Yann Riche, user experience and hci research
y a n n . r i c h e @ g m a i l . c o m

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Yann Riche's portrait


Yann Riche
Seattle, WA, USA
email: yann[dot]riche[@]yannriche[dot]net

Download File 2 pages version of my resume (Nov 2012) in pdf (User Experience Researcher).


User experience researcher, I conduct cutting edge research to inform and inspire the design of products. I provide foundations and design directions to drive innovation and delighting user experiences. I help the business align high area investments with high quality user experiences. I use creative problem solving to fit the constraints of the business while seeking to provide design insights.

core skills

Ethnography / field studies
User interviews
Usability studies
Requirements gathering
Personas / user modeling
Focus groups
User-centered design
Survey design and analysis
Controlled experiments

professional experience

January 2015 - Now: Senior User Experience Researcher at Zillow, Seattle, WA, USA

Grounding, inspiring and informing the current and next generation experiences of home shopping and selling experiences.

January 2013 - Dec 2014: User Experience Researcher 2 at Microsoft Surface, Redmond, WA, USA

Conducted user research to inform the development of current and future Surface products, including the Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4, and Surface Book.

Surface Pro 4 / Book pen
Iterated on previous research for best for factors for digital pens and styluses, provided a UX-driven strategy for the success of digital pen, aggregating dozens of internal studies as well as research by other Microsoft teams and third parties. Provided support to drive pen as a priority across the company, consulting with various groups across Microsoft and leading research on the Windows pen experience (in particular in the Windows 10 planning phases and for the new inking engine DirectInk). Developed innovative qualitative and quantitative methods and tools to assess and understand the digital pen experience, including log analysis tools, beta testing processes, questionnaires, etc. Conducted iterative studies to identify the best materials for pen tips and erasers to optimize feel and life. Deeply supported reliability engineering through data-driven user modeling and movement analysis.

"The biggest upgrade with the Surface Pro 4 might just be the new Surface Pen, which has been redesigned to fit more comfortably in your hand, and now also sports 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity. Microsoft also spent plenty of time reworking the tip of the Pen -- so much so that it added the option to swap out the tip if you want something better suited to handwriting instead of drawing, and vice versa. The result? Using the new stylus on the Surface Pro 4 practically feels like you're writing on paper with pencil -- there's a great bit of tactile feedback and very little delay between touching the screen and your results appearing. There's also an "eraser" on the top of the Pen that works just like you'd expect, deleting whatever scribbles you point it to (it even feels like you're erasing actual paper)." --ENGADGET

Surface Pro 3 Pen
Lead researcher for the Surface Pro 3 pen, including the One click for OneNote feature.
I conducted numerous studies to refine the design of the new generation pen, helping shape design and engineering decisions, but also providing insights to marketing and business teams regarding the role and potential of digital pen technologies.
“Best of all, perhaps, the Surface Pro 3 can be turned on by simply clicking a button on the pen, which will come in handy during times when you just want to pick it up and make a quick note or two. With the camera, meanwhile, you can use the pen to capture photos and, if you want, doodle or take notes over them. There's no doubt that Microsoft has definitely gone the extra mile to make the pen a key component of the Surface Pro 3 -- now it's just up to third-party developers to unleash its full potential.” -- ENGADGET

Surface Music Kit Led the research on this top-secret project from both hardware (the Music cover) and app perspective. Defined experience goals and metrics which helped refine the engineering process, and helped focus the design direction of the app through an analysis of digital music beginners and advanced users.

Secret projects I was also involved on a few unreleased projects, looking at new and innovative ways to marry hardware and software, and working hand-in-hand with design to innovate and inspire engineering.

