The new Google User Study Mobile, a van the company has equipped to serve as a portable user studies lab, will make one of its first stops on a cross-country tour at the ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval (CHIIR) on Monday, March 14. The van will be in the parking lot of the Hampton Inn and Suites Chapel Hill/Carrboro from 4:30-6 p.m., preceding the CHIIR poster session at the hotel from 6-8 p.m.
Google User Study Mobile will allow people to try out early versions of Google software and participate in studies of existing products. Volunteers might be asked to do an easy sample task (e.g. “Can you find out how much it costs to ship two pounds of books from Chapel Hill to London?"), or offer opinions on how a particular product works.
“We realized that we weren't reaching out to lots of people in the middle of the country, so we put together a van to help us talk with those folks,” said Daniel M. Russell, Über Tech Lead with Google Search Quality & User Happiness. “The van is staffed by regular Google user experience researchers, each of whom signed up for a specific leg of the trans-continental trip.”
Russell, who is a member of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Information Science and Library Science (SILS) Board of Visitors, said that CHIIR 2016 was an ideal place for one of Google User Study Mobile’s early stops.
“CHIIR is full of people who are concerned about user interfaces, product design, and information access tools,” he said. “Since we've just started this cross-country tour, we thought that having CHIIR attendees participate in some of the studies would give us feedback about what works and what doesn't work in the van. They're sophisticated users, so they don't represent the broad average of how people use our systems, but they have great insights into how to study information use. That’s the feedback we're hoping to get with Monday’s visit.”
This is the inaugural year for CHIIR (pronounced “cheer”), a merger of two successful past events, the Information Interaction in Context conference (IIiX) and the Human Computer Information Retrieval symposium (HCIR). SILS is proud to host this important forum for the dissemination and discussion of research on the user-centered aspects of information interaction and information retrieval.
Photos: A recent test-run of the Google User Study Mobile van.