2002-2004 Helen Hamlyn Research Centre, Royal College of Art
2000-2003 Centre for Usable Home Technology, University of York
2010-Present Manchester Business School, University of Manchester
2013 Faculty of Design, Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Technology Sydney
Google Scholar: http://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=Ry1JrtIAAAAJ&hl=en
This excellent collection of readings addresses the role of technology in an ageing society, mainly through the eyes of social scientists and medical researchers using ethnographic studies of technology use. Falling broadly into the field of gerontechnology, the writings are concerned with the use of technology to improve the health and wellbeing of older people in particular. However, unlike many works in that area, they are critical of overly optimistic predictions about the value of new technologies, and more realistic about the challenges of making technology accessible, attractive and useful to people, and having it fit within everyday behaviours and broader healthcare systems. At the same time, the empirical attention to the use of technology, explodes numerous myths about the reticence of older people to engage with it. The book shows many older people to be frequent users of email and social networking systems, avid gamers, on-line shoppers and web surfers; open to exotic developments such as social robots and concerned about the inheritance of digital possessions when they die.
As design practice has become more integrated in HCI research, there are on-going discussions around the role of design in research. Design research may take different forms, among which 'Research for Design' and 'Research through Design'. While, by definition, these two differ in their focus and result- The first informs the creation of a design artefact and the second aims for a contribution to knowledge-this paper presents a case study of design research in which Research for and through Design were used iteratively to gain insight into hybrid craft-an integrated physical-digital craft form. Based on our own reflections, this paper discusses what different roles these two strategies may play depending on the research topic under study; the phase in the design process; and the level of abstraction of the research activity and knowledge gained. It thus argues that using Research for and through Design together is a powerful strategy. Copyright is held by the owner/author(s).
People capture more and more photographs leading to large personal photo collections that require much time and effort to organize. A lack of organization can have a negative effect on photo retrieval and photo sharing. In this user-centred design case study we have explored new possibilities for organizing and sharing photographs. To organize photographs the concept Living Media was created; automatic positive selection based on which photographs are viewed more often and viewed for a longer time. These photographs are apparently more interesting and therefore they will keep their appearance; less popular photographs will slowly fade to black over time. To share Living Media away from the computer the device Pearl was designed. Pearl has an integrated pico projector that projects an interactive collage of Living Media in a living room. Interaction with the collage, such as deleting unwanted photographs from the collage, gives input to the selection procedure of Living Media. Placing Pearl at a distance creates a larger projection size, suitable for sharing photographs with a group of people. Our design is evaluated in two small user studies, where we found benefits and challenges of using a combination of positive selection and pico projectors for photowork and photo sharing.
With current digital technologies, people have large archives of digital media, such as images and audio files, but there are only limited means to include these media in creative practices of crafting and making. Nevertheless, studies have shown that crafting with digital media often makes these media more cherished and that people enjoy being creative with their digital media. This paper aims to open up the way for novel means for crafting, which include digital media in integrations with physical construction, here called 'hybrid crafting'. Notions of hybrid crafting were explored to inform the design of products or systems that may support these new crafting practices. We designed 'Materialise' - a building set that allows for the inclusion of digital images and audio files in physical constructions by using tangible building blocks that can display images or play audio files, alongside a variety of other physical components - and used this set in four hands-on creative workshops to gain insight into how people go about doing hybrid crafting; whether hybrid crafting is desirable; what the characteristics of hybrid crafting are; and how we may design to support these practices. By reflecting on the findings from these workshops, we provide concrete guidelines for the design of novel hybrid crafting products or systems that address craft context, process and result. We aim to open up the design space to designing for hybrid crafting because these new practices provide interesting new challenges and opportunities for future crafting that can lead to novel forms of creative expression. © 2013 Springer-Verlag London.
Focus groups have traditionally been used in market and design research to obtain group reactions to product concepts. In this article we outline a simple methodological extension to this format, involving a further stage of concept re-design in smaller subgroups facilitated by a professional designer. The method was developed in the context of working with groups of older people on concepts addressing memory, identity and social communication. It is illustrated with reference to the re-design of two seeded concepts and feedback from participants themselves on the experience of taking part. © 2014 Taylor & Francis.