July 2010 - January 2013: User Experience Researcher 2 at Microsoft Developer Division, Redmond, WA, USA

I planned and executed research to support the user experience of developers using Microsoft platforms and tools including formative research: ethnographic observation, interviews, competitive reviews, literature reviews, and evaluative research: usability studies, sentiment analysis.
I applied those methods to a variety of needs, including online assets (tools, services, and documentation), software libraries (api), and for global user segmentation and audience understanding. Particular areas of focus included developer collaboration and developer information needs for application lifecycle management, where I conducted a series of site visits identifying key tasks for the system to support, and pain points that users of such systems commonly have.
I constantly evangelized design- and evidence-driven engineering processes to partner with engineering teams and participated in shaping the UX strategy in the division and the company. I relied largely on the BUILD-MEASURE-LEARN trend initiated by the lean startup book to articulate the need to identify and test hypothesis related to customer behavior and preferences.
I enjoyed mentoring others (e.g. interns, junior colleagues), and helping other disciplines understand and apply user experience principles.
Key Achievements: Opportunistically drove a holistic evaluation of the Windows 8 developer experience, coordinating 4 other researchers and multiple cross-organization teams within the developer division and Windows. Established prescriptive guidance on user documentation authoring in collaboration with technical writers and editors adopted in multiple groups (e.g. Windows, Office)

July-Sept 2009 Post Doctoral fellow, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA

I assisted in advising graduate students on two projects: the analysis of video data to study an online end-user programming environment which contributed clear and grounded recommendations for the design of end-user programming environments; and the study of the role of feedback in helping users understand and use machine-learning systems such as spam filters.
I also conducted participatory design to create and evaluate design concepts of always-on display for presenting consumption information. The study outlined a framework and guidelines for the design of feedback technologies in the home.

2004-2008 Research and teaching assistant - University Paris Sud, Orsay, France

I studied how computer mediated communication could support aging in place using a design-focused approach. I first conducted 3 studies to understand the role communication played in successful aging. I then designed a variety of communication systems for older adults, for which I collected feedback using focus groups, role playing, and other design activities. I chose the most promising design and implemented a fully functional prototype of a concept called markerClock, which I refined over the course of 3 months using feedback from older adults, and dogfooding. I finally deployed the device in two pairs of households, allowing me to inform the larger design space of communication appliances for older adults.
I also taught computer science and human computer interaction to graduate and undergraduate CS students.


2004-2008 PhD

at the University of Paris South (http://www.u-psud.fr FRANCE).
Topic: Communication appliances to support aging in place.

2002-2003 MSc of Interaction Design (Information Environments)

At the University of Queensland, Australia (http://www.itee.uq.edu.au/)
GPA: 6.33/7

2000-2003 Electrical Engineering Degree

Equivalent to a Master degree at the Grenoble Institute of Technology, France.
(Preceded by intensive classes for higher education studies from 1998 to 2000).

Selected Past Projects

2009 Feedback of Electricity Consumption for the Home

Conducted participatory design activities to create and evaluate design concepts of always-on display for presenting consumption information. Designed mockups using Photoshop and an interactive prototype using Java. This study provided a framework and guideliens for the design of feedback technologies in the home to be presented at a major HCI conference.

2009 Studying End-User Visual Programming from a Design Perspective

Designed and conducted the analysis of video data to study an online end-user mashup programming environment from a design perspective. Results provided implications for the design of end-user programming environments (e.g., MS Popfly) to improve usability, ease of use, and efficiency.

2009 Designing and Evaluating Saliency of Machine-Learned Programs

Designed and conducted the evaluation of visual feedback of a desktop machine-learning application to help users and machine collaborate more effectively. Created and implemented visualizations of machine-lear-ning data and designed visualizations for the analysis of logged data.

2004-2008 Communication and Aging in Place

Designed several concepts and prototypes of communication devices to support aging in place using user-centered methodologies and participatory design techniques. Designed, prototyped and field tested markerClock, a communication device based aimed at supporting home rhythms awareness between elderly friends. Conducted iterative design from the field study to prototypes (low fidelity to functional). The field test included site visits, interviews and questionnaires and log data analysis, and allowed me to validate the markerClock concept and to iterate on the design.

2007 M&lange: Space Folding for Multi-Focus Interaction

Designed and experimentally evaluated a multi-focus technique for visually exploring large amounts of data which proved experimentally more efficient than both traditional and split-screen views for conserving contextual awareness during exploration.

