St Andrews HCI Research Group


Welcome to the website for SACHI which aims to act a focal point for human computer interaction research across the University of St Andrews and beyond.
SACHI is the St Andrews Computer Human Interaction research group (a HCI Group) based in the School of Computer Science. Members of SACHI co-supervise research students, collaborate on various projects and activities, share access to research equipment and our HCI laboratory. Established in 2011, we now have a regular seminar series, social activities, summer schools and organise workshops and conferences together. Along with the above links, you can find more news about us here.

News and Events

Excited to Share Insights from ESLTIS24!

Alongside Dr Angela Miguel, I had the privilege of presenting at the Enhancing Student Learning Through Innovative Scholarship (ESLTIS) Conference, a pioneering platform for educators in UK higher education. We discussed advancing education through technology and enhancing evening degree learning experiences, focusing on the critical issue of digital poverty in the UK.

Here are key insights and tips we shared that apply to educational settings, especially in IT modules and hybrid environments:

💻 Leverage Hybrid Learning: Use the Dimensions of Learning Designs (modified ACAD model by Bülow, M.W., 2022) to balance physical and digital learning spaces, enhancing the learning experience through diverse resources and social interactions. This model includes 🏗 Set Design, which focuses on the learning environment’s technological and spatial arrangements; 📑 Epistemic Design, which involves the activities and tasks presented to students; and 👫 Social Design, which encompasses the social structures and relationships shaping the learning experience.

🤝 Promote Collaborative and Reflective Assignments: Foster collaboration and deeper understanding with group work and reflective elements to assignments to enhance both student and lecturer awareness of the learning journey.

🌍 Integrate Real-Life Contexts: Enhance motivation by allowing students to incorporate their experiences and invite external expertise or guest speakers into learning spaces.

🧠 Engage with Social Issues: Design assignments addressing societal challenges like digital poverty to promote critical thinking and awareness.

I was also thrilled to share with the audience the work I do with Dr Kirsty Ross on the IDEA network, which encourages educators to focus on societal challenges, such as digital poverty, through research and MSc and SH student projects. The enthusiasm for joining the network was truly inspiring! 🌍💡

Please explore more about the IDEA network on our Wiki:

ESLTIS continues to elevate teaching in the research-intensive climate of higher education, and being part of this vibrant forum was truly inspiring. Highly recommended!

Let’s keep pushing the boundaries of education innovation and supporting our students in addressing critical social issues together! 💪

For more details on the talk, please check out our abstract:

📜 Recommended reading: Bülow, M.W. (2022). Designing Synchronous Hybrid Learning Spaces: Challenges and Opportunities. In: Gil, E., Mor, Y., Dimitriadis, Y., Köppe, C. (eds) Hybrid Learning Spaces. Understanding Teaching-Learning Practice. Springer, Cham.

Abd shares his participatory design expertise at the UK System Research Challenges Workshop

Abd recently shared his expertise at the Eighth Annual UK System Research Challenges Workshop with a talk titled “Introducing Socio-technical Change in Large-Scale Systems: A Distributed Participatory Design Approach,” sparking curiosity among attendees.  

Abd, a member of the SACHI community and an HCI and Software Engineering Lecturer [1], emphasises the importance of understanding the experiences of those affected before rushing into solutions. Engaging them from the outset helps avoid costly blunders. As Abd puts it: 

“Co-designing with end-users isn’t just savvy—it’s the name of the game!” 

In his talk at the SRCW24, he emphasised the pivotal role of the discovery stage, stressing the need to actively involve end users in shaping system design. Abd cautioned against the pitfalls of jumping right into implementation and creating redundant systems or solving the wrong problems with the best solutions, advocating for a community-centric approach to innovation that resonates deeply with the ethos of SACHI. 

Drawing from his research and practical experiences, Abd urged the UK Systems Research community to explore innovative approaches that prioritise community needs. By aligning system development with real-world challenges, we can take significant steps forward in addressing critical societal issues like digital poverty [2]. 

Abd is giving a talk about socio-technical change at the UK System Research Challenges Workshop.

Abd is giving a talk about socio-technical change at the UK System Research Challenges Workshop.

Abd’s presentation served as a powerful reminder of the human aspect of system design, a core value shared by the SACHI community. It sparked vibrant discussions on how we can integrate community-led solutions into our research and design processes, ultimately leading to more meaningful and impactful outcomes.

Furthermore, Abd highlighted the benefits of participatory design, emphasising how investing time and resources upfront can lead to better outcomes, fewer redesigns, and cost savings in the long run. This underscores the value of prioritising user needs throughout the design process, aligning with the overarching theme of Abd’s presentation.  

As we reflect on Abd’s insights and experiences, let us continue to embrace a collaborative and user-centred approach to HCI research. By prioritising community needs and engaging in responsible innovation, we can create impactful solutions that address the diverse needs of our communities. 

Abd’s PhD thesis that provides more details on the framework: 

[1] Eighth Annual UK System Research Challenges Workshop 2024: 

[2] UK Parliament’s Communications and Digital Committee Report on Digital Poverty: 

Seminar: Learning Vocabulary in Augmented Reality Supported 10th April 2024

VocabulARy: Learning Vocabulary in Augmented Reality Supported by Keyword Method


The “keyword method” is an effective mnemonic technique for learning vocabulary in a foreign language. It involves creating a mental association between the object the foreign word represents and a word in one’s native language that sounds similar (called the keyword). Learning foreign language vocabulary is enhanced when we encounter words in context. This context can be provided by the place or activity we are engaged with. This talk will present our work “VocabulARy” which enhances the language learning process by providing users with keywords and their visualisations in context using augmented reality (AR).


Maheshya Weerasinghe is a Research Associate in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) at the University of Glasgow, School of Computing Science, UK. Her research centres on extended reality and guided learning environments. She obtained her joint PhD in Computer Science at the University of St Andrews, UK, and the University of Primorska, Slovenia (2023).
Before joining the University of Glasgow, Maheshya has engaged in many collaborative research work with the HICUP Lab, University of Primorska, Slovenia; SACHI Lab, University of St Andrews, UK; Mixed Reality Lab, University of Coburg, Germany; IDM Lab, Nara Institute of Science & Technology, Japan; and the Monash University, Malaysia.

More about Maheshya Weerasinghe Arachchillage

Event details:

  • When: 10th April 2024 12:30 – 13:30
  • Where: Jack Cole 1.19


If you’re interested in attending any of the seminars in room 1.19, please email the SACHI seminar coordinator: so they can make appropriate arrangements for the seminar based on the number of attendees.