UBalt Electronic Theses and Dissertations

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The UBalt Electronic Theses and Dissertations collection accepts theses and dissertations from all graduate programs at the University of Baltimore. Beginning in 2017, all graduate students are required to submit an electronic copy of their thesis or dissertation to this collection. Submissions prior to 2017 were at either the behest of an individual program or at the student's discretion.

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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 244
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    Effects of Viewing Nature Images on Online Navigation in Control Group & ADHD Adults
    (2024-05) Crawford, Jessica; Summers, Kathryn; Blodgett, Bridget; University of Baltimore. Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences.; Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture.
    This study explores the effect of viewing digital nature imagery prior to attempting a web-based navigation task, to see if such exploration would improve the completion success rates and task speed for a group of 22 control participants and ten participants that self-identify as having ADHD. First, 110 people rated free nature images from pexel.com using the shortened version of Karpela and Hartig’s Perceived Restorativeness Scale (PRS). To prevent fatigue, each participant only reviewed 10 randomized images out of 50 total. In the second stage of the study, 22 additional adult control participants and 10 additional ADHD participants performed short wayfinding tasks on four websites--two photo/video e-commerce sites and two library sites. For one of the e-commerce sites and one of the library sites, participants viewed 25 nature photos before performing the wayfinding tasks. The order of the websites was randomized to limit order bias. On each website, a participant conducted a known-item search and a browsing task. Finally, participants answered brief questions about their experience post- participation. Significant differences were found in the eye movements between the control and ADHD group, as well as their calmness ratings of nature. Viewing nature also had some significant effects on task performance and efficiency for both groups, with the largest effects being seen in those with ADHD during known-item task search.
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    Assessing the Effectiveness of Networked Visualizations in Facilitating Information Seeking in Linked Data Enabled Information Retrieval Systems
    (2024-05) Hogarth, Yannick; Summers, Kathryn; Walsh, Greg; University of Baltimore. Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences; University of Baltimore. Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture
    Researchers, healthcare practitioners, and public health professionals in the life sciences domain face many challenges in navigating vast amounts of interconnected biomedical data. While most digital search systems are optimized for known-item seeking, these systems, by design, do not support information retrieval where search goals are not entirely defined, which is common in exploratory research. This thesis explores how a visualization-first approach could facilitate more intuitive and fruitful information seeking behaviors for professionals in the life sciences domain, especially individuals without advanced software engineering or data querying skills. Specifically, it investigates how different characteristics of force-directed graph visualizations of semantic data can help or hinder a user’s search experience. Leveraging visualizations to represent search systems shows promise as an easy-to-understand means to navigate complex, interconnected biomedical data, but further research is still needed to assess its effectiveness against mainstream search tools.
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    Habit-forming by design – an examination of TikTok's design elements that intentionally foster habit formation
    (2024-05) McFarland, Leslie; Kohl, Deborah; Blodgett Ward, Bridget; University of Baltimore. Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences; University of Baltimore. Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture
    This research aims to determine whether TikTok is intentionally designed to be habit-forming. Prior research identifies TikTok as “addictive” but does not explain the reasons from a design standpoint. An analysis of TikTok’s design elements was performed, and 2 elements were selected for testing – variable content and endless scroll. Testing participants indicated their triggers for using TikTok and how they felt after using it; they completed a Self-Report Habit Index (SRHI) on scrolling TikTok; and they interacted with a prototype that was similar to TikTok without variable content or endless scrolling. Based on the analyses and test findings, this research demonstrates that TikTok is intentionally designed to be habit-forming.
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    Gender Euphoria in Virtual Worlds: A Case Study of Animal Crossing New Horizons
    (2023-12) Caruso, Casey; Blodgett, Bridget; Harper, Todd; University of Baltimore. Division of Science, Information Arts, and Technology; University of Baltimore. M.S. Interaction Design & Information Architecture
    Why do users experience gender euphoria while playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons? The graphics in (ACNH) are stylized and limited. Yet, the capacity for imprinting a player’s identity onto their character is boundless. Abstraction, in this case, works as an anchor for identity. The present study attempts to gather data from players who have experienced this phenomenon in order to add to the literature in discourse with Gender Euphoria, Queer game Studies, and Avatar Studies.
