To view a list of all seminars please visit the Seminar List Page.

Professor John Lee, Edinburgh University: Recycled Resources and Learning Communities


Title:  Recycled Resources and Learning Communities 

Abstract:  The concept of learning communities can be seen as central in higher education, especially. Learning is fostered by dialogue, which is implicated in processes of conceptual development and alignment. These rich and complex phenomena include learning through witnessing the learning experiences of others — “vicarious learning” (VL). We propose that VL can be exploited by using rich media (such as video) to capture and share learning experiences. But the potential of rich media is broad and seems to be curiously under-exploited in education. One can envisage learning communities that create and build around learning resources of diverse kinds, using new materials but also integrating many strands of existing materials. In a number of encouraging ways, the available technologies already support this, but are often not greatly used, which suggests a challenge for design. How can we make these technologies more usable for our learning communities? A couple of exploratory approaches are discussed, including an informal experiment upon which it is hoped to build further.

Biography:  John Lee is Professor of Digital Media at the University of Edinburgh. He holds a PhD in Philosophy and Cognitive Science, from Edinburgh.  He works jointly in the School of Informatics and the Edinburgh College of Art, where he directs the long-standing MSc programme in Design and Digital Media. His research interests centre around cognition and communication in design and learning. For some time, he has been investigating the paradigm of “vicarious learning” and the question of how rich media resources can be used more effectively in applications of learning technologies.


Daniel Holden, Edinburgh University: Deep Learning for Character Animation


Abstract: In this talk I will discuss how deep learning can be applied to character animation. I will present a framework based on deep convolutional neural networks that allows for motion synthesis and motion editing in the same unified framework. Applications of this framework include fixing corrupted motion data such as that from the kinect, synthesis of character motion from high level parameters such as the trajectory, motion editing via arbitrary cost functions, and style transfer between two animation clips.

Biography: Daniel Holden is a PhD student at Edinburgh University studying how deep learning and data driven artistic tools can be used to save time in the production of high quality character animation. Outside of research he maintains several open source C projects and has a wide variety of interests including theory of computation, game development, and writing short fiction.

Mark Dunlop, University of Strathclyde: Designing mobile keyboards with older adults




As part of an EPSRC project into text entry for older adults we ran a series of workshops on the design of new keyboard for older adults. These workshops blew away some of the stereotypes of older adults – ours were well connected, adjusted text style for twitter vs email vs facebook and were more open to new keyboard layouts than our undergraduates. Error awareness was highlighted as a concern and we developed an Android keyboard that highlights errors and autocorrections. In this talk I’ll review some of our experimental keyboards, the main lessons from our highlighting keyboard, main lessons in study design for older adults and future directions.


Since 2000, Mark Dunlop has been a senior lecturer in computer science at Strathclyde. His research focuses on usability of mobile systems including mobile text entry, visualisation, sensor driven interaction and evaluation of mobiles. His first work on mobile text entry was published in 1999 and he’s been involved in the organisation of the MobileHCI conference series since it’s inception in 1998. Recent project involve text entry for older adults and mobile based driving crowdsourced braking alert system. His teaching is mainly in human computer interaction (HCI) and mobile/internet programming technologies. Prior to joining Strathclyde, Mark was a senior researcher at Risø Danish National Laboratory and a lecturer at Glasgow University. He completed his PhD in Multimedia Information Retrieval at Glasgow in 1991.

Elise van den Hoven, University of Technology Sydney: Materialising Memories: a design research programme to study everyday remembering


Perhaps the term computer ‘memory’ has led people to believe that human memory has to be perfect and infallible. Many people worry when they realise they forget and some turn to recording and collecting as much as they can, e.g. photos or videos through life logging. Some people assume that by collecting they can avoid forgetting or at least have access to the information anytime later. And that is where they might be wrong. First of all, recordings are not equivalent to memories, and memories ‘can not be stored’. Secondly it has already been shown that people collect too much and organize too little for them to be able to find information later [1]. Thirdly, human memory works best when we forget… a lot.

Karl Smith: Enabling Client Communications


There is a huge and complex social psychology to managing client engagements effectively. Merely presenting actionable solutions that have valid data to back them up is not enough for clients. They become lost with the simplest of justifications and proof often focusing factors of little importance to the end users. In this talk I will offer some meeting navigation concepts that will enable people to facilitate client meetings, establish and reach defined outcomes and establish clear dialog and interaction methods.


Daniel Archambault, University of Swansea: Effective Visualisation of Static and Dynamic Graphs


Visualising dynamic graphs is important for many application areas.  For social media networks, they can help us understand the interaction and interests of users online.  In biology, they can illustrate the interactions between genes and biological processes.  Understanding and designing effective visualisation methods for dynamic network data is fundamental to these areas as well as many others.  In this talk, we focus on the effective presentation of dynamic networks.  In particular, we summarise recent results on dynamic graph visualisation with respect to animation (presentation of interactive movies of the data), small multiples (presenting the data through several linked windows like a comic book), and drawing stability (the visual stability of the data presentation).  We conclude with some recent work on scalable graph visualisation and in the visualisation of sets and their intersections.

