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SIGIA-L Mail Archives: SIGIA-L: SIGIA-L SUMMARY: Usability firms

SIGIA-L: SIGIA-L SUMMARY: Usability firms

Date: Fri Aug 24 2001 - 15:39:41 EDT

So many people contacted me for a summary, I'm posting it here. I might
have forgotten one or two, but these are most of them. For those who
asked me about whether it violates listserv etiquette to contact me
directly, I'd have to say yes if you called me. I forgot to take my
phone number off my signature, but I've always thought that if it's
email, and especially a listserv, you email. So please don't call unless
someone says that's ok-- I had about 5 people call and that almost
annoyed me enough not to send the information on to the team. But I know
it's a tough market out there, so I tried to be more understanding.

In return, I hope it's ok to post the groups I got with snippets from
your emails. I tried to remove any personal info or extraneous text. I
genuinely hope that one of these firms gets the job, and I appreciate
the effort that folks made in the process.

Rachel, my company contracted with Userworks ( out of
Washington, DC area to do a heuristic evaluation of our web site and to
conduct usability testing for us. They have been easy to work with,
delivered what we asked for on time, and were reasonably priced. The
quality of work has been very good, although I have no other experience
compare to since they are the first group I hired. I would definitely
recommend them, although they did not do any re-design work for us, per

If you have more questions, feel free to email me.

Dell Whisonant
Information Architect
You must have been inundated by now!

Anyway, thought I should tell you about my company. I'm assuming you're
the US? Icon Medialab has offices in NYC, St Louis, San Fransisco and
Washington DC.

Cheers, Mel
(Icon Australia)
Regarding your recent post to the IA listserv, may I be so bold as to
recommend my own company? Austin Usability (which see at is two years old, and thus fairly established

though I have been a usability engineer for over 20 years.  My
experience is
with Bell Labs, IBM, Tivoli, and BMC, in addition to my consulting work.
at Austin Usability pride ourselves in being pragmatic and
I co-edited a book with Deborah Mayhew called _Cost-justifying
and so am well steeped in tracking the costs AND quantifiable benefits
usability engineering, and demonstrating the almost-always robust ROI
your usability dollar and hour.  We have a full-function usability lab
you in Dallas?  This would make it very convenient, if so!  Plus we have
associate in Dallas.) for end-user testing, but frankly spend much of
time employing "discount usability engineering methods," such as
walkthroughs.  We are also very experienced at web design, and could
you many happy references to call.

Perhaps that is enough introduction for now. Peruse our web site, and/or give me a call, and we can talk more about how we might tailor a bid to fit your exact needs.

Warm regards, Randolph Bias, Ph.D. Chief Usability Officer austin usability. (512) 474-0004



Here's a firm that's new, don't know about expense, but I used to work with one of the partners. Very smart person... Check it out.

------------- I am responding to your query earlier this week about usability firms and the site rebuild. One of our IA's saw your email and passed it along to me for follow up.

Is there an opportunity for us to talk further about the scope of work and timing of the project? The reason I ask is that VIA is a firm that fits your initial description very closely. We are a strategic communications firm with an established team of technologists that spans the Web development process from front-end design, usability testing and information architecture to back-end application development and implementation.

We approach Web development-of which usability testing is a cornerstone-as a series of software development processes, and have a particular focus on user-centered design and function. VIA is known for implementing comprehensive usability testing into our development process and we have an in-house usability lab to increase cost efficiency and the quality of testing. Our Web development process is rigorous, user-driven and has proven successful for clients such as Fairchild Semiconductor, National Semiconductor, MONY Group, Banknorth Group, Sundance, The Limited and Victoria's Secret.


Joel Yuodsnukis Manager Business Development VIA Inc 207.761.0288 ------------- My firm, lookandfeel new media, is currently providing these services for Sprint's Campus Intranet redesign team.

terie clement information architect/usability specialist 816-472-7878 x242 ----------- Have you concluded your search for a usability firm? Per your plea, Industry6: .. is established, in that my client-base are two satisfied, large-tier firms, .. not overhyped, in that there's just no time to create the hype, .. not excessively expensive, as I ensure that bill rates are on par with the market, .. pragmatic - well, we're efficiency experts, right?

Industry6 is an as-needed collection of senior-level ex-consultancy gurus, all of whom have created some of the leading (and largest!) sites and information systems on, and supporting, the web. We've been through the dot.bomb, learned valuable lessons, and are translating that learning into benefits for our clients.