In this paper we report an empirical study of the photographic portrayal of family members at home. Adopting a social psychological approach and focusing on intergenerational power dynamics, our research explores the use of domestic photo displays in family representation. Parents and their teenagers from eight families in the south of England were interviewed at home about their interpretations of both stored and displayed photos within the home. Discussions centred on particular photographs found by the participants to portray self and family in different ways. The findings show that public displays of digital photos are still curated by mothers of the households, but with more difficulty and less control than with analogue photos. In addition, teenagers both contribute and comply with this curation within the home, whilst at the same time developing additional ways of presenting their families and themselves online that are ‘unsupervised’ by the curator. We highlight the conflict of interest that is at play within teen and parent practices and consider the challenges that this presents for supporting the representation of family through the design of photo display technology.
Mobile and Web 2.0 technology have the very real potential to democratize the creation and sharing of multimedia content in developing communities, even beyond the levels currently seen in community radio and television. In this article, we report the ªndings of an exercise to test this potential in partnership with a Budikote village in southern India. We show how a system called StoryBank supported the creation of short digital stories on a text-free camera phone, and how these stories could be shared through a community repository and touch-screen display. Despite the success of a ªeld trial in which 137 stories were created and shared over a one-month period, various technical and social factors meant that the devices and content were more hierarchically managed and controlled than expected. The implications of these experiences for rural development and community-centered design are discussed.
Matt Jones and David Frohlich describe the innovative StoryBank project in a rural Indian Village.
A study was conducted on the exploration of possibilities of semiliterate communities using the camera as a new kind of pen and paper for creating and sharing audio-visual stories. Networking and power-management innovations and large-scale investment mean that even very remote rural locations are getting connected. But one cannot necessarily deeply in-built phone interfaces and applications for populations that do not have exposure to computing or the levels of textual literacy. The study suggests that phones and other technologies will continue to be shared resources rather than personal ones because of price sensitivity and the community orientation of life in developing communities. Western designers also should shift from a user-centered design approach to a 'community-centered design' approach, involving different elements of a community in the design of shared technology for community benefit.
This paper contributes to the current debate about the nature of beauty and aesthetics as they apply to interactive products. Current disagreement centres around the question of whether beauty should be viewed as a continuous property of objects or as a rare emotional response to object encounters (Hassenzahl 2004, Frohlich 2004). Here we develop a new perspective of beauty as a complex psychological construct, subject to competing influences from visible object properties such as shape and colour, and invisible object associations such as perceived ease of use and brand. We introduce a new methodology for examining such constructs based on a card sorting procedure, and use it to show how 36 participants think about the beauty of 35 MP3 players. One major finding is that participants tended to evaluate the players holistically, applying similar categorisations to free sorts, beauty sorts and preference sorts. This involved a common polarisation between modern and post-modern forms as they have been found to apply to architectural styles (Wilson 1996).
Although numerous digital tools exist to support the capture and editing of music, less attention has been paid to supporting the creative process of music composition. In this paper we report the design of a new tool in this area, targeted specifically at collaborative composition between a composer and one or more performers. The tool is an open source ‘composer’s notebook’ app called Com-Note, which supports the creation and exchange of multimedia narratives on an Android smart phone. Requirements for the design of Com-Note were derived in a case study of the collaborative composition process, as assisted by a digital storytelling app called Com-Phone developed on another project. This involved the creation and performance of a new work for trumpet and string quartet entitled Albumleaves.
With the expansion of digital photographic content stored online and concurrent proliferation of capturing devices, the management and visualization of personal photo collections have become very challenging tasks. In order to gain insight into novel ways of handling and representing large personal photo collections, this paper presents results of a user experience study into novel visualizations of multiple photo streams, sourced from different individuals or capture devices. A web-based application prototype was designed and implemented offering synchronized visualization of photo streams in a single- or multi-window display layout. An experimental study was conducted with 20 users, and the results demonstrate high user demand for concurrent presentation of multiple media streams as well as recommends methods for leveraging its potential.
