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The Distributed User Research Team (DURT) is a short 3-4 month project for improving the UX/UI/accessibility of core Hydra products. As a pilot project, a team of 5 usability experts will conduct a distributed usability study of the Sufia 7.2 deposit process. Project documentation and findings will be available via the Hydra Duraspace page and high priority recommendations will be written up as Github tickets. We encourage the creation of a subsequent ‘Design and Development’ team to design solutions based on the DURT team’s Github issues/recommendations.


 We began the distributed research process with a few high-level objectives:

  • Pilot a model and process for distributed usability research for the Hydra community
  • Collect and synthesize distributed user research data into recommendations, bugs and UX/UI design recommendations in Github tickets
  • Develop partnerships, experience, and insights around usability research across the Hydra UX/Usability community

Team Members

The Distributed Usability Research Team involves the expertise and collaboration of the following partners:

  • Ben Howell University of Michigan
  • Sonya Betz University of Alberta
  • David McCallum University of Oregon (for Oregon Digital)
  • Nik Dragovic Emory University
  • Jennifer Colt Cornell University

We expect that future distributed user research teams will also involve contributions from multiple institutions.


We will build on the past usability and UX work of the Sufia UI Working Group and the Hydra UX Interest Group. We are currently in the analysis stage for distributed usability studies with the goal of producing recommendations related to the deposit process currently found in Sufia 7.2.  We hope to pass these recommendations on to a 'Design & Development' working group to develop solutions to our findings in February 2017.

A brief outline of project:

  • Intro & Planning

    • Project Intro (Identify and plan solutions to blockers (time, dev resources, training))

    • Team building(background/usability expertise, stakeholder objectives, special powers)

  • Phase 1 - Discovery

  • Phase 2 - Synthesis

    • Local debriefing - transcribe & consolidate usability session notes 

    • Team affinity mapping - group and rank findings for user needs, requirement prioritization and conceptual models

    • Create Github tickets for critical accessibility/usability issues, and recommendations for improved UI elements

Initial Summary of Findings

Related Resources

Slack Channel:

Timeline: DURT Timeline (Draft)

Meeting Notes

DateTopicNotesRelated Materials
Oct 31, 2016IntroNotes 
Nov 9, 2016Review Usability Heuristics, Script, RecruitmentNotes 
Nov 23, 2016Recruitment, Moderating SessionsNotes 
Dec 6, 2016Session Note taking and Debriefing Note takingNotes 
Jan 25, 2017Affinity Mapping Session #1


Feb 8, 2017Affinity Mapping Session #2Notes 



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