Semester Kick Off Party

Reminder: Come join us at the Semester Kick Off Party tomorrow evening at 6:00PM!. You can meet current HFE graduate students and alumni members!
We are meeting up at the Garage Bar in San Pedro Market Square. The parking garage is free with validation and since there will also be another event there, carpooling is encouraged.
Hope to see you all there!


Human Factors Research Colloquium: Dr. Evan Palmer

Human Factors Research Colloquium
Dr. Evan Palmer

Candidate for the Position of
Assistant Professor
in Human Factors Psychology

Dr. Evan Palmer is an Associate Professor of Human Factors at Wichita State University, Wichita, KS. His diverse research program addresses how people interact with technology and how technologies change the way we perceive and attend to the world. Recent topics include, gamification techniques on motivation and attention, optimizing information displays using glyph symbols, web page “text ad blindness”, and factors influencing emergency room doctor workflow.

Thursday, December 3, 2015
Hugh Gillis (HGH) 114
12:00 -1:15 PM

Title: “Adventures in Gamification”

Looking for an internship/job? Want to learn about interviewing, portfolios, and resumes? Attend the Career Night Discussion


Looking for an internship/job and want to learn more about best practices for interviewing, creating portfolios, and resumes?

Well, I have some good news for you…

The SJSU HFES Student Chapter would like to invite you to attend the UX Career Night Panel Discussion

WHEN: Thursday February, 27th, 2014 @ 7:00pm
WHERE: Student Union- Guadalupe Room

Three distinguished UX Professionals have kindly volunteered to speak.

Here is some general information on the speakers:

1) Cassy Rowe
Cassy is a SJSU graduate, and is currently the Director of Research and Design at AgileMD.

2) Fritz Boyle
Fritz is a Senior Usability Analyst who is focusing more on the UX Research Side. Fritz works at Mcafee

3) Jhilmil Jain
Jhilmil is currently managing a UX Research team at Google.

If you have any specific questions that you would like to ask them, feel free to email Gabriela Seropian at, or Shiv Vora at We will compile the questions and make sure we get the questions answered by the panelists! We would also appreciate it if you could send out your list of questions sooner rather than later!

Spice up your Thursday night, and come to the Career Night Panel Discussion!!! Hope to see you there!

UX Design Panel Discussion


The SJSU HFES Student Chapter would like to invite you to attend the UX Design Panel Discussion.

WHEN: Thursday February, 20th, 2014 @ 7:00pm
WHERE: Student Union- Pacifica Room

Three distinguished UX Professionals have kindly volunteered to speak.

Here is some general information on the speakers:

1) Liam Friedland
Liam is a SJSU graduate, and is currently the VICE PRESIDENT of User Experience at Informatica.

2) Jon Innes
Jon is the PRESIDENT of UX Innovation LLC. Jon has a Master’s Degree in Engineering Psychology from New Mexico State University.

3) Ewa Ding
Ewa is an SJSU HFE graduate. Ewa is currently the DIRECTOR of User Experience at Model N.

If you have any specific questions that you would like to ask them regarding interviewing, portfolios, best design practices, etc., feel free to email Gabriela Seropian at, or Shiv Vora at We will compile the questions and make sure we get the questions answered by the panelists!

Spice up your Thursday night, and come to our User Experience Design Panel Discussion!! Hope to see you there!

What if they start laughing at me? Nine fears I’ve had to face as a professional public speaker

Sara Ford has volunteered to speak to students/alumni about Public Speaking!!

Sara has presented over 100 talks, spoken at over 50 conferences, including 8 international conferences, and delivered a keynote address in front of 2500 people. While all these accomplishments read great on a resume, the truth about how she got there reads more like a Stephen King novel. The fact she was able to overcome so many public speaking fears is nothing short of a miracle, thanks to the public speaking training she’s received along the way. If you’ve ever groan when you saw “in-class presentation” on a syllabus, or dreaded being told “speak louder so we can hear you,” or got angry at points taken off for “font size too small” on your PowerPoint slides, your fears are now over. In this presentation, you’ll get the never-before-told story of 9 public speaking fears Sara’s had to face, so you’ll get the same professional training advice to rock any presentation.

Sara Ford is a Microsoft Program Manager on the Mac PowerPoint team, a Distinguished Fellow at Mississippi State University, and an internationally award winning book author. In Seattle she was the Program Manager for, Microsoft’s open source project hosting site, where she pioneered many of Microsoft’s open source programs. Her 10-year career at Microsoft started as a software developer on Visual Studio, Microsoft’s software development application. Her interests in Human Factors began on Visual Studio where she led the effort to make it possible for blind developers to write code. She has written 2 books on Visual Studio, donating all her author royalties to a scholarship fund she created for Hurricane Katrina survivors of her hometown. Her life-long dream is to be a 97-year old weightlifter so she can be featured on the local news.

Come by, socialize, and learn more about the Art of Public Speaking!

When: Monday February 3, 2014 @ 7-8:30 pm
Where: SJSU Student Union, Pacifica Room

Make sure to follow us on twitter @SJSU_HFES

Spring Semester Kick-off Social

Spring semester is starting this week!

We would like to invite you to kick-off the semester right and come on down to the Old Wagon Saloon.  All past, current students, and friends and family are welcome!

When: Saturday February 1st, at 7pm
Where: Old Wagon Saloon in San Jose (73 N San Pedro St.)