As we go about our everyday routines we encounter and interact with numerous physical (e.g. furniture or clothes) and digital objects (e.g. photos or e-mails). Some of these objects may be particular cherished, for example because of memories attached to them. As several studies into cherished objects have shown, we have more difficulties identifying cherished digital objects than physical ones. However, cherishing a small collection of digital objects can be beneficial; e.g. it can encourage active selection of digital objects to keep and discard. This paper presents a study that aimed to increase understanding of cherished physical and digital objects, and beyond that, of how we perceive physical and digital objects, and their advantages and disadvantages. We identified design opportunities for novel products and systems that support the creation of more cherishable digital objects by extrapolating the advantages of the physical to the digital, exploiting the reasons for cherishing digital objects, and aiming for meaningful integrations of physical and digital. © 2012 ACM.
The user-centered design (UCD) process in HCI has recently been criticized for not delivering breakthrough innovations in technology. In this paper we consider this critique through a literature review and two case studies of innovation. Our conclusions suggest that there is nothing wrong with the attitude of usercentered design which has probably been present in all major innovations down the centuries. Rather, the practice of UCD in HCI lacks attention to business factors and long term uptake of technology in society. This compromises its impact on products and should be incorporated into the study of HCI itself.
Embodied interaction describes how meaning in interaction is created through engagement. With this approach as a source of inspiration for three exploratory design cases this paper explores the possibilities of embodied interaction in storing, retrieving and enriching everyday memories. Following the principles of designing for embodiment, all three design cases aim at cueing memories through visual modalities like photo and video. We discuss these case studies in light of the embodied interaction and memory theory. Our findings indicate that everyday remembering may be a suitable application area for combining it with embodied interaction, because of its abstract and personal nature. © 2011 ACM.
The application of biometric technology has so far been top-down, driven by governments and law enforcement agencies. The low demand of this technology from the public, despite its many advantages compared to the traditional means of authentication is probably due to the lack of human factor considerations in the design process. In this work, we propose a guideline to design an interactive quality-driven feedback mechanism. The mechanism aims to improve the quality of biométrie samples during the acquisition process by putting in place objective assessment of the quality and feeding this information back to the user instantaneously, thus eliminating subjective quality judgement by the user. We illustrate the feasibility of the design methodology using face recognition as a case study. Preliminary results show that the methodology can potentially increase efficiency, effectiveness and accessibility of a biométrie system.
In order to understand the effects of interaction on User Experience with a range of MP3 players, we used a Personal Construct Theory Approach (Kelly, 1955) to elicit users’ anticipations and interpretations of their experience with technology. Sixteen participants rated four different MP3 players on a variety of user-generated constructs in the form of rating scales before and after interaction. The data revealed stability to be a dimension of constructs on a continuum between stable and volatile. The data also revealed qualitative aspects of the dynamics of User Experience as users transition between pre- to post-interaction. The implications of these findings for theory, methodology and design are discussed.
As mobile devices are becoming more ubiquitous, it is now possible to enhance the security of the phone, as well as remote services requiring identity verification, by means of biometric traits such as fingerprint and speech. We refer to this as mobile biometry. The objective of this study is to increase the usability of mobile biometry for visually impaired users, using face as biometrics. We illustrate a scenario of a person capturing his/her own face images which are as frontal as possible. This is a challenging task for the following reasons. Firstly, a greater variation in head pose and degradation in image quality (e.g., blur, de-focus) is expected due to the motion introduced by the hand manipulation and unsteadiness. Second, for the visually impaired users, there currently exists no mechanism to provide feedback on whether a frontal face image is detected. In this paper, an audio feedback mechanism is proposed to assist the visually impaired to acquire face images of better quality. A preliminary user study suggests that the proposed audio feedback can potentially (a) shorten the acquisition time and (b) improve the success rate of face detection, especially for the non-sighted users.