2006 Zebra

Designed, implemented and field evaluated an automated video observation tool prototype using automatic logging, interviews and focus groups with study participants and researchers.

2003 Contextual Interfaces for the Home and the Classroom

Designed and prototyped (pen-and-paper, Photoshop, and wireframe) an application for handheld devices (PDAs) allowing teachers to remotely and easily manage technologies in the classroom (video projectors, printers, laboratory computers, etc.). Extended the design concept by proposing a concept of location-aware device for controlling appliances and devices in the Home.

2002 Observational Study of Physical Collaboration in the Design Industry

Conducted observational studies of physical collaboration in two architectural firms in Brisbane, Queensland. Outlined the role of the physical media for collaboration as well as the use of freeform sketching in design activities. Collaboration with fellow research intern, under the supervision of research staff. Results were published in a research article at the 2004 Cooperative Design, Visualization, and Engineering conference.



Mélange: Space Folding for Visual Exploration
Nikals Elmqvist, Yann Riche, Nathalie Henry and Jean-Daniel Fekete, in the IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (2009, in press). Download File
PeerCare: Supporting Awareness of Rhythms and Routines for Better Aging in Place
Yann Riche and Wendy Mackay, in CSCW: the Journal of Collaborative Computing, Springer Verlag (2010, to appear). Download File

Peer Reviewed Conferences


Designing Communications to Support Aging in Place Yann Riche Ph.D. Thesis from the University Paris Sud (in English) Download File

Other Peer Reviewed

Hard-to-Use Interfaces Considered Beneficial (Some of the Time) Yann Riche, Nathalie Riche, Petra Isenberg, Anastasia Bezerianos, in Extended Abstract of the ACM SIGCHI 2010 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Apr. 2010) Download Paper markerClock: A Communicating Augmented Clock for Elderly Yann Riche, Wendy Mackay, Extended Abstracts of INTERACT 2007 (the IFIP 2007 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction). Download File Une horloge communicante pour les séniors Yann Riche, Wendy Mackay, Extended Abstracts of IHM 2007 (the Conférence Francophone d'Interaction Homme Machine). Download File

Doctoral Consortium

PeerCare: Challenging the Monitoring Approach Yann Riche, Extended Abstracts of INTERACT 2007 (the IFIP 2007 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction). Download File

Technical Reports

An Observational Analysis of Collaborative Actions in the Design Industry Yann Riche, Matthew Simpson, Lorna MacDonald, University of Queensland, November 2003.
Work realized during my M.Sc. in Information Environments at the University of Queensland. Download File Technology Probes for the design of a communication systems for seniors
Yann Riche, Ph.D. Confirmation report, University of Queensland, August 2006.


Aging and Value in Communication
Yann Riche, Position paper at Age Matter: Bridging the generation gap through technology-mediated interaction, Workshop at the ACM CHI'09 Conference. (the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems)
Communication Appliances: Shared Awareness for Intimate Social Networks Wendy Mackay, Yann Riche, Jean-Baptiste Labrune, Position paper to the ACM SIGCHI 2005 Conference workshop on Shared Awareness. Download File PeerCare: Challenging the monitoring approach to care for the elderly Yann Riche and Wendy Mackay, Position paper to the HCI and the Older Population Workshop at the British HCI Conference 2005, Edinburg, UK. Download File (poster)


Conference Reviewing (outdated)

UbiComp 2010, Conference on Ubiquitous Computing
ACM DIS 2010-2012 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems
ACM CHI 2008-2013, Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
IFIP INTERACT 2007-2011, International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction
IEEE Tabletop’08, IEEE Workshop on Tabletops and Interactive Surfaces 2008
ACM CSCW’08, Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Work
IHM’07-10, French-Speaking Conference in Human Computer Interaction
ACM UIST07, Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology
OzCHI06, OzCHI10, Australasian Conference on Human Computer Interaction
UPA 2011 Usability Professionals' Association – International Conference


Puget Sound SIGCHI Chapter
AFIHM (French Speaking Association for Human Computer Interactions)


Invited Talk: Developers are users too, user research at Microsoft Developer Division
Lecture at the CS department
University of Caolifornia, Santa Barbara, CA, USA


