Sarah Farmer

Director of Testing and Evaluation

Member Of:
  • Center for Advanced Communications Policy
Office Hours:
RBI 500 10th Street NW Rm 381
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Sarah Farmer is a Research Scientist II and serves as Director of Testing and Evaluation of the Center for Advanced Communications Policy (CACP) at Georgia Tech. As a human factors researcher, Sarah's research areas have ranged from modeling human performance to applied research in the field of accessible design. Sarah also acts as the managing director of HomeLab, a human factors research initiative at Georgia Tech. HomeLab is made up of researchers with various specialities, including human factors engineering, psychology, universal design, industrial design, and electrical and mechanical engineering. HomeLab also consists of a pool of participants, with a focus on older adults and people with disabilities. These participants have agreed to participate in research both in the lab and in the home, including longitudinal studies.

Sarah also contributes to the NIH's Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative, launched in May 2020 in order to speed the innovation, development, commercialization, and deployment of COVID-19 diagnostic technologies. She established and leads the human factors sub-core for the RADx Test Verification Core (TVC), tasked with evaluating and providing support for candidate COVID-19 diagnostic technologies in the areas of clinical validity, regulatory processes, usability, and robustness of design. The data collected within the human factors sub-core are provided to technology companies to aid in improving the design and performance of their product, and to NIH leadership to assist in determining if a technology should proceed in the program. In her role as the TVC human factors sub-core lead, Sarah and her team conduct rapid evaluations of candidate technologies and have conducted 91 evaluations to date. For her contributions to this research program, she was part of the team that received the Institute Research Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research Program Development, which is awarded each year to a research team that pioneers new research areas, develops interdisciplinary initiatives, has societal impact, and significantly expands Georgia Tech’s research portfolio.

Areas of
  • Human Factors And Ergonomics
  • Psychology And Research Design
  • Qualitative & Quantitative Research
  • Statistical Analysis
  • User-Centered Design


Research Fields:
  • Information and Communications Technology Policy
  • Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy
  • Health
  • Accessibility
  • Human/Machine Interaction
  • Science and Technology

Recent Publications

Journal Articles

  • Don’t forget about human factors: Lessons learned from COVID-19 point-of-care testing
  • Pivoting an MCI Empowerment Program to Online Engagement
    In: Proceedings of the ACM Human-Computer Interaction [Peer Reviewed]
    Date: January 2022

    In the Spring of 2020, closures and safe distancing orders swept much of the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper presents a case study of pivoting an in-person empowerment program focused on lifestyle interventions for people newly diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) to an online program. Working as rapidly as possible to sustain participant engagement, our design decisions and subsequent iterations point to initial constraints in telehealth capabilities, as well as learning on the fly as new capabilities and requirements emerged. We present the discovery of emergent practices by family members and healthcare providers to meet the new requirements for successful online engagement. For some participants, the online program led to greater opportunities for empowerment while others were hampered by the lack of in-person program support. Providers experienced a sharp learning curve and likewise missed the benefits of in-person interaction, but also discovered new benefits of online collaboration. This work lends insights and potential new avenues for understanding how lifestyle interventions can empower people with MCI and the role of technology in that process.

    View All Details about Pivoting an MCI Empowerment Program to Online Engagement

  • Personas, the Pandemic, and Inclusive, Synthetic, Smart City Planning
    In: International Journal of E-Planning Research (IJEPR) [Peer Reviewed]
    Date: 2022

    In the era of COVID-19 planners, and more broadly, city administrators and policy makers, have learned to cope with the accelerated pace of change, the broad band of uncertainty, and the need for rapid decision-making strategies. This, in the context of ever more diverse communities and greater reliance on technology as an effective response to the social and public health challenges of the pandemic. “Smart” cities harness distributed communication and service delivery technologies to enhance the quality of urban life. The voices of citizens from marginalized and under-served populations, such as older adults and people with disabilities, are vital to the development of inclusive smart cities. In this paper expanding an inclusive policy design approach is proposed that uses ‘personas’ to actively engage those citizens.

    View All Details about Personas, the Pandemic, and Inclusive, Synthetic, Smart City Planning