University of Southampton

Human-Computer Interaction

Human Computer Interaction (HCI) research focuses on how people interact with technology and on the design of novel interfaces and interaction techniques. In particular our interests are in systems and strategies to support innovation and creativity, and help users in making sense of large amounts of data. To this end, we create and evaluate prototypes that range from tangible and mobile interfaces to Web applications.

Because technology today permeates and influences most aspects of our lives – and will do so even more in the foreseeable future – HCI can have a considerable impact on our living. Our overarching research goal, then, is to develop insights and tools to improve wellbeing and quality of life.

Our work is interdisciplinary in its approach, drawing on cognitive psychology, design and sociology in addition to electronics and computer science. In particular our research interests include the following areas:

Building & Managing Knowledge

One of our key interests is in the design of systems and methods to help people develop new, usable knowledge about the world around them and how they engage with it. Examples range from understanding how people make sense of electricity smart meters to interaction design of mobile technology to support health goals.

Value from Social Networks

On-line social networks can be a source of information and wisdom, but not all content we find there is equal. From spammers to bots to people just desperate for attention, a lot of advice out there is just, plain bad. How can we separate the wheat from the chaff? Our work aims at finding or fostering structure around online social media, to augment their value.

Mixing Physical + Digital in Everyday Life

Tangible user interfaces (TUIs) have been promoted and discussed in the Ubicomp and HCI communities since the early nineties. In TUIs physical objects are used for the control and representation of digital information, similarly to how icons are used in graphical user interfaces for the same purpose. Our research in TUIs builds on extremely low-cost prototypes that can be easily deployed and studied in the real world, even through the Web.

Human-Agent Interaction

We are starting to investigate the opportunities and challenges related to human interaction with autonomous agent systems. As more and more sensing and computation power become available and accessible, opportunities emerge to leverage them in our everyday life: from smart homes to smart classrooms, to smart vehicles. How do we decide how much control to retain and how much to delegate to autonomous systems?