Human-Centered Computing

Department of Computer Science

About HCC

Human-Centered Computing is one of three research units at the Department of Computer Science. The research field is design, development, and use of interactive computer systems. The research approach is empirical and experimental. The types of results include:

  • Theoretical frameworks as contributions to understanding the field.
  • Methodologies and techniques as contributions to guiding practical action.
  • Changes as contributions to understanding and improving practice within the field.

The perspective is human-centered and it includes software development, digitalisation, human-computer interaction, interaction design, user experience, and innovation.

Intellectual support is sought in adjacent disciplines: engineering, systems theory, organisation theory, sociology, media science, theory of research, and philosophy. The research approaches applied by the unit encompass action research, case research, laboratory experiments, and field studies and experiments.

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News

Mikael Skov appointed professor of HCI

As of 1st March Mikael Skov is professor of HCI at the Department of Computer Science. <p>Mikael’s research interests include use of technology in human activity and my work is within different areas of human-computer interaction, interaction design, mobile computing, ubiquitous computing, pervasive computing. He has published more than 100 scientific papers on human-computer interaction including at conferences like CHI, CSCW, UbiComp, MobileHCI, Interact, NordiCHI. <p>http://people.cs.aau.dk/~dubois/

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News

A new research project on Energy and IT

The project has research partners within energy planning from the Department of Planning and within sustainable architecture from the Department of Mediaology and Architecture. <p>The project with over the next two years opens a new line of research on synchronization, integration and synergies between production and distribution of energy (heat, electricity, gas) on the one hand and energy consumption in smart homes or businesses. <p>The project links with what is currently called Smart Energy Systems and Smart Grid.

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Research seminar

Implementing Quality Assurance Practices in an Open Source Software Community

Many Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) projects have matured over the years to produce software of considerable size, complexity and some have seen generational changes. The need to rediscover, re-factor, and re-engineer existing code bases will thus increase over time, as will the need to deal with technological changes, processes, infrastructure, dependencies, and deployment platforms. We can safely assume that handling growth and maturity will require use of the best practices of software engineering methods and tools. An increase in popularity of a FOSS project implies that the community has to mature and improve its processes and practices. The objective of my PhD study is to bring a FOSS community quality assurance (QA) practices to higher standards. Through the mechanisms of a participatory action research process, I intend to introduce and when necessary, reinvigorate best QA practices in a FOSS community. I want to align the community QA practices with other FOSS communities’ practices and current software engineering best practices. This will yield a change in the affected community, but also new empirical insights into QA practices and new method to work with FOSS communities. The subject of my study is the Robot Operating System (ROS) community. The overall objective is to identify valuable lessons and knowledge that help others who wish to pursue a similar change agenda.

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Paper

Paper published in ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction

Stine, Jesper, and Mikael got their paper published in the TOCHI special issue on HBI

Stine S. Lundgaard, Jesper Kjeldskov, and Mikael Skov Abstract

Human-building interaction is converging the fields of architecture and interaction design, leading to new and interesting tensions in perspectives and methodological approaches. One such tension is related to temporal constraints. Architecture and interaction design typically produce outcomes with very different lifetime expectancies and, predominantly, use methods with very different pace. As an example, fast, iterative approaches of contemporary interaction design, consisting of frequent updates and redesigns, contrasts with much slower, plan-driven and long-term vision driven approaches within architecture. One question emerging from this tension is how to meaningfully combine perspectives and approaches. One suggestion, among others, has been that interaction design methods such as participatory design can be used to heighten the involvement of inhabitants and other stakeholders in continuous adaptations of the buildings they inhabit. While an interesting proposal, we believe that methodological considerations only partly address the complexity of the tension at play from the different lifetime expectancies of buildings and interactive computer systems. Unfolding this complexity further, we therefore propose a framework of temporal constraints at three levels of abstraction: 1) rationale, 2) method, and 3) outcome. Inspired by previous work, we discuss temporal constraints in human-building interaction at these levels. We argue that designing for human-building interaction requires an understanding of temporally constrained design conventions that apply meaningfully to both the short-term and long-term.