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    iSkate: A Digital Meet-up for Skateboarders
    (2024-02-15) King, Derek; Walsh, Greg; Blodgett, Bridget; University of Baltimore. Division of Science, Information Arts and Technologies; University of Baltimore. Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture
    This thesis delves into the evolving relationship between skate culture and the digital landscape in our ever-changing technological era. It explores how platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Thrasher Magazine have reshaped global connections and human interactions, paralleling the remarkable expansion of skateboarding across diverse backgrounds and geographical borders. Skateboarding, once localized, has become a global phenomenon, uniting enthusiasts worldwide under a vibrant subculture. The thesis illuminates how digital spaces act as conduits for immediate information exchange, connecting individuals to the rich tapestry of skate culture. It investigates how these spaces catalyze knowledge-sharing and cultural enrichment.
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    Cross-Cultural Music Behaviors
    (2023-12-10) Johnson, Kourtney; Kohl, Deborah; Blodgett, Bridget; University of Baltimore. Division of Science, Information Arts and Technologies; University of Baltimore. Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture
    The purpose of this study is to strengthen prior research on music induced behaviors across cultures and to analyze whether there are consistent patterns in the behavioral responses. This process allows for the curation of practical insights for UX/UI designers and developers to create more immersive and culturally resonant digital experiences. There is a sizable amount of research on the correlation between music and behavioral responses, however, the subject needs further observation with respect to the interdisciplinary fields of psychology, musicology, and user experience design. Research shows that the number of internet users are expected to increase over the years. As the intersection of music and technology becomes increasingly integral to global connectivity, it is beneficial to incorporate music that aligns with positive emotions thereby enhancing user engagement and satisfaction while also avoiding content that might be triggering, offensive or discomforting to certain cultural groups. The selection of music genres for this study was carefully curated to encompass a diverse range of cultural influences and emotional responses, ensuring a comprehensive exploration of cross-cultural patterns in music-induced behavior. A pre-study questionnaire was given to all participants for an initial screening of their musical opinions along with their demographic information followed by the execution of the study. During and after the music exposure, the behavioral reactions such as facial expressions, body language, and self-reported verbal responses of participants were observed and recorded. After the musical stimuli, a post-study questionnaire was given to participants. Both questionnaires were compared along with their behavioral responses. The outcomes of this study not only validated prevailing principles in music-induced behavioral responses but also revealed additional insights into the distinct behaviors and perceptions displayed by individuals with varied cultural backgrounds while interacting with various music genres.
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    Gaining Traction with Augmented Reality in Outdoor Running
    (2024-05) Lienti, Steph; Walsh, Greg; Summers, Kathryn; University of Baltimore. Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences; University of Baltimore. Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture
    The study aims to explore how augmented reality can improve the outdoor running experience to keep runners motivated and improve society's approach to combating the obesity epidemic today. The goal was to create an outdoor running app and test the concepts of these ideas as if the technology could support the app. After user testing, analyze test participant feedback and improve the application. I interviewed eight participants to gain feedback from experienced runners and then conducted live prototype user testing. The findings were met with enthusiastic responses and valuable feedback from test participants aged 19 to 55. I have laid a solid foundation for a new outdoor running app that uses augmented reality to keep runners motivated for longer periods.
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    The Effectiveness of a Coping Skills Application Prototype on Impulsive Habits
    (2023) Donovan, Journey Marie; Blodgett, Bridget; Kohl, Deborah; University of Baltimore. Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences; University of Baltimore. Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture
    This research looked at the relationship between the development of coping skills via a prototype and impulsivity. The application of coping skills was not used as a medical intervention. Participants were asked to pick a habit, such as nail biting, to try to reduce by replacing the habit with the use of a coping skill on the prototype. An application focused on providing general coping skills rather than focusing on a specific group is not currently in the app stores. This is the prototype for a new application that could be applied in many different situations for many different groups of people. The application can provide coping skills for a variety of things such as children having tantrums to cancer patients in pain. This study consisted of nine participants from age 23 to 65, most of the participants fell into the 23-30 range. This study used a journal method, asking participants to journal when they used the prototype or had an urge to pick up the habit. Through this study, many participants learned new coping skills and continued to use the prototype after the application.
