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School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering

Research Seminars

We hold a regular program of seminars related to Human Computer Interaction Design, at 1pm on Fridays. We invite a range of external and internal speakers to discuss a broad range of work.

Full details of our upcoming program can be found below. If you'd like to attend any of our scheduled seminars, or wish to receive notifications about our future events, please contact

We always welcome new faces and ideas, so if you would like to join us to give a seminar, please contact us to provide us with some details and we'll be happy to discuss this further with you.

We hope to see you soon!


Seminar Details:

Friday 2nd March 2018, 1pm - 2pm in A214: Dr Andrew MacFarlane (City, University of London)

Title: "Search and Disabilities: the current Landscape."


Information seeking and access is essential for users in all walks of life, from addressing personal needs such as finding flights to locating information needed to complete work tasks. Over the past decade or so, the needs of disabled users have increasingly been recognised as something to be addressed, an issue embedded both in international treaties and in state legislation. This talk is a survey of the literature on disabilities and information seeking and access with a specific focus on search. The aim is to provide an overview to both researchers and practitioners who work with any of the user groups identified. Some groups are relatively well represented in the literature (e.g. blind people), but there is very little work in other areas (e.g. autism) and in some cases no work at all (e.g. aphasia). We provide a classification of disabilities and address issues in search given the classification. Guidelines that inform disabilities and search either in use or currently in development are also reviewed.

About the speaker:

Andy is a Reader in Information Retrieval and is a member of the Centre for HCI Design at City, University of London. He got his PhD in Information Science under the supervision of Prof Robertson and Prof J.A. McCann (Imperial College London).

His research interests currently focus on a number of areas including disabilities and Information Retrieval (dyslexia in particular), AI techniques for Information Retrieval and Filtering, and Image Retrieval.

He is a member of the BCS Information Retrieval Specialist Group and is a long standing member of that SG as well as a past chair. He was the principle investigator for a project funded by the TSB entitled "PhotoBrief" and is was also a co-investigator for the SocialSensor project.

Friday 16th February 2018, 1pm - 2pm in A214: Susan Zhuang (Mendeley (Elsevier))

Title: "Designing the Mendeley Experience Principles: how to define principles that bring value to our users."


Mendeley operates in a highly complex product space. We’re not just a piece of reference management software serving academic researchers; we’re a social network connecting researchers across the world, we’re enabling researchers to find the next steps in their careers or their next funding opportunities, we allow researchers to showcase their work and monitor the stats of their publication records, and we’re a platform on which researchers can share and discuss literature and data — to name a few (!).

As a design team at Mendeley, we’re constantly aware of the challenge of bringing all of our different users with different needs at different times and contexts, and our products together into a coherent ecosystem. This ecosystem must both holistically feel seamless and consistent, and also allow for contextual relevance when required.

In this talk, I'll share our UCD process for designing the Mendeley Experience Principles to address the above challenge.

About the speaker:

Susan Zhuang is a Senior User Experience Designer at Mendeley, where she is leading the UX redesign of the new Reference Manager: Mendeley 2. Her main responsibilities are user research, UX strategy and innovation, information architecture and content strategy, interaction design, prototyping, and usability testing. She is also a closeted UX Writer despite English being her third language.

In a past life, she was a UX Designer in Advertising.

She holds a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in HCI - both from University College London.

Friday 2nd February 2018, 1pm - 2pm in AG08: Timothy Neate (City, University of London)

Title: "Designing for Distraction: Understanding and Designing Attention for Cross-Device Media."


Mobile devices with capacitive touch screens, such as smartphones and tablets have, in a few short years, transformed the way we interact with technology and our surroundings. They proliferate and disrupt almost every commonplace routine, serving as an anchor to our personal digital worlds, and a handheld portal by which we can seemingly accomplish any typical computing task, and more. Around our mobile devices sits a myriad of other technologies which users concurrently engage with. Many of these cross-device interactions and multi-device ecosystems are rich, and well supported; others are of limited success.  Recently there has been a transformative shift towards engaging with mobile devices while watching television – for example, engaging in a Twitter debate about a television programme whilst watching, or Googling an actress when we cannot recall her name. In fact, this has become one of the most commonplace instances of multi-device usage. It is of no surprise, then, that content creators such as the BBC, Netflix and YouTube wish to create applications and content to support these behaviours, with a view to provide more engaging multi-device content. Currently, however, this use-case is un-designed; current digital content and applications do not reflect the subtle variations in viewer attention, our physiological capabilities, or the additional mental effort such scenarios imply. For instance, one may recall missing television content while engaging with their mobile device – having to rewind or pause content.

This presentation explores my PhD work which aims to address this inter-device tension in two main ways: by further understanding the current issues faced by users when dual-screening, and by designing a series of technological interventions for managing cross-device attention. With a series of empirical studies, these are then evaluated, towards providing more harmonious cross-device content and interactions.

