Seminar – Understanding Perceived Uncertainty in Interactive Systems

October 17, 2017 at 11:00 am

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.