SACHI Seminar: Benjamin Bach – Between Exploration and Explanation: Visualizations for Insights, Curiosity, and Storytelling

Event details

  • When: 5th July 2017 15:00 - 16:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a


Please note that this seminar will now take place in Jack Cole 1.33A on Wednesday 5th July between 15:00 and 16:00

Title: Between Exploration and Explanation: Visualizations for Insights, Curiosity, and Storytelling.

Abstract: This talk presents a set of interactive visualizations for exploration and recent work in how to communicate insights through data-driven stories. In particular, I will present work on visualizing networks including an open-source online platform. Then, I will discuss comics as an approach to communicate not only changes in temporal data but to weave narration, textual explanations, and data visualizations. The questions raised by the talk are about effective ways to engage a larger audience in understanding, learning, and use of visualizations for exploration and communication. As visualizations are becoming more and more commonplace and familiar to people, we can see more and more aspects of our daily lives being potentially enriched with information presented visually. Eventually, I want to raise the question of which role novel technology such as Augmented and Virtual Reality can play in exploring, communicating, and interacting with visualizations.

Biography: Benjamin is a Lecturer in Design Informatics and Visualization at the University of Edinburgh. His research designs and investigates interactive information visualizations to help people explore, present, and understand information hidden in data. He focuses on the visualization of dynamic networks (e.g., social networks, brain connectivity networks), as well as temporal data (e.g., changes in videos and Wikipedia articles, events on timelines), comics for storytelling with visualizations, as well as visualization and interaction in Augmented and Virtual Reality. Before joining the University of Edinburgh in 2017, Benjamin worked as a postdoc at Harvard University, Monash University, as well as the Microsoft-Research Inria Joint Centre. Benjamin was visiting researcher at the University of Washington and Microsoft Research in 2015. He obtained his PhD in 2014 from the Université Paris Sud where he worked at the Aviz Group at Inria.

Dr. Christopher Collins – Finding What to Read: Visual Text Analytics Tools and Techniques to Guide Investigation

Event details

  • When: 27th June 2017 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b

Title:  Finding What to Read: Visual Text Analytics Tools and Techniques to Guide Investigation

Abstract:  Text is one of the most prominent forms of open data available, from social media to legal cases. Text visualizations are often critiqued for not being useful, for being unstructured and presenting data out of context (think: word clouds). I argue that we should not expect them to be a replacement for reading. In this talk I will briefly discuss the close/distant reading debate then focus on where I think text visualization can be useful: hypothesis generation and guiding investigation. Text visualization can help someone form questions about a large text collection, then drill down to investigate through targeted reading of the underlying source texts. Over the past 10 years my research focus has been primarily on creating techniques and systems for text analytics using visualization, across domains as diverse as legal studies, poetics, social media, and automotive safety.  I will review several of my past projects with particular attention to the capabilities and limitations of the technologies and tools we used, how we use semantics to structure visualizations, and the importance of providing interactive links to the source materials. In addition, I will discuss the design challenges which, while common across visualization, are particularly important with text (legibility, label fitting, finding appropriate levels of ‘zoom’).


Dr Oliver Schneider and Professor Karon MacLean: Haptic Experience Design: How to Create for Touch and Making and Experimenting with Furry Robots with Feelings

Event details

  • When: 12th June 2017 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a

We have a SACHI seminar on Monday 12th June 2017 which will be given by two speakers, presenting two connected talks within the normal hour slot.

The speakers are Dr Oliver Schneider from the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany and Professor Karon MacLean who is Professor of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

Professor Daniel Vogel, University of Waterloo: New Approaches to Mode-Switching

Event details

  • When: 15th June 2017 14:00 - 15:00

When:  Thursday June 15th

Where:  Maths Seminar Room 2

Time:  14:00 – 15:00

Title:  New Approaches to Mode-Switching

Abstract:  The fundamental unit of all interaction is issuing commands, and the trickiest types of commands are those that control “modes” — different ways to map the same input to different application actions. For example, the current mode in a tablet drawing app could determine if the exact same sequence of touch movements draws a line, pans the canvas, makes a marquee selection, or issues a gestural command. Switching between modes like these are frequent, so finding optimum mode-switching methods is important.  In this talk, I survey my group’s work to understand and improve mode-switching and command selection for different input types and device form factors. These include: Pin-and-Cross, a touch overloading technique combining static touches with nearby crossing selection; Conté, a pen-like input device that leverages small changes in contact geometry; Doppio, a reconfigurable two-faced smartwatch for tangible input; and Gunslinger, a mid-air interaction technique using bare hand postures and gestures performed in a relaxed arms-down position.

Dr Mike Hazas, Lancaster University: Internet services, energy demand and everyday life

When: Tuesday 30th May, 14:00 to 15:00

Where: Jack Cole room 1.33A

Title:  Internet services, energy demand and everyday life

Abstract:  Over the last decade, the growth in data traffic across the Internet has been dramatic, and forecasts predict a similar ongoing pattern. Since this is associated with remarkable electricity consumption (about 10% globally, and rising), such a trend is significant to efforts to reduce carbon emissions.  This calls for careful attention to the nature of these trends, as levels of Internet electricity demand become ever more directly and explicitly problematic.  Based on a host of prior literature and two field studies, this talk explores what we know about the energy intensity of digital stuff, and the growth of Internet traffic.  It considers how such traffic can be attributed to different Internet services like video streaming or social networking, and how these link to everyday practices which draw upon and generate data online.