About the speaker:

Tim is a researcher in HCID predominantly interested in creating new experiences with technology through novel display and interface technologies. His research interests can be broadly categorised into human-computer interaction, ubiquitous computing, multi-device computing, accessibility and tangible embodied interaction. He has a PhD from Swansea University and MSc and BSc degrees from the University of York.

Friday 26th January 2018, 1pm - 2pm in AG03: Paul Pedley (City, University of London)

Title: "What is the impact of digital technologies on librarians' ability to protect the privacy of their users?"


The session will consider :
  • privacy issues in libraries;
  • what led me to choose library privacy as a research topic;
  • the different types of privacy (Koops et al identify nine types);
  • the privacy theories of Neil Richards, Helen Nissenbaum, Sandra Petronio, and Luciano Floridi
  • findings from a discourse analysis
  • the future research plan

About the speaker:

Paul has been a visiting lecturer at City for the last eight years, responsible for a module on information law and policy and the author of a number of books including "Essential law for information professionals" and "Practical copyright for library and information professionals". He regularly runs copyright training courses for CILIP. He started his PhD in February 2017. Paul has worked in government libraries; in the library of a property development company; a law firm; and a media company.


Seminar Details:

Friday 24th November 2017, 1pm - 2pm in A214: Martin Porcheron, Stuart Reeves and Joel E. Fischer (University of Nottingham)

Title: "Talking with machines? Voice UI and conversation design"


There is much excitement about conversation as a new material for design, driven in part by the increased accessibility of voice user interfaces and commoditisation of AI techniques. As part of increased adoption, devices like the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Siri are providing platforms for designers to interact with users in new ways. In spite of this often hyped anticipation of an AI-powered future, it is not always clear how the vision measures up to lived, mundane reality of supposedly 'having a conversation' with machines.

We’ll present empirical work examining how voice UIs like the Amazon Echo actually come to be used in concrete social settings. By capturing naturalistic recordings of Echo use in participants' homes we can start to build a rich picture of how users 'get stuff done' with voice UI (as opposed to 'have a conversation with it'). Drawing on insights from Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis, our work considers issues including: the importance of response design in shaping how users direct speech to voice UI, how questions and instructions are addressed to the device and how responses are managed, how voice UI is collaboratively woven into ongoing talk and activities in the home, along with considering the importance of silence as a meaningful resource in talk.

Our findings lead us to a range of implications and conceptual challenges for 'conversational design'. Firstly, we reject the notion of devices as 'conversational', arguing that this is a confusion. Secondly, that things said to devices are accountable to social circumstances in various ways. Finally, we compare the 'black box' tendencies of current design with a reconceptualisation of device responses as interactional resources for further action.

About the speakers:

Martin Porcheron is a PhD student in the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Nottingham. His work examines the use of everyday technologies such as smartphones and VUIs in multi-party settings like pubs and the home from an empirical perspective. His work, which draws on ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, reveals the practices of how we embed and use everyday technologies in and through conversation.

Stuart Reeves is EPSRC Fellow and Assistant Professor (lecturer) in the School of Computer Science, University of Nottingham, UK. He researches social and collaborative technologies, investigating how people use diverse kinds of interactive devices and systems in real world situations and places. As EPSRC Fellow he is exploring the connections between academic HCI research and the work of practitioners in UX and design professions.

Joel E. Fischer is Assistant Professor at the School of Computer Science where he teaches Design Ethnography, and member of the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Nottingham. His research focuses research focuses on understanding and supporting human activities and sense-making in collaborative real-world domains.

For more information visit

Friday 17th November 2017, 1pm - 2pm in A214: Dr Simon Grennan (University of Chester)

Title: "Making "Parables of Care" - Presenting creative responses to dementia care in comic book form"


This seminar will discuss the practical rationale, theorisation and production of "Parables of Care", a new 16 page colour comic book, which presents creative responses to dementia care, as told by carers, derived from a group of existing case studies available at "Parables of Care" is an impact project of HCID and the University of Chester, UK and Douglas College, Canada. Distributed as free hard copies and a free download to carers and those engaged in debates about dementia care, the book investigates the ways in which specific habits of reading comics can be activated in order to engage readers emotionally, as well as informatively, concerning the challenges of caring for people with dementia.

