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HCID 2014 event at City University

The Human Interaction Design group at City University holds an annual Open day where researchers and external contributors from the UX industry come together to discuss their work in the field of HCI. This years HCID day was held last week and the theme was ‘Making the Future’.  If you work (or have an interest in  HCI, interaction design, accessibility or design thinking ) then this is definitely an event worth attending.

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In interfaces we trust? End-user interactions with smart systems – Dr Simone Stumpf, HCID

This was the first presentation and one I was particularly interested in as there are a lot of synergies with my work as it focused on the design of interfaces that users would ‘trust’. Simone discussed with us the importance of trust and the challenges of both measuring it and using appropriate cues for it.

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What I found really interesting was when Simone showed us the following picture and asked the audience to identify which face they would trust more. As you can see, it is the same character in all 3 pictures, but with different facial characteristics. Our responses were varied and were in majority different to the results of the study.

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More on the this study can be found here

How to involve children in the design process – Monica Ferraro, City University, Co-founder Playhows

Monica was up next to talk about the work that she has done with children and discuss the challenges of involving children in technology design. The work presented was part of Monica’s masters project that explored the design of an iPad application to teach children (4-5 years old) the names and sounds of the letters and to read and spell simple words.

I particularly enjoyed Monica’s presentation, partly because  she didn’t only  discuss the methods and techniques that were successful in the design process, but she openly discussed with us the techniques that  have not been so successful, which is very refreshing to hear.

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In this case study, Monica had worked with four 4-5 year old children and as part of her idea generation workshop she had asked them to dress up in their favourite costume to stimulate ideas and asked them to come up with words related to their own costume.

More details on this work and the methodology that was applied (Cooperative inquiry) can be found here

 

Evaluating the effects of a virtual communication environment for people who have aphasia – Richard Talbot

Richard was up next to present work as part of the EVA project that investigates the potential of a tailor-made virtual world in improving communication skills of people with aphasia. Richard explained that language impairment of aphasia is one of the most devastating consequences of stroke and while symptoms may be alleviated with speech therapy, many individuals are left with long term communication problems that lead to isolation and social exclusion.

There was also a demonstration of the EVA park with the aid of John (an aphasia patient who is currently participating in this study), who logged on into the park to give us a tour of the facilities available. John decided to take us dancing in the EVA park disco (so he could showcase his excellent dance moves!)

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More on the EVA project can be found here

 

Computerised Support for Creative and Reflective Thinking in Dementia Care – Professor Neil Maiden

Neil discussed his work as part of the European Mirror project in regards to the Carer mobile app that helps care workers deal with challenging behaviour of people with dementia through reflective thinking. This presentation explored the role of creativity and Neil talked about their design process, how they got inspiration from mumsnet, how they had to create a private version of twitter to explore whether care workers would use mobile technology to keep notes, as well as how they evaluated the app. Great work and very inspiring to see such a refreshing, creative and fun approach to design.

Unfortunately I had to dash out for a Skype meeting in the afternoon so I missed a couple of sessions, but you can find more information on those on twitter (# HCID2014) 

The Future is Bright – The future is Design – Rudy de Belgeonne

Rudy de Belegeonne is a lead designer at Orange labs, focusing on bringing the work of the lab closer to the user. Rudy discussed his work as part of the lab, especially in terms of the challenges they have faced over the years when striving for short and long term innovation. Even though there were a lot of things Rudy was not able to share with us, his talk was very interesting as it showed a realistic view of working as part of a such a large global organisation.

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Everysense Everywhere Human Communication- Professor Adrian David Cheok

Adrian’s presentation was hands down the ‘most mindblowing’ talk of the day. Adrian gave us a whistle stop tour of the advances in the world of human media spaces and novel types of interactive communication and entertainment. The talk was full of examples from regular umbrellas that transform into swords, a real world pacman application, huggable pyjamas, remote kissing contraptions (kissenger) and rings that send vibrations to your loved ones! (It looks like Adrian is a big advocate of creating a huggable internet!).  Overall, a very inspiring talk.

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Virgin Atlantic : Wearable Technology – Ian Baigent-Scales

The last keynote of the day was on wearable technology and how Virgin Atlantic are using it to revolutionise the way we check in.In more detail, Virgin Atlantic passengers will be the first air travellers to experience the benefits of pioneering Google Glass technology as they arrive at London Heathrow airport, in an innovative pilot scheme which started back in February. Concierge staff in the airline’s Upper Class Wing are now using Google Glass and other wearable technology to deliver the industry’s most high tech and personalised customer service yet.

Ian Baigent-Scales from Virgin gave us an overview of the aims of this pilot (while sporting a swish pair of Google glasses) and discussed some of the design challenges of wearable technology.

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Overall an excellent day, very well organised and packed with really interesting presentation and activities (including tours of the interaction lab and high tech demo room). There were a few talks that were cancelled but as there were three parallel sessions, it didn’t really matter much. It also provides an excellent opportunity to showcase the centre’s work for prospective students, which is something that all universities should be considering (ie combining an Open day with an event like this). I met some really interesting people and I have learned a few new things so already looking forward to next year’s event.

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