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Leila S. Rezai

UX Designer and Researcher @ Advanced Interface Design Lab

About
Research
Portfolio
Resume
Contact

UX Designer and Researcher @ Advanced Interface Design Lab

Hi!

My name is Leila, and I'm a UX researcher and designer at the Advanced Interface Design Lab, University of Waterloo.

I'm currently completing my PhD in Systems Design Engineering under the supervision of Professor Catherine Burns, and my research focus is designing adaptive persuasive systems. I'm particularly interested in developing mHealth and eHealth technologies that support individuals to adopt a healthier lifestyle or systems that assist patients to monitor their health.

I studied Media Informatics at the RWTH Aachen University in Germany, and my Master's thesis research was done at the Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto. My thesis concerned the design and implementation of a mobile phone application and aimed at helping researchers understand the effects of age and Parkinson's disease on cell phone usability.

Prior to starting my Master's studies, I worked for several years in the Iran Telecom Research Centre, designing and developing Unified Messaging systems. I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering at the Sharif University of Technology in Iran.

 © 2014 Jeremy Vo.  All rights reserved

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​​Research

Advanced Interface Design Lab
September 2012 – Present

Researchers have developed many interventions that can assist individuals to change their behavior for the better in a variety of domains, particularly healthcare and well-being. The possibility of creating technologies that help people move toward a more desirable lifestyle is very appealing to me, and I decided to choose persuasive technology as the topic of my doctoral research. I started my journey with investigating how home health-monitoring systems can be designed to increase patients’ adherence. During the course of my research, however, I learned that this relatively new emerging field still offers many opportunities for scientists to further develop the initial framework, and as a result, I shifted the focus of my research toward expanding the field. My new goal is to explore strategies for designing adaptive persuasive systems—systems that monitor and analyze users physiological or psychological status in real-time and choose the most effective persuasive strategy to influence user's behaviour or attitude.

Contact to learn more!

In a research project sponsored by Medtronic, I designed and developed an engaging user interface for a home health-monitoring mobile app aimed at increasing patients’ adherence to their medication regimen. Gamification and persuasive design strategies were used in the design of the system. The developed prototype was evaluated at St. Mary's General Hospital by elderly heart-failure patients. The results of the study were presented at the 2014 International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Healthcare, held in Chicago.

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In a project sponsored by Oculys Health Informatics, I developed an effective user interface for a decision-support tool for mobile devices aimed at presenting emergency department waiting times information to the community. The prototype was evaluated in a usability study and also received positive feedback from a variety of stakeholders, including the board of directors of St. Mary's and Grand River Hospitals, heads of their emergency departments, and trained nurses.

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As a Human Factors engineer, I conducted a Cognitive Work Analysis for a blood pressure monitoring system, with using insights provided by a Persuasive Design Model framework. When developing patient self-management applications, designs must motivate patients to engage with the intervention so as to increase their medical adherence. The results of this combined approach are shown to be valuable in informing an Ecological Interface Design of self-management systems. The results of this study was presented at the 2014 International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Healthcare, held in Chicago.

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My research at the Advanced Interface Design Lab started with collaboration in a project for Defense Research and Development Canada on the design of a tactile warning system. During this period, I mostly conducted quantitative data analysis using SPSS software. You can read more about this research here: 

IBM
May 2014 – August 2014

I was one of only twenty Canadian students admitted to the IBM Extreme Blue for 2014. This is a prestigious internship program, because of the unique mentorship, training and experience it provides to its students. In a team of four and over a period of 16 weeks, we conducted requirement analysis for a predictive personalized healthcare solution for cancer survivors, developed a prototype and presented it to the IBM’s high-level executives in the U.S., including IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. This short-term project led to a patent disclosure:

Predictive Analytics Work Lists for Healthcare 
(U.S. Patent Application No. IPCOM000239849D)  

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​​Depratment of Computer Science, U of T
June 2009 – February 2011

After my graduation in 2010, I started collaborating in a project at the Technologies for Aging Gracefully Lab, at the University of Toronto. The research was about developing hardware and software for an "Accessible Large-print Listening and Talking eBook" for blind and visually impaired individuals. During this period, I interviewed individuals with disabilities and investigated alternative interaction methods for augmenting accessibility for people with visual and motor impairments.

