Sometimes we need to take a step back to ensure that our motivations are in the right place. It can be easy to forget that, when people participate in our studies, they are our partners. Dana Chisnell has taken the time to examine these attitudes and help us understand how to avoid falling into such traps.
Dana is an independent usability consultant and user researcher who founded UsabilityWorks in San Francisco, CA. She has been doing user research in one form or another since 1982. Dana took part in her first usability test in 1983 while she was working as a research assistant at the Document Design Center. It was on a mainframe office system developed by IBM. Since then, she has worked with hundreds of study participants, for dozens of clients, to learn about design issues in software, hardware, web sites, online services, games, and ballots (and probably other things that are better forgotten about). She has helped companies like Yahoo!, Intuit, AARP, Wells Fargo, E*TRADE, Sun Microsystems, and RLG (now OCLC) perform usability tests and other user research to inform and improve the designs of their products and services. Dana’s colleagues consider her an expert in ballot design, design for older adults, and plain language. (She says she’s still learning.)