PhD milestone reviews

Here are recordings of the talks I gave throughout my PhD to review my progress.

  • Confirmation (April 21, 2016)
  • Progress review (December 5, 2016)
  • Mid-candidature (June 26, 2017)
  • Pre-submission (September 11, 2018)
  • Dated: 11 September 2018

Confirmation (April 21, 2016): The success of interactions with visuals are guided by the quality with which memories are activated. These memories are activated through externalisations made of the visual structures, texts, symbols, labels, and histories we can read, including the histories from the marks we can make. On-screen interfaces are easily navigable due to the structures which make different kinds of functionality, memorable aspects we can associate with activities. This is also achieved through the emphasis of histories— by drawing our attention to our present activities and past activity through feedback, visual transitions and cues we leave through organisation of content and the content we create. A good sense and effort placed in visual design mandates clear hierarchy, balance and appropriate cues and feedback. However, what’s missing in the field is an account of the various ways in which to externalise on-screen memories, beyond a tacitly understood and visceral need to satisfy our short-term memory. The thesis presented is concerned with constructing a framework which provides a comprehensive picture of the forms of memory externalisation for on-screen visuals, to critique and see how we can build upon this in practice through novel adaptive interfaces.

Progress review (December 5, 2016): A cross-discipline investigation—The Memory Machine has explored how we can support the memory of people engaging with interfaces in human-computer interaction (HCI) to meaningfully assist interaction. The Memory Menu, the primary experiment conducted looked at how interactors would respond to a large menu which highlights adaptively based on usage. The Memory Menu experiment was conducted to gauge how an ordinary interactive visual design led by the notion of supporting memory would work to benefit or not benefit interactors. Results indicated a polarised audience, equally in favour for and against the intervention with inconclusive quantitative results. Further investigations were conducted with visual design practitioners of various disciplines (art, marketing, cognitive science, graphic design, user experience) to understand how they work through design problems and intentionally and unintentionally support the memory of interactors to lower cognitive load. All approaches, to varying extents, aimed to understand and engage with the target audiences, understand the situation of a design artefact, and acknowledge the effects of cultural expectations and experiences on audience engagement. The significance of the research rests in developing a concrete concept of supporting memory in HCI shaped by the sensitivities of a broader visual design community and user data.
Mid-candidature (June 26, 2017): Screen-based human-computer interaction (HCI) has evolved to incorporate itself into our day-to-day world. However, interaction design afforded by screens remains disjointed from the ways we interact and conduct ourselves in the physical world. Ease-of-use in HCI requires consistent or familiar arrangements, and appropriate feedback. Inspired by the qualities of interactions afforded to us outside of computers. The research presented suggests how we might better fill the gap between HCI and acting in the world through interface design. The key area of investigation is memorability of interactions in HCI. The main premise of the research is to propose and evaluate the ways in which interactions can be made more memorable so subsequent interactions require minimal reacquisition of knowledge. Embodied interaction theory forms the main rationale for the investigation of a whole-body based interface approach based on memorable interaction. The theory suggests how we should remove the gap between acting in the screen and acting in the world, by putting computer interaction in the world. And whole-body interface research awaits propositional designs for the kind of interface that could replace our current screen based experiences. Action research will be used to evaluate speculative design prototypes through a 'Wizard of Oz' style study where participants can experience new whole-body computer interactions through human simulated computation.
Pre-submission (September 11, 2018): The Computational Costume research project speculates on how we might design and use augmented reality in a probable future. In this probable future we have a complete augmented reality where virtual objects can be worn and shared on humans and placed on the physical environment. These virtual objects are a computing substrate supported by imagined technology, not computing designed for and bound to today’s devices (e.g. smartwatch or tablet) and information spaces (e.g. the desktop or World Wide Web). This thinking is in line with the Material Turn seen in human-computer interaction (HCI). A key point of departure from exisiting research outcomes of the Material Turn is a focus on esemplastic computing—computing that is unified, as opposed to stratified prototypes and demonstrations. To achieve this esemplastic design, the work has been constructed from the perspective of whole body interaction and imagined through a speculative design process. The interaction perspective allows for designs that use more of humans’ sensorimotor capabilities and social and physical environment that are useful for day-to-day computing. The interaction perspective is enabled by the design process which puts aside technological constraints that would otherwise dictate the kinds of interactions allowed. The research supports three contributions; a theoretical basis for whole body interaction computing, an imagined whole body interaction design platform and methods for prototyping this imagined platform.