About the speaker:

Dr Simon Grennan is a scholar of visual narrative and graphic novellist. He is author of "A Theory of Narrative Drawing"(Palgrave Macmillan 2017) and "Dispossession" (one of The Guardian Books of the Year 2015), a graphic adaptation of a novel by Anthony Trollope (Jonathan Cape and Les Impressions Nouvelles 2015). He is co-author, with Roger Sabin and Julian Waite, of "Marie Duval" (Myriad 2018) and "The Marie Duval Archive" ( and co-editor, with Laurence Grove, of "Transforming Anthony Trollope: 'Dispossession', Victorianism and 19th century word and image" (Leuven University Press 2015), among others. Since 1990, he has been half of international artists team Grennan & Sperandio, producer of over forty comics and books. Dr Grennan is Research Fellow in Fine Art at the University of Chester and Principal Investigator for the two-year research project "Marie Duval presents Ally Sloper: the female cartoonist and popular theatre in London 1869-85", funded by an AHRC Research Grant: Early Career (2014).

For more information visit

Friday 3rd November 2017, 1pm - 2pm in A214: Dr Stephann Makri (City University)

Title: "After serendipity strikes: Creating value from encountered information"


Existing research into serendipitous information encountering has focused on how people stumble upon information, rather than how they create value from the information encountered. This online diary study with follow-up interviews provides an enriched understanding of the subjective value of information encounters and the motivators, barriers and actions involved in creating value from them. We leverage our findings to generate design suggestions for digital information tools aimed at assisting in creating value from encountered information.

About the speaker:

Dr Stephann Makri is a Senior Lecturer in Human-Computer Interaction at City, University of London and self-proclaimed 'prince of
serendip.' His research focuses on serendipity on the Web-understanding how people 'encounter' useful information unexpectedly 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

Friday 27th October 2017, 1pm - 2pm in A214: Lynne Cole (City University)

Title: "The Impact of Dyslexia on the Online Information-Seeking Behaviour of Undergraduate Students" - Transfer Seminar


In the UK, 2-3% of the undergraduate population have dyslexia, which is a hereditary cognitive disability that manifests itself in difficulties in reading, writing and spelling skills. These difficulties are persistent throughout life and can cause disengagement and underachievement within HE for those with the condition. Information-seeking is an integral component of the skills that undergraduate students require for success in HE and beyond, and requires complex cognitive skills. The symptoms of dyslexia can cause difficulties with complex cognitive tasks that involve higher order cognitive and affective skills, such as those required for information-seeking. It is possible that without mastery of the necessary information-seeking skills, chances of success in HE are hindered. However, how dyslexia may impact upon information-seeking has not been widely studied previously. This research seeks to begin to understand how the difficulties associated with dyslexia may present barriers during the information-seeking process within the context of preparation for an HE assignment, to allow recommendations for support, through instruction or system design, to be made.
Data on the information-seeking behaviour of fourteen undergraduate students, seven with and seven without dyslexia was collected in a three stage process. Firstly, information on participants’ cognitive profile, self-efficacy and information-seeking experience was collected in an initial protocol. Participants then collected screen recordings of the information-seeking they conducted throughout the duration of one module that they were studying as part of their degree course. Lastly, they were invited back to interview to discuss their information-seeking.
Barriers to information-seeking were discovered that could be attributed to the cognitive and affective characteristics common to a person with dyslexia’s profile. Barriers included; the ability to generate, modify and spell search queries, the skills to incorporate information found into an evolving search and the ability to utilise advanced search features effectively. When two groups, one of undergraduates with dyslexia and one without dyslexia, were asked to rate their self-efficacy relating to a number of academic and information skills, low levels of self-efficacy in their ability to perform successful information-seeking in the dyslexic group was recorded.
A retrospective think aloud protocol is planned for future work, to deepen understanding of the barriers faced by this group as they seek information and inform recommendations for how best to support information-seekers with dyslexia in HE through both instructional design and online information system design.

Thursday 26th October 2017, 10am - 11am in A111: Aamna Toor (City University)

Title: "Persuasive Technology in Education: Motivating Young Adults to Consider Higher Education" - Transfer Seminar


"Sometimes you feel like what’s the point of going to university and get a degree when you are not even going to get a job" and "Why should I waste three years of my life at university when I can earn money in those years", was what two young adults from a Low Participating Neighbourhood stated when asked about their attitude towards higher education. The Higher Education Statistics Agency reports that on average only 10% of students enrolled into an undergraduate course come from a Low Participating Neighbourhood (LPN). Although various Widening Participation projects are being conducted to encourage students to enter higher education, the number of entrants (from a LPN) for an undergraduate degree are not increasing. Technologies such as social media, emails and e-portfolios are being used to aid in delivering these projects, but are not proving to be effective. In this research, the use of ‘Persuasive Technology’ will be explored. It will investigate how technology, in particular Virtual Reality, can be used as a persuasive tool, motivating young adults to consider higher education. Virtual Reality (VR) is already being used as a powerful simulating tool in numerous domains, and has proven to be successful in changing a user’s attitude/behaviour. It allows users to experience the effects of their actions immediately. In this seminar, I will report some initial studies undertaken to explore the problem of why a limited number of individuals from a LPN enter higher education. The studies aim to understand how the attitudes of individuals from a LPN are different, resulting in them not considering higher education as an option. I will then report on plans for the rest of my PhD, which will involve investigating how technology can be used as a persuasive tool to change the attitudes of young adults, and building this persuasive technology, to enable young adults to make informed decisions about their future and consider higher education.