FYI, my personal specialty is mobility practice which includes WAP, PALM and other PDA and wireless experiences which may be relevant to your search.

Should you want to know more about Industry6 and how we may help solve your organization's challenges, please contact me. I'm happy to listen to your concerns and propose a few viable solutions.

-- diane wright chief experience designer and head bottlewasher 310.927.1289 mobile AIM: blowfishLA ICQ: 50193829 --------

At Molecular, formerly TVisions, we have quite a bit of experience with this type of work. I would be very interested in speaking to you about this and to learn more about your requirements. Would it be ok for us to speak by phone please?

Thank you,

Amy S. Crawford (617) 218 - 6669 (617) 598 - 0998 mobile (617) 218 - 6869 fax Molecular. 343 Arsenal Street Watertown, MA 02471 ---------------

Our company meets your criteria (established, affordable, no hype) and we have worked on Sprint in the past.

For more information on AGENCY.COM please visit:

I can be reached at 212-358-5450.

I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you!

Brian Mondry AGENCY.COM 20 Exchange Place New York, NY 10005 Phone: 212-358-5450 Fax: 212-358-2604 Mail:


I work as a Usability Specialist for an e-business solutions firm - Idea Integration. Idea Integration has a user-focused methodology that has stood us in good stead whether we are doing Web site design, Web Application work or Second or Third (and so on :)) generation site redesign. We are definitely an established firm - with offices all over the country, and I personally don't think we are overhyped or excessively expensive.

We have conducted usability tests and site redesigns for clients like Compaq, Verizon, UUNet etc.

Regards, -- Manpreet Kaur, Ph.D. Idea Integration Usability Specialist Phone: 713.353.4587 Fax: 713.626.2792 ----------------------------

I've personally been involved in two lab-based usability tests for a Baby Bell within the past six months. Several colleagues are currently finishing up another user research project for the same company using a different set of research tools. I'm glad to say that not only have we done top-notch work for this client, but we've been able to refine our approach to shorten the total time it takes to conduct the research as well as reduce the overall cost. If you would like more information, let's set up a conference call for the near future to discuss your project and what we may be able to do for you. We would be glad to discuss in detail our approach and the typical deliverables.

Cheers, Anthony Anthony Hand User Experience Architect, Answerthink 24 New England Executive Park First Floor Burlington, MA 01803 tel.: 781.229.0850 x4208 cell: 617.480.8293 fax: 781.229.2820 email: ---------------------------------------------- Hi Rachel, I would like to speak with you further about this project. My firm, Addis ( holds usability at its core. The firm is positioned as a branding/naming/design/implementation firm, but if our work wasn't usable we wouldn't achieve our clients' goals.

As for myself, I have years of experience in IA and producing sites. My latest work was the IA for Pottery Barn Kids ( Professionally, I have issues with the site, but the client left the project happy -- and that is the most we can ask for at times.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Mary ----------------------

Founded in 1991, Phase 5 is a leading strategic research and Human Factors consulting firm serving business and government clients in Canadian, U.S., and international markets. We are based out of offices in Ottawa and Toronto, and our consultants travel widely to clients' sites, and clients' markets, to conduct detailed work on the field.

Phase 5 offers unmatched experience in user modeling, digital product development, Interface evaluation and usability testing. We have extensive experience in the telecommunications sector. Our telecommunications clients (for Web site usability, product development research and hardware and software usability, as well as e-business studies) include Stentor, Nokia, Nortel and Mitel Corporation.. Over the last few months, our other Human Factors clients have included Royal Bank, Statistics Canada, Globe Interactive, Union Gas, RIA and West Group.

In addition to our portable Usability Lab (which allows us to conduct tests in a variety of sites on the field), we have developed our own Usability Reporting Tool that allows us to communicate usability issues and problems clearly, qualitatively and actionably to designers.

In addition to our corporate strength in this field, I am personally involved in Human Factors research, being in the process of completing my doctoral dissertation on user-disorientation in networked information spaces. I have taken the liberty of attaching a PDF version of our Online Consulting Brochure.

We would be very happy to learn of any project in which we may help. Should you have any further questions about Phase 5 please feel free to contact me at any time.


Arnie Guha Manager Phase 5 - From Research to Strategy T: (416) 599-7555 x223 F: (416) 599-7550 W: <>

----------------- Hi Rachel, you can check Catalyst Group design at They are based in New York Good luck

------------------------ Please pass on Sapient's name to the team that is gathering names for this project. In terms of site refreshes, we have done dozens of such projects for major companies like Sprint and our user experience capabilities are very deep.

