Quantifying delight and storytelling through biometrics
One of Bing’s design priorities is user delight, but success is difficult to gauge through click metrics alone. I led Bing’s first attempt to quantify the emotional impact of our designs through biometrics (facial EMG, EDA). I assembled a 9-person multidisciplinary team, designed the study, directed production of 7 videos as stimuli, and analyzed and presented the results.
This project strongly demonstrated the value of our emotional content, has been presented numerous times both internally and externally, and was identified as one of our major accomplishments of the year.
Understanding immersion and long-term comfort in 3D sports experiences
Immediately following launch of ESPN’s 3D cable channel in 2010, there were several questions about the effects of 3D on viewers: engagement and immersion, comfort and safety over prolonged viewing, as well as ad impact. I conducted part of a series of studies designed to answer these questions. I moderated user sessions, administered eye tests, and analyzed participant data.
Work in the series was publicly recognized in an ESPN press release as a landmark study with significant impact on the way 3D content would be produced going forward.
User response to transitions in binaural (3D) soundscapes
As we move in the natural world, our brains automatically organize audiovisual stimuli into discrete moments, like the scenes in a movie. If we want to create this experience in virtual worlds, we need to understand what cues cause one moment to end and another to begin. To understand this, we created audiovisual experiences where users transitioned from one binaural soundscape to another.
Using a psychophysical technique I developed, we were able to understand how people processed the experience at an unconscious cognitive level. The study revealed the importance of strong matching across audio and visual experiences in order for them to effectively cohere at a perceptual level.
“Ironically, I have the most trouble finding information on how to teach search engines for kids.”
– Kim, first grade teacher
Building better search tools for teachers
In 2013, Microsoft launched Bing in the Classroom, a program that tailors search engines for K-12 schools. I was charged with understanding the unique needs of this audience. I conducted interviews, site visits, and surveys with over 1000 teachers and students, all while navigating a strict set of policy and legal requirements for working with government employees and minors.
The outcome was a prioritized set of opportunities for Bing, as well as processes for obtaining ongoing user feedback on features under development. The research has directly driven creation of several features, and has become a model for other groups at Microsoft.
Bringing user-generated content to the search results page
Lifestyle blogging has been steadily growing for the last 10 years, and has a passionate user base. I led research on bringing this human-generated content to the algorithmically generated search results page. This research included contextual inquiry and in-depth interviews with users, longitudinal usage studies, and iterative evaluation of designs and content.
The results heavily shaped the consumption experience, and generated content guidelines that were distributed to every content creator. The feature saw a favorable response from bloggers and adoption by several high-profile members of the community.