Friday 20th October 2017, 1pm - 2pm in A214: Alex Taylor (City University)

Title: "Think we must"


It’s been a thrill to join HCID and City and to be welcomed so warmly by many of you. In this talk, I'd like to introduce myself in a more deliberate way, spinning a thread through my career path that captures what’s important to me and what has helped me find my way.
Starting way back with work at Xerox, and then my twists and turns into academia and then industry again, at Microsoft, I'll talk through punctuated moments in my research—about teenagers and their mobile phones; families living amongst their clutter; and neighbourhoods coping with communal life and data aggregates. What I’ll try to convey is how it’s been a thinking that has animated me throughout this work, a thinking not always with clarity and certainly a thinking with many knots and frayed ends, but nevertheless a thinking. A point I want to reflect on, then, is how ideas thread into our work, weaving together a lively tapestry. I like the way Carla Hustak and Natasha Myers use, involutions here as a "'rolling, curling, turning inwards' that brings distinct species together to invent new ways of life" (2013: 96).
Through my own involutions, I’ll try to use this talk to work my way to a thinking that has a generative mode—a mode with both an openness and an ongoingness to it that invites more, always more. For me, this is a mode of thinking that affects oneself and that demands a care, because it is not just about studying the worlds we inhabit, it is about making those worlds and the conditions of possibility that come with them. I suppose, above all else, this is a talk inviting a thinking of this kind that we might do together—it is to pose an open question about our thinking and about what worlds we might make possible.
* My title is inspired by Isabelle Stengers and Vinciane Despret who borrow the prhase “Think we must” from Virginia Woolf, and use it to ponder generatively on their lives in the academy.
Hustak, C & Myers N. 2013. “Involutionary Momentum: Affective Ecologies and the Sciences of Plant/Insect Encounters.” differences 23(3):74–118.
Stengers, I., & Despret, V (2015). Women Who Make a Fuss: The Unfaithful Daughters of Virginia Woolf. University of Minnesota Press.

About the speaker:

Alex Taylor is a sociologist at the Centre for HCI Design, City, University of London. With a broad fasciation for the entanglements between social life and machines, his research ranges from studies of technology in daily life to speculative design interventions—both large and small. Across these realms, he draws on a feminist technoscience to ask questions about the roles human-machine composites play in forms of knowing and being.

Friday 28th July, 1pm - 2pm  in A109: Julie Doyle (CASALA and the Netwell Centre, Dundalk Institute of Technology)

Title: "Digital Technologies to Support Older Adults Self-Managing Health and Wellbeing – Experiences, Challenges and Lessons Learned"


Globally, human populations are ageing and as a result there has been an elevated interest in understanding the factors that may support the maintenance of independent living and quality of life of older adults. Smart homes have significant potential to enhance the lives of older adults, extending the period of healthy ageing, through monitoring wellbeing, detecting decline and applying interventions to prevent or slow down this decline. It is also recognized that empowering individuals to self-manage their own health and wellbeing will result in more cost-effective healthcare systems, improved health outcomes and will encourage healthy individuals to remain that way.

This talk discusses findings from a number of ongoing studies carried out by the NetwellCASALA research centre examining the design and evaluation of health and wellness technologies for older adults. From sophisticated smart homes collecting longitudinal behavioural data, to tablet applications, the attitudes of older adults and their care networks towards technologies, self-management, and various data visualisations will be discussed.

About the Speaker:

Julie Doyle’s research is in the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) with a focus on health and wellness technologies for use by older adults, their carers and healthcare professionals. In her current position as Research Fellow at NetwellCASALA, Julie leads HCI research that crosses the fields of ambient assisted living, falls prevention, emotional wellbeing and chronic disease management. Julie is a Principal Investigator on a number of EU projects, including the H2020 project ProACT, examining integrated care for older people with multiple chronic conditions. She is also PI on a project examining how technology can support older adults transitioning from hospital to home, including how such technology and the resulting data can be used by healthcare professionals in practice, that involves partners including the Health Service Executive of Ireland and Fujitsu. Julie oversees all user-centred application design and development at NetwellCASALA. Her current research is examining (1) the effectiveness of various types of feedback to convey health and wellbeing information to older adults, (2) behaviour change techniques to encourage self-management and (3) measuring the effectiveness and impact of such technologies in practice.

