Interactivity Features in Health Campaigns
In this collaborative research project, our team aimed to investigate how interactive features, narratives, and data visualization impact user empathy, behavioral intentions, and perceptions of severity in obesity campaigns. The goal was to uncover insights that could enhance the effectiveness of health campaigns and empower at-risk populations.
We created a mock website presenting obesity statistics from publicly available NIH (National Institutes of Health) data, incorporating different experimental conditions. Working closely with a web designer, I led the design of each condition, ensuring the implementation of interactive features like hovering, sliders, and clickable areas. Participants interacted with the website and completed a survey to assess key variables. I performed statistical analysis (ANOVA) to evaluate the impact of persuasive interactivity on user responses.
Our research revealed significant insights that have implications for health campaigns. Users exposed to more interactive features demonstrated reduced defensiveness about their own weight. Additionally, interactive narratives outperformed groups exposed solely to interactive data visualization, aligning with existing research on increased engagement with interactive maps and infographics. Notably, users were more proactive when stories or anecdotes accompanied the information.
Implications + Impact
This project, published in a September 2018 issue of Telematics and Informatics, holds practical applications for various domains. The findings can inform the design of fitness and wellness apps, empower public health campaigns, and enhance user experiences in related products. Health campaigns can convey messages and drive empathy by incorporating user testimonials through interactive stories. The potential downstream impacts include improved conversion rates and heightened user empathy in health-related contexts.
Further Opportunities + Improvements
To strengthen our claims and account for domain differences, including qualitative interviews would be a valuable addition to future research. Additionally, future studies should explore alternative metrics beyond BMI to provide a more comprehensive understanding of health and weight.
This collaborative research project showcases my expertise in designing and conducting UX research. By investigating the impact of interactive features and narratives on user empathy in obesity campaigns, our findings contribute to the field’s understanding of critical variables and have direct practical implications. I am excited to apply these research skills and insights to contribute to impactful user experiences in a new role.
International Student Food Delivery App: Food2You
The objective of this project, completed as part of an upper-level graduate capstone course, was to design a mobile app catering to international students. Our main goal was to provide a seamless ordering experience from the established network of Chinese restaurants and home cooks serving the student body. My collaborators, who had access to the network and experience as customers, would conduct the interviews in Chinese. At the same time, I implemented the overall research strategy to identify pain points, organize task models, and generate user flows from foundational research.
In-depth interviews were conducted with eight students familiar with the current ordering process to establish context and identify pain points within the existing system. Another team member translated interview transcripts, and we collectively pulled quotes that described actions or feelings about any step in the process. An affinity diagram helped identify common motivations and behaviors. I used the results to create a task structure model and an app architecture. From there, I sketched out storyboards that helped us keep bringing everything together, and finally, another team member created a wireframe in Figma that served as our prototype.
Focusing on the student users gave us ample primary data from the in-depth interviews. Students familiar with the ordering process told us stories of missed opportunities for ordering, limited or confusing menu options, and anxiety around the payment process. Nearly all students we interviewed echoed the same two issues: when and where to pick up their food, and confidence that your order was still there when you arrived. One student shared how she was looking forward to a meal that reminded her of home after sitting in class all morning.
“I had to walk across campus, and I knew I was going to be late…. So I tried to hurry through campus without knowing exactly where I was going. When I finally made it, I stared at an empty table as the restaurant workers packed up to leave.”
Implications + Impacts
Before we went our separate ways at the end of the semester, we demonstrated our prototype to a handful of students from our interview pool. Immediate feedback was positive, and they all wished we had actually created the app. One point of feedback that stood out to me was how excited one student got when they saw a confirmation number associated with their order. I thought it was so simple to include during our design phase. However, the confidence and certainty he got from seeing such a minor feature put a smile on his face I won’t soon forget.
This project provided me with my first hands-on experience in UX research. It allowed me to witness the design process unfold through evidence-based insights. The team developed a prototype that eased the anxiety associated with the current process by starting with a clearly defined problem, gathering user stories, and iteratively building on ideas.
Further Opportunities + Improvements
The limited scope and timeline prevented us from focusing on the restaurants and home cooks representing an equally important user group. This case study would represent the tip of the iceberg if this project continued through the entire development lifecycle. The feedback we received would inform iterative improvements to refine the overall experience. I would conduct continuous research built on the team’s existing knowledge, answer new and existing research questions, and keep the user at the center.
This project served as an insightful introduction to UX research at the time, allowing me to actively engage in the design process based on evidence-based insights. From problem identification to prototype development, I experienced the importance of systematically gathering user evidence and iteratively refining ideas to create an improved user experience. It also demonstrated how I could adapt my fundamental knowledge of research methods and design to UX research with only minor changes.
Science Communication Engagement Response Scale
The objective of this research project, conducted as part of my doctoral dissertation at the University of Texas at Austin, was to measure key areas of public engagement with science. The goal was to develop a questionnaire that assesses audience response to engagement elements, providing insights to scientists and communication training centers.
Prior research identified the essential areas of public engagement with science. This research helped me form a list of 41 items consisting of existing scales and newly created items. I conducted 13 semi-structured interviews with science communication practitioners and researchers to validate the initial list. The interview transcripts were analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively through an LDA topic model in R to identify emergent themes surrounding the areas represented by the 41 items. I distributed a survey with the edited items to a national quota sample of 400 respondents recruited by Qualtrics. I then performed an Exploratory Factor Analysis and a Confirmatory Factor Analysis on the survey results to refine the questionnaire.
The factor analysis resulted in a 12-item scale that effectively represented critical areas of public engagement with science. The 12 emergent factors contained at least 1 question from the conceptual model I derived from existing research. These 12 items provided a concise and reliable tool for scientists to evaluate their public engagement efforts according to current Communication and Public Relations research.
Implications + Impact
The findings have significant academic implications for the field of science communication. The developed scale offers a valuable resource for scientists to assess and enhance communication effectiveness, particularly in public demonstrations, science café presentations, or Reddit AMAs. It enables them to identify areas for improvement and focus on elements that foster meaningful engagement with their audience.
Further Opportunities + Improvements
This was a huge project to work on solo. Whenever friends and family would ask me about the process of a PhD, I would compare the dissertation to a driving test for your drivers license. By that point you’ve passed your test on the rules of the road and even driven with an instructor or experienced driver to guide you. The driving test, like a dissertation, is your time to show your skills. I’m extremely proud of this project, and although I welcome collaboration on all future projects I’m glad I finished this one to prove to other researchers my expertise. At the time of writing the scale itself has never been implemented and the findings have not been formally published.
As part of my doctoral dissertation, this research project allowed me to successfully create a statistically sound measurement scale for improving public engagement with science. The developed 12-item scale provides scientists and science communicators with a valuable tool to assess and improve their communication efforts, fostering meaningful engagement and empathy with their intended audience. As I pursue my post-graduation career, I aim to apply these research skills and insights throughout the design lifecycle for an organization that values its users and top-tier research. I am excited to contribute to creating meaningful user experiences and driving effective user engagement strategies.