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.


Change of plans!  Grace Eden is not able to give her seminar for our November date, she will speak early in 2023.  Instead …

Monday 28th November: 13:00  UTC/GMT (UK will be back on winter time!)

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].
Join with Zoom:


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.

Monday 19th December: 13:00 – 14:00 UTC/GMT

The first in a series of symposia based around the upcoming special issue in Interacting with Computers on “HCI and the Coronavirus Pandemic”.  Details to follow.


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.



Previous seminars

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.