Monthly Online Seminars on

Human Computer Interaction and User Experience 

Presented by

British Computer Society Interaction Group

and  Interacting with Computers

A monthly series of online seminars about human computer interaction (HCI) and user experience (UX). Hosted by the British Computer Society (BCS) Interaction Group and the BCS journal “Interacting with Computers”

Everyone who is interested in HCI and UX is welcome to join, whether you are a student, practitioner, researcher, teacher or just interested.

Seminars will be a mix of presentations by authors of papers recently (or soon to be) published in Interacting with Computers and other topics of wide interest to the research and practitioner community of people involved in HCI and UX.

If you have questions, comments or would like to give a seminar, please email Professor Helen Petrie (, Editor of Interacting with Computers and seminar convenor.

POSTPONED (AGAIN) – Sorry, due to workload on INTERACT 2023 we have to postpone this seminar again.  We will work on when the next seminar will be and the topic soon.
Global Virtual Team Working during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Bridget Kane (Karlstad University, Sweden and Dublin City University, Ireland) and Barry Phelim (Dublin City University, Ireland)
Virtual work introduces distinct challenges when compared to face-to-face or onsite work. Communication and collaboration are key factors in team development and in team performance. When teamwork is of a global nature, imposed because of a pandemic, then additional variables are introduced into the equation. The challenges that Global Virtual Teams (GVTs) encounter when communicating and developing in the context of the Covid–19 pandemic impacts how work is structured and teams develop. This qualitative study was conducted just over one year after the start of the Covid19 pandemic when working from home became mandatory and particular challenges for GVTs became apparent. Data are gathered through an online anonymous survey and followed by semi-structured video-mediated interviews with staff in a large multinational software development company. Findings show that GVTs encounter a number of distinct challenges than faceto-face teams. However, individuals are actively adapting to the situation in which they find themselves and are learning to deal with the challenges by being proactive. Even though the tools used previously may not be entirely suitable for virtual work, GVTs learn to change how tools are used to be more productive and collaborative. Challenges continue to exist in areas such as knowledge gathering and knowledge sharing. Communication failures can lead to delays and confusion. The findings also indicate that even though GVTs are not communicating as much informally or socially with their colleagues because of remote working in the pandemic, being remote is not having a negative effect on the ability to get work done. Some aspects of team development can be negatively affected when working in GVTs. Impacts are identified relating to trust and relationship-building as well as being able to identify and resolve conflict. These results prompt further research opportunities as organisations and individuals continue to adapt and embrace Global Virtual Teamwork.

Monday 27th March
Jan Gulliksen, Joakim Lillesköld and Stefan Stenbom, KTH, Stockholm Sweden
The “new” new normal – digitalization and hybridization of work and education before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic

Watch the recording on our YouTube Channel

Read the paper in Interacting with Computers

Before the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, work and education on the university campus were considered superior to equivalent activities conducted digitally or remotely. Despite being significantly digitally mature, many organizations did not consider or even permit digital or hybrid participation in meetings and education. In March 2020, the lockdown following the pandemic caused the transition of many organizations and most universities to online-only operation in record time. Often, this occurred while maintaining quality and production, even if some aspects relating to the user experience were lost. The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyze how digitalization following the pandemic influenced and transformed the digital work environment in higher education. KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, provided the experiences and data for this article. In conclusion we distinguished different phases of digital work and education before, during and after the pandemic: 1. The Pre-Pandemic Phase, 2. The Emergency Remote Phase, 3. The New Normal, 4. The Slow Acceptance Phase, and 5. The Dividing Phase, or what we refer to as The “New” New Normal. In this phase it looks like it will be a battle between three perspectives; those who are looking to get back to the pre-pandemic conditions, those living in The New Normal, and those actively analyzing the lessons learned and aiming for The Thoughtful Blended Phase. Analyzing these five phases we discern that the implications for the future will be heavily dependent on the following aspects: management commitment and support; well-functioning technology and support organization; understanding the effects digitalization will have on culture, organization and well-being; increasing interest in participating in pedagogical development; new designs needed for hybrid work and education; the need to rethink structure and contents of meetings; and paying extra care and attention to the psychological well-being of staff and students.


Monday 27th February
Alan Dix (Computation Foundry, Swansea University and Cardiff Metropolitan University), Raymond Bond (University of Ulster at Jordanstown), and Ana Caraban (Universidade de Lisboa Instituto Superior Tecnico)
Why pandemics and climate change are hard to understand and make decision making difficult
This talk will draw on diverse psychological, behavioural and numerical literature to understand some of the challenges we all face in making sense of large-scale phenomena and use this to create a roadmap for HCI responses. This body of research points the way toward current challenges and equips us with tools and principles that can help HCI researchers deliver value. This paper is framed by looking at patterns and information that highlight some of the common misunderstandings that arise – not just for politicians and the general public but also for those in the academic community’s heart. This talk does not have all the answers to this, but we hope it provides some and, perhaps more importantly, raises questions that we need to address as scientific and technical communities.
Alan’s webpage for the talk
Recording of the talk on our YouTube channel