Biography:  Dr Mike Hazas is a Senior Lecturer at Lancaster University, who works at the confluence of human-computer interaction and social science. His research combines qualitative and quantitative methods to understand everyday practices and technologies, how they can be related to carbon emissions and energy demand, and more sustainable trajectories. Mike co-directs the multidisciplinary Socio-Digital Sustainability group at Lancaster, and has served as a chair of the CHI Specific Application Areas subcommittee for the last three years.  Mike is a co-investigator in the DEMAND Centre (EPSRC, 2013-2018) which is concerned with the relationship of social practices and energy demand.

Professor Andrés Lucero : Co-Designed, Collocated & Playful Mobile Interactions

Event details

  • When: 11th April 2017 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a

When: Tuesday 11th April

Time: 14:00 – 15:00

Where: Cole 1.33A

Title: Co-Designed, Collocated & Playful Mobile Interactions

Abstract: Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets were originally conceived and have traditionally been utilized for individual use. Research on mobile collocated interactions has explored situations in which collocated users engage in collaborative activities using their mobile devices, thus going from personal/individual toward shared/multiuser experiences and interactions.

Dr Hagen Lehmann, Italian Institute of Technology: Social interaction characteristics for socially acceptable robots

When: Monday 3rd April 2017, 14:00 – 15:00

Where: Jack Cole 1.33a

Title: Social interaction characteristics for socially acceptable robots

Abstract: The last decade has seen fast advances in Social Robotic Technology. Social Robots start to be successfully used as robot companions and as therapeutic aids. In both of these cases the robots need to be able to interact intuitively and comfortably with their human users in close physical proximity.


Dr Alice Toniolo, University of St Andrews: An argumentation-based approach to facilitate and improve human reasoning.

Title:  An argumentation-based approach to facilitate and improve human reasoning.

Abstract:  The ability of understanding and reasoning about different alternatives for a decision is fundamental for making informed choices. Intelligent autonomous systems have the potential to improve the quality of human-decision making but the use of such systems may be hampered by human difficulties to interact and trust their outputs.


Dr Wendy Moncur, University of Dundee: The design of digital technologies to support transitional events in the human lifespan

Title:  The design of digital technologies to support transitional events in the human lifespan

Abstract:  This talk will focus on (i) qualitative research undertaken to understand how digital technologies are being used during transitional periods across the human lifespan, such as becoming an adult, romantic breakup, and end of life, and (ii) the opportunities for technology design that have emerged as a result. Areas of focus include presentation of self online, group social norms, and the problematic nature of ‘ownership’ of digital materials.

Dr Luigina Ciolfi, Sheffield Hallam University: The Collaborative Design of Tangible Interactions in Museums

Title:  The Collaborative Design of Tangible Interactions in Museums

Abstract:  Interactive technology for cultural heritage has long been a subject of study for Human-Computer Interaction. Findings from a number of studies suggest that, however, technology can sometime distance visitors from heritage holdings rather than enabling people to establish deeper connections to what they see. Furthermore, the introduction of innovative interactive installations in museum is often seen as an interesting novelty but seldom leads to substantive change in how a museum approaches visitor engagement. This talk will discuss work on the EU project “meSch” (Material EncounterS with Digital Cultural Heritage) aimed at creating a do-it-yourself platform for cultural heritage professionals to design interactive tangible computing installations that bridge the gap between digital content and the materiality of museum objects and exhibits. The project has adopted a collaborative design approach throughout, involving cultural heritage professionals, designers, developers and social scientist. The talk will feature key examples of how collaboration unfolded and relevant lessons learned, particularly regarding the shared envisioning of tangible interaction concepts at a variety of heritage sites including archaeology and art museums, hands-on exploration centres and outdoor historical sites.

Biography:  Dr. Luigina Ciolfi is Reader in Communication at Sheffield Hallam University. She holds a Laurea (Univ. of Siena, Italy) and a PhD (Univ. of Limerick, Ireland) in Human-Computer Interaction. Her research focuses on understanding and designing for human situated practices mediated by technology in both work and leisure settings, particularly focusing on participation and collaboration in design. She has worked on numerous international research projects on heritage technologies, nomadic work and interaction in public spaces. She is the author of over 80 peer-reviewed publications, has been an invited speaker in ten countries, and has advised on research policy around digital technologies and cultural heritage for several European countries. Dr. Ciolfi serves in a number of scientific committees for international conferences and journals, including ACM CHI, ACM CSCW, ACM GROUP, ECSCW, COOP and the CSCW Journal. She is a member of the EUSSET (The European Society for Socially Embedded Technologies) and of the ACM CSCW Steering Groups.  Dr. Ciolfi is a senior member of the ACM. Full information on her work can be found at