Sapient is a business and technology consultancy that helps our clients deliver business enabling projects that bring about a high Return on your Investment (ROI). We employ fixed-time, fixed price project delivery and have an industry reputation for delivering projects on time and on budget. Sapient's value proposition is best realized when our client's business problem is customer or supplier interactive, time critical, involves business or process change and has an advanced technology (web, enterprise application or back end) component. We not only design (technical and user experience) and build solutions for our clients, we also maintain applications. Add to this our Global Distributed Delivery capabilities (based out of India) and clients benefit from a cost savings model as well.

I belong to Sapient's Technology and Communications vertical. Below is a short document that tells you more about our practice and what our overall skill sets are for client's like Sprint.

My contact information is:

Daniel Forrester Manager, Client Relations Sapient 1 Memorial Drive Cambridge, Ma 02140 m: 617-529-3879 o: 617-252-6685

-------------- <snip> For eleven years, we have worked on billion dollar systems as well al pro bono efforts - all with the same rigor, always at reasonable cost and with exceptional results.

I stared Electronic Ink in 1990 with the philosophy that software developers alone should not create software and technology-based tools and services. I also believed that Human Factors professionals alone could not solve the problems that plagued the user's experience with software products. Over the course of our history, Electronic Ink has assembled a talented and focused team of Human Factors Analysts, Technologists and Designers. These professionals have honed a Process that ensures user audiences participate in the design of technology solutions and that systems evolve in a manner that is not prejudiced toward the user audience or a specific technology philosophy. Rather, systems developed by Electronic Ink recognize user needs and business objectives as integral to the technology decisions that will improve an existing tool or realize the delivery of an altogether new and expanding system. Collaboration amongst discreet disciplines through an industry benchmarked Process ensures delivery of solutions that are as usable as they are technologically innovative and lasting.

In the last three to four years the market has been flooded with bright new venture-backed companies that sounded a great deal like Electronic Ink. Few of those companies delivered on their promises and few remain. With nearly 100 employees in our Philadelphia and London offices, our growth has been remarkable - and very careful. We remain self-funded, never accepting outside investment. Our history extends back to the late 80's with the user interface design of IBM's OS/2 and Citibank's touch screen user interface for their cash (CAT) machines. Our technology experience includes character-based systems, Windows client-server applications and, of course, applications and sites distributed through a Web browser. Although these technologies vary tremendously in their screen appearance, our philosophy has been constant - to be successful, the product must ultimately be useful and usable. Merrill Lynch's Trusted Global Advisor, HSBC and Pearson's intranets, ADP's brokerage tools, and call center applications for MBNA Bank, First Data Corp and Ameritech have all benefited from the collaboration of Electronic Ink's three core disciplines - Human Factors, Technology and Design. The NYSE maintains a strong relationship with Electronic Ink as they define how information will be channeled to their many audiences.

At the risk of getting caught up in the 'hype' of our industry, I was pleased to be informed last week that, quite unexpectedly and without effort on our part, Jacob Nielsen named our design of Pearson Publishing's intranet among the most usable tools of 2001. The best part of this distinction for me is knowing that a company can gain recognition simply by working hard, delivering quality services and excellent designs - without self promotion and hype.

I hope to have the opportunity to speak with you directly about your plans for It would be my pleasure to provide you additional information about Electronic Ink. I wish you success in your search.

Best regards,

Harold Hambrose President & CEO

ELECTRONIC INK One South Broad Street 19th Floor Philadelphia, PA 19107 t 215.922.3800 f 215.922.3880 ----------

I work as a Usability Specialist for an e-business solutions firm - Idea Integration. Idea Integration has a user-focused methodology that has stood us in good stead whether we are doing Web site design, Web Application work or Second or Third (and so on :)) generation site redesign. We are definitely an established firm - with offices all over the country, and I personally don't think we are overhyped or excessively expensive.

We have conducted usability tests and site redesigns for clients like Compaq, Verizon, UUNet etc.

So, hopefully you will find this information useful. Please do let me know if I can provide you with anything more. Look forward to hearing from you.

Regards, -- Manpreet Kaur, Ph.D. Idea Integration Usability Specialist Phone: 713.353.4587 Fax: 713.626.2792 ----------------------------

----------------- [END SUMMARY]

Rachel DuBois Web Producer Sprint

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