Bios

  • Carol Barnum, Ph.D.
  • Professor of Information Design and Co-Director of the Usability Center, Southern Polytechnic State University
  • Author of Usability Testing and Research

Carol Barnum is the director of the Usability Center at Southern Polytechnic and a professor of information design and communication, where she teaches a graduate course in usability testing. Usability Center clients include those in software, hardware, websites, training, and documentation. The lab was established in 1993 via funding from an IBM Million Dollar Total Quality Management Grant. Barnum is the author of numerous articles and five books, with the most recent book, Usability Testing and Research, winning the top award publication award from the Society for Technical Communication's international competition. She is a Fellow of STC, a recipient of STC's Jay Gould Award for Excellence in Teaching Technical Communication, and the lead author of an article that won a Distinguished Award in this year's STC journal competition. An invited speaker at conferences around the world, this year she has spoken in Montreal, Canada; Limerick, Ireland; Changchun, China; and Christchurch, New Zealand.

  • Laura Vennie
  • Usability Specialist, Whirlpool

Laura Vennie is a Senior Usability Specialist within Global Consumer Design at Whirlpool Corporation. Laura joined Whirlpool in 2000 and currently provides usability and human factors solutions to the Microwave category. Vennie has a Masters Degree in Engineering from Purdue University and a Bachelors Degree from Michigan Technological University.

  • Sara Ulius Sabel
  • Usability Specialist, Whirlpool

Sara Ulius Sabel joined the Whirlpool usability team in January 2004 as a Usability Specialist in the Fabric Care group. In this role, she is responsible for the user interface design, interaction design, and human factors and usability research for washers, dryers and related laundry products. She holds three degrees: a Bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Art and Design from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; a Master's degree in Human-Computer Interaction from the University of Michigan; and a Master's degree in Learning Technologies, also from U of M. Prior to joining Whirlpool, Sabel's academic and professional interests focused on utilizing technology and design to facilitate learning. As an undergraduate, she worked with faculty members to design online course materials to support art and architecture history courses and, while a graduate student, she managed the online graduate programs for the University of Michigan's College of Engineering. Sabel's past research includes internet navigation and wayfinding, on-line collaborative and educational tools, and corporate professional development programs. Sabel has experience with Web and database design and has developed educational software tools and interactive multimedia museum exhibits for children.

  • Stephen Blosser
  • Assistive Technology Specialist at the MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) and Client Advocacy Office
  • Michigan State University

Stephen Blosser is the technical director and assistive technology design engineer at the Artificial Language Laboratory, an assistive technology specialist at the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, and assistive technology design engineer for the Michigan AgrAbilty Project - all at Michigan State University (MSU). Blosser is also a rehabilitation engineer consultant for Michigan Rehabilitation Services and has many affiliations including being a member of the Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America the Accommodating Technology Committee at MSU, and the Michigan Association of Higher Education and Disability (MiAHEAD). Blosser graduated in 1974 from Western Michigan University with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering.

  • Michael J. Hudson
  • Director, MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD)
  • Michigan State University

Michael Hudson serves as Director of the MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities. His intensive focus on ability and skill development aids his quest for excellence despite his own blindness. Hudson exclaims, "Disabilities need not limit achievement they merely mandate a greater level of creativity, commitment and a repertoire of compensatory techniques." As Director, He leads a team of 15 professionals, countless volunteers and numerous part-time employees on a mission of maximizing ability and opportunity for over 1,000 students and employees with disabilities. Collaboration with campus and community partners solidifies his belief that, given the proper team, nearly any problem can be overcome once identified and understood. Beyond work, Michael lives a full and rewarding life. His Masters in university administration and Bachelor's in Psychology helped prepare him for a life of impact. His family including a wife and two children enrich his perspective enhancing his care and compassion for others.

  • Joseph A. Konstan, Ph.D.
  • Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota
  • Author of Word of Mouse: The Marketing Power of Collaborative Filtering

Joseph A. Konstan is Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, where he teaches user interface design and HCI research to graduate and undergraduate students. His research spans much of human-computer interaction, including information mining and visualization and online survey research techniques. He is probably best known for his work in collaborative filtering (the GroupLens project). He is co-author of Word of Mouse: The Marketing Power of Collaborative Filtering, a book that reviews three dozen good and poor examples of personalization in research and deployed systems. Konstan received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1993. He is President of ACM SIGCHI, with over 4500 members dedicated to advancing the science and practice of human-computer interaction. He is an ACM Distinguished Lecturer and an IEEE Distinguished Visitor.