All posts by Colin MacArthur

Optimizing Your Organization To Produce Better Designs

Jared Spool
  • IEEE Computer Society, GBC/ACM and BostonCHI host
  • Jared M. Spool, UIE
  • Optimizing Your Organization To Produce Better Designs
  • Thursday Jan. 18, 2017 at 6:30pm
  • VistaPrint, 275 Wyman St, Waltham, MA 02451

Please register. It helps us and our hosts plan.


Go into any organization and you’ll see that it is perfectly optimized to produce the results it’s currently getting. If you want your organization to get better results, what do you need to do differently?

This presentation will take a deep dive into aspects of design leadership we rarely talk about: the work required to improve design literacy and fluency within our organization. We’ll explore the different stages of UX design maturity and how what the organization needs to improve shifts as it becomes more mature. We’ll look into the way teams are staffed and the skills necessary to produce great designs, and we’ll look to the latest educational approaches of experience-based learning to see how we can change our work practice to support better on-the-job learning of design skills and knowledge.


Jared M. Spool is a co-founder of Center Centre and the founder of UIE.

If you’ve ever seen Jared speak about user experience (UX) design, you know that he’s probably the most effective and knowledgeable communicator on the subject today. He started working in the field of usability and user experience in 1978, before the terms “usability” and “UX” were ever associated with computers.

While he led UIE, the industry research firm he started in 1988, the field of UX design emerged and Jared helped define what makes UX designers successful all over the world. UIE’s world-class research organization produces conferences and workshops all over the world and for companies in every industry.

In 2016, with Dr. Leslie Jensen-Inman, he opened Center Centre, a new school in Chattanooga, TN to create the next generation of industry-ready UX Designers. They created a revolutionary approach to vocational training, infusing Jared’s decades of UX experience with Leslie’s mastery of experience-based learning methodologies.

You’ll also find him as the conference chair and keynote speaker at the annual UI Conference and UX Immersion Conference, and he manages to squeeze in a fair amount of writing time. He is author of the book, Web Usability: A Designer’s Guide and co-author of Web Anatomy: Interaction Design Frameworks that Work.

You’ll find his writing at You can also follow his adventures on the Twitters at @jmspool, where he tweets daily about UX design, design strategy, design education, and the wondrous customer service habits of the airline industry.

Evening Schedule

6:30 – 7:00   Networking over pizza and beverages
7:00 – 8:30   Meeting
8:30 – 9:00   CHI Dessert and more networking!
9:00 – 10:00  Dinner with Jared at Green Papaya

Monthly Sponsors

Thank you to our generous sponsors. If you’re interested in sponsoring BostonCHI, let us know.

Vistaprint is hosting us, and providing pizza.

Vitamin T is sponsoring CHI Dessert.

This event brought to you by IEEE, GBC/ACM, and BostonCHI



Getting there

VistaPrint and its parent Cimpress are located at the new headquarters on 275 Wyman St, Waltham, MA 02451. If you’re driving north on Wyman St, turn right at the pillar bearing the address, and turn left to enter the parking garage (see picture below.) If you’re driving south on Wyman St., you’ll see a pillar on the left, but drive to the second one and turn left to enter the parking garage. You’ll also see it as pictured below.

Virtual and Mixed Reality for Active Learning

Jeff Jacobson
  • Jeff Jacobson, CEO, ConstructionVR
  • Tuesday, November 14 2017 at 6:30 PM
  • At IBM Watson Health, 75 Binney Street, Cambridge, MA 02142. Different location than last IBM-hosted talk.

Please register. It helps us and our hosts plan.


Virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) can support powerful learning activities not otherwise possible, as we will see in three case studies. Learning is an adaptive response to a challenge, and a virtual environment can adapt to the student as s/he learns. Since the flight simulators of the 1970’s, this approach has long proven to be effective for learning procedures and processes.

The first study looks at a one-person “cave” used to diagnose and treat people with balance disorders. For example, patients with a damaged inner ear navigate a virtual grocery store, learning visual and physical strategies to stay safely on their feet. This facility is still in use, today, at the Medical Virtual Reality Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

However, VR and MR can also support active learning in some of the concept-heavy topics one learns in school.

The second study looks at a reenactment of an ancient Egyptian public ceremony, performed in mixed-reality (MR) with audience participation. The start of the show a projection of an Egyptian priest controlled in real-time by a live human puppeteer.

In the third study, children played a game based on an ancient Egyptian temple. Some played the game on a regular computer, but the ones who played it in VR demonstrated a more coherent and integrated knowledge of the temple’s features and their meaning.

Dr. Jacobson will use these examples of his work to show how the particular affordances of VR and MR support the learning process. He will then provide a broader look at how all immersive media (VR, AR, MR, MUVEs) are used today and near term trends.


Jeffrey Jacobson, Ph.D. has worked in Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality for more than 25 years, mastering each new wave of the technology as they have emerged. His doctorate is in Information Science, grounded in earlier work in Computer Science, giving him a strong background in systems integration and workflow analysis. His published research is based on the psychology of active learning in museums, immersive educational games, and immersive educational theater. His early technical work in affordable free software is widely cited in the scientific literature. His experimental trials on VR verses desktop displays were one of the few successful media comparison studies ever conducted. His later work (NSF and NEH funded) is highly regarded among scholars of cultural history and heritage. In the last few years, Dr. Jacobson offered consulting, training, and project management in virtual and augmented reality to the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) sector. He has had a significant impact on the architectural design community, helping the early adopters take advantage of newly available immersive technologies. Dr. Jacobson is also a founding member and longtime co-leader of BostonVR, the fifth largest VR meetup in the world. The organization has had a profound impact on the adoption of immersive technologies in the Boston area.

Evening schedule

6:30 – 7:00  Networking over pizza and beverages
7:00 – 8:30  Meeting
8:30 – 9:00  CHI Dessert and more networking


Thank you to our generous sponsors. Interested in sponsoring BostonCHI? Let us know!

IBM Watson Research is hosting us and sponsoring pizza.

Logo for IBM Research, Cambridge

VitaminT is sponsoring dessert.

Getting there

IBM is located at 75 Binney Street, Cambridge, MA 02142. (Entrance on Binney Street.)

Can a Free Wearable Activity Tracker Change Behavior?

Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM
  • Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM, Assistant Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
  • Tuesday, September 12 at 6:30 PM
  • At Constant Contact, 1601 Trapelo Rd, Waltham, MA 02451

Please register. It helps us and our hosts plan.


Innovations in digital health have led to expensive toys, but have they improved health outcomes? Lisa Gualtieri will discuss the current landscape of wearable digital technology, and report on a series of studies on wearable activity tracker use in older adult populations; most notably, what was learned about acceptance and use of trackers that were provided free with training, and their impact on behavior change. She will also present on future directions her research is taking to potentially expand the usefulness of these devices as part of clinical care, to lower the prevalence of chronic disease within the US. Finally, she will showcase her non-profit, RecycleHealth, which she founded two years ago to collect trackers for underserved populations who need help improving on health behaviors. One such population includes veterans, a group of which will receive trackers as part of a wellness program through HutsForVets, with the aim to increase physical activity and improve mental health outcomes.

Read MoreCan a Free Wearable Activity Tracker Change Behavior?