Friday 30th June, 1pm - 2pm in A108: Joanna Hare (University of West of England)

Title: "Designing the Complete User Experience: the Role of Physicality in Prototyping"


During this seminar Dr. Jo Hare will present the area of her research which focuses on the role of physical interactive prototypes in the design of physical, digital and service design projects. Human-centred design and understanding the user experience are crucial to the success of a product or service, and the prototype is an essential tool in receiving user feedback and critically assessing your design. Jo will present examples of prototypes from industry projects and her PhD ('Physicality in the Design and Development of Computer Embedded Products'). Low-fidelity prototyping approaches and techniques for user trials will help you integrate findings from this research into your projects.

About the speaker:

Jo is a product & service designer with 15 years of professional experience in industry & academia. She has worked on a range of projects as a Senior User-Centred Designer at PDR, an international centre for design and research; projects included medical devices, baby products, kitchen appliances and banking. Jo has over 15 Journal and conference publications and is currently co-writing a book with Prof. Alan Dix (Birmingham University) and Prof. Steve Gill (Cardiff Metropolitan University). The book centred on the research council funded DEPtH: Designing for Physicality project. Jo has recently joined the University of the West of England as a Service and Product Design lecturer, where she focuses on the human-centred design process for the broader role of design within product, service and digital projects. Specific interests include prototype fidelity, user experience, design process, service design and industrial collaboration.

Friday 23rd June, 12pm - 1pm in AG11: Aisling O'Kane (UCL)

Title: "How Mobile Healthcare Technologies are Actually Used (and Hacked) in the Wild"


Adults make choices regarding the technology they use to self-manage their health and wellbeing, and these technologies are often adopted, used and abused in ways that researchers, manufacturers, and clinicians have not accounted for. This talk will give an overview of human-computer interaction research on the situated use of mobile technologies in people’s everyday (and sometimes messy) lives. Accounting for individual choices adults make will be discussed in relation to understanding the use of these devices in the context in which they are actually used, supporting choices through end user customisation, and the emerging trend towards Do-It-Yourself open-source technology innovation that is outpacing healthcare researchers and manufacturers.  Examples will be given from research on Type 1 diabetes devices and apps, hearing loss technologies, baby monitoring technologies, and wearables and apps for fitness.

About the speaker:

Dr. Aisling O'Kane is a research fellow at University College London, examining the hacking culture around Type 1 diabetes devices supported by the EPSRC Doctoral Prize Postdoctoral Fellowship. Her research interests are in how personal health and wellbeing devices are actually used and abused by people in their everyday lives.



Friday 9th June, 1pm - 2pm in A109: Wendy Moyle (Griffin University)

Title: "Measurement of engagement and improvement of social connection through telepresence"


Dementia is currently the leading cause of disability in Australians aged 65 years or older, and the second leading cause of death in this country. The greatest threat to quality of life for people with dementia are the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), which include apathy, agitation, aggression, depression, and hallucinations. Apathy, for example diminishes the amount and reciprocity of interactions between people with dementia and their partners and about one third of dementia costs relate to managing BPSD. A strong means of preventing and slowing BPSD is positive and meaningful engagement with others.  Telepresence robots may be useful in aged and dementia care as a means of engaging older people in meaningful activities. However, the measurement of engagement of older people with dementia is challenging because of their reduced displays of emotion.

This presentation will present the social robotics laboratory at Griffith University, Australia, the opportunities for co-design within the laboratory, and the development and testing of scales that aim to measure the response of a person with dementia to a robot.

About the speaker:

Professor Wendy Moyle is a Registered Nurse and Program Director in the Menzies Health Institute Qld based at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. Her research focus is non-pharmacological interventions, in particular socially assistive robotics and their effect on reducing the Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) and improving quality of life for people with dementia and their family carers.  She works with several international agencies/universities on the development of new technologies and has achieved several awards in recognition of her research, including two International Women’s Day Awards. Her research features widely in the media with 12 television appearances to date, and over 100 radio and social media interviews.

Friday 2nd June, 1pm - 2pm in AG08: Rahel Bailie (Scroll LLP)

Title: "How Structured Content Supports Better UX"


The move toward an "intelligent content" model - rich semantics and structural awareness - promotes content that is discoverable, reusable, reconfigurable, and adaptable. This way of creating and managing content works from the inside out: by helping machines understand both content and context, the content also contributes to user delight as it becomes possible to deliver personalised, more contextual content.

About the speaker:

Content strategy geek. Works with brands to manage content as business assets. Supporter of standards, schemas, and semantic content. Member of OASIS (LW-DITA SC). CKO at Scroll LLP, organiser of the Content, Seriously meetup, Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, lecturer in the Content Strategy Master's Program at FH-Joanneum. Working on third industry book.

