World Usability Day 2011 @ Foolproof (

To celebrate World Usability Day (WUD) and this year’s theme of education, Foolproof and Flow will be throwing open its doors to students from the HCI masters programmes of UCLIC and City University London’s HCID.

We’re looking to repeat the great success of last year’s open day (see our blog

Our Open Day for UCL & City University masters students
It’s on Wednesday, 9 November from 2-5pm and it’s a fantastic opportunity for students to see how their training and skills will be put to use in industry.

You’ll also meet former graduates now working in design consultancy who will share their life after their masters. We’ll finish the day with a beer and a discussion on the future of user experience design.

Important note: This is the day before World Usability Day!

WUD Open Day details
When: Wednesday, 9 November 2011, 2-5pm
Where: Foolproof, Harella House, 90-98 Goswell Road, London (
Who: For masters students of UCLIC and City University London’s HCID

How to register
To register your place please email

There will be a limited number of places available on a first come first serve basis so register your attendance as soon as possible!

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50% off Europe Internet Week - Exclusively for City University Students - now only £20

50% off Europe Internet Week - Exclusively for City University Students - now only £20

We are pleased to announce that City University London Students will be able to purchase half price tickets for Internet Week Europe which starts next week.

To qualify for this offer, please visit and enter promotional code iwe_5tud3nt

There are well over 150 different events taking place next week and this would be a great opportunity to learn about future trends and network.


First prize at the Keeping Connected Design Project


Helena Sustar from the Centre for HCI Design was part of 6 month long Design Challenge called Keeping Connected organised by the Design Council in collaboration with STEMNET. The aim of the challenge was to design a service to bring together older people and children from ages 11 to 14 (school year 7 to year 10). Twenty secondary schools from across Britain and Northern Ireland were selected to take part. Helena was chosen as the Design Ambassador to work with the Stoke Newington School and Sixth Form from Hackney. The project aimed to bring together designers, teachers, older adults and younger people to gain a better understanding of the life experiences, needs, wishes and aspirations of older adults, and to challenge stereotypes and ageist views. Furthermore, the project explored how to improve the way older people connect with younger people in their community and the wider world by creating innovative services. 

Students along with their teacher and a designer were able to meet various groups of older people during the design process. The older people came from a local care home, a daily centre where they play board games and a centre where they learn how to use different technologies. During the design process students investigated with user diaries, mind maps and communications mapping how older people live, and are connected with their grandchildren through the use of technology and services. Then, personas based on older peoples’ needs were designed. After that students clustered their ideas and 5 teams developed their own solutions, which were in the form of service blueprints presented and tested by older users and then improved. In the final stage, students created storyboards to demonstrate a user’s journey through the designed service. In July the students from Stoke Newington School presented their final solution at the Design Museum having been chosen as a top 5 entry from the original 20 schools. The Final Solution brought together skills mutual to both generations and included the design concept of a club called Enrich. The club will take place on school premises where students and older people can take part in activities including gardening, dance and cookery. The judges loved this idea the most and therefore awarded Stoke Newington students with £5000. The school will use this money to establish service together with the Community Centre in Gerards Cross this autumn.

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Jacques Chueke will talk on Thursday at the BCS

Jacques Chueke, one of our PhD researchers within the Centre for HCI Design will present his research within the Doctoral Consortium 2011 on Thursday (12.05) at the BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT (formerly known as British Computer Society)

The Third Doctoral Consortium on computer science and informatics will bring together PhD students to give them an opportunity to meet and network with others doing research in this area, and to introduce them to BCS and the benefits of membership.

Title: Beyond Mouse & Keyboard: Post-WIMP and Novel Forms of Interaction

Abstract: This research investigates new forms of interaction within digital interfaces. It examines the assumption that advances in embodied interaction and natural user interface (NUI) computing will improve and enhance the field of user-machine interface, bringing features to users that allow a more direct and natural manipulation of digital interfaces and devices (e.g. eye tracking, touch and multi-touch screen, voice and gesture recognition). I will address a set of topics that are more foundational than technical: the
role of Perceptible Affordances will be detailed through the user experience point of view, stressing different aspects and features of operational systems (OS): from Command-Line Interface (CLI), to Graphic-User Interface (GUI), Tangible User Interface (TUI) towards Natural-User Interface (NUI), among other forms of Post-WIMP Interactions.

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First prize at the 24 Hours Inclusive Design Challenge 2011

Helena Sustar from the Centre for HCI Design attended the 24 Hours Inclusive Design Challenge at the Include 2011 organised by Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design part of the Royal College of Art. The aim of the conference was to inspire designers about inclusive design by getting them to work on a 24hr brief. The theme was People Power in both a literal or metaphorical sense; this was interpreted as either a personal or communal.

