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Understanding Information Interaction, Informing Design



Staff, Students, Alumni, Academics

Series: HCID Research Seminars


Understanding how people interact with information in a variety of digital and physical environments can identify gaps in for support for existing user needs and behaviour that HCI design might fill - through evolutionary or revolutionary design. Stephann Makri and Carol Butler will present two examples of information interaction research with this aim.

First, Stephann will discuss a study on information encountering conducted by Shermaine Waugh, which entailed a naturalistic observation of people browsing physical libraries. The study highlighted an information-seeking encountering tension - which on one hand entices people towards the relatively high-risk, high-reward activity of exploring new information avenues discovered serendipitously and, on the other, draws them back towards the relative safety of goal-directed information-seeking. Stephann will discuss a number of factors that contribute to this tension and some design suggestions for mitigating it.

Then, Carol will discuss her research with the British Library on how digital publishing technologies and social platforms are used to mediate interactions between authors and readers. She will critique the design of existing tools that support these interactions and discuss her approach for better understanding how these environments are used to communicate; to what end; and how this may impact the traditional view of the role of author and reader.  

About the speakers:

Stephann is a Senior Lecturer in Human-Computer Interaction at City, University of London and self-proclaimed 'prince of serendip.' His research focuses on how people interact with digital information and, in particular, on how people encounter information serendipitously and how we can design technology to better support this. His work has featured widely in the media, including in the Sunday Times, BBC and ABC Radio and Readers Digest. For more information visit

Carol is a first year PhD research student in Human-Computer Interaction, working on a collaborative doctoral project at City University and The British Library. Her focus is to investigate how technology is used currently, and may be used in the future, to support the co-construction of textual meaning through interaction between readers, and between reader and author. Her research aims to help guide future collection policies and service design at the British Library.

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When and where

1.00pm - 1.00pmFriday 31st March 2017

A108 College Building City, University of London St John Street London EC1V 4PB United Kingdom