I teach at the School of Computer Science, University of Nottingham.
Student Projects in Human-Computer Interaction (UG and PGT level)
Projects must involve users at the core. Typical activities in a human-centred computing project include
- Requirements gathering through interviews or ethnography, to inform your design,
- Testing your design with users, for example through deployments of your your design ‘in the wild’ (for example in people’s homes),
- Evaluation of your design through analysis of system use or user feedback.
Voice user interfaces (VUI) are becoming a pervasive feature on mobile devices, in cars, and in standalone “smart speakers”, yet, the user experience (UX) of these is often lacking. Potential project can focus on design and evaluation, or on studying and critiquing Voice UX. This may draw on existing platforms such as Google Speech API, Amazon Alexa Skills, etc. Projects may focus on
- User-centred design and evaluation of a VUI of your choice,
- Study a pre-existing VUI and critique it in depth, with “implications for design”,
- Explore how to support Voice UX designers practices.
There is the opportunity for a project centred on human-robot interaction/collaboration, in conjunction with the Nottingham Advanced Robotics Laboratory. The student would have the opportunity to work and implement their project on a real-life industrial robot, such as Baxter. Capabilities include movement, grasping of objects, and Computer Vision. Some project ideas:
- Voice-based interaction: design a voice interface enabling the robot to understand and execute verbal (spoken) commands, and talk back;
- Vision-based interaction: implement Computer Vision to enable the robot to recognise certain objects, and a way for the user to instruct the robot.
- A combination of the two above.
Social computing: supporting collocated face-to-face interaction
At the MRL, we are interested in designing and studying for collocated groups of people in leisure and work settings. Past work includes for example, Automics, a mobile photo-story system for visitors of a theme park; or InstaCampus, an app for collaborative photo-taking to create visitor guides (see this paper).
How could groups of families or friends at public events be supported by a mobile service for recording the experience, sharing, or augmenting it? Possible settings include festivals and music events, galleries, museums or parks, sightseeing or heritage tours, or sports events. You could
- design a mobile app (or a prototype) to support/enable such a group experience, and/or
- deploy and study the way such a service is used in a real-world setting.
Internet of Things and the Home
We encourage project ideas around the “Internet of Things” in the home, for example
- energy monitoring (sensing) and feedback (real-time, historic, visualisations etc.) in homes,
- a prototype hardware system that monitors and rewards low water usage,
- a system/app to collect environmental data and energy consumption through sensors (e.g., noise, light, temperature, electricity, water, gas etc.),
- Encourage people to self-report on sustainability-related behaviours, connect it to social networking sites.
Previous MSc project include a web-based food diary that showed users the carbon footprint of their meals, and added gamification to reward low carbon meals, and an energy budget application.
Design Ethnography (COMP4017, formerly G54DET).
I am convening this module again in the autumn 2018/19.
I have previously convened Design Ethnography in 2017/18, in 2016 (spring and autumn), and and together with Andy Crabtree in the spring semester 2015.
I have also co-convened Understanding Users in Computer Science (G54MET) together with Andy Crabtree in the fall semester 2014.
Past students include:
Wenchao Jiang (graduated in 2016).
Huseyin Avsar (graduated in 2017).