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HCIL Seminar Series

The Semniar Series offers a common ground that can promote interdisciplinary discussion on a wide range of topics relating to Human-Computer Interaction. These lectures are free and open to the public. No reservations are needed.

An archive of past seminar series can be found online.

For questions or comments, contact the HCIL at

The 2013-2014 Seminar Series has been made possible through a generous sponsorship contribution from

2014-2015 Seminars/Speakers

October 9, 2014

m.c. schraefel, Professor, University of Southampton presents:
Exploring the role of HCI as an agent of cultural change: from health as a medical condition to health as shared, social aspiration

Guest speaker at weekly brown bag
Thursday, 12:30 p.m., HCIL, 2119 Hornbake Building, South Wing


What is the role of HCI in supporting a better normal for our health, creativity, quality of life - especially if we think about health outside a medical context. I have been thinking about the concept of "make better normal" and Ben Shneiderman has challenged me to ask isn't that the role of design in general? And most of us would agree, so what's different when we talk about health, not as a medical condition, but as a paradigm shift, where health is a shared and supported social aspiration? In such a discussion, HCI becomes an agent not necessarily for change, but for cultural shift - assuming we might agree on what proactive health looks like in practice - so we can design to support it. As part of this discussion i'll offer in5 as a design model for proactive health and look forward to your feedback.

Also, we might consider how the role of HCI would change in this dynamic over time. Initially, proactive health design is likely design against the status quo. For example, if the status quo is sedentary knowledge work, and the research shows that more movement during the day is better for us cognitively, physiologically, socially, then what does HCI do to help support this transition individually and culturally? What is the role and perhaps responsibility of our collaborative work with, for instance, visualisation and big data? Likewise, what is the map of this territory for us? where are the important research questions? how would we know them? Do we ourselves need to evolve a new disciplinary expertise from nutrition to neurology for proactive health tech design? I have some thoughts/experiences in this space i'd like to share to hear your insights. Also, in particular, I would also like to present the related outcomes from a Dagstuhl Workshop that happened in June to consider Grand Challenges for Interactive Technology Design for Proactive Health, and to invite you to participate in and contribute to shaping these Challenges. This exchange, i hope, will act as both this invitation and a call to action - to say that if we see the opportunities to make a real and credible difference for proactive health, do we not need to find, fundamentally, ways to better support each others' work to have effects at scale, to model a path for others to trust and to follow?


m.c. schraefel, ph.d, f.bcs, c.eng, cscs, @mcphoo holds the post Professor of Computer Science and Human Performance in the Agents, Interaction and Complexity Group of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, UK. mc also holds a Research Chair sponsored by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Microsoft Research to investigate how to design interactive technology to better support creativity, innovation and discovery. As part of that research, schraefel utilises her works with athletes as a professional strength and conditioning, movement and nutrition coach for design insights into real people's longitudinal experience of and challenges with wellbeing practice. m.c. directs the Human Systems Interaction Lab at Southampton where the vision is to make better normal; make normal better, and the mission is to explore how ICT can support the brain/body connexion to enhance innovation, creativity and improved Quality of Life for all.

November 20, 2014

Beverly Harrison, Principal Scientist & Director Mobile Research, Yahoo! presents:
Yahoo Labs - Mobile Research Group

Guest speaker at weekly brown bag
Thursday, 12:30 p.m., HCIL, 2105 Hornbake Building, South Wing


In this talk, Dr. Beverly Harrison will highlight strategic research areas and directions for Yahoo Labs overall, and then describe key areas the Mobile Research team is actively working on (and hiring for!). Several recent research projects will be presented including a study of teens use of smartphones and mobile apps, a study about people's understanding of what "personalized ads" means, a social TV prototype app, and some highlights of wearables and hardware prototyping efforts.


Bio: Dr. Beverly Harrison is currently the Senior Director of Mobile Research at Yahoo Labs. Her expertise and passion over the last 20 years is creating, building and evaluating innovative mobile user interface technologies and in inferring user behavior patterns from various types of sensor data. She has previously worked at Xerox PARC, IBM Research, Intel Research, and Amazon/Lab126 as well as doing startups. Beverly has 80+ publications, holds over 50 patents, and held 3 affiliate faculty positions in CSE, iSchool, Design (Univ of Washington). She has a B.S. in Mathematics (Waterloo) and a M.Sc. and PhD in Human Factors Engineering (Toronto) where she was also an active member of the dgp Lab.

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