University of Maryland

BBL Speaker Series

Join us each Thursday during the fall and spring semesters as we present interesting speakers on topics ranging from current areas of interest in HCI, software demos/reviews, study design, proposed research topics and more. The BBL is the one hour a week where we all come together and provide HCIL members the opportunity to build collaborations, increase awareness of each other’s activities, and generally just have a bit of fun together.

If you would like to give (or suggest) a future BBL talk, send email to HCIL Director Jessica Vitak ( with your proposed talk title, a brief abstract, and your bio.

Talks are held in the HCIL (HBK2105), but if you can’t make it in person, register for Zoom here.

Fall 2024 Upcoming Events

Previous Events

Spring 2024
  • BBL Speaker Series: Strain: Myoelectric Sculpture Control with the Thalmic Myo Armband

    Date: Jan 25th, 2024 12:30 PM

    Speaker: Alex Leitch (Pictured Left), Co-Director of the MS in Human-Computer Interaction, University of Maryland Celia Chen, 2nd year PhD student in the Information Studies program, University of Maryland

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom Abstract: Novel HCI devices are prone to planned obsolescence, which sometimes causes clever ideas and great sensor packages to be trashed before being thoroughly explored. This is a particular problem in closed-source hardware designed with strongly opinionated interfaces. The Myo armband by Thalmic Labs packed high-grade EMG sensors into a successful, compact wearable, before being discontinued in 2018. This talk covers how we repurposed a Myo armband to take advantage of its subtle muscle tracking to activate a pneumatic sculpture made from materials that are similarly regarded as junk in the making. This creative hacking approach is a promising way to thwart planned obsolescence, which is especially important when it comes to HCI and accessibility devices. By interfacing a Myo to a Raspberry Pi 3B+, we enabled forearm muscles to trigger air valves and animate assemblies of latex, bamboo, and PLA. These forms were then programmed to maintain peristalsis, only to dramatically deflate and flop about in response to custom gesture control. Though the interactions aim more for surprise and delight than technical polish, this comedy of errors examines the latent expressiveness of both the obsolete Myo hardware and everyday trash. It also allowed us to explore which software systems, exactly, would be required to take further advantage of the Myo system in an open-hardware environment. By finding fresh ways to work with what’s on our shelves, we hope to squeeze more value from devices otherwise destined for landfills. Bios: Alex Leitch: Alex Leitch investigates human-computer interaction through a blend of critical scholarship, hands-on pedagogy, and interactive installation art. They currently serve as Co-Director of the MS in Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Maryland, where they have taught courses on programming, interaction design, and digital fabrication since 2019. Alex’s installations invite public engagement while probing the embedded values in sociotechnical systems. As an interaction designer, they analyze issues like gender representation in engineering spaces, legibility in code, and truth in algorithms. Currently pursuing a PhD in Information Studies, their research examines the labour consequences of browser infrastructure underpinning today’s dominant digital interfaces. Their praxis fuses empirical studies with speculative artifacts that reimagine society’s relationship to emerging tech. For this project, Alex made the sculpture and debugged key elements of the software to ensure the serial port communication worked properly. Celia Chen: Celia Chen is a 2nd year PhD student in the Information Studies program at the University of Maryland. They hold BS and MS degrees in Cognitive and Psychological Data Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where they worked with the RPIrates on computational text analysis of political tweets and creating predictive models using WHO data to estimate early COVID-19 infection spread under the advisement of Dr. James Hendler. Concurrently advised by Dr. Alicia Walf, they wrote protocols for using Fitbits and other biometric sensors for human subjects research, gaining experience with wearable sensors and physiological data. Currently advised by Dr. Jen Golbeck, their personal research explores user identity construction and language use in online spaces. For this project, Celia handled the coding to enable communication between the Myo armband, Raspberry Pi, and pneumatic robot, drawing on their background in cognitive science and human sensor input.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Becoming Teammates: Designing Assistive, Collaborative Machines

    Date: Feb 1st, 2024 12:30 PM
    Talk Title: Becoming Teammates: Designing Assistive, Collaborative Machines

    Speaker: Chien-Ming Huang, John C. Malone Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, Johns Hopkins University

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Abstract: The growing power in computing and AI promises a near-term future of human-machine teamwork. In this talk, I will present my research group’s efforts in understanding the complex dynamics of human-machine interaction and designing intelligent machines aimed to assist and collaborate with people. I will focus on 1) tools for onboarding machine teammates and authoring machine assistance, 2) methods for detecting, and broadly managing, errors in collaboration, and 3) building blocks of knowledge needed to enable ad hoc human-machine teamwork. I will also highlight our recent work on designing assistive, collaborative machines to support older adults aging in place.

    Bio: Chien-Ming Huang is the John C. Malone Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the Johns Hopkins University. His research focuses on designing interactive AI aimed to assist and collaborate with people. He publishes in top-tier venues in HRI, HCI, and robotics including Science Robotics, HRI, CHI, and CSCW. His research has received media coverage from MIT Technology Review, Tech Insider, and Science Nation. Huang completed his postdoctoral training at Yale University and received his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is a recipient of the NSF CAREER award.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Student Lightning Talks

    Date: Feb 8th, 2024 12:30 PM
    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    This BBL will be dedicated to four student lightning talks. We are excited to hear what they are working on!

