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SimpleC - An Internship

SimpleC - An Internship

TEST 15 7/5/2012

At CHI 2012, I presented my work on Nursing Staff and smart homes and met a variety of people through the workshop on aging that I attended. At that conference I met Jason Zamer, a part owner of a company called SimpleC in Atlanta, Georgia. After getting offers from two other internships, I decided to take Jason up on his proposal for me to work with his company in Atlanta for 10 weeks.

The company makes a tablet PC that helps older adults, mostly in assisted living, with memory and behavioral problems to live better lives through personalized therapies and media.

I’m here in Atlanta to use all of the data that comes from the tablet to create a dashboard (more likely a launch pad) that will help the management at these facilities to know more about how the product is being used and how their patients are doing.

While I can’t give much detail as to the final product at this point, I can say I’m learning a great deal about visualizations and how to depict quantitative data in a way that will be most useful to the most people. It should be very helpful to my dissertation project that I’ve been working on while here as well. I’ve been reading a lot of Stephen Few and Edward Tufte mostly, but I have a lot of articles too.

Hopefully, in the end I can come up with a great finished product with good feedback from those who will use it and a clear design that is the most effective.

Update 8/29/2012

The project has come a long way! I created a wireframe model using Balsamiq Mockups that I took out to the facilities and talked with managers and head nurses to find out what they thought and what they needed.

Then I took what we learned from our directed interviews with the communities and created queries in MSSQL to get at the data that was most important to the locations. I used that data in Crystal Dashboard Reports to create a full demo that we took out once again to have usability testing (with 5 tasks) and directed interviews.

Unfortunately, the price of Crystal Dashboards, or even the Microsoft reporting tool for commercial purposes is a huge expense. Myself and a coworker, Takachi Matsuzawa, plan to continue work on this when I leave in order to build our own reporting website using Python and Javascript. SimpleC could have given it to the development team to work on, but they’ve decided that they like working with me so much and that they like my dashboard so much, they’re going to keep me on for one day a week until a website is ready.

In the end a great group and an excellent summer!


Leah Zulas, PhD