Data Science Seminars

Online Experiments with Volunteers: Lessons Learned from Eight Years of LabintheWild

Transmissão através de Videoconferência

Speaker: Katharina Reinecke (University of Washington).

Abstract: An estimated 95% of our scientific knowledge about people, their behavior, perception, and preferences is based on studies with “WEIRD” samples, an acronym for participants who are Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic. My lab’s work in Human-Computer Interaction has shown that technology developed for WEIRD users - based on knowledge that is derived from studies with mostly US-based student populations - is often misaligned with the preferences, behaviors, and abilities of a large proportion of the world's population. Users differ in their goals, how they perceive information, and what they can work with most efficiently.

In this talk, I report on eight years of experience running the volunteer-based online experiment platform, which has enabled behavioral experiments at larger scale and with less WEIRD participants than feasible in laboratory studies or on Mechanical Turk. LabintheWild lets participants compare themselves to others in exchange for study participation; a feedback mechanism that has attracted an average of more than 1,000 participants a day from 230 countries. I present the main lessons learned from this experience and show how LabintheWild experiments have enabled us to build volunteer-powered, self-sustaining design support tools in various domains.

Bio: Katharina Reinecke is an Associate Professor at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington and a member of the dub group. After receiving a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Zurich in Switzerland, she did her postdoc at Harvard University and spent 1 1/2 years as an Assistant Professor at the School of Information at the University of Michigan before moving to Seattle. Katharina’s research in human-computer interaction explores how humans’ interaction with technology varies depending on their cultural, geographic, or demographic background. She is co-founder of LabintheWild, a virtual lab for conducting behavioral studies, and of Augury Design Inc., a startup that predicts the success of visual designs using data from more than 100,000 LabintheWild participants.

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