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Scott Miles' Research Group Archive

The following research group descriptions are archived because they are no longer offered, the researcher is on sabbatical, or the group is taking a break. Please contact the researcher or an advisor to learn more about these groups.

Spring 2021

User Testing and Prototyping a Tool for Community Disaster Resilience

Students in this DRG will conduct research as part of a National Science Foundation project called “Participatory Statistical Inference of Interdependent Critical Infrastructure Recovery Times”. A set of concepts and prototypes have been created for supporting the community resilience planning process laid out in the NIST Community Resilience Planning Guide.

The DRG will start with a review of the project, use cases, user types, tool design specifications, and an initial list of potential user testing questions. (Some user research has been done to create the current prototypes, but additional user research may be necessary.) Students will select (or identify new) user testing questions, develop user testing procedures, revise/create prototypes for testing, recruit participants, run tests, analyze findings, and revise prototypes with the goal of implementing a final minimum viable product. Students will learn about different approaches to testing (e.g., think aloud testing, A/B testing, focus groups), how to analyze test data, and how to incorporate test findings into implementation designs.

Students from all departments, disciplines, backgrounds, and experience levels are welcome. If you are interested in joining this DRG, please email Scott Miles ( with a brief statement about your interest in the project. Note this DRG is at capacity for Spring and enrollment is closed.

CoSSaR DRG: Human-Centered Design of a Post-Disaster, Rapid-Response Research Facility

Winter 2017

The University of Washington was recently awarded a National Science Foundation grant to create and run a post-disaster, rapid-response research facility. The award will fund user research, software development, equipment procurement, training, field assistance, and service evaluation to facilitate multi-disciplinary reconnaissance research teams seeking to understand the impacts of wind and earthquake events on natural, engineered, and social systems. The facility will offer equipment such portable LIDAR scanners, deployable accelerometers, mobile devices for social surveys, and drones outfitted with cameras and sensors that can measure damage at a centimeter scale. The center will develop software systems for transmitting, archiving, integrating, exploring, and visualizing the complex data collected by field researchers after disasters. These are likely to include a mobile field app to assess structural damage, a platform for mixed-media social data gathering, a smart phone app to facilitate citizen science, and a virtual reality environment for exploring 3D renderings of damaged structures.

The CoSSaR DRG will ensure that the new RAPID facility takes a human-centered approach to procuring equipment, developing software, designing workflows, and engaging potential facility users. Fall Quarter 2016, students focused on inspiration/immersion and initial ideation related to how social science and engineering researchers conduct post-disaster field work to collect perishable data. This quarter, students will focus on 1) refining prototypes and formal use cases, 2) creating a design-thinking based collaborative process model (e.g., agenda, facilitated activities) for conducting a large user research workshop in January, 3) assisting with workshop facilitation, 4) synthesizing workshop outcomes, and 5) using workshop outcomes for iteration. Students will work closely with Dr. Scott Miles in HCDE, as well as professors in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Evans School, and Applied Physical Lab.

If you are interested, please send an email to Scott Miles ( describing your interest in the DRG, your level in HCDE (or other department), and why you want to participate in this research group.