Session Details

Cardsorting for Humanities: Context in Usability Testing

UAD11 Usability, Accessibility and Design

Location: Broadway

TUESDAY, 2:00 - 2:45 p.m.

When developing websites for students, faculty, and researchers, it can be easy to think that we have all the answers. That all we need to do is pair what we think the solution is with what we think the problem is, and we’re good to go. So why we do we get it so wrong so often? Why do so many academic web projects fail to have an impact, to meet the goals and needs of the site’s users? This sessions will explore how usability testing techniques can provide the context we need to avert this kind of mismatch, borrowing a bit from a recent Kickstarter game to demonstrate how things can down the wrong path (even with the best of intentions). Sometimes we celebrate the worst possible interpretation when conducting user testing, simply by seeing only what we want to see. Knowing how to iterate, how to test, and how to use your user input is key. Otherwise, we're really just making assumptions, aren't we? And you know how that game ends.


Robin Smail
UX Renegade, Penn State University

Robin2go [noun]: An authentic voice who is never afraid to dissent. Powerful observer. Loves to try things a different way. Enthusiastic in that infectious way you can't escape. User Experience specialist. Technology advocate. People person. Robin Smail focuses on the connections between learning, community, and user interaction design and experience . She works with clients to create authentic conversations and is a (vocal) advocate for the user experience. She consults with faculty to create opportunities for student engagement, active learning, digital scholarship and collaboration. She speaks throughout the United States and Canada at higher education conferences. She blogs at, and is online everywhere as Robin2go.