Attendees were asked to design products considering any genre that was simple and intuitive to use and was not necessarily powered by the National Grid.  Most importantly Helena were asked to include service ideas that rely more on human interaction than technology, and also considered visual communication initiatives that embody or promote People Power. The final designs needed to promote a greater and more creative level of community participation and actively improve their quality of life.

Helena was part of ‘The Collective’ group that designed a computer game called ‘The Street Wheels’, a fun and addictive game designed for smartphones where the player was required to master a variety of different wheeled modes of transport within different urban scenarios. The group hoped that the game would raise awareness of the importance of terrain and obstacles when using wheels e.g. wheelchair users, a mother using a buggy or skateboarder’ would encounter on a given day. The group created short video demonstrating this design concept that can be viewed at As a result of the short video The Collective group won the first prize from the judges.   

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Creative design approach presented to industrial design students in Slovenia

Dr. Helena Sustar presented the results of her thesis titled “Older People as Equal partners in the Creative Design Process Designing Digital Devices” at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design Ljubljana (Slovenia) where she completed a BA and MA in industrial design studies.
The presentation discussed on older people, the importance of creativity and engagement of older people as equal partners, and the use of appropriate methods such us Cultural Probes, Creative Cards, worksheets and “Magic Box”. However she mainly focused on presenting the results from three creative workshops conducted with designers, designers and older people (mixed groups) and older people only. Her findings indicated that when older people worked together with designers they performed better, developed more stimuli, had higher flexibility and flow and could design a more appropriate product for older population.
After the presentation students from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design asked a lot of questions that was followed by lively discussion on the role of user centred design process, social innovation, practical work with older people and the possibility of conducting this kind of study in Slovenia.  

The presentation can be found here:

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Students from PUC-Rio, Rio de Janeiro – Brazil visited the Interaction Lab

A group of 14 students and two professors from Industrial Design, Arts & Design Department from PUC-Rio (Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro) visited the Interaction Lab on February 17th. Prof Neil Maiden, the Head of Centre and Professor of Systems Engineering, facilitated the visit and welcomed the students. Jacques Chueke (M.Sc.), one of our PhD Researchers, organised the visit. He was contacted by  Prof. Amador Perez (design and illustration) and Prof. Elizabeth Grandmasson (project design coordinator) who are guiding this group visit through the best arts & design museums in London and Paris. Amador Perez was Jacques’ teacher and they are now friends and colleagues at PUC-Rio, where Jacques teaches about digital image (undergraduate) and usability in the webdesign lato sensu.

Amador Perez and Jacques Chueke at Interaction Lab. Picture: Meirion Williams

Amador Perez and Jacques Chueke at Interaction Lab. Picture: Meirion Williams

Rajiv Arjan, the Interaction Lab manager, presented the MS Surface touch-table and the Eye Tracking equipment available in the lab, explaining the importance and impact of eye tracking studies for user testing (UT) and usability evaluation, aiming on the improvement of user experience (UX). The equipment, as explained, can be used for websites, static images, video and all sorts of applications and has been used for professional consulting for different clients (including Vodafone and The Royal Opera House) in addition to academic purposes.

Amador Perez during an eye tracking testing and Rajiv Arjan. Picture: Jacques Chueke

Meirion Williams, researcher of new technologies for interaction, presented the MS Kinect camera as a novel form of input, his personal project, the Mezatop (a table top surface device, which offers similar interaction as observed on MS Surface), pods (with projectors within), wii-motes (as sensors with IR pens) and the eBeam (ultra-sound equipment that facilitates group interaction and teaching allowing for digital handwriting over any image, website or desktop software).

Meirion Williams (on the back) explaining to Amador Perez how to use MS Kinect as an input from Picture: Jacques Chueke 

Students from Arts & Design, PUc-Rio, experiencing interaction with MS Kinect. Picture: Jacques Chueke

This visit was a great success and can result in possibilities for students exchange in the future.

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Dr Pfeil: Investigating an online support community for older people

Uli Pfeil recently completed her PhD at City University London. Here is a short summary of her work:

People’s activities on the internet have expanded from mainly retrieving information to communicating with each other in virtual settings. Thus, research investigating social interactions in online communities is becoming more and more important. However, the multi-faceted approaches of existing studies for the analysis of online communities make it difficult to combine the findings into a comprehensive understanding. This shows the need for holistic investigations of online communities.