Monday 30th January

Stefano Guidi, Paola Palmitesta, Enrica Marchigiani, Margherita Bracci and Oronzo Parlangeli
Department of Social, Political and Cognitive Sciences, University deli Studi di Siena, Italy
The perception of the utility of social media by caregivers of persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) during a period of home quarantine
Read the paper in Interacting with Computers

During the COVID-19 pandemic the use of social media offered a possible way to address the difficulties of social relationships for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), as well as a way to ease the problems of their caregivers. To gather information on the feasibility of this solution, we conducted an online questionnaire about the first lockdown period in Italy (March-May 2020) with 29 caregivers of ASD individuals. The questionnaire investigated their living conditions, the way time was spent during isolation, the availability of technological equipment, the perceived level of anxiety, and the perceived utility of social media. The results showed that the difficulties of using social media had not been overcome, even at this time of greatest need. However, caregivers who take care of ASD people with high levels of anxiety perceived social media as more useful. This result invites further reflection on how to implement social media effectively for people with ASD.

Unfortunately, recording of this seminar failed!


Monday 28th November
Helen Petrie, Professor Emerita of Human Computer Interaction, University of York, UK
Talking ’bout my generation … or not? The technological life experiences of older people
Researchers in HCI (and many other disciplines) tend to group people over the age of 60 or 65 as “older people” with declining abilities and a fear of technology.  I will challenge that view on several levels. I will particularly propose that in an era of rapid technological change, we need consider the likely technological life experiences of different cohorts of people over the age of 60.  Using personas of older people of the different cohorts may help young technology researchers and practitioners understand the needs and attitudes of older people in a more nuanced way.  [The title refers to the song My Generation written by Pete Townshend of British rock band The Who in 1965 when he was 20; he is now 77.  He and Roger Daltrey of The Who released their latest album in 2019, when he was 74 and Daltrey was 75].
Foolishly, I forgot to record my own seminar!  Here are the slides (IwC BCS seminar Nov 22 slides), in case they are of interest.  I will undoubtedly be giving this talk again (and probably in an improved form) at a later date, so I will publicise that one this page.


Monday 31st October: 13:00  UTC/GMT (UK will be back on winter time!)
Professor Marian Ursu, School of Arts and Creative Technologies, University of York
Object-Based Media: Foundations of Interactive Storytelling with Audio and Video
Watch the recording on our YouTube channel
Interactive storytelling, despite having been around for quite a while now, still represents a rather amorphous area of artistic expression and human-computer interaction. It is sharply clear in definition – stories in which the viewers have agency – but it is very poor in exemplars, particularly those taking as reference the linear film. A few examples, such as Netflix’s Bandersnatch, keep the quest alive, but making good interactive film is still an unsolved challenge. A, possibly the, key reason is the mutual dependency between the concept development and production tools. Developing rich interactive-film concepts is very hard, if not impossible, without dedicated tools to support storytellers in their creation. Designing such dedicated tools is very hard, if not impossible, without rich interactive-film concepts to drive their requirements. In my talk, I will describe Object-Based Media (OBM) as a generic approach to developing interactive film and present the research we carried out in the Digital Creativity Labs at the University of York in the development of  more effective means to imagine and produce interactive narratives. I will focus on a set of basic interactive narrative structures which we implemented an authoring/sketching tool – Cutting Room – which allows creative thought to be immediately realised through the software.

Coming in 2023
Grace Eden, Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, New Delhi, India
Applying Speculative Design to Enhance UX Practice
Speculative Design is increasingly being used as a tool to facilitate thinking outside the box. It engages imagination as a resource and uses it to envisage how technologies might transform our world in the future. Through a combination of what-if scenarios, prototypes, and alternative world building; palpable objects and interactions are embedded into future situations.These imagined worlds are used to guide critical reflection about the choices we might make for how technologies are integrated into society, implications, and possible trajectories. Fundamentally, speculative design invites us to engage in a dialogue about the future before it happens. This talk will introduce concepts and techniques used in speculative design and provide suggestions for how it can be used to enhance UX practice.

