Bristol Interaction and Graphics

Recent Seminars

Should I Reply to this Email? Email Response Patterns as a Function of Inbox-level Cues

A common view of the email problem is that of email overload - a situation in which inboxes are full to overflowing, leaving the user feeling overwhelmed. Research has shown that rather than process their inbox in the order in which messages are received, people prioritise the order in which they deal with emails. Gmail priority inbox, VIP lists, etc all assume that people have too much email and that the triage process needs to be supported - that is, people need help quickly identifying the relevant email in their inbox to process. However, even after finding relevant email, we know that people sometimes choose to defer processing it. Previous research has made use of lab-based studies, ethnographies, diary studies and natural log analysis to shed light on the factors that influence how users prioritise emails for processing. However, each of these methods have limitations: lab studies are rather artificial; ethnographies and diary studies lack quantified measures and rely on participants having insight into their own behaviours; and whilst natural log analysis enables us to identify patterns they can be difficult to interpret. In this talk I will describe two in-the-wild experiments conducted in participants' own inboxes that systematically investigate the factors that influence how people prioritise their emails for processing.


Augmenting Communication with Multimodal Interaction and Flexible Interfaces

This talk will detail an exploratory study of remote interpersonal communication using our ForcePhone prototype. This research focuses on the types of information that can be expressed between two people using the haptic modality, and the impact of different feedback designs. Based on the results of this study and my current work, I will briefly discuss the potential of deformable interfaces and multimodal interaction techniques to enrich communication for users with impairments.


Peer-to-peer finance: Design rhetorics and the limits of financialization

While information and communication technologies (ICT) have from their earliest days been applied to banking and financial processes, the convergence of emerging ICT innovations and social media data-sharing practices is yielding a transformation of financial processes at the individual and local levels. The prevalence of mobile systems, advanced peer-to-peer cryptographic tools, and innovations in technological and financial literacy practices are enabling experimentation driven by a broad range of ideologies and business models. Citizens taking up social media’s tools and practices may be on the brink of transforming the financial system by demanding greater transparency, enabling peer to peer assessments of risk and return, and challenging top-down corporate financial information flows; or they may simply be generating data for the benefit of globalized financial institutions.

Recently, peer-to-peer (“p2p”) lending systems have emerged as a popular vehicle for unsecured consumer and small-business lending. Based on a study of Zopa Limited, a leading UK p2p lending firm, we demonstrate how design rhetorics and user experience (UX) structures created to appeal to technologically sophisticated early adopters were abandoned in order to attract a larger, more mainstream, less technologically literate user base. This study suggests that successful alternative financial ventures will likely forego systems which require significant technological and financial literacy via design rhetorics intended to convey messages of user empowerment, but rather create assemblages and messages stressing stability, trustworthiness and ease of use, by reducing transparency and streamlining the UX.

We argue that this transformation of design rhetorics and business practices, while deeply implicated in processes of financialization, reflects limitations on those processes within the contemporary UK context. Zopa’s shift away from transparency in its users toolkit and reintermediation of the firm as a locus of expertise may be seen as lessening the impact of  financialization on its middle-class lending base, by using business processes and the UX to shift knowledge burdens from the individual investor back to the firm. This analysis suggests that the “financialization of daily life” is neither uni-directional nor uniform, as firms must shape their user experience, design and marketing to reflect local levels of trust and competence with both technological and financial innovations. 


Spherical Displays for Public Spaces

Spherical touch-sensitive displays create new opportunities for social interaction in public spaces. The shape of a spherical display allows users to face each other during interaction. There is no intrinsically defined front or centre of the display, and displays can be placed in the centre of a flow of pedestrian traffic. 

This talk will explore the possibilities for spherical displays in two divergent contexts; as an information display and as a digital interactive art installation.  Through these two public deployments, the talk will discuss the motivation for bringing spherical displays to public spaces, the challenges for evaluating displays in public spaces, methods for combining qualitative and quantitative data, and the exciting implications of non-planar surfaces for social interaction.


Reality-Based Interaction, Next Generation User Interfaces, and Brain-Computer Interfaces

I will begin with the notion of Reality-Based Interaction (RBI) as a
unifying concept that ties together a large subset of the emerging
generation of new, non-WIMP user interfaces.  It attempts to connect
current paths of research in HCI and to provide a framework that can
be used to understand, compare, and relate these new developments.
Viewing them through the lens of RBI can provide insights for
designers and allow us to find gaps or opportunities for future
development.  I will then discuss work in my research group on a
variety of next generation interfaces such as tangible interfaces, eye
movement-based interaction techniques, and, particularly, our current
work on brain-computer interfaces.