Visitor from Brazil Investigates User Experience and Software Engineering

Prof. David Redmiles and visiting Prof. Tayana Conte.From February 2019 through February 2020, ISR hosted Prof. Tayana Conte on invitation by her ISR faculty host Prof. David Redmiles. Conte is a professor in Software Engineering and Human-Computer Interaction in the Department of Computer Science at the Federal University of Amazonas (UFAM) in Manaus, Brazil. She is the head of Usability and Software Engineering (USES) Research Group at UFAM. Conte is also a collaborator in the Collaboration Research in Action, Design, and Learning (CRADL) Research Group at UCI, led by Professor Redmiles. At her university in Brazil, Conte teaches human-computer interaction, requirements engineering, software modeling, and architecture, and she conducts research in software engineering, user experience (UX) and usability. Conte has advised five Ph.D. dissertations, and 26 master theses in these areas. She is currently advising seven Ph.D. and two Master degree students at UFAM.

Conte’s research visit at ISR/UCI is supported by a grant from CNPq – the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development. Conte chose to visit UCI and ISR for several reasons. Mainly, she wanted to increase collaboration with Prof. Redmiles. Conte and Redmiles started their collaboration some years ago, in joint work with professors Igor Steinmacher and Marco Gerosa (ISR visitors at the time), in the area of open-source software. For Conte’s visit, the focus is on the integration of software engineering and human-computer interaction. Secondly, UCI has many strong research groups and excellent faculty in areas that perfectly match Conte’s research areas, such as usability and user experience (UX), software architecture, and machine learning for software engineering. Thirdly, UCI has a sound history of fruitful visits from Brazilian researchers in the Informatics and Computer Science fields. Through the years, many successful collaborations have been built.

Conte’s research focuses on two topics: software product quality, mainly regarding usability and user experience (UX); and software process quality, concentrating on supporting developers and teams. She is currently investigating three themes in collaboration with Professor Redmiles and her graduate students in Brazil: (1) Playability Customizable Evaluation Technique for Digital Games, with Master student Felipe Manzoni; (2) Making Sense out of User eXperience (UX) Evaluation, with Ph.D. student Leonardo Marques; and (3) Comprehending User eXperience through Data Science and Empirical Studies, with Ph.D. student Walter Nakamura. The latter research about UX aims to identify which UX Dimensions have a stronger influence on the users’ perception of their experience. Current UX evaluation methods consider that all dimensions have the same weight in users’ experience. However, some UX dimensions may have a stronger influence on users’ perceptions of their experience. At the center of this work is an exploratory longitudinal study employing two generic UX evaluation methods. The results show that the tendency of UX dimensions varies according to the type of product and context of the evaluation over time.

Conte is also collaborating with UCI Professor Iftekhar Ahmed on two other graduate students’ projects: (1) Mining Developers’ Instant Messages Log Data to Identify Project Knowledge, with Ph.D. student Marcia Lima, and Lima’s main advisor Professor Bruno Gadelha (UFAM); and (2) Software Engineering supporting the development of Machine Learning systems, with Ph.D. student Elizamary Souza. Conte and Professor Ahmed have already published two papers at the ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement (ESEM 2019), results from these collaborations: “Land of Lost Knowledge: An Initial Investigation into Projects Lost Knowledge” (Lima et al., 2019) and “Understanding Development Process of Machine Learning Systems: Challenges and Solutions” (Nascimento et al., 2019).

Currently, Conte, her students, Professor Ahmed, and Professor Redmiles are working on new studies (and new papers). This joint collaboration has been an enriching experience for Profs. Conte, Ahmed, and Redmiles, and for the Brazilian students too.

Prof. Redmiles reflected on Conte’s visit: “It’s been great having Prof. Conte in residence this year. Previously, we have collaborated on research in open source software communities, but this visit has given us a chance to collaborate in another area dear to me, usability inspection methods. With her students, we have a chance to extend these kinds of methods for more realistic usability assessment. Prof. Conte has also been great at helping to mentor my graduate students, giving them a fresh perspective on their research as well as guest lecturing in classes.”

Prof. Conte can be reached at or


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