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    Visual Thinking Strategies in User Experience
    (2023-12) Buser, Leo; Kohl, Deborah; DeGeal, Jacob; University of Baltimore. Division of Science, Information Arts and Technologies; University of Baltimore. Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture
    Understanding the perspectives of other people is a common goal in the field of user experience (UX), but it is not a guaranteed experience. The design thinking process aims to generate a lot of ideas and possible solutions to a problem at hand. This paper discusses the state of psychological safety for participants and team members in a UX setting and a design thinking process. This study measured the psychological safety of UX participants who participated in a facilitated discussion method called Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS). This study will inform the creation of a VTS module to be used in special topics courses for the Interaction Design and Information Architecture (IDIA) master’s program. The IDIA program at the University of Baltimore is the most relevant program to the UX field. In this study, seven UX participants experienced a VTS discussion. After the VTS discussion, participants were given a questionnaire and asked to rate their experience, including how comfortable they felt sharing ideas during the discussion. While not statistically significant, quantitative and qualitative results in the study suggest that the VTS discussion was favorable and would be recommended to others UX professionals and students.
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    Advanced Entertainment for Advanced Ages: The User Experience of Subscription-Video-on-Demand Services for Mature Users
    (2023-12) Pittman, Benjamin Isaiah; Blodgett, Bridget; Summers, Kathryn; University of Baltimore. Division of Science, Information Arts and Technologies; University of Baltimore. Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture
    Streaming services have revolutionized video media consumption, exemplified by the extensive reach of Subscription-Video-on-Demand (SVoD) platforms like Netflix, serving over 200 million users worldwide. This transformation predominantly caters to individuals aged 18-44, yet it increasingly appeals to seniors, offering an opportunity for them to enhance their digital proficiency. Nevertheless, the fast-paced technological advancements within SVoD platforms pose potential challenges for this demographic. This study extends previous research regarding the significance of television in the lives of elderly users. It concentrates on senior-age SVoD consumers to identify and comprehend the experiential obstacles they encounter when interacting with SVoD platforms. This investigation encompasses digital interface elements, including account management, payment structures, and content discovery mechanisms. Additionally, it explores the tangible interfaces used by seniors, such as televisions, mobile devices, and computers. Through in-depth interviews with individuals aged 55 and above, valuable insights into their preferences and challenges will be obtained. These findings will inform the development of user-friendly information architecture designs within the SVoD industry, ensuring an inclusive and enhanced user experience for senior-age consumers. This research contributes to the broader goal of making digital technology and SVoD services more accessible to a diverse range of users, including the senior-age demographic.
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    Exploring the Impact of Body-Worn Cameras on Racial/Ethnic Arrest Composition
    (2023-12) Brooks, Frank; Wasileski, Gabriela; Kelechi , Uzochukwu; Stanley, Debra; University of Baltimore. College of Public Affairs; University of Baltimore. Doctor of Public Administration
    Policing issues continue to plague the United States yearly. These issues consistently frustrate the relationship between citizens and police, particularly African Americans and police departments. Body-worn Cameras have often been the sought-out solution to help to ensure justice. However, the answer to whether BWCs work to address negative policing outcomes, such as racial/ethnic disparities in arrests is inconsistent. This research evaluated BWCs’ influence arrest disparities by examining the racial/ethnic composition of arrests in Chicago following the implementation of the Chicago Police Department’s BWC program. The study found that BWCs has limited influence on the racial/ethnic arrests, and no overall impact on racial/ethnic arrest disparities.
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    Bridging The Digital Gap Between Technology And Veterans
    (2023) Jones, Joshua I.; Walsh, Greg; University of Baltimore . Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences; University of Baltimore. Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture
    This work examines the digital gap between veterans experiencing transition and early adoptions of technology in the modern era. Currently, large integration of technology has been implemented throughout many business sectors that affect veterans such as health, banking, transportation, etc. Many of these veterans face obstacles to maintain the ability to be self-sufficient due to the inability to adapt to technology. I incorporated information from literature reviews about technological advancements and veteran population, along with insight from professionals that work directly with the veteran community. This study highlights the mental and physical barriers veterans endure, affecting their ability to properly understand and use certain technology. This paper informs the reader and modern designers of the concerns related to veteran population when integrating technology for the community.