In this paper we describe a design-orientated field study in which we deploy a novel digital display device to explore the potential integration of teenage and family photo displays at home, as well as the value of situated photo display technologies for intergenerational expression. This exploration is deemed timely given the contemporary take-up of digital capture devices by teenagers and the unprecedented volume of photographic content that teens generate. Findings support integration and the display of photos on a standalone device, as well as demonstrating the interventional efficacy of the design as a resource for provoking reflection on the research subject. We also draw upon the theoretical concept of Dialogism to understand how our design mediates intergenerational relationships and interaction aesthetics relating to the notion of ‘constructive conflict’.
Millions of people in developed countries routinely create and share digital content; but what about the billions of others in on the wrong side of what has been called the 'global digital divide'? This paper considers three mobile platforms to illustrate their potential in enabling rural Indian villagers to make and share digital stories. We describe our experiences in creating prototypes using mobile phones; high-end media-players; and, paper. Interaction designs are discussed along with findings from various trials within the village and elsewhere. Our approach has been to develop prototypes that can work together in an integrated fashion so that content can flow freely and in interesting ways through the village. While our work has particular relevance to those users in emerging world contexts, we see it also informing needs and practices in the developed world for user-generated content.
The paper reports a new paradigm for audiovisual information sharing in developing communities with low levels of textual and computer literacy. This was informed by ethnographic studies of a community radio station in Budikote village, India and involves the creation of audiophoto narrative stories on a mobile phone which are shared through a physical community repository (or ‘Story-bank’). The paper reports the design and evaluation of the sociotechnical system in a trial, laying the foundation for subsequent work in South Africa resulting in the Com-Me community media open source toolkit: http://digitaleconomytoolkit.org/ This work was funded by the EPSRC Bridging the Global Digital Divide initiative and led by David. . The Computer Human Interaction Conference (CHI) is the premier annual conference in the field, with full paper acceptance rates of between 10 and 15%.
The paper reports the first study of the domestic soundscape and the ways in which it is used by British families. It culminates in a series of novel audio design ideas, which were also published in catalogue form and resulted in four granted patents owned by the University. The catalogue and patents are available as adjunct materials for this submission. The work was carried out in collaboration with Microsoft Research Cambridge who subsequently prototyped and tested several concepts
This paper describes the development and evaluation of "weegie" an audio-photography desk featuring sounds and images inspired by the Govan area of Glasgow. It was intended to be an interactive artwork that would challenge negative preconceptions about the area. The paper describes two techniques used to consider the extent to which the piece achieved these aims. The first technique is the "personal meaning map" and taken from museum studies. The second is cultural critique drawn from the arts. Building on Gaver's  strategy of using cultural commentators for 'polyphonic' assessment it considers the extent to which perspectives drawn from the humanities and the arts can be useful in evaluating design. It argues that a more rigorous understanding of critical theory is necessary to the development of interaction design criticism.
This paper investigates the basis for social awareness; analysing naturalistic data to understand how people convey availability and capability to communicate in everyday interaction and how they use existing presence systems. The findings show that people in close personal relationships provide intermittent information about their activities and plans which are used to infer and negotiate future contact and communication decisions. The implications for more sophisticated cross-media communication systems are discussed.
In this paper, we describe three purposefully provocative, digital photo display technologies designed for home settings. The three devices have been built to provoke questions around how digital photographs might be seen and interacted with in novel ways. They are also intended for speculation about the expressive resources afforded by digital technologies for displaying photos. It is hoped interactions with the devices will help researchers and designers reflect on new design possibilities. The devices are also being deployed as part of ongoing home-oriented field research.
The composition of music is a complex, creative and collaborative act. This is currently done with a range of tools including the editing of musical notation, the playing, recording and playback of musical phrases, and their verbal discussion. In this project we will bring these activities together in a single 'composer's notebook' app called Com-Note for a smart phone. This will be based on the trial and extension of an existing multimedia narrative app called Com-Phone, during the creation of a new work for trumpet and string quartet.
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