Friday 12th May, 1pm - 2pm in AG03: Charles Perin (City University - GiCentre)

Title: "It's not just about staring at pretty pictures: small, manipulable and slow data visualisation"


In the era of big data, data mining, and machine learning, visualization is becoming an afterthought. It is increasingly seen as a way of creating pretty pictures for business purposes and marketing, not as a "scientific" method for exploring and making sense of data. In this talk, I will discuss the role of information visualization to make sense of data and the importance of giving people a sense of control by making data manipulable, playful, slow, and engaging. I will also argue that before tackling big data challenges, one needs to master small data. Manipulable data visualizations are a way of increasing people's data literacy and visualization literacy, thus a way of including (everyday) people in modern societal, political, and economic data-driven discourses.

About the speaker:

I am a Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at City, University of London and part of the giCentre research group, since January 2017. I conduct research at the intersection of information visualization and human computer interaction. I am particularly interested in designing and studying new interactions for visualizations and in understanding how people may make use of and interact with visualizations in their everyday lives. Before joining City, I was a Post-doc at University of Calgary. I obtained my PhD on Direct Manipulation for Information Visualization, at Université Paris Sud-XI in 2014.

Friday 28th April, 1pm - 2pm in AG08: Geraldine Fitzpatrick and Petr Slovak (Vienna University of Technology & UCL)

Title: " We are Social: Social Interaction & Social-Emotional Competencies"


In this seminar we will discuss two different strands of research broadly connected to us ‘being social beings’. In the first strand, we use the Give&Take project as an example to explore how a focus on peer interaction and mutual social support might provide an alternative to more functional monitoring-based approaches to technology support for older people. In the second strand, we go back to basics, recognizing that many of the social interaction technologies we build often presume a basic set of social emotional (SE) competencies; but we have little knowledge about how to scaffold or support learning of these competencies with technology. These questions become all the more important as HCI turns towards designing for well-being, where decades of research position SE competencies---such as self control, perseverance, or empathy---as basic requirements for a happy and fulfilling life. We explore the key challenges involved in developing SE competencies, and how technology could meaningfully help address these, capturing this in a conceptual framework based on Schön’s notion of reflective practicum.

About the speakers:

Geraldine Fitzpatrick is Professor of Technology Design and Assessment at TU Wien (Vienna University of Technology) where she leads the Human Computer Interaction Group and the Institute of Design and Assessment of Technology. She was previously Director of the Interact Lab at the Uni of Sussex, User Experience consultant at Sapient London, and Snr Researcher at DSTC/Center for Online Health in Australia. Her research is at the intersection of social and computer sciences, with a particular interest in technology support in everyday contexts for collaboration, health and well-being, community building and active engagement for older people. She sits on various advisory boards, and serves in editorial and program committee/chair roles in various CSCW/HCI/health related venues. She is also an ACM Distinguished Scientist and an ACM Distinguished Speaker.

Petr Slovak is a Visiting Research Fellow at UCL Interaction Centre and Honorary Fellow at the Evidence Based Practice Unit at UCL, both as part of a Schroedinger Fellowship funded by Austrian Academy of Sciences. He holds a PhD in HCI, as well as a BSc in psychology and BSc&MSc in computer science. His research is at the intersection of HCI, Prevention Science, and Educational Psychology, focussing on understanding how technology can meaningfully support the development of social emotional skills in educational and therapeutic settings. As part of this work, Petr has developed collaborations with multiple organisations including Committee for Children (largest social-emotional learning program in the US), Microsoft Research Redmond, Cornell University, University of California Santa Cruz and others.

Friday 7th April, 1pm - 2pm in AG08: Carina Westling (Kings College London / The Nimbus Group)

Title: "Interaction Design and the Postdigital Sublime"


Emerging social and digital media environments in the present and recent past call for an interrogation of interactive system narratives and a critique of the imaginations of purity and rationality that remain associated with digital technology. To interrogate user-participant behaviours, which include a seemingly bewildering range of diversity that includes many transgressive behaviours, the postdigital sublime and a delinquent system aesthetic that extends, rather than narrows, interactive experience, can serve as a framework for both theoretical and practical research into experience design.

About the speaker:

Carina Westling received a PhD in 2016 from the University of Sussex. Her past and present research includes working with Punchdrunk theatre company as a researching designer, ongoing research collaborations with national and international neuroscientists, bioengineers and HCI researchers into embodied participant behaviours to investigate how people respond to states of engagement, boredom and frustration, and an artistic research practice as Creative Director at the Nimbus Group.

Friday 31st March, 1pm - 2pm in A108: Stephann Makri and Carol Butler (City University)

Title: "Understanding Information Interaction, Informing Design"


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.

Friday 24th March, 1pm - 2pm in AG08: Leif Azzopardi (University of Strathclyde)

Title: "Usor Economicus – Modelling Search Interaction using Economics"


In this talk, I will describe my efforts in trying to understanding how people interact with search systems and how this has resulted in the development of several economics model of search and search behaviour. These models assume an Economic User (i.e. Usor Economicus), one who inevitably does that by which s/he may obtain the greatest amount of information and knowledge, with the smallest quantity of effort.