Keith Cheverst, Lancaster University: Investigating the Shared Curation of Locative Media relating to the Local History of a Rural Community



In this talk I will present experiences and insights from our studies involving locative media, local history and community. Our work in the village of Wray has involved the longitudinal and ‘in the wild’ deployment of ‘digital noticeboard’ displays (conceived as technology probes) that support the sharing of photos/images. A significant portion of the submitted photo content relates to Wray’s local history and features of Wray’s landscape. Residents of the village have helped shape the system through involvement in co-design workshops. A key motivation of our current studies (as part of the SHARC project) is to explore issues around the co-curation of locative media experiences. A field trial (involving both residents and visitors) and a design workshop revealed both opportunities and challenges for the co-curation approach.


Joe Macleod, Avaloq: Closure Experiences in Digital Product Design – the loss of the resolution in the shop of abundance



Most experiences in life are punctuated by a closure experience. In the past these were profound; however, over generations we have distanced ourselves from meaningful closure experiences thanks to our lifestyles increasing in comfort, the church weakening and medicine advancing.

This has seemingly freed us from the shackles of the ultimate closure experience – death – and sanctioning our personal pursuit of heaven on earth in the form of consumption. We are now encouraged to drunkenly stumble from purchase to purchase, with any sense of longevity and responsibility removed.

Long term side effects of this are exampled in the Product, Service and Digital landscapes that we frequent. The consequences of our behaviour results in a changing climate, industries fined billions for mis-selling and individuals casually eroding their personal online reputations.

Many of us are active in the creation of services, products or digital products; making them attractive, engaging and usable for consumers, but we often overlook concluding these experiences for the user in a responsible way. Closure Experiences offers a model to frame this change.



Joe Macleod has been working in the mobile design space since 1998 and has been involved in a pretty diverse range of projects. At Nokia he helped develop some of the most streamlined packaging in the world, he created a hack team to disrupt the corporate drone of powerpoint, produced mobile services for pregnant women in Africa and pioneered lighting behavior for millions of phones. For the last four years he has been key to establishing ustwo as the UKs best digital product studio, with 180 people globally in London, New York, Sydney and Sweden, while also successfully building education initiatives, curriculums and courses on the back of the IncludeDesign campaign which launched in 2013. He now works independently on projects and has recently established established Closure Experiences, a new business looking at issues around consumption, consumerism and designing the end of things.

Rachel Menzies, University of Dundee: Data Exploration on Smart watches



RachelFor many of us, interacting with data on mobile devices such as phones and tablets is commonplace in our lives, e.g. phone call data, TV guide, maps, fitness and wearable data. With the introduction of smart watches, the screen size of mobile devices has dramatically decreased. This reduction in screen real estate provides challenges for the design of interfaces, including the presentation and exploration of data visualisations. Using bar charts as an example, this presentation will explore the shortcomings of current zooming techniques on very small screens and consider proposed guidelines for the development of simple data exploration applications. Key design features such as the need for overview and context will be considered in respect to a simple and effective data exploration task.



Rachel Menzies is a lecturer and Head of Undergraduate Studies (Computing) at the School of Science and Engineering at the University of Dundee. Her research interests include user centred design with marginalised user groups, such as users with disabilities, as well as exploring novel interfaces, data visualisation and CS education. Rachel is an Accessibility and Usability Consultant with the Human Centred Computing Consultancy, run by the University of Dundee, and has worked for many large international clients as well as providing bespoke training sessions to small companies.

Andrew Manches: Interaction, Embodiment and Technologies in Early Learning.

Most of us might agree that ‘hands-on learning’ is good for children in the early years. But why? Is it simply more fun and sociable, or are there any more direct cognitive benefits? And what determines definitions of ‘hands-on’? Can we include iPads? This talk will draw upon an ESRC-funded project to examine the educational implications of recent theoretical arguments about the embodied nature of cognition. Video data from the project will be used to illustrate the methodological significance of the way children gesture when describing mathematical concepts and evaluate a hypothesis that numerical development is grounded upon two particular embodied metaphors. If correct, this presents a serious challenge to traditional approaches to the types of learning materials we offer children. The talk then demonstrates two embodied technologies to consider the potential of new forms of digital interaction to further our understanding of embodied cognition as well as support early learning.

Dr Andrew Manches is a Chancellor’s Fellow in the School of Education and leads the Children and Technology group at the University of Edinburgh. He has 20 years experience working with children, first as a teacher, then as an academic. His recent research, funded by an ESRC Future Research Leader grant, focuses on the role of interaction in thinking, and the implications this has for early learning and new forms of technology. When not being an academic, Andrew is a parent of two young children and directs an early learning technology start-up that was awarded a SMART grant this year to build an early years maths tangible technology.

This seminar is part of our ongoing series from researchers in HCI. See here for our current schedule.