DOE OSTI recently hosted a graduate student from the University of Michigan (UM) School of Information (SI) for a week in our Germantown offices. The student, Ryan Tabor, was participating in the UM SI Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program, which matches graduate students with professional-experience projects identified by host organizations. Ryan's graduate school specialty area is human-computer interaction. That, coupled with his undergraduate degree in psychology and his work experience on IT Help Desks, created a great match for OSTI's project -- a usability study of DOE R&D Accomplishments.
Ryan tested and evaluated the site via various methodologies and reported his findings and recommendations. He provided some valuable insights which will result in an even more user-friendly website. This collaboration was mutually beneficial in that Ryan gained experience by working in a professional environment doing professional-level work and OSTI gained from having a 'third-party' review and feedback about one of its core products.