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New DUC Director Appointed

March 19, 2003

Waltham, MA - Beth A. Loring has been appointed director of the Design and Usability Center (DUC) at Bentley College. In this role, she will oversee the consulting and research activities of the center.

Bentley's DUC is the only non-profit design and usability testing center on a college campus. The center has provided usability consulting to companies including Monster.com, H&R Block, Fleet Financial and MIT's alumni association. The center also runs an annual Usability Boot Camp for information design professionals. This year, participants designed and conducted usability tests on a supermarket self-checkout lane, the results of which were featured in a Boston Sunday Globe article, "Some may wonder who self checkout serves" (March 16).

Loring comes to Bentley with more than 17 years of experience consulting on product design and usability. She has designed and conducted usability tests on consumer electronics, web sites, delivery services and medical devices for clients including Staples, FannieMae, Samsung Electronics, Motorola and Polaroid. Loring has also been a visiting faculty members in Bentley's Information Design and Corporate Communication department since 2001.

Loring holds an M.S. in Engineering Design from Tufts University and is a certified Human Factors Professional. She has published a number of papers on usability and is coauthor of a chapter in "Usability Practice: How Companies Develop User-Friendly Products" (The Academic Press, 1994). She has received design awards from IDEA/Business Week and ID Magazine.

Loring says her goals for the center include expanding its research activities, particularly with regard to making technology more accessible. She says she would also like to continue to champion the importance of user-centered design in corporations.

"Traditionally the usability battle has been fought down at the level of product engineering," she says. "User-centered design, in order to be most effective, must be embraced at the top levels of an organization. The DUC, thanks to its ties to the business community, is uniquely poised to promote this change."

Prior to joining the DUC this month, Loring worked at the American Institutes for Research, where she was principal research scientist in the Usability Engineering Group. She has also worked as a human factors designer for IDEO Product Development and as a usability specialist at Dun & Bradstreet Software Services, Inc.

The Design and Usability Center at Bentley College offers software, hardware and web development organizations the testing resources needed to secure a strategic advantage in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Services include usability testing, expert reviews, competitive analysis and benchmarking, prototype development and evaluation and research on user-interface design topics. The DUC was founded by Bentley Information Design Professor Bill Gribbons, a recognized expert on usability and accessibility.

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit www.bentley.edu

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