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    Attention Residue for On-Screen Tasks
    (2023-12) Andres Zapata; Deborah Kohl, Ph.D.; Greg Walsh, Ph.D.; Bridget Blodgett, Ph.D.; University of Baltimore. Division of Science, Information Arts and Technologies; University of Baltimore. Doctor of Science in Information and Interaction Design
    Attention equates to monetary value in the digital economy. The more attention marketers capture, the more profitable they become. This is because the Internet has been built to monetize attention. Consequently, understanding attention dynamics, especially during multitasking, is crucial. Attentional residue happens when individuals switch tasks before completing their current one, causing some cognitive energy to remain with the initial task. This reduces their performance on the subsequent task due to the distraction of the incomplete one. While attention residue has been observed in off-line modalities, attention residue has not been studied on similar or equivalent tasks on- and off-line. This study aimed to investigate attention residue in both on-screen and off-screen environments and the impact of time pressure on task performance. The study found that attention residue existed similarly in both screen modalities, suggesting that despite the constant task-switching on digital platforms, there's no discernible difference in attention residue. Time pressure was found to potentially improve performance in some scenarios which is consistent with prior research. Qualitative data suggests that participants found task interruptions frustrating, aligning with previous research. Some participants, however, derived pleasure from the challenge of the tasks, hinting at the role of dopamine and motivation in task persistence. Lastly, there seems to be an increasing acceptance of interruptions in on-screen tasks, which seems to transfer to off-screen tasks. People seem to expect interruptions in on-screen activities and this experience and expectation seems to transfer to off-line tasks suggesting that people are increasingly becoming more comfortable with interruptions.
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    An analysis of governing factors affecting diversity in local government capital improvement program implementation
    (2023-09-27) Ayala-Collazo, Isami C; Wyatt-Nichol, Heather; Naylor, Lorenda; Iyer, Seema; University of Baltimore. College of Public Affairs.; University of Baltimore. Doctor of Public Administration.
    This research sought to identify the governing factors affecting diversity in local government capital improvement program (CIP) implementation. Diversity was assessed at two phases: capital improvement plans drafting/approval and contract award. In particular, the implementation of small, minority, women owned business enterprise (SMWBE) programs was studied. Four counties in the state of Florida, United States of America served as the case study: Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, and Orange. A mixed methods approach was utilized. Each county’s approved CIP for the years 2010-2020, construction contracts awarded and registries SMWBE were statistically analyzed. Interviews with government executives performing the functions of procurement, business opportunity, and construction management were conducted and included as part of the qualitative analysis. The research confirmed that diversity is not used as a variable in CIP planning. The following governing factors were identified as affecting diversity in CIP implementation: program complexity, certification requirements, and communication inefficiencies.
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    Improving Usability and Reducing Overload Among Physicians Within the Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital Using EHR Systems
    (2023-08-28) Felder, Jordan; Summers, Kathryn; Blodgett, Bridget; University of Baltimore. Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences; University of Baltimore. Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture
    The Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers implemented the Bar Code Medication Administration (BCMA) into their practices between 1999 and 2000. The BCMA has significantly influenced physicians' daily workflows, with electronic systems helping to reduce medication errors. However, cognitive overload and related issues are common, highlighting the need for more intensive research on the Electronic Medication Administration Record (eMARs) to find solutions that alleviate these challenges for physicians. This research aims to identify the current usability problems in the Veteran's Affairs (VA's) hospital's eMAR/BCMA system and investigate how these systems contribute to physician overload, leading to medical errors and suboptimal patient outcomes.
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    Assistive Technology for Non-Institutional Alzheimer’s Care Settings
    (2021-06) Perez, Angelica; Summers, Kathryn; Blodgett, Bridget; University of Baltimore. Division of Science, Information Arts, and Technologies.; University of Baltimore. Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture.
    With a considerable number of individuals with Alzheimer’s non-institutionalized in the United States, there is an opportunity to innovate an assistive technology to support those care recipients, their caregivers, and those near to them. The proposed application, Gellah, positions itself as a digital application that serves as a repository for photographs, personally meaningful information, and reminders, that can be used by care recipients, caregiver(s), and others. Such a repository can help reassure, increase calm, entertain, increase confidence, and improve quality of life. The repository provides a space where the care recipient can retain and review information about their own life and about the people and events that matter to them. The proposed application was tested and evaluated using a semi-structured, virtual, qualitative approach. The evaluation focused on the usability of the product design, but it also helped highlight other product considerations (privacy, accessibility, ethical uses) that lend themselves to further research, exploration with implications for other disciplines. The proposed application allows use by both care recipients and caregivers. Based on the results of the study, it is anticipated that future iterations may provide family members and other authorized users the opportunity to contribute information or photographs to the repository. It is also recognized that this application may be helpful in institutional settings. Such expansion would require further analysis into how different roles are defined and managed in order to assure balancing privacy and to avoid burdening caregivers with multiple credentials for a single service. Also, it will be essential to develop an ecosystem that can grow with a care recipient’s Alzheimer’s progression for optimal user value.
