I’m an interdisciplinary researcher with interests spanning design, cognitive science, computing and social science, and would probably be best described as a ‘user studies’ researcher. My work involves evaluating the ways that digital technology is practically used by people in support of interaction design and the organisation of collaborative systems – covering the internet of things (IoT), mobile and ubiquitous technology, digital and mobile money, emerging financial services (fintech), collaborative video production, interactive automotive media, and domestic technologies (amongst others). My research on digital money has been reported in the Blackett Review’s Distributed ledger technology: beyond block chain (published by the Government Office for Science) and in the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST Notes) report on Alternative Currencies, with a parliamentary submission to the House of Lords inquiry on Central Bank Digital Currencies (2021). In late 2018 I was awarded a Royal Society Kan Tong Po International Fellowship to look at the use of digital money in China.
I originally trained as a psychologist (BA, Cardiff University), then as a cognitive scientist (MSc, Cardiff), before taking an interdisciplinary PhD (Brunel), having worked at a variety of places along the way, including Goldsmiths (London), Hewlett-Packard Research Labs (Bristol), Stanford University (USA), the Appliance Studio (Bristol) and Stockholm University, and while at Brunel, I have been the Director of a University Research Centre, leading 12 faculty members. Previously a Reader (what’s that?), I now hold a Chair as (Full) Professor in Human-Computer Interaction at Brunel University.
I have been involved in the Human-Computer Interaction community for a long time, both as a member of the ACM SIGCHI Executive Committee (2019-2021), holding the role of Adjunct Chair for Volunteer Development, and together with with Prof. Anna Cox at UCL, as ACM CHI’18 Technical Programme Co-Chair. CHI is the premier international HCI conference with ~3,500 attendees, 5,000 submissions, 665 accepted paper presentations spread over 198 sessions, and involving the co-ordination of 3,800 peer reviewers, so this role was quite a major task!
Most of my recent research has revolved around the use of mobile information and communications technology, and in the use and design of ubiquitous/pervasive computing and networked information appliances. My core interests lie in investigating collaboration, with the applied aim of supporting design. Interaction analysis, ethnography and ethnographically-informed research techniques are central to my work. For more information on these topics please look at my research projects and selected publications. I’ve published quite a lot, so not everything is listed, but it should give a good flavour of what I do. Two projects of note involve the use of digital money, and family-based media interactions in car travel, and I co-managed a project supervising Dr Leonid Ivonin as Marie Curie Research Fellow at Bristol University with Profs. Sri Subramanian and Mike Fraser. I have recently worked on a research project exploring ‘Smart Money‘ – looking at how a digitally-enabled central bank currency would be designed and used, collaborating with partners at the Bank of England and the Office of National Statistics, and a post-covid user experience KTP project with UltraLeap Ltd. (2021) that looked at the the design of touchless public interfaces.
I have done a fair amount of academic service, through the ACM SIGCHI Executive Committee (2019-21), and previously, as Technical Programme Chair (2018), Subcommittee Chair (2010, 2015, 2016) and Associate Chair (2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014) for the ACM CHI conferences. I have also been involved in committee work for a number of other conferences (AfriCHI, MobileHCI, ECSCW, ACM SIGDOC, AutomotiveUI, BCS HCI), and regularly review for journals including the International Human-Computer Interaction, Journal of Human-Computer Studies, ACM Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction, and Computer Supported Co-operative Work. I’m a member of the EPSRC Peer Review College and for the last few years I have been a panel reviewer for the EU FET proactive programme, the Research Council of Norway’s VERDIKT and IKTPLUSS programmes, sitting on the NordForsk international review panel, as well as reviewing funding applications for several other UK and international research councils. In the recent past, I was a member of the SALTSA ‘Mobile Virtual Work’ group, advising the Swedish trade unions and government agencies on the future of mobile technology in transforming work. Alongside this, I have chaired the Doctoral Consortium at the BCS HCI 2013 conference, and a number of workshops at the ACM CHI and CSCW conferences. I have also been involved in supporting UK National Higher Education Standards for Computer Science education, via the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) as a sub-group lead for the Subject Benchmark Statement advisory group for Computer Science (2022).
Over the last few years, I have held funding from a number of different research bodies and industry, including the EPSRC, RCUK, Royal Society, Microsoft Research, the Appliance Studio, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Vodafone Foundation. I currently hold a Visiting Fellowship in the Department of Computer Science at Bristol University. I have previously held a stipendiary Guest Professorship at DSV, Stockholm University and Visiting Professorship at the Interactive Institute, as well as a Visiting Scholar post at Stanford University. I have recently been principal investigator on two large grants, one on ubiquitous computing and peer-to-peer financial services (3DaRoC) and on family interaction with digital media in cars (AutoMedia), and am currently co-investigator on the £757,585 EPSRC/Digital Economy project ‘Smart Money: precision data management for distributed ledger enabled central bank issued digital currencies’.
I have extensive responsibilities and experience in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and academic administration. I have been module leader of the project team for the department (BSc, MSc, MTech and MRes), and I currently supervise a number of PhD students across a range of areas. In addition to my work at Brunel, I led an undergraduate course component in Human-Computer Interaction with the University of London external degree programme for almost 20 years (1998-2016). I have been an external examiner for Lancaster University and University College London (MSc), and Middlesex and Goldsmiths Universities (UG), as well as regularly acting as an external PhD examiner in the UK and abroad.
Finally, I have considerable experience in external commercial consultancy covering interaction design (IxD) and user experience design (UxD) around a variety of communication and collaborative systems, fintech (including digital payments, financial management) and blockchain (smart contracts, cryptocurrencies). Click for more details on my consultancy experience and contact details. I’m even experimenting with Mastodon.