Invited Talk: Leveraging Users' Intimacy
Colloquium talk at the CSEE department
Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA


Invited Talk: Rhythms and Routines to Support Aging in Place
Microsoft Live Labs, Bellevue, WA, USA
Ph.D. Defense: Designing Communication Appliances to Support Aging in Place
Laboratoire de Recherche en Informatique, Paris South University, France


Paper Presentation: markerClock: a Communicating Augmented Clock for Elderly
Paper presentation at the IFIP INTERACT 2007 Conference
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Doctoral Consortium: Designing Communication Appliances for Aging in Place
Presentation at the IFIP INTERACT 2007 Conference
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Invited Talk: Using Communication to Support Aging in Place
UFRGS, School of IT, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Demonstration: markerClock, une horologe communicante pour les séniors
Demonstration at a conference
French-Speaking Conference in Human Computer Interaction, Paris, France
Doctoral Consortium: PeerCare: Challenging the Monitoring Approach
Doctoral consortium presentation
IFIP 2007 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Invited Talk: Designing Communication Appliances for Seniors
Seminar during a research lab visit
NICTA, Sydney, Australia
Invited Talk: Technology Probes for Exploration
Seminar during a research lab visit
University of Sydney, School of IT, Sydney, Australia


Student Volunteer at ECSCW’05
Paris, France


Student Volunteer at OzCHI’03
Brisbane, Australia

Awards and Grants

French Government Ph.D. Grant: $70,000 over three years, 2004-2007
University Paris South International Mobility (Australia) Grant: $1500, 2005
University Paris South PhD Mobility (UK) Grant: $750, 2005
Regional International Mobility (Australia) Grant: $5,700, 2002
International House Achievement Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies, 2003

Teaching, tutoring


Part-time lecturer
University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
INFO400 Informatics Capstone Class, Undergraduate.


Temporary Teaching Position
University Paris-South, Orsay, France
Design and Evaluation of Interfaces, Graduate.
Interactive Systems Engineering, Graduate.
Introduction to Computer Science, Undergraduate.
Java Programming Project, Undergraduate.
Graphics and Multimedia, Undergraduate.
Human Computer Interaction, Undergraduate.


Casual Tutoring Position
University Paris-South, Orsay, France
Design and Evaluation of Interfaces, Graduate
Java Projects, Undergraduate

University Paris VI, Paris, France
Design and Evaluation of Interfaces, Graduate


Casual Tutoring
University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Multimedia Technology, Undergraduate.
Multimedia Studio 2, Undergraduate.
Information Environments Studio 1, Undergraduate.
Multimedia Authoring, Undergraduate
Multimedia Studio 1, Undergraduate

Other Professional Experiences

H10 Capital, Seattle (WA, USA) Feb. Jul. 2010
User Experience Researcher Consultant at Microsoft in the Developers' Division.
Planned and conducted user research in the topic of help, documentation usage and community for developers. Designed, planned, onducted, analysed and reported on more than five studies regarding the usage of documentation and other content in the development lifecycle. This position led to my hiring at Microsoft as a full time employee in February 2010.

UNILOG, Paris (France) Jul. – Oct. 04
IT engineer for an IT services company. Software development in ABAP, for a SAP system.

S3C, Chambray-lès-Tours (France) May 04
Design of communication tools (logo, leaflet,...)

Pleasure Divers (Magnetic Island, Australia) Dec. 03 – Feb. 04
Internship in a dive shop. PADI Rescue Diver and PADI Divemaster certification, First Aid certification. Initial development of the website of the training center: http://www.pleasuredivers.com.au.

Vice President of the ENSIEG student's association from Mar. 01 to Mar. 02
In charge of industrial relationship: increase of 100% of industrial participation to the budget. Team management. Organisation of students' events.

Project Leader in various study projects (including programmation and human computer interactions)

Various jobs and internships since 1998.


Certified Scuba Diver: PADI DiveMaster
First Aid Course, O2 Resucitation, Scuba Diving First Aid


Photography (Flickr site), Scuba Diving , Movies and Reading.