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    Citizen Representation in Democratic Government Processes: A Study of Baltimore City's Central Business District Redevelopment from 1950-2007
    (2023) Bates, Lyndsay; Wachhaus, Aaron; Gourrier, Al; Naylor, Lorenda; University of Baltimore. College of Public Affairs.; University of Baltimore. Doctor of Public Administration.
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    Job Satisfaction as a Moderator of the Safety Leadership-Safety Performance Relationship in Nurses
    (2023-06-05) Maurice, William; Tedone, Archana; Mitchell, Thomas; University of Baltimore. Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences.; University of Baltimore. Master of Science in Applied Psychology: Industrial and Organizational Psychology
    Despite organizations prioritizing safety, workplace accidents and injuries continue to occur. Thus, safety research has evaluated factors that influence employees’ workplace safety behaviors. The objective of this study was to examine job satisfaction as a moderator of the relationship between safety leadership and safety performance. The current study predicted that job satisfaction would strengthen the relationships between transformational leadership and safety performance but weaken the relationships between passive leadership and safety performance. This study dispersed surveys to 134 direct care nurses across the United States. Job satisfaction did not moderate any of the transformational safety leadership-safety performance relationships nor the passive safety leadership-safety performance and passive safety leadership-safety participation relationships. Interestingly, this study found that job satisfaction significantly weakened the relationship between passive safety leadership and safety compliance but only when job satisfaction was low. This suggested that significantly fewer safety compliance behaviors occurred when unsatisfied nurses had a leader who engaged in passive leadership behaviors. Because recent surveys have found that nurses’ job satisfaction has been declining, in combination with being required to complete more complex formal safety procedures since the outbreak of COVID-19, this finding is especially important for healthcare organizations as it places them at greater risk of poor retention rates, higher turnover, and reduced financial stability. This paper recommends that healthcare organizations target employee engagement in conjunction with leadership development initiatives to further enhance their impact on the organization.
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    Advertising Design and Perceived Credibility of Online News
    (2023-05) Carroll-Mason, Mary E.; Summers, Kathryn; Blodgett, Bridgett; University of Baltimore. Division of Science, Information Arts and Technologies; University of Baltimore. Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture
    Many newspaper and other informational websites continue to use interstitial, or pop-up, advertising even though this form of advertising often annoys users and is known in other contexts to drive away users. However, there is a gap in scholarly research about the impact of advertising and its design on the perceived credibility of online news. In this study, 26 participants took part in an eye tracking study where they read 3 news articles on the same subject that used two different styles of advertising to evaluate whether the use of interstitial advertising would impact the perceived credibility of the articles. Using Likert scales and a questionnaire, participants were asked to rate the credibility of each story they read and to rank them in order from most credible to least credible. They were also asked to describe any advertising they saw. Following the study, they took part in a semi-structured interview to explore their responses. While not statistically significant, quantitative results in the study suggest that inline advertising had the most negative impact on participants’ perception of the news articles, even though most users preferred inline advertising to interstitial advertising. Further analysis of the eye tracking and qualitative data suggests that persistence and increased cognitive load while reading are likely the cause of this phenomenon. Additional qualitative data suggests that users are most likely to use advertising design as a surface credibility heuristic only when more substantial criteria for evaluating information are exhausted or not available.
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    Optimizing an Online Payment System for Older Adults Through Participatory Design
    (2023-05) Ramos, Christine; Walsh, Greg; Summers, Kathryn; University of Baltimore. Division of Science, Information Arts and Technologies; University of Baltimore. Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture
    This paper explores the effectiveness of participatory design with older adults serving as co-designers in improving the user experience of an online payment system for other older adults. Specifically, the study focuses on enhancing the online payment system of a local utility website, with a focus on mobile devices. A total of 10 older adults served as co-designers and created the system "QuickPay" which was then tested with 10 other older adults. Usability tests were conducted on both the original and redesigned systems, and the results showed a clear improvement in overall user experience in the new system. However, the study also revealed various technological barriers that older adults face, which may hinder their adoption of such systems regardless of a positive user experience. The study informs designers to consider certain barriers while both including older adults as co-designers and when designing for this cohort. The findings highlight the need for future quantitative data and iterative design on the newly developed online payment system “QuickPay”. Overall, this study shows the potential of participatory design with older adults in creating user-friendly products for other older adults, while also acknowledging the importance of addressing broader technological barriers to adoptions.