In this talk, I will first provide an overview of the typically Interactive Information Retrieval process. Then I will introduce an economic model of search, which is derived from production theory. I will show how the model enables us to generate compelling, intuitive and crucially testable hypotheses about the search behaviour of users. They provide insights into how we can manipulate the system and the interface in order to change the behaviour of users.

In a series of user experiments, I show how well the models characterise, predict and explain observed behaviours (and where they fall down). I believe the models, not only, provide a concise and compact representation of search and search behaviour, but also provides a strong theoretical basis for future research into Interactive Information Retrieval. Furthermore, these economic models can be developed for all sorts of human computer interactions, and so are likely to provide many more insights into how people use systems and how we should design such systems.

This talk is based on the following papers:

“The economics of interaction”, ACM SIGIR 2011, see:

“How query cost affects search behavior” with Diane Kelly & Kathy Brennan at ACM SIGIR 2013, see:

“Modeling Interaction with Economic Models of Search” which received an Honorable Mention at ACM SIGIR 2014, see:

“An analysis of Theories of search and search behaviour” with Guido Zuccon at  ACM ICTIR 2015, see:

“An analysis of the Cost and Benefit of Search Interactions” with Guido Zuccon, at ACM ICTIR 2016, see

About the speaker:

Dr. Leif Azzopardi is a Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow within Department of Computer and Information Science. Prior to this he was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow within the School of Computing Science. His latest research focuses on using Optimal Foraging Theory and Economic Theory to model the interaction between users and information retrieval systems.

Central to his research is the theoretical development of statistical language models for Information Retrieval, where his research interests include:(i) Models for the retrieval of documents, sentences, experts and other information objects,(ii) Probabilistic models of user interaction and the simulation of users for evaluation,
(iii) economic models of information interaction, specifically how cognitive load and effort affect interaction and performance with search systems,
(iv) Methods for text and data mining of large scale/big data collections,
(v) Methods which assess the impact of search technology on society in application areas such as, search engine bias and the accessibility of E-Government information.

He received his Ph.D. in Computing Science from the University of Paisley in 2006, and he received a First Class Honours Degree in Information Science from the University of Newcastle, Australia, 2001.

Friday 24th February, 1pm - 2pm in A214: Andy MacFarlane (City University)

Title: "Visual Analysis of Dyslexia on Search"


A key problem in the field of search interfaces is dyslexic users interaction with the UI. Dyslexia is a widespread specific learning difficult (SpLD) (10% of any population is estimated to have this cognitive disability) which is under researched in the field of information retrieval. The focus here is an analysis of the User Interface (UI) for search, using visual analytical methods on eye tracking data to examine the difference between control and dyslexic searchers. We use a number of visual analytic methods including path similarity analysis (PSA) and clustering of time intervals to demonstrate both similarities and differences between the user groups. Observations of videos are used to augment the visualizations. Results demonstrate a clear difference between the user groups, and a clear memory effect on the user of search interfaces is shown – this is a key contribution of this talk. We examine the results using of theories of dyslexia, contributing also to the field of dyslexia and search.

Joint work with: Areej Al-Wabil, Gennady Andrienko, Natalia Andrienko, George Buchanan

About the speaker:

Andy is a Reader in the Department of Computer Science at City University, and is a member of the Centre for HCI Design. He got his PhD in Information Science from the same University under the supervision of Prof Robertson and Dr J.A. McCann (now at Imperial College London). His research interests currently focus on a number of areas including disabilities and Information Retrieval (dyslexia in particular), Image Retrieval, AI techniques for Information Retrieval and Filtering, and Open Source Software Development.

Friday 17th February, 1pm - 2pm in AG08: Jason Webber (The British Library)

Title: "The UK Web Archive"


The UK Web Archive, on behalf of all the UK Legal Deposit libraries, has been collecting selective UK websites  since 2005 and ALL UK websites since 2013. This talk will outline the opportunities as well as many of the challenges of attempting to collect, store and give access to such a large collection. It will also demonstrate some practical ways of using the collection.

About the speaker:

Jason is the Web Archiving Engagement Manager at The British Library where he   encourages increased public use of the archive. Jason also looks for and manages partnerships and collaborations on projects using the web archives. Jason has previously worked on digital projects at the Museum of London and Natural History Museum. and @ukwebarchive (twitter)

Friday 17th February, 1pm - 2pm in A109: Simone Stumpf (City University)

Title: "Smart Heating Systems and the FREEDOM project"


Smart heating systems that try to optimise user comfort based on complex models of user preferences and other factors are becoming more popular in recent years. In this talk I will describe our work in the FREEDOM project, led by PassivSystems Ltd and funded by Western Power Distribution Wales & West Utilities. I will describe the current state of the art in HCI relating to smart heating systems and present the results of a study to investigate user controls and user interface explanations. I will briefly review further work on this project and potential future work in smart heating system in vernal.

