The emergence of ‘app stores’ on a number of mobile platforms provides HCI researchers with a relatively easy means of recruiting very large numbers of participants from all over the world. As the practice of releasing research applications in this way is still relatively new, the HCI community has not yet developed a set of guiding principles or an understanding of what constitutes good practice. In this talk, I’ll share experiences from several ‘app store’ trials we’ve run in the University of Glasgow’s SUMgroup, covering issues such as capturing log data, identifying users, performing qualitative evaluation and the new ethical challenges raised by this approach. In outlining the benefits we’ve gained and the challenges faced I’ll offer recommendations for others seeking to conduct research trials in this way.
Alistair Morrison is a postdoc researcher at the University of Glasgow, a member of SUMgroup (Social, Ubiquitous, Mobile) and GIST – Glasgow’s HCI group. His background is in information visualisation, and tools and techniques for analysing data collected from ubicomp systems. He has recently run several mass participation studies with tens of thousands of users, developing ways of analysing logged data and examining the various issues surrounding the release of trial software through public ‘App Store’-style software repositories. Recently he co-organised the CHI 2011 workshop on ethics in large-scale HCI research.