UAH

Everyday Technologies Lab

 

The Everyday Technologies Lab investigates human factors issues about decision-making and error by individuals not trained in the domains or technologies with which we must engage.  We apply experimental psychology techniques to examining how an individual's capabilities and limitations affect their technology interactions. Check out the Human Factors blog for discussion and examples of everyday products that may not have been designed based on these techniques.

We are particularly interested in understanding how typical individual differences like age affect the types of everyday technologies used and how new technologies will be learned. As the population in industrialized countries ages, this imperative to create effective, efficient, usable, safe technologies that can help older adults maintain their independence becomes even more crucial.

The ultimate goal of our research is to transfer this knowledge to designers of technologies, housing, transportation systems, etc. If you are interested in assisting with this research, please contact the principal investigator for this lab, Dr. Marita O'Brien at marita.obrien@uah.edu

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Human Factors and Severe Weather

Because our location was affected by the extended blackout following the Tornado Outbreak on April 27, 2011, we have also begun researching how residents can prepare for these inevitable natural and manmade disasters. We propose that psychological research can be used to improve risk communications so that residents in vulnerable communities can make safer decisions

 RCWF logo

We will be presenting some of our research at the
Rocket City Weather Fest. Specifically, we have evaluated knowledge of Northern Alabama/ Middle Tennessee residents about tornadoes, warnings and protective actions. Visitors will have the chance to test their knowledge against that of others in this community. 

Correct answers and references to support your understanding of these answers can be download here: Tornado Myth Correction Table.

Publications

Shreeves, M., and O’Brien, M. A. (2013). Decision-making and information use among residents during an extended natural disaster. Proceedings of the HFES Annual 57th Meeting. (pp. 1770-1774). Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Rogers, W.A., O’Brien, M.A., & Fisk, A.D., (2013), Cognitive engineering to support successful aging. In J. Lee & A. Kirlik (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Engineering. (pp. 286-301). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

O’Brien, M.A., Bass, E.J., Bliss, J.P., Cooke, N.J., Kalsher, M.J., & Mayhorn, C.B. (2012). Improving residents’ response to disaster warnings: A discussion panel. In Proceedings of the 56th Annual Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Meeting. (pp 2036-2039). Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

O’Brien, M.A. & Rogers, W.A., (2012), Design for aging: Enhancing everyday technology Use. In R.Z. Zheng, R.D. Hill, & M.K. Gardner (Eds.), Engaging Older Adults with Modern Technology: Internet Use and Information Access Needs (pp. 105-123). Hershey, PA: IGI Publishing.

O’Brien, M.A., Rogers, W.A., & Fisk, A.D. (2012). Understanding age and technology experience differences in use of prior knowledge for everyday technology interactions. ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing, 4(2), Article 2, doi: 10.1145/2141943.2141947.

Mitzner, T.L., O’Brien, M.A., & Rogers, W. A. (2012). Emerging technologies for health care and aging. In CHI EA ’12 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems. New York: ACM.

O’Brien, M.A., Weger, K., DeFour, M.E., & Reeves, S.M. (2011), Examining the role of age and experience on use of knowledge in the world for everyday technology interactions. In Proceedings of the 55th Annual Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Meeting. (pp 177-181), Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

O'Brien, M.A., Rogers, W.A., & Fisk, A.D. (2008). Text entry interface design requirements at a glance. Ergonomics in Design, 16 (4),16-22. 

O'Brien, M.A., Rogers, W.A., Fisk, A.D., & Richman, M. (2008), Assessing design features of virtual keyboards for text entry. Human Factors, 50, 680-698.

O’Brien, M.A., Rogers, W. A., & Fisk, A. D. (2008).  Developing a framework for intuitive human-computer interaction.  In Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Meeting (pp 1645-1649), Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. 

Presentations

Blakeley, V. & O’Brien, M.A. (Accepted). Understanding younger and older adults’ differences in tornado knowledge.  2014 Cognitive Aging Conference.

Frazier, M.J., O’Brien, M.A., & Schultz, E.V. (February 2014). Evaluating lead time differences on residents’ responses to a tornado warning. Special Symposium on Severe Local Storms: The Current State of the Science and Understanding Impact. 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society. Atlanta, GA

Tucker, P., O’Brien, M.A., & Schultz, E.V. (February 2014). Understanding knowledge of tornado protective actions in a tornado-prone community.  Special Symposium on Severe Local Storms: The Current State of the Science and Understanding Impacts. 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society. Atlanta, GA

O’Brien, M.A., Bass, E.J., Bliss, J.P., Cooke, N.J., Kalsher, M.J., & Mayhorn, C.B. (October 2012). Improving residents’ response to disaster warnings: A discussion panel. Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Meeting. Boston, MA

Shreeves, M. & O’Brien, M.A., (August 2012), Cognitive decision-making among residents during an extended natural disaster. Research and Creative Experience for Undergraduates, UA Huntsville, Huntsville, AL.

O’Brien, M.A. (July 2012), Everyday Technologies after a Disaster: Examining Consumer Usage during an Extended Power Outage. Presented at the 37th Annual Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop 2012, Broomfield, CO.

Mitzner, T.L., O’Brien, M.A., & Rogers, W. A. (May 2012).  Emerging Technologies for Health Care and Aging. Presented at Computer Human Interaction (CHI) 2012, May 5-10, 2012, Austin, TX.

O’Brien, M.A., Weger, K., DeFour, M.E., & Reeves, S.M. (2011), Examining the role of age and experience on use of knowledge in the world for everyday technology interactions. Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Meeting. Las Vegas, NV.

Jordan, M., Weger, K., O’Brien, M.A., O’Neill, J., & Whitt, A. (April 2011), Effects of work backgrounds and interests on technology use and computer experience. 2011 Human Factors and Applied Psychology Conference, Daytona Beach, FL.