About the speaker:

Simone Stumpf received a PhD in Computer Science in 2001 and a BSc in Computer Science with Cognitive Science in 1996, both from University College London. She is currently a Senior Lecturer at City University London, and co-directs the Centre for HCI Design. Previously, she conducted research at Oregon State University, USA, and University College London, UK. Her research centres on end-user interactions with intelligent systems, end-user development and personal information management. Dr Stumpf also has industrial experience as a User Experience Architect.

Friday 3rd February, 1pm - 2pm, in A108: Jordan Tewell (City University)

Title: "A Temperature Display for Conveying Affective Feedback"


Previous research has investigated whether temperature can augment a range of media including music, images and video. This seminar will describe the first experiment to investigate whether temperature can augment emotion conveyed by text messages. A challenge in prior work has been ensuring users can discern different thermal signals. An improved technique for thermal feedback that uses an array of three thermal stimulators will be presented. I will demonstrate that the Thermal Array Display (TAD) increases users’ ability to identify temperatures within a narrower range, compared to using a single thermal stimulator. While text messages dominate valence in the absence of context for temperature, the TAD consistently conveys arousal, and can enhance arousal of text messages, especially those that are emotionally neutral. Potential applications of augmenting text with temperature will be discussed.

About the speaker:

Jordan is a PhD Student at City, University of London and is conducting research within the Centre for Human Computer Interaction Design. He received his Masters (2012) from Carnegie Mellon University, in Entertainment Technology. Before moving to the UK, he worked in Japan and was involved with client projects with NEC and GL Associates in Korea. He was a Visiting Researcher for the ERATO Design UI Project in Tokyo and for Keio University. Since coming to London, he has also worked for several early stage startups, including a collaboration with the Mugaritz restaurant in Spain. His current research focuses on multi-modal communication using gustation, olfaction, mechanoreception, and thermoception and is studying their effects on human emotion and user behaviour.

Friday 27th January 2017, 1pm - 2pm in AG10: Sandra Trullemans (Vrje Universiteit)

Title: "Informing the Design of PIM Tools in Cross-Media Information Spaces"


The research area of Personal Information Management (PIM) studies how people keep, organise and re-find personal information such as digital and paper documents or photos. In addition, researchers explored the design of tools to make these PIM activities easier for the user. While there is a significant amount of research informing the design of PIM tools for digital media, much less is known about the design space of PIM tools for so-called cross-media information spaces where physical information carriers such as paper documents are unified with digital media. In order to enable the design of PIM tools for cross-media information spaces, we first have to track the position of physical artefacts together with some metadata such as the last used date or in which task the document is used. In addition, an information architecture needs to be defined for storing the state of the complex cross-media information space. Finally, cross-media PIM tools can be designed for the digital and physical information space and enable the seamless transition between these spaces. We will show examples of cross-media PIM tools in these different information spaces.

About the speaker:

Sandra Trullemans is a PhD student in the Web & Information Systems Engineering (WISE) Laboratory at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel under the guidance of Prof. Beat Signer. Her PhD is funded by the Agency of Innovation and Technology of Flanders. She owns a Bachelor in Management Sciences with a specialisation on work psychology. Sandra gained her Master of Science in Applied Sciences and Engineering: Applied Computer Science degree in 2013 with greatest distinction. She further received the award for the best Master's thesis and excellent final grades of the Engineering Faculty by the society of Brussels engineers. The combination of psychology and engineering in her education enables Sandra to take a user-centric approach to the design of interactive systems in the domain of Personal Cross-Media Information Management. Her other fields of interest include end-user development, pen-based Interaction, tangible interfaces and human-information interaction. Finally, Sandra is a teaching assistant for courses dealing with next generation user interfaces and information visualisation.

Friday 20th January 2017, 1pm - 2pm in AG08: Ernesto Priego (City University)

Title: "Graphic Medicine - Using Comics Within the Mental Health Domain"


Recent literature suggests that a growing number of comics are being published on health-related topics, including aspects of mental health and social care (Williams 2012; Czerwiec et al 2015; Priego and Farthing 2016) and that comics are increasingly being used in higher education settings as information resources.

Fairly recently, researchers have also turned to comics creation to disseminate research findings. These researchers argue that comics (print and/or online publications) can lead to a wider adoption of research and enhance educational practices, widen public engagement, and improve the possibilities for research to influence public policy.

This seminar will present insights from qualitative analysis of data collected from comics creators and disseminators, and will explore the wider context of comics production and distribution (with a focus on 'Graphic Medicine' or health-related comics).  In order to contextualize this exploration of  'Graphic Medicine', the seminar will also provide an introduction to non-fiction comics research, and conclude with reflections on what the study and use of comics can contribute to Medical Humanities and Human Computer Interaction Design research.