Paper

The SEE toolkit: How Young Adults Manage Low Self-esteem Using Personal Technologies

Jeni Paay, Helle Larsen, Heidi Nielsen Abstract

While low self-esteem is treatable, there is a stigma attached to seeking treatment for it (Corrigan, 2004). Low self-esteem can make even small things, like getting out of bed, difficult and lead to more serious illnesses such as depression or eating disorders (Elmer, 2001; Harter, 1993; Oshri et al., 2017; Sowislo & Orth, 2013). To understand how young adults are currently managing their self-esteem, we conducted a study using cultural probes (Gaver et al., 1999) and interviews with 11 young adults who feel they have low self-esteem. We identify the ways in which these young people act to increase their sense of self-worth, with particular focus on how they use personal technologies, such as smartphones. The aim of the study was to understand the role that these technologies were currently playing in the lives of people with self-esteem problems, and to investigate how personal technologies might be designed specifically to help people cope with low self-esteem, and ultimately improve their self-worth. Our contribution to health informatics is the SEE (Self-estEEm) toolkit, which identifies important factors that can influence young adults when dealing with low self-esteem. The SEE toolkit can be used in the design of health support technologies for young adults who want to manage their own self-esteem The SEE toolkit can be used in the design of health support technologies for young adults who want to manage their own self- esteem problems, giving them a private, helpful and meaningful user experience.

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Paper

Interactive Technologies Helping Young Adults Manage Low Self-Esteem

Jeni Paay, Helle Larsen, Heidi Nielsen Abstract

This research explores how interactive technologies can be designed to help young adults manage low self-esteem. Low self-esteem is an important issue because it can have a dramatic effect on a person’s physical and psychological health (Campbell & Lavallee, 1993; Delongis et al, 1988). Severe self-esteem problems can make simple everyday tasks, like getting out of bed, seem too difficult. If low self-esteem goes untreated, it can lead to the development of conditions such as suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, substance abuse and depression (Elmer, 2001; Harter, 1993; Oshri et al., 2017; Sowislo & Orth, 2013). Young adults in particular experience a decrease in personal self-esteem during the transition from childhood to adulthood (Oshri et al.). While these changes are slow, young people can experience short-term fluctuations in their immediate feelings of self-worth (Rosenberg, 1986). Treatment of severe self- esteem problems requires seeking professional help, however the stigma attached to this deters young people from doing so (Corrigan, 2004). Technologies can obviate this problem to some extent, by offering ways to provide health support privately and flexibly, making this kind of intervention more attractive. Technology can also tailor solutions to suit individuals, for use in their familiar environments.

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Paper

Happy Bits: Interactive Technologies Helping Young Adults with Low Self-Esteem

Jeni Paay, Heidi Nielsen, Helle Larsen, Jesper Kjeldskov Abstract

How can we design digital artefacts to help young adults with low self-esteem feel happier? To gain new insights into young adult’s self-esteem problems and how we might help support them with interactive technologies, we conducted a mixed method user-centred study. We used a 6-week cultural probe study with 11 young adults, including a focus group, to understand current practices in managing self-esteem with everyday technologies. We then co-designed interactive digital artefacts for helping improve self-esteem, to deploy as technology probes with 6 young adults for four weeks. Our contribution is two-fold. Firstly, we present the Self- Esteem Technology Support (SETS) framework for informing design of interactive technologies supporting young adults in managing low self-esteem. Secondly, we propose that interactive technologies designed to help young people feel happier need to be flexible, adaptable, private, available, personalisable, and have an engaging form factor to inspire feelings of fondness toward having the device as part of their daily routines.

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News

Driving on Sunshine: Aligning Electric Vehicle Charging and Household Electricity Production was presented in Oslo.

Michael, Rikke, Mikael and Jesper got their paper accepted for NordiCHI 18, and Michael made a splendid presentation of the paper in Oslo.

