Archive October 2017

Seminar – Understanding Perceived Uncertainty in Interactive Systems

11:00am, room WG49

Abstract: Imagine a gamer, trying to jump over a chasm for the twentieth time, wondering if they are doing something wrong, or if the game just too hard for them. Picture a family historian navigating through 300 pages of search results to discover a long lost aunt, but unsure which poorly labelled link will lead to her place of birth.  Finally, remember your own experiences, when you were hopelessly lost on a website, unable to find that form or policy you needed, even though you were sure you found it before. All of these scenarios are examples of users experiencing uncertainty in interactive systems. This uncertainty leads users to getting “stuck” and unable to progress in their tasks. Some of this uncertainty is unavoidable, caused by what we are trying to do, such as solving hard problems or playing a game. In other cases, uncertainty is unnecessary, caused by the design and feedback of the interactive system.  In this talk, I will discuss this feeling of uncertainty in two different and seemingly disparate domains: information seeking and digital games.  I will describe where we have encountered users that can identify and describe the feelings they are having, and how that has informed the development of psychometric scales to measure these experiences.  I will end the talk discussing future directions, specifically looking at how we can use these measures to drive design in interactive systems.

Speaker: Dr. Christopher Power is Senior Lecturer in Human Computer Interaction at the University of York.  He has active research programmes in inclusive design, information seeking and digital games, all with a focus on investigating foundational user experiences that can be directly related to the design of interactive systems.  Dr. Power is Vice-President of the AbleGamers Charity, and is an Adjunct Research Professor at Western University in Canada.  Outside of research, Dr. Power can often be found arguing the merits of superhero comics as a modern mythology for our society.

Seminar – How Does the Use of External Representations Alter the Sensemaking Process?

11:00am, room WG49

Speaker: Kholod Aslufiani (Middlesex University)

Abstract: Representation is central to the process of sensemaking, whether internally, with a mental model, or externally, by creating, for example, maps or tables. When solving complex problems, people create external representations of information in order to make sense of it. Sensemaking is achieved by means of manipulation of these created representations. Although previous studies have addressed the role of external representations in aiding cognition in general, and sensemaking in particular, little is known about how exactly these external representations aid sensemaking. Gaining a better understanding of this process will assist in designing (better) tools to enhance sensemaking. In this talk, I will discuss an exploratory study investigating the role of external representations in the sensemaking process from which a set of hypotheses have been derived, and a study design to test those hypotheses.

Speaker: Kholod is a PhD student at Middlesex University. Her main research interest is the role of external representations in altering the sensemaking process, and how to support sensemaking using external representations, particularly in tasks involving narrative construction.

IDC Seminar – From Research Projects to Research Tools

From Research Projects to Research Tools

Room WG49

Dr Bob Fields

Abstract: In this talk I will describe two projects, Insight and Quest, both collaborations between CS, Interaction Design, and Psychology, that have resulted in research tools for collecting and analysing research data. Insight began as a project to collect rich, near-real-time data from participants in a study focused on mental health and self-harm. The Insight tools have been developed to support the easy configuration of Experience Sampling studies where data include both subjective responses as well as objective measurements. Study participants can be sampled many times over the course of a study, and the data uploaded to a server for later analysis. The tools are being used in a number of studies that go beyond the original focus of self-harm. The Quest project collected and analysed data from multiple sources concerning peoples’ suicidal thoughts. Part of the data collection exercise elicited over 1800 text-based responses to an online survey, the scale of which necessitated the production of a bespoke tool to manage the coding and analysis of this qualitative data. The coded data can be explored using a range of visualisation and analytic tools to discover structure in the data, look for patterns, and so on. Like Insight, the intention is for Quest to offer facilities that can be easily reconfigured to support other studies. In this talk I will describe the development of the tools and the process of making them reconfigurable and useful across a range of research problems.


Dr Bob Fields

Bob Fields is an Associate Professor in Computer Science at Middlesex, where he teaches and researches Interaction Design and Human Computer Interaction. His work explores peoples’ interactions with technology in domains as diverse as aviation, command and control, novel displays for complex information tasks, and supporting conversation in design education. Bob’s work has involved empirical study of complex work environments, the design of novel interactive technologies, and the development of methods and tools to support analyses of usability, human error and safety. Recent projects have involved collaboration with designers and psychologists to design tools to assist in eliciting, analysing and making sense of data in the field of mental health.