Shiny Happy Users is a collection of short essays that explore issues surrounding the design, development and testing of user interfaces. These essays were produced by the participants in the graduate course entitled Scientific Methods of Human Computer Interaction offered in the spring 2007 as part of the Human Computer Interaction Program at Iowa State University. The assigned text for the course was Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research written by Mike Kuniavsky and published by Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, an Imprint of Elsevier, in 2003.

Observing the User Experience is an excellent and extensive book that reviews the why, when, who, and how of user experience research techniques. Over the semester, we read one chapter per week as background reading. The weekly coursework required each participant to research and review a secondary source related to the chapter assigned for that week and then post a brief summary of the secondary source to a public blog for the course. Class activities consisted of 15 minute presentations made by each participant followed by group discussion. At the end of the course, we had collected well over 100 essays on our blog. Each essay was supplemented by a digitally recorded audio video presentation and an electronic copy of the presentation slides.

We benefited from each other’s presentations and hope that our work might similarly benefit others. Thus we have decided to make our essays and presentations available in an archival format. You may wish to use Shiny Happy Users as an additional resource as you read Observing the User Experience. To make this as easy as possible, we have organized our essays by chapters as presented in Observing the User Experience.

We also hope that Shiny Happy Users stands on its own as a collection of interesting essays relevant to improving the user experience and creating shiny happy users.