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Paper

Driving on Sunshine: Aligning Electric Vehicle Charging and Household Electricity Production

Michael Kvist Svangren, Rikke Hagensby Jensen, Mikael B. Skov, and Jesper Kjeldskov Abstract

Electric vehicle seems to go well together with the growing societal trend of becoming more self-supplying with renewable electricity produced in the household. However, aligning household electricity production and electric vehicle charging have received little attention in HCI although both areas have been pursued separately for a number of years. In this paper, we present findings from a qualitative study that explore the potential of aligning electric vehicle charging with times where renewable electricity is being produced in the household. We present an empirical qualitative study of 5 households (19 persons) that own electric vehicles and also produce their own renewable electricity. Our findings, described in five themes, reveal that aligning charging and electricity production can be a challenge and tension exist for aligning consumption such as motivation, roles, mobility patterns, and electricity producing technology. We further discuss our findings and possible directions for future HCI research in the field.

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News

Rikke defended her Phd Project: Interaction Design for Sustainable Energy Consumption in the Smart Home

There is little doubt that human demand for electricity has environmental consequences for the climate on earth. One response to combat increasing electricity demand and CO2 emissions is to research and develop smart home technology aiming to change how people consume electricity in their homes. This PhD project contributes with understandings of how smart home technologies can be designed to see how these are going to be sustainably beneficial for people in everyday life.

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News

HCC Retreat / Seminar at Comwell Rebild Bakker

The HCC group gathered for a two day retreat at Comwell in Rebild Bakker for a seminar with a mix of formal and informal events including presentations of research, revising HCC profile descriptions, video watching and more.

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Paper

Paper published at Behaviour & Information Technology journal

Lefteris got his paper about aesthetic questionairs published at BIT

Lefteris Papachristos Abstract

In recent years, website aesthetics has received a fair amount of attention from the HCI community. This has led to the creation of a variety of multi-item questionnaires aimed at capturing users’ aesthetic judgments. Researchers have used these questionnaires in several HCI studies to investigate the relationship between aesthetics and other evaluative constructs such as usability. However, their usefulness as evaluation tools in visual design practice remains underexplored. Lengthy multi-item questionnaires can be particularly problematic especially in studies where participants must evaluate multiple designs or when they are required to give responses repeatedly in predefined time intervals. Despite the criticism, single-item scales have been used in many past studies in which questionnaire length could be problematic. Another alternative available to practitioners/researchers are short versions of standardized multi-item questionnaires that have been created for the aesthetic evaluations of websites. In this paper, we present a study in which we compare the performance of three such condensed aesthetic questionnaires (i.e. aesthetics scale, AttrakDiff, VisAWI) during a website redesign project. The short versions of those questionnaires were used by 187 users during an evaluation of 7 alternative website designs. The questionnaires were compared on performance criteria such as reliability, validity, and predictive ability. Data analysis showed that although AttrakDiff’s overall performance was better, a considerable amount of variance in aesthetic judgment could not be accounted for by any of the questionnaires

News

The TeleHuman2 paper was presented at CHI 2018

The TeleHuman2 paper was presented by Roel Vertegaal at the CHI2018 conference in Montréal. Tim Merritt visited the Human Media Lab in the Summer of 2017 and was welcomed to work on the project. The system and study had already been developed and the collaboration focused on refining the research message and revising the paper. Future studies involving the hologrammatic telepresence system and tactile feedback is among possible future areas of exploration.

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News

Rikke's paper received Honourable mention award at CHI 2018

Paper: Rikke Hagensby Jensen, Yolande Strengers, Jesper Kjeldskov, Larissa Nicholls, and Mikael B Skov. 2018. Designing the Desirable Smart Home: A Study of Household Experiences and Energy Consumption Impacts. In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 18). Abstract: Research has shown that desirable designs shape the use and experiences people have when interacting with technology. Nevertheless, how desirability influences energy consumption is often overlooked, particularly in HCI studies evaluating the sustainability benefits of smart home technology. In this paper, we present a qualitative study with 23 Australian households who reflect on their experiences of living with smart home devices. Drawing on Nelson and Stolterman’s concept of desiderata we develop a typology of householders’ desires for the smart home and their energy implications. We structure these desires as three smart home personas: the helper, optimiser and hedonist, which align with desiderata’s three approaches to desire (reason, ethics and aesthetics). We use these insights to discuss how desirability can be used within HCI for steering design of the smart home towards sustainability

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