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

Seminar: Deep Digitality, and Digital Thinking


Event details

  • When: 18th February 2020 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b

Abstract:

In an ACM Interactions column and an Irish HCI keynote I have explored Deep Digitality, an approach to the radical re-imagination of large scale systems of society: manufacturing, healthcare, government and healthcare.  Deep Digitality takes the counter-factual premise asking what these systems would be like of digital technology had preceded the industrial revolution, the Medicis or even Hippocrates.  Paradoxically, in some of these digital-first scenarios, digital technology is sparse and yet there is clearly a digital mindset at play.  It is the kind of thinking that underlies some of the more radical digital apps and products, and builds on the assumptions of a world where computation and sensing are cheap, communication and information are pervasive, and digital fabrication is mainstream. This digital thinking connects with other ‘thinkings’ (computational, design, management, systems) and but appears distinct – less focused on decomposition and engineering than computational thinking, but more principle rather than process driven than design thinking.  I have been trying to distill some of the defining features and heuristic principles of Digital Thinking and this talk captures some of this nascent work in progress.

Bio:

Alan Dix is Director of the Computational Foundry at Swansea University.  Previously he has spent 10 years in a mix of academic and commercial roles. He has worked in human–computer interaction research since the mid 1980s, and is the author of one of the major international textbooks on HCI as well as of over 450 research publications from formal methods to design creativity, including some of the earliest papers in the HCI literature on topics such as privacy, mobile interaction, and gender and ethnic bias in intelligent algorithms.   For ten years Alan lived on Tiree, a small Scottish island, where he engaged in a number of community research projects relating to heritage, communications, energy use and open data and organised a twice-yearly event Tiree Tech Wave that has now become peripatetic.  In 2013, Alan walked the complete periphery of Wales, over a thousand miles.  This was a personal journey, but also a research expedition, exploring the technology needs of the walker and the people along the way.
Alan’s role at the Computational Foundry has brought him back to his homeland.  The Computational Foundry is a 30 million pound initiative to boost computational research in Wales with a strong focus on creating social and economic benefit.  Digital technology is at a bifurcation point when it could simply reinforce existing structures of industry, government and health, or could allow us to radically reimagine and transform society.  The Foundry is built on the belief that addressing human needs and human values requires and inspires the deepest forms of fundamental science.

Seminar: Blocks-based programming for fun and profit


Event Details

  • When: Friday 06 March 2020, 2-3pm

  • Where: JCB:1.33b – Teaching Laboratory

Abstract:

Visual programming environments have long been applied in an educational context for encouraging uptake of computer science, with a more recent focus on blocks-based programming as a means to teach computational thinking concepts.  Today, students in primary, secondary and even tertiary education are learning to code through blocks-based environments like Scratch and App Inventor, and studies in these settings have shown that they ease the transition to ‘real’ programming in high-level languages such as Java and Python.  My question is, do we need to bother with that transition?  Can we accomplish more with blocks than just programming for its own sake?  More ‘serious’ visual programming environments like LabVIEW for engineers, and Blueprints embedded in the Unreal Engine for game developers are testament to visual programming producing more than just toy programs, so how far could blocks go?  In this talk, I’ll give an overview of blocks-based programming and its applications outside education, including its role in my PhD project and current postdoctoral research in allowing end-users with no programming experience to tailor spoken dialog systems.

Bio:

Daniel is a postdoctoral research fellow working in the HCI group in UCD on the B-SPOKE project with Dr Ben Cowan.  The goal of this project is to open up the development of Spoken Dialog Systems to the end-user without programming experience, through techniques from the field of end-user development.  Prior to this, Daniel completed his PhD at the University of St Andrews, focusing on the adoption of an end-user development tool for psychology researchers to create their own data collection apps.  Daniel is especially interested in applying blocks-based programming (the visual approach to learning code used in well-known tools like Scratch) to domain-specific applications, allowing end-users to customise their software experiences without writing a single line of code.

 


Seminar: Harnessing Usability, UX and Dependability for Interactions in Safety Critical Contexts


Event details

  • When: 3rd February 2020 11:00 - 12:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a

Event Details

  • When: Monday 03 February 2020, 11am – 12hrs
  • Where: JCB:1.33A – Teaching Laboratory

Abstract: Innovation and creativity are the research drivers of the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) community which is currently investing a vast amount of resources in the design and evaluation of “new” user interfaces and interaction techniques, leaving the correct functioning of these interfaces at the discretion of the helpless developers.  In the area of formal methods and dependable systems the emphasis is usually put on the correct functioning of the system leaving its usability to secondary-level concerns (if at all addressed).  However, designing interactive systems requires blending knowledge from these domains in order to provide operators with enjoyable, usable and dependable systems.  The talk will present possible research directions and their benefits for combining several complementary approaches to engineer interactive critical systems.  Due to their specificities, addressing this problem requires the definition of methods, notations, processes and tools to go from early informal requirements to deployed and maintained operational interactive systems.  The presentation will highlight the benefits of (and the need for) an integrated framework for the iterative design of operators’ procedures and tasks, training material and the interactive system itself.  The emphasis will be on interaction techniques specification and validation as their design is usually the main concern of HCI conferences.  A specific focus will be on automation that is widely integrated in interactive systems both at interaction techniques level and at application level.  Examples will be taken from interactive cockpits on large civil commercial aircrafts (such as the A380), satellite ground segment application and Air Traffic Control workstations.

Bio: Dr. Philippe Palanque is Professor in Computer Science at the University Toulouse 3 “Paul Sabatier” and is head of the Interactive Critical Systems group at the Institut de Recherche en Informatique de Toulouse (IRIT) in France. Since the late 80s he has been working on the development and application of formal description techniques for interactive system. He has worked for more than 10 years on research projects to improve interactive Ground Segment Systems at the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and is also involved in the development of software architectures and user interface modeling for interactive cockpits in large civil aircraft (funded by Airbus). He was involved in the research network HALA! (Higher Automation Levels in Aviation) funded by SESAR programme which targets at building the future European air traffic management system. The main driver of Philippe’s research over the last 20 years has been to address in an even way Usability, Safety and Dependability in order to build trustable safety critical interactive systems. He is the secretary of the IFIP Working group 13.5 on Resilience, Reliability, Safety and Human Error in System Development, was steering committee chair of the CHI conference series at ACM SIGCHI and chair of the IFIP Technical Committee 13 on Human-Computer Interaction.