My research interests largely center around two main themes: Improving User Experience (UX) and Healthy Cognitive Aging.

UX Research

UX Research is about understanding how typical users interact with a product so we can ensure it works in the ways they expect. My approach is grounded in experimental psychology, cognition, and human factors. I use rigorous, empirical methods to understand the user experience and make recommendations to improve the usability of websites, applications, surveys, forms, and other products - all while working quickly and maintaining quality.

Participant in a usability study, working on a website while his eyes are tracked

Participant in a usability study, working on a website while his eyes are tracked

The product team observes UX sessions from the Observation Room.

The product team observes UX sessions from the Observation Room.

  • Usability Evaluations: We recruit typical users to complete tasks and assess what works well and what needs to be modified. 
  • Eye-Tracking Technology: Using non-invasive eye tracking, we learn what attracts users' attention and how users process information.
  • Subjective, Observational, and Implicit Data: My approach involves asking users what they think about their experience, observing and measuring interactions, and assessing what people cannot explicitly share.
    • Subjective: What do users think about the product? How do they feel about their experience? What would they change to make it better? What other similar products do they use that they love? 
    • Observational: How long does it take users to complete tasks? How many clicks does it take? What errors do they make? How many tasks can they complete? What is the conversion rate?
    • Implicit: Where do people look as they attempt to complete tasks? What is the order in which they process information? How long do they look at various images? How are physiological responses related to frustrating user experiences? What do their facial expressions convey about the experience?
  • The goal in UX research is to assess how users interact with a product and learn how to improve it so people can accomplish their goals and continue to engage and share their positive experiences with others.
    • How does the typical user interact with the product?
    • Do people have more engaging interactions with design A or B?
    • Do people look at the elements you want them to look at? Are elements distracting? Are they missing things altogether?
    • How many clicks does it take to accomplish goals?
    • How do people feel after interacting with the product?
    • What are the barriers to using a product?

International Research

In the field: in-home interviews to understand how users experience products.

In the field: in-home interviews to understand how users experience products.

I specialize in international research - going to the markets we are interested in, and interviewing typical users there. It is important to go to the users and observe them in their natural environment because there are things in the environment that we cannot account for in the lab. These extraneous variables may impact how people interact with products.

  • In-home interviews: We recruit typical users who allow us to come into their homes to conduct the interviews. This allows us to observe their natural environment and experience things, like poor wifi at home, that are part of the real-world experience.  
  • Focus groups: We recruit groups of similar users and conduct group activities and discussions around perceptions and experiences.
  • Intercept interviews: We approach people in the market to ask questions about how they shop or use products. These interviews are short snap shots of day-to-day life.
  • Usability Testing: We conduct in-lab sessions to test the usability of a product. In-lab sessions allow us to control for extraneous variables, like poor Internet, so we can focus on how people use the product in ideal conditions.

Cognitive Aging Research

Some of my research focuses on the UX for older users. I am interested in habits and skills that lead to healthy cognition in older age and how technology may help older adults age gracefully. Some of my research findings include:

  • Piano playing leads to better learning and memory.
  • Lifelong bilingualism leads to improved cognition in old age.
  • Playing video games regularly increases the ability to learn and retain knowledge.
  • Although older adults report the same amount of computer and Internet experience as younger adults, when the questions are asked with more detail, age-related differences emerge.
  • Older adults use and look at different parts of Websites compared to young adults.
  • Thinking aloud during usability testing does not affect usability metrics in younger adults. For older adults, thinking aloud leads to increased time on task and a greater number of eye fixations on the screen.

Clients/Projects

Very few people can enter a room and immediately leave an impression quite the way that Jennifer Romano Bergstrom does. She’s charismatic, smart, strategic, and truly an expert in her field. When she talks about user experience, or the topic of UX surfaces, she’s on her game, willing to listen to others, share her insight from years of schooling and workplace guidance and leadership, and always eager to help others grow and develop along their career path. As a colleague, the enthusiasm she has is contagious - and makes people come together to find the right solution. The one thing I value most about Jen is her natural curiosity for what makes things work and why - always trying to figure out how to better products, experiences and colleagues.
  • Instagram Performance
  • Facebook Privacy
  • Facebook Safety Check
  • Facebook On This Day, Friends Day, and Friendversary
  • Facebook Lite
  • Nielsen
  • Arbitron
  • Capital One Bank
  • Citizens Bank
  • Wellpoint
  • National Partnership for Women and Families
  • American Association for Homes and Services for the Aging
  • National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  • Department of Defense (DoD)
  • Internal Revenue Services (IRS)
  • Virginia Department of Education (VDOE)
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • US Census Bureau
  • US General Services Administration (GSA)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)

Jennifer is a highly talented, creative, and dynamic researcher. She does a great job of managing several tasks/projects at once; she puts a great deal of thought into her work and the interpretation of results; and she is always thinking ahead to new lines of investigation. Jennifer is dependable, reliable, and a solid team player.
Jennifer is an excellent worker and it is a pleasure to work with her on different usability projects. She has shown innovative, creative and effective problem solving skills which meet and exceed the needs of our clients.
Jennifer has quickly become an internationally-recognized name in UX, user experience and usability research. She’s a pleasure to work with, and always keeps me motivated. I have nothing but good things to say about her as a collaborator, and it’s amazing how much work she’s done to forward the mission of good design of websites and web surveys from users’ perspectives.

Additional info: 

Mobile sled hack - made with a selfie stick, webcam and tape, during a moment of desperation in Indonesia! During usability testing, the participants used their phones in this sled, and observers watched the live stream nearby.

Mobile sled hack - made with a selfie stick, webcam and tape, during a moment of desperation in Indonesia! During usability testing, the participants used their phones in this sled, and observers watched the live stream nearby.