Zeljko Medenica

Professional experiences

UI/UX Research Consultant, Nuance Communications, November 2012 - August 2013

In my most recent role as a UI/UX research consultant at Nuance Communications, I led a usability testing initiative for Dragon Drive!, which is a prototype voice-activated, natural-language, in-vehicle infotainment system. Voice-activated systems are gaining in their popularity, because it has been shown that voice represents a safer interaction modality compared to manual-visual interaction. Nevertheless, speech user interfaces (SUI) can also negatively affect driving if not designed properly. The purpose of my work was to explore various application designs, obtain quantitative and qualitative evaluations of system's performance and to propose targeted changes intended for improving the prototype.

Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs (MERL) Internship, Summer 2010

With technical advances a large number of electronic devices are finding their way into vehicles. Most of those devices depend on in-car screens for presenting information. Head-down displays (HUDs) are the standard nowadays, however they can negatively affect visual attention on the road. The purpose of this research was to explore two alternatives to standard HUDs for presenting list-based textual information (such as songs or destinations obtained from an automatic speech recognizer): head-up display (presented on the windshield) and auditory display (no visual feedback).

Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs (MERL) Internship, Summer 2009
Voice interfaces for in-car devices have been shown to offer advantages over standard manual-visual interfaces (buttons, knobs, levers, etc.) regarding their influence on driving. However, they can quickly become very cumbersome if the hierarchy of the menu items is difficult to comprehend or involves many steps. This research investigated a new technique for simplifying in-vehicle device interactions by using contextually linked push-to-talk buttons for multiple domains: navigation, music and contacts.

The research was conducted in MERL's custom driving simulator. Even though it falls into the category of medium fidelity driving simulators, it has an impressive motion chair with multiple degrees of freedom.

Microsoft Research (MSR) Internship, Summer 2008
Even though personal navigation devices (PNDs) are becoming common nowadays, there are many services which allow obtaining navigation information over an ordinary cell phone. Those services typically allow drivers to enter departure and destination information (using a keyboard or voice commands) and then send navigation directions to their phones in the form of a list. This research compared list-based, turn-by-turn navigation directions on a cell phone with voice-only directions.


Other experiences

Reviewer/technical committee member:

  • 2013, 2012 and 2011 Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications (AutomotiveUI)
  • HFIV'12 Workshop on Human Factors in Intelligent Vehicles at IEEE IV 2012
  • 2011 Cognitive Load and In-Vehicle Human-Machine Interaction, Workshop at AutomotiveUI 2011
  • IEEE Pervasive Computing Magazine 2011
  • 2010 Fifth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI 2010)
  • 2008 IEEE Intelligent Vehicles Symposium

Presenter in research related workshops:
  • Cognitive Load and In-Vehicle Human-Machine Interaction workshop, Salzburg, Austria, 2011
  • 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 NECHFES Student Conference (New England Chapter of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society), Boston, MA. In 2008, received a "Best presentation award" for the quality of the research and presented work.
  • Young Researchers' Roundtable on Spoken Dialog Systems 2008, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, June 2008


  • Student volunteer at MobileHCI 2011, Stockholm, Sweden