Come by, socialize, and have a good time!

Happy New Year!

SJSU HF/E Program 20th Anniversary and Alumni Reunion

Past and Current Students and Faculty,

Come celebrate our Human Factors and Ergonomics Program’s 20th Anniversary!!!

We are very excited to hold an Alumni reunion and honor those who have contributed to this milestone.

We will be honoring Dr. Andre as this will be his 20th year anniversary teaching at SJSU, Dr. Freund for his driving force behind the establishment and stewardship of the HFE program, Dr. Jordan for his unconditional support and continuing contributions, Dr. Wughalter for her involvement in the HFE program, and all of the other faculty, present, and past, who have contributed to the program.

This will be a great night to network, and build professional and personal connections with former students, current students, and faculty.

Appetizers will be provided and a cash bar will be available for non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverage purchase.

Spice up your Friday Night and celebrate this momentous occasion! This will be a night to remember! You won’t want to miss it! Please dress to impress.

When: Friday, November 15, 2013 at 6pm

Where: Flames Eatery & Bar (88 South 4th Street, San Jose)

You can view the official invitation by copying and pasting the following link. Please RSVP


The Student Chapter Visits EA Headquarters!

In January, the SJSU HFES Student Chapter had the opportunity to visit the EA (Electronic Arts) headquarters in Redwood City for a campus tour and a peek into the usability department. We were able to visit all of their beautiful buildings (including the gym, daycare and basketball courts!) and get a hint of what it’s like to work  at a major video game company. It was interesting to see the history and growth of a company that has developed games that so many of us have grown up playing. Visiting the usability testing labs was definitely a highlight, as it is always refreshing to see the things we learn in class being applied in the real world!

Thanks to Celeste for planning a great event and to Julie and Rich for welcoming us and giving us an awesome tour!

Microsoft Usability Labs Tour Recap

Here are some notes of mine from the tour at the Microsoft usability labs in Mt. View last week. Just personal observations. Thanks to Christine, and Paula, Mark, and Noor, who made time to meet with us.

Seems eye trackers are common equipment at such labs these days. But seems they can also create problems understanding results. For example, someone may look at one thing but be thinking about something entirely different, a common experience. And attention shifts much more rapidly than eye movements, you might have several shifts in attention within a scene before you move your eyes once (as those of us taking Psyc 256, Perception, heard last week). At Microsoft they said the data from an eye tracker gets a lot of attention from other groups, because it looks like hard data, but it still takes a lot of interpretation too.

Microsoft has both large central user experience teams (such as Windows and Office), and smaller ones that report directly to a specific product group. The larger, more centralized UX teams can range in size from 50-80 people, including designers, writers, and researchers. Many on the products at the Bay Area campus that we visited came originally from acquisitions (such as WebTV and Hotmail). MSN Future Directions and Research is one of the user experience teams that we met in Mt. View. That team has 6 researchers worldwide, all with Master’s and PhDs in varies types of research, and a designer who does mockups and prototypes (BA degree).

The most challenging part of user experience work is probably working with other internal groups on usability. Program managers balance usability with other business issues when they make decisions on a product. Like other high tech companies, Microsoft is data driven, and customer viewpoints need to be presented (data such as number of clicks may not match customer preferences).

Research begins with specific questions. There is no standard research methodology, but combinations of research methods are used depending on the problem. Typical methods include ‘lab ethnography’ (customer studies in the lab), participatory design (often using paper outlines), field visits (in homes or workplaces), eye tracking, remote testing (UK or Canada, for example), focus groups, single day testing (multiple resources on one project for a day), concept design (futures), card sorting, static mockups, interactive prototypes, and straight usability testing.

Metrics are typically customized for each study. In field visits, biggest value is seeing user environment and artifacts, also long term use of a product.

On our way to the usability labs we could see life size color posters of different people posing as personas, typical Microsoft customers. Usually usability studies have from 8 to 12 participants, although remote studies can include up to at least 32 people. We saw a TV lab, to evaluate software for selecting and storing TV programs, and an eye tracker demonstration. Usability tests can be displayed live to developers and others in their offices, although it’s always good to have developers come to the test and discuss it on the spot. Seeing a user have difficulty finding a function is a powerful persuasive tool. Microsoft uses a set of standard software tools in their usability labs around the world. A single study might take a couple of weeks to prepare, a week to run the study, and then a week to review the results.

Evaluating software for selecting and retrieving TV programs emphasizes customer enjoyment, which cannot be measured directly. Someone may spend a few minutes finding a certain film, and be quite satisfied if they get what they want. The TV lab includes living room furniture, as well as a separate control room. One issue with developing the software is that it will be used with a wide variety of different remotes from different manufacturers, so there can be problems with certain remotes. Layout of some remotes might encourage users to confuse modes, for example.

The eye tracking lab used software and hardware from Tobii, a Swedish company. The software is simple to calibrate and to use, and different types of output are possible, including graphical plots and spreadsheet data. Eye tracking is only used after other studies. For example, a study might first use recall methods to investigate user experience. Eye tracking generates metrics and results that “feel valid”, but may still take some interpretation. For example, if someone looks up away from the display, they might not be ignoring the display, but just pausing to think. And eye tracking may show users scan ads, because the ads are designed to attract visual attention, when they do not report paying attention to ads. Again you have to interpret the eye tracker results.