big decisions with. That person will also get cookies and $150.

I will come to their house, if they’re okay with that.

We don’t care how old they are or what they’re retiring from. Timing is more important. And if they’ve “retired” more than once, we’d love to hear about that.

Interested? Know someone who is? Contact Sandy Olson or Dana Chisnell.



There’s a usability testing revival going on. I don’t know if you know that.

This new testing is leaner, faster, smarter, more collaborative, and covers more ground in less time. How does that happen? Everyone on the team is empowered to go do usability testing themselves. This isn’t science, it’s sensible design research. At it’s essence, usability testing is a simple thing: something to test, somewhere that makes sense, with someone who would be a real user.

But not everyone has time to get a Ph.D. in Human Computer Interaction or cognitive or behavioral psychology. Most of the teams I work with don’t even have time to attend a 2-day workshop or read a 400-page manual. These people are brave and experimental, anyway. Why not give them a tiny, sweet tool to guide them, and just let them have at it? Let us not hold them back.

Introducing the
Usability Testing Pocket Guide


11 simple steps to ensure users can use your designs

This 32-page, 3.5 x 5-inch book includes steps and tips, along with a quick checklist to help you know whether what you’re doing will work.

The covers are printed on 100% recycled chipboard. The internal pages are vegetable-based inks on 100% recycled papers. The Field Guides are printed by Scout Books and designed by Oxide Design Co.

These lovelies are designed for designers, developers, engineers, product managers, marketers, and executives to learn useful techniques within minutes. The prescriptions within come from masters of the craft, who have been doing and teaching usability testing for as long as the world has known about the method.

Printed copies will be available for sale in January 2013.

Here’s a view inside:

Oxide_USW-Usability-Testing-Guide_03-2_Page_05   Oxide_USW-Usability-Testing-Guide_03-2_Page_06

We’re looking for

  • med students
  • graduate students in health sciences
  • people preparing to go to med school or grad school in health sciences

to spend 30 minutes in a phone interview.

We want to learn how you chose (or are choosing) a program or school to attend.

We’re scheduling phone interviews during the month of October and in early November.

If you are interested, please respond to Sandy Olson at with:

  • Full name
  • Email address
  • Phone number (include your area code)
  • Name of the school you are attending and program you’re in
  • The time zone you are in

The information you provide will be used only for the purposes of this study.

Tell your friends!

If you qualify based on these questions, someone will contact you either by email or phone.

Note: To qualify to participate and receive your payment, you must answer all of our questions truthfully, and have a fluent command of English.

We will do our best, but may not be able to contact everyone. If we contact you, we may ask additional questions before making final selections. You may not be selected for the study.

If you are selected, we will send appointment confirmation information by email.

Thank you!

Whenever I talk about my involvement in voting and elections, whoever I’m chatting with invariably asks:

  1. Why is it so hard to design a good looking ballot that prevents voters from making mistakes?
  2. Why doesn’t the whole country use the same voting system?
  3. Don’t they have UX people working on elections?

Design in elections is a wicked problem. And I think designers will be fascinated with learning what the constraints really are. So, I decided to take it to big audience – South by Southwest Interactive 2011. I need your help to get on the program. Please go to the ‘panel picker’ and vote for my session.

Just to give you a head start, here’s the description:

Do you think the “butterfly ballot” was an isolated problem? How did the hanging chad become a world-class design problem? Did you know our 43rd president was chosen because of a decision made about font size? By someone who was not a trained designer? Did you know that the presidential election in 2000 was not the first – or last – time that design problems affected the outcome of an election? If you’re trained in design, interested in fair elections, or looking for a way to affect world peace, come to this panel. This is probably the most important panel in the Free World. And we’re not kidding.

Please vote Yes, This rocks! before August 27, 2010.

[Yes, this is cross-posted to my blog about ballot design and accessibility. Sorry if that was confusing.]

Made a resolution to improve your work skills? One really great event to do that at is UIE’s Web App Summit.

The Summit is April 19-22, 2009, in Newport Beach, CA. There’s a ton of great information at But let me give you a little preview. Though there are killer shorter sessions, the highlight of the Summit is two days of intensive workshops with world class, rockin’ speakers:

If you decide to register, let them know you heard about it from me! Sign up right away to get a discount and an iPod nano.

Disclosure: You’ll notice I’m not speaking at this. I’d go even if I didn’t have personal connections to UIE.