Aug 2010 BCS Interaction Specialist Group

"Founded in 1984, Interaction (or the BCS Interaction Specialist Group) is a specialist HCI group of the British Computer Society (BCS). It provides an organisation for all those working on human-computer interaction - the analysis, design, implementation and evaluation of technologies for human use."

In moving to my new role in St. Andrews I've joined the executive of the BCS Interaction Specialist Group. I'm looking forward to taking an active role in both this group and more broadly in promoting interest in next generation HCI challenges across the UK.

My own focus in Human Computer Interaction is on bridging the digital-physical divide. We live our lives in a physical world. I contend the current generation of human computer interfaces are very limited in their support for heads up, face to face or face to world interaction as apposed to the heads down interfaces as we currently have. The range of mobile (handheld or tablet/pad), laptop/netbook and desktop interfaces focusses our heads down and away from the world around us. As a result, many day to day tasks or even forms of work are poorly supported by access to appropriate digital information. Myself along with my students are exploring a variety of ways in which we can bridge this divide, bringing digital information into its context of use in our physical world. This is the theme of my research in the University of St. Andrews.

6th - 10th September Dundee
As part of my involvement with this BCS group I will be attending the 24th BCS Conference on Human Computer Interaction - HCI2010 in Dundee this September. This year the conference has as its theme, Play is a serious business. I would certainly agree with this theme. As we move beyond mere usability issues, interfaces must be engaging, persuasive and even elicit an emotional attachment if we want people to love using them, not simply suffer them.

I expect to attend the following workshop on the 6th of September, East meets West: Challenges and opportunities in complementary approaches to HCI. Experience suggests the approach to research (funding/publication/direction/style/graduation etc.) can be markedly different between the east and west. While this can be over emphasised, I'm looking forward to this workshop to help scratch beneath surface of this.

The conference itself runs from Wednesday the 8th until Friday the 10th of September and again this will be an excellent opportunity for me to become familiar with the breath of HCI work across the UK, while reconnecting with colleagues old and new.

On the 7th September my PhD student Jakub Dostal will present an outline of his multi-modal research questions, aims and plans at the HCI2010 Doctoral Colloquium at the University of Abertay Dundee. It is a great opportunity for him and impressive as he made his submission to attend the DC on his first day here in the University of St. Andrews. I hasten to point out he has been developing the ideas for a number of months while a visiting student in HITLab Australia the University of Tasmania. I don't expect all my students to be ready to submit for a doctoral colloquium on their first day of postgraduate study.

Jakub will give a 20-minute presentation of his work to a panel and the other participants. I expect he will be completing a dry run of his presentation here in St. Andrews on August 31st.  

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