MQP Success Story

Student Name:
Marisa  J. Siegel, BS in MIS ‘08
Minors: Psychology and Spanish

Project Type:
Major Qualifying Project

The Client:
Fidelity Investments

The Challenge:
With 90 percent of Fidelity's business passing through its network of websites, billions of dollars rides on the effectiveness of the financial services company’s online presence. Siegel and her project teammates recognized that as its customer base ages and a new generation of potential investors enters the workforce, Fidelity needed to understand how to build websites that work for people of different generations.

The Methodology:
Under the supervision of Professor Soussan Djamasbi, the team proposed a research project to quantify differences in user behavior among people who never knew a world without the Internet and the baby boomers, who comprise the majority of Fidelity’s customer base.

Using cutting-edge, eye-tracking software, the project team showed a series of popular consumer websites to people in their 20s and to people in their 50s and 60s and measured differences in how they interacted with those sites.

Student Outcome:
Siegel was hired upon graduation from WPI as a usability specialist in the User Experience group at Fidelity, one of the leading web user experience teams in the world.  Eye tracking is her area of expertise in the growing field of human-computer interaction (HCI).  The project won the WPI MQP Award for 2008. The team also submitted the project as a research paper to The Americas Conference on Information Systems, where it won the top prize in the Human-Computer-Interaction track.

“Fidelity never would have even looked at my resume if I didn’t have this amazing opportunity to do a MQP for them as an undergrad,” Siegel said. “I owe my career here to WPI; the professors, and the whole approach to learning. I am the only person in my team at Fidelity who came here without an advanced degree specific to HCI.”

Client Outcome:
“The project work we did for Fidelity, and the MQPs that came before us and after us, are shown just about every day to peers and customers who tour our labs,” said Siegel. “We changed the way we look at design and we changed the way we research websites. The work we did as students here has been absorbed into the culture at Fidelity. We’ve made a real difference.”

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