The inaugural seminar was on Monday 23rd May 2022
Professor Alan Dix, Computational Foundry, Swansea University
What Next for UX Tools:  from screens to smells, from sketch to code, supporting design for rich interactions
Watch the recording of this session on our YouTube channel
Every interaction with a digital device is set in some form of physical and human context, and yet the most commonly used tools for UX design are focused purely on the screen.  Rather than being a scaffold to build better interfaces, wireframes can feel like the barriers in a cattle ranch, herding us towards a small range of design options, looking inwards towards the device rather than outwards towards our users.  The situation is even more difficult when we want to design interactions that involve other senses, such as sound, smells, and touch; or new forms of interaction, such as flexible displays, autonomous cars, smart buildings, and digital fabrication.  In this talk I’ll describe both some of my own personal journey and the InContext project that is thinking about more wholistic tools for design that incorporate rich context, multiple modalities, and end-to-end connections between design and development.  The talk will outline both our own thinking and outcomes from a series of InContext workshops, most recently at CHI 2022.  We do not have answers to all the open questions, but I will also demonstrate several early prototypes addressing different facets of design that are underrepresented in current generation design tools.  Most important, I hope that this will open up a roadmap of ideas that others may also follow to create better tools for the next generation of UX designers and developers.
Monday 27th June, 2022
Professor Pei-Luen (Patrick) Rau, Tsinghua University, China
Watch the recording of this session on our YouTube Channel
The paper associated with this seminar is now available on the Interacting with Computers website 
Talking with an Internet of Things conversational agent
Internet of things conversational agents (IoT-CAs) are making human– computer interactions ubiquitous. In this study, we experimentally examined the effects of IoT-CA use on face-to-face conversations between close partners. One hundred and thirty-six participants (68 close relationship dyads) participated in the experiment. We prepared an IoT chat environment and provided chat topics for each dyad. The dyads were randomly assigned into one of two IoT-CA use pattern groups (joint use: two persons using an IoT-CA together; individual use: one person using an IoT-CA alone) and three interaction conditions (no IoT-CA use; conversation content-relevant IoT-CA use; conversation content-irrelevant IoT-CA use). The results showed that compared with no IoT-CA use, IoT-CA use did not have negative effects on conversation experiences but produced feelings of greater closeness to the IoT-CA in the partners. Furthermore, joint IoT-CA use in the content-relevant condition (IoT-CA made comments relevant to interpersonal interactions) helped increase interpersonal self-disclosure.
Monday 25th July, 2022
Dr Sione Paea  and Mr Gabiriele Bulivou, University of the South Pacific, Fiji
Watch the recording of this session on our YouTube Channel
The paper associated with this seminar is now available on the Interacting with Computers website 
Information Architecture: Using Open Card Sorting Data Analysis
Open card sorting is a well-established method for discovering how people understand and categorize information. This paper addresses the problem of quantitatively analyzing open card sorting data using the K-means algorithm. Although the K-means algorithm is effective, its results are too sensitive to initial category centers. Therefore, many approaches in the literature have focused on determining suitable initial centers. However, this is not always possible, especially when the number of categories is increased. This paper proposes an approach to improve the quality of the solution produced by the K-means for open card sort data analysis. Results show that the proposed initialization approach for K-means outperforms existing initialization methods, such as MaxMin, random initialization and K-means++.

Monday 26th September: 13:00 BST (i.e. UTC + 1)
Gilbert Cockton, Emeritus Professor, University of Sunderland and Northumbria University
What I Discovered in a Design School That Many in Computing Don’t Know – and Some May Not Accept
Watch the recording of this session on our YouTube Channel
I have taught Interaction Design for almost four decades at bachelors, masters, and doctorate level, with courses to practitioners and professionals, mostly in computing contexts. I began to draw on the mainstream design research literature from 1995 onwards. Some of what I’d read stuck and underpinned all future design teaching (e.g., critique, close reading of artefacts, reflection). Some had no traction because they were too far from software engineering practice (e.g., co-evolution of problem and solution, wicked problems). Much still hadn’t been read at all.In 2004 I was awarded a UK NESTA fellowship on Value-Centred Design. Through reading, collaboration, shadowing, and mentoring, I steadily filled many of the gaps in my understanding of creative design. A year after the end of this fellowship in 2009, after 26 years in academic computing, I moved to Northumbria University’s School of Design, where Jonathan Ive and Tim Brown (amongst others) studied. Once I was immersed in a design research centre and co-teaching studio-based design courses, I discovered and filled more gaps in my knowledge of design research and parallel literatures on Innovation in business and engineering. I continued to learn over a decade of teaching, research, and academic leadership, first in design, and then also in media.During this time, many of the foundations of creative practice have been overlooked in agile approaches to software development, despite drawing on insights from innovation management (where Scrum as a term originates). Most agile approaches remain wedded to an idealised engineering design mindset that obscures some important insights about creative design work and innovation practices. Unquestioned and mostly tacit requirements for systematic, rational and rigorous project management are incompatible with the realities of creative innovation practices. In human-centred design, such requirements can also obstruct effective exploitation of insights from user research and evaluation.In this talk I will present fundamentals of creative studio practice from a half century of empirical design research, discuss their implications for software development, and propose a range of practical responses. These fundamentals include ideation, creative direction, balance, integration, generosity, problem-solution-co evolution, primary generators, and reflective conversation with the materials of a design situation. I contrast these with enduring software engineering practices that claim to promote systematic rigour but instead obstruct software quality and cause waste. I then show how conservative software development practices, including agile approaches, can be adapted to benefit from creative studio practices and product innovation strategies in ways that increase the effectiveness of human focused design activities such as user research and user experience evaluation. These adaptations and extensions include: purpose-led product-service strategy; concurrent engineering from project inception onwards; explicit connections between different arenas of design work; systematic tracking; and critical creative reflection.