This thesis provides such a holistic approach by investigating a combination of different aspects of a selected online support community for older people. MOSuC (Model of Online Support Communities), a model describing the key aspects of online support communities was developed based on existing theories of computer-mediated communication (CMC) as well as theoretical perspectives on social support. Five studies were conducted, each addressing one of the different aspects of the case study community: (i) the message content, (ii) the conversations structure, (iii) the social network of related community members, (iv) the roles that online community members take on, and (vi) the target population’s needs concerning the exchange of social support in online communities.The findings of these individual studies were then combined in context of MOSuC in order to provide a holistic description of the community.

As a result, this thesis provides detailed insight into the characteristics of the case study community as well as the interplay and dependencies between different aspects of the community. Based on the integration of multiple studies, the thesis sheds light on two main issues: the characteristics of the individual aspects of the community as well as how these aspects are related to and affect each other. In addition to the findings of the studies, the thesis also contributes MOSuC, which serves both as a theoretical framework of the aspects of online support communities, as well as a practical tool for integrating the individual studies. In addition, the application, modification and integration of multiple methods in this thesis provide a novel methodological way for an integrative analysis of online support communities.

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Meet us at the Open Day!

You may be an undergraduate and interested in the user and usability, perhaps even be familiar with principles of human-computer interaction and interaction design. You may already have a career in a HCI-related field and would like to extend or consolidate your knowledge. Then our MSc in Human-Centred Systems may be right for you!

Our course will equip you with the latest research, theories and techniques with which to design, implement and evaluate interactive computing systems. We also don’t shy away from novel technology, ranging from mobile and multi-touch tabletops to gestural and intelligent interfaces.

To find out more, why not come along to the next Open Day on Wednesday 16th February 2011, 5pm to 7:30pm. Please register your place here.

You are also more than welcome to talk to our admissions tutor, George Buchanan (, or the HCS course officer, Amanda Brown (, even if you cannot make this Open Day!

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3-year Doctoral Studentships available

Centre for HCI Design
Closing date for applications: 31st January 2011

City University London is continuing its investment in academic
excellence by offering up to 75 fully-funded, full-time, 3-year
Doctoral Studentships commencing in October 2011.

As part of this exciting initiative, the Centre for HCI Design (HCID) in
the School of Informatics invites applications from well-qualified
candidates wishing to join our vibrant research community. We are looking
for applicants who are interested in undertaking innovative and
inspirational research in areas including:
- Novel interfaces: mobile and pervasive interactive systems,
inclusive interaction for users with disabilities, intelligent
user interfaces, tabletop and multi-touch interaction, evaluation,
end-user programming of intelligent and recommender systems
- Creativity and innovation in design thinking, new digital design
tools and techniques
- Collaborative work in domains including healthcare, creativity,
social computing
- Service centric systems, ubiquitous design tools, scenario-driven
software engineering, creative requirements and software design,
ubiquitous requirements engineering
- Digital libraries, digital information use, information seeking, search
engine usability

The studentships include a full tuition fee waiver, an annual bursary
(£15,000 for 2011/12, expected to rise in line with inflation in subsequent
years) and a one-off allowance of £1,000 for conference attendance,
equipment etc. Continuation of the award after the first year is
subject to confirmation of satisfactory progress. Recipients will usually
be expected to undertake some form of teaching support activity in their
second and third years as part of the bursary arrangements, by
agreement with the School. Support for the development of research skills
is also provided.


Applicants should have at least a 2.1 Honours Degree or equivalent in a
relevant subject. Applications should be made on the PhD application form
and should be accompanied by a CV, proof of academic qualifications, two
references and a research proposal. Please state on the application form
that you wish to be considered for a University studentship.

Applicants are encouraged to discuss their application and their research
proposal with the Senior Tutor for Research in HCID, Stephanie Wilson
, in advance of submitting an application. The
research proposal is an important part of the application and will be
considered during the selection process. The proposal (maximum 3 sides
of A4 plus references) should include: abstract, clearly set out research
objectives, the methodology to be used in the research, brief review of
relevant research literature and an indication of what the proposed
research would contribute to the discipline, outlined workplan, statement
of why you wish to pursue the topic and what you will bring to it.

Completed applications should be sent to Robin Syred
at the School of Informatics, City University, Northampton Square, London
EC1V 0HB, by the closing date of Monday 31st January 2011.

Further details:

Further details of the studentships are available at:
Full details of PhD study in the School of Informatics are available at:
And information about the Centre for HCI Design can be found at:

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