Two Talks

I recently gave two talks here at Sun Menlo Park:


    • To TechBridge, for “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” on 23 April
    • To the annual Sun Design Summit (27-28 April), on “One time vs. Cyclic Survey” design

For “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” on 23 April, I talked with a group of 30 teen girls from the TechBridge after-school program for girls, sponsored by the  Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, California. I was the last speaker in their busy day at Sun. I told them about my work with SEED Engineering Mentoring but also about my kids and WP668, the
1916 railroad caboose in my backyard where I have my office. I showed them photos on my blog and  my daughter’s blog. After my talk, the girls tried to program a peanut butter and jelly robot, which was very funny. At the end, they said what they enjoyed most about their Sun day. The Executive Briefing Center tour and Nicole Yankelovich’s Collaborative Environments project from Sun Labs were tops. One girl even said that learning about having an office caboose was her favorite!

To the designers and usability experts at Sun, I talked about surveys in general, and the difference between one-time and cyclic surveys. Six years ago, I created Sun’s “How to Survey” web page in self defense. As a Six Sigma Master Black Belt, I was getting too many requests for information about survey design, tools, policies, etc. So, I put together and maintain a SunWeb page which covers:


    • Key Questions
    • Reference Documents by Sun Experts
    • Additional Resources:
      Policies, Helpful External Tools, Books and Articles,
      Survey Tools & Services
    • Example Surveys

Most of my presentation was drawn from information and resources I have posted on “How to Survey”. I chose to submit this topic for Kartik Mithal’s Design Summit because usability and design staff are so frequently involved in customer data collection. Also, because so much of the good advice in this area comes from Usability Engineers, such as:

Robin Jeffries
, Jakob Nielsen, and Jared Spool. The second page of my presentation was:

Why Should You Care? cat ear and eye<br /> photo: copyright 2009 Katy Dickinson
Listening to the

Voice of the Customer

Makes Your Work More Effective. 

Surveys are One Good Way to Listen.



I think both talks went well: the audience and I learned something. One of the TechBridge teachers told me about the fun and interesting Algebra vs. The Cockroaches computer game*. Several of the Design Summit audience members sent me additional information to post on the “How to Survey” SunWeb page.

* Algebra vs. The Cockroaches is now on my Good Free Games list.

Katy Dickinson speaking at Sun Design Summit 2009<br /> photo: copyright 2009 Terri Yamamoto Katy Dickinson's badge Sun Design Summit 2009<br /> photo: copyright 2009 Katy Dickinson

Images Copyright 2009 Katy Dickinson and Terri Yamamoto

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