Bios

Staff

Sarah J. Swierenga, Ph.D.

Dr. Sarah J. Swierenga is Director of Michigan State University Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting (UARC) and Professor by Courtesy in the Department of Media and Information. She is responsible for developing and disseminating innovations in theory building, research methodologies, and technologies to enhance usability and accessibility in web and information technology contexts. UARC serves external clients, as well as faculty, students, and organizations at MSU, through consulting, collaborative research, publications, and hosting an annual World Usability Day conference. A researcher and a practitioner with almost 30 years of experience in the scientific study of users in commercial, government, healthcare, military, and academic environments, Sarah possesses extensive skills in user interface design, usability and accessibility methodologies. She co-authored Constructing Accessible Web Sites, wrote chapters on accessible web design for The User-Centered Design Casebook; aging and elder abuse projections for Michigan for Michigan for Applied Demography in the 21st Century (with Drs. Post, Salmon, Prokhorov, and Oehmke); and usability of e-health websites for Evaluating Web Sites and Web Services: Interdisciplinary Perspectives in User Satisfaction (with Dr. Coursaris). Sarah has presented widely on usability evaluation with people with disabilities, mobile usability evaluation, accessible electronic voting systems, outdoor recreation knowledge management, and health communication technology, which comprise her research programs. She served as a policy advisor to the US Senate Commission on Aging regarding background check legislation, was an alternate member of the U.S. Access Board 508/255 refresh committee (accessibility standards), and was an Invited Expert on the W3C WCAG 2.0 Evaluation Methodology Task Force. Sarah currently serves as an Invited Expert on the W3C WCAG 2.0 Working Group and is a member of Usability in Civic Life, a project of the User Experience Professionals Association and the Center for Civic Design. She is also a Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE). View Sarah's LinkedIn Profile for more information.

Graham L. Pierce

Graham serves in three distinct capacities at Michigan State University, dividing the majority of his time between technology accessibility, public opinion surveys, and economic development. First, he is the Assistant Director of Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting, where he supervises and conducts WCAG 2.0 evaluations, advises on accessibility policy, and works on grant-funded research. In his second major role, Graham is the Project Manager of the State of the State Survey, a phone survey of Michigan adults about current public policy issues that is run two to four times each year, at the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research. He is responsible for all aspects of SOSS, including question design, programming survey instruments, managing survey samples, data weighting, and working with clients. Finally, Graham is the Outreach Coordinator for the EDA University Center for Regional Economic Innovation at the Center for Community and Economic Development. He is involved in all facets of the project, but is primarily responsible for managing the project's data collection, communications, and website. In addition to these roles, Graham serves as the Vice Chair of the MSU Accommodating Technology Community and is an active participant in the MSU WebDev CAFE and many other university and community groups. Graham earned his Master's degree in Cognitive Psychology at Michigan State University. For more information, visit Graham's webpage or LinkedIn Profile.

Jennifer Ismirle

Jennifer Ismirle is a User Experience Researcher at Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting, focusing on usability evaluations and user-centered review and analysis of websites and other products. She has a B.A. in Professional Writing and a B.A. in English, both from Michigan State University. Jennifer leads and conducts usability studies and uses a variety of user experience testing methods, including 1-on-1 usability testing sessions, focus group sessions, and heuristic reviews. These research studies have involved State of Michigan websites, a universally designed mobile voting user interface (for individuals with dexterity impairments, low vision, or dyslexia), an accessible voting joystick for users with motor impairments, a mobile application for recreation activities, remote testing with software products, and the public and employee sides of a variety of websites. View Jennifer's LinkedIn Profile for more information.

Constantinos K. Coursaris, Ph.D.

Dr. Constantinos K. Coursaris holds a dual appointment as Associate Chairperson and Director of Graduate Studies with the Department of Media and Information and Associate Professor in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations. He is also Professor by Courtesy in Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting. Constantinos studies user motivations, expectations, and experiences with new media and the consequent design implications with a focus on social systems. He supplements his research expertise with consulting on social media for governance and/or marketing, and has trained diverse organizations in North America, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). His formal training consists of a B.Eng. in Aerospace, an MBA in e-Business, and a Ph.D. in Information Systems with a concentration on electronic business (e-Business) and mobile commerce (m-Commerce). Follow him @DrCoursaris.