After completing my Master's coursework at the RWTH Aachen University, I started conducting research related to my Master's thesis at the Computer Science Department of the University of Toronto. My research involved investigating the effects of age and Parkinson’s disease on the target selection and scrolling tasks on touch-based mobile phones. I designed and implemented a mobile phone application aimed at understanding the effect of the disease. The app was developed in Python for S60.

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During this period, I also collaborated in a research study with Microsoft Research on developing a new method of text input system for mobile devices. Basically, the idea was to use normal keyboard keys, but on the reverse side of the device. The standard QWERTY layout was split and rotated so that hands gripping the device from either side have had the usual keys under their fingers. This approach freed up the front of the device, maximizing the use of the display for visual output, eliminating the need for an onscreen keyboard and the resulting hand occlusion. It also provided tactile and multi-finger text entry – with potential for knowledge transfer from QWERTY. You can see a video or read more about this research here: 

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Fraunhofer FIT
October 2006 – July 2007

During the period of my Master's study in Germany, I enrolled in two practicums at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT, in Bonn. In the first one, collaborating in a group of three, we designed and implemented an eigenface-based facial recognition application in MATLAB for classifying faces from a noisy input image.

In the second practicum, in a team of four interns, we designed and implemented a large public display application that enabled cooperative management and aggregation of information from diverse users’ specific web sources. I was mostly involved in eliciting system requirements and components, as well as writing SQL scripts for the system.

Accenture
April 2006 – July 2006

In a group of three, we elicited the requirements of an electronic voting system using "Digital Pen & Paper" technology needed by government agencies to speed up the counting of ballots and reduce human error in vote counting. The project included analyzing business processes, workflows and components.

Iran Telecom Research Centre
June 2000 – June 2004

I collaborated on a research project that envisioned the future of business processes in the telecommunication industry, in order to improve the quality and efficiency of existing operational and business processes to meet enhanced Telecom Operation Map standards. I analyzed current and specified future processes, activities, and logical components using UML and other techniques, including brainstorming, interviewing and conducting focus groups.

Prior to that, I was involved in another project, which concerned the design and implementation of a Unified Messaging System that integrates different communications media, including e-mail, SMS, fax, and voicemail, into a single interface accessible from a variety of different portals. While in this position, I developed and tested the different software components of the system using Visual C ++ and SQL scripts. I also troubleshot the problems of newly installed UM Systems. 

Niroo Research Institute
January 2000 – June 2000

I completed my Bachelor's thesis at the Niroo Research Institute, Iran. My thesis concerned the design and implementation of an FM transceiver to be placed in electricity meter devices in order to reduce the cost of human reading and the resulting mistakes. I used Protel to design the high-frequency circuit and developed a C++ application that could control a frequency synthesizer located on the transceiver through a 8051 microcontroller.

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​​Portfolio

Due to the confidentiality restrictions of the projects, I am not able to showcase my actual deliverables on this page. However, you can see the steps I took for designing the UX of the two major projects that I was involved in. If you are interested in learning more, just contact me! :-)

Designing a Mobile App to Broadcast Hospital Waiting-Times Information

My design process involved the following steps:
  • Identifying project scope (discussing potential liability issues with client, re-identifying requirements)
  • Brainstorming
  • Developing workflows
  • Storyboarding
  • Developing usecase scenarios and sequential diagrams
  • Conducting focus groups
  • Card sorting
  • Wireframing
  • Creating Balsamiq mockups
  • Hueristic evaluation
  • Creating functional mockups
  • Cognitive walk-through
  • Usability testings: observation, open-ended interview, thinking-aloud, action analysis

Designing an Engaging Home Health-Monitoring App for Patients with Heart-Failure

My design process involved the following steps:

  • Conducting research to learn about most effective strategies to engage users
  • Learning about  strategies employed in similar products in market
  • Brainstorming
  • Persona modeling
  • Identifying interface requirments
  • Sketching/wireframing
  • Creating Balsamiq mockups
  • Hueristic evaluation
  • Creating hi-fi mockups
  • Usability testings: observation, open-ended interview, thinking-aloud, questionnaire, feature ranking, semantic differential pairs

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​​Contact

Get in Touch!