Thi Nguyen

Thi Nguyen, lead software engineer, is a senior web application developer with Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting. He designs, develops, and maintains the Michigan Workforce Background Check system for the State of Michigan. His mission is to maintain and enhance the system to give users the best experience possible and ensure that it adheres to the web standards for XHTML, CSS, and WCAG, as well as State of Michigan user interface design standards, federal Section 508 accessibility guidelines, and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.

Trong Nguyen

Trong Nguyen is a web programmer with Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting. He develops and maintains the Michigan Workforce Background Check system. He is experienced in C#, ASP.NET, and TSQL, as well as standards for XHTML, CSS, WCAG, and State of Michigan user interface design standards, federal Section 508 accessibility standards, and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. He has worked with software developers, web developers, and users within the accessibility and usability field for three years.

JoDee K. Fortino

JoDee Fortino is the laboratory manager at Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting (UARC) and administrative assistant at the Office of the Associate Provost for University Outreach and Engagement (UOE). For UARC, JoDee handles scheduling, facility rentals and bookkeeping. She also sets up user testing sessions, focus groups, and video conferencing. JoDee's responsibilities at APUOE include conference logistics planning, marketing assistance, and coordinating UOE reception coverage. Prior to joining UOE, JoDee was the executive administrative assistant at the MSU Center for Urban Affairs.

Interns

Mack George

Mack George is a User Experience Intern at Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting. He is a senior undergraduate student at Michigan State University pursuing a degree in Experience Architecture. Mack performs accessibility evaluations using Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and Section 508 standards for MSU and external clients.

Hannah Klautke

Hannah Klautke is a User Experience Research Associate with Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting. She is involved in usability evaluations, focus groups, and information architecture projects for MSU and external clients. Her research areas include user reactions to cooperative learning online, interventions based on Cognitive Flexibility Theory for reading to learn on the web, student motivation and achievement in flipped classrooms and employee perceptions of organizational health promotion initiatives. Hannah holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Bonn, a M.A. in Communication from the University of Missouri, and a Ph.D. in both Communication and Educational Psychology and Educational Technology from Michigan State University.

Alexander Krantz

Alexander Krantz is an Accessibility Intern at Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting. He is a junior undergraduate student at Michigan State University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics. Alexander performs accessibility evaluations using Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and Section 508 standards for MSU and external clients.

Qixing Luo

Qixing Luo is a Web Development Intern at Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting. He is a sophomore at Michigan State University, and is pursuing a degree in Computer Science. Qixing assists with the design, development, testing, implementation and maintenance of various new and existing web applications, as well as research and development of different research projects.

Ian O'Bara

Ian O’Bara is a User Experience Graduate Research Assistant with Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting. He performs user experience evaluations and accessibility compliance audits for MSU and external clients. His areas of expertise include mobile and website user interface design, user experience evaluation with individuals with disabilities, serious/educational game design, and accessible web design using Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. Ian holds a B.A. in Professional Communication from Wheeling Jesuit University and is currently is a master’s student in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Department of Media and Information at MSU, with a Human-Computer Interaction concentration. Ian also holds a Graduate Certificate in Serious Game Design from MSU.

Hannah Shink

Hannah Shink is a User Experience Intern at Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting. She is a junior undergraduate student at Michigan State University pursuing a degree in Media and Information. Hannah is involved in website reviews, usability evaluations, focus groups, and user experience training workshops to help clients improve the experience of their users, including those with disabilities.

Kalib Watson

Kalib Watson is an Accessibility Intern at Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting. He is a junior undergraduate student at Michigan State University pursuing a degree in Professional Writing. Kalib performs accessibility evaluations using Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) and Section 508 standards for MSU and external clients.