    How do lightning talks work? Typically, people give a 4-5 minute "presentation" -- this can be very informal or involve slides. The presentation gives some background on your project and then introduces a specific question or "ask" that you want feedback on. Then we have ~15 minutes of conversation with attendees about your question/topic. This is a great opportunity for students to get feedback on research ideas or projects in various stages.


  • BBL Speaker Series: Rich and Intuitive Haptic Interaction for Future Computers

    Date: Feb 15th, 2024 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Jaeyeon Lee, Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Engineering, UNIST

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Abstract: Computers became small yet powerful enough to be worn and provide information to the user in their daily life. However, interacting with those computers is still challenging, primarily due to their small and rigid form factors. This is problematic since one of the significant reasons for wearing computers is to access information from anywhere comfortably. This talk introduces studies enriching expressivity and natural interactions on small computers using the human sense of touch. It explores how wearable tactile displays can offer enhanced efficiency, comfort, and ease of use. Specifically, it compares design options for a tactile display on the backside of a smartwatch in terms of information transfer. Incorporating multiple distinct tactile sensations can increase the capacity for conveying information. Furthermore, non-contact tactile displays present an opportunity to enhance the wearability of these devices and deliver intuitive spatiotemporal patterns on the face. Finally, the findings from these studies have broader implications for future computing environments, including ultra-thin skin interfaces and technologies such as VR and AR.

    Bio: Jaeyeon Lee is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Engineering at UNIST (Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology). She earned her B.Eng. in Control Engineering from KwangWoon University, M.S. in Electrical Engineering, and Ph.D. in Computer Science from KAIST. Her research in Human-Computer Interaction focuses on physical user interfaces enabling rich and intuitive haptic interaction on future computers. Her research work has been published in leading venues in the field of HCI, including ACM CHI and ACM UIST. She has served on the Steering Committee, Organizing Committee, and Program Committee of HCI and Haptics research communities. She is a recipient of EECS Rising Stars in Korea, GradUS Global Scholarship, and NAVER Ph.D. Fellowship.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Safety in Algorithmically-Mediated Offline Introductions

    Date: Feb 22nd, 2024 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Veronica Rivera, Embedded Ethics Postdoctoral Scholar, Stanford University

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Watch Here!

    Abstract: Algorithms increasingly mediate interactions that cross the digital-physical divide, creating both online and offline safety risks. In this talk, I will share my work on understanding safety in algorithmically-mediated offline introductions (AMOIs). In AMOIs, digital platforms use algorithms to match strangers for offline meetups (e.g., online dating, gig work). Thus, harm in AMOIs transcends digital boundaries into the physical world, raising questions about how to measure harm and who bears responsibility. In my first study, I examine how women gig workers’ experiences with safety are shaped by both individual risk factors and platform design. In my second study, I systemetize harms and protective behaviors across gig workers and online daters and measure the prevalence of different harms and behaviors. Ultimately, my work shows that users who engage in seemingly disparate kinds of AMOIs actually share many safety concerns and protective behaviors.

    Bio: Veronica Rivera is an Embedded Ethics Postdoctoral Scholar at Stanford University where she works with the Empirical Security Research Group, the Institute for Human-Centered AI, and the Center for Ethics in Society. Her research lies at the intersection of HCI and security. She studies the digital safety needs and challenges of marginalized and vulnerable populations. She has a PhD in computational media from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a BS in computer science and math from Harvey Mudd College. She was previously a visitor at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems and at the Center for Privacy and Security of Marginalized and Vulnerable Populations at the University of Florida.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Beyond Content: Understanding Volunteer Moderation in Social Media

    Date: Feb 29th, 2024 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Yvette Wohn, Associate professor of Informatics, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Director of the Social Interaction Lab

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Watch Here!

    Abstract: Online harassment is a problem that we still have been unable to solve in the social media age of Web 2.0. Moreover, as we move deeper into Web 3.0, which includes 3D virtual worlds, moderation moves beyond content to include behavioral components such as embodied interactions. While much of the research in computing focuses on how to deal with bad content through technological advancement, this talk presents research from the past few years that focuses on the social complexities involved when communities, rather than companies, try to self moderate.

    Bio: Dr. Wohn (she/her) is an associate professor of Informatics at New Jersey Institute of Technology and director of the Social Interaction Lab ( Her research is in the area of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) where she studies the characteristics and consequences of social interactions in online environments such as virtual worlds and social media. Her main projects examine 1) moderation, online harassment, and the creation/maintenance of online safe spaces and 2) social exchange in digital economies &

  • BBL Speaker Series: Data Analytics for Health: Utilizing Large Social Media Data

    Date: Mar 7th, 2024 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Albert Park, Assistant Professor in the Department of Software and Information Systems, College of Computing and Informatics, University of North Carolina-Charlotte

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Watch Here!

    Abstract: Today, I want to discuss how we can leverage the vast amount of data from social media to gain insights into mental health and community engagement. I will start by exploring the impact of online depression communities. Initial concerns focused on the potential for negative emotion spread, research reveals a surprising trend: members often experience positive changes in their emotional language use and language impairment over time. This suggests that these communities can hold unexpected benefits for both mental well-being.

    Building on this understanding, I’ll introduce a study examining how to encourage active participation in online health communities. We delve into the concept of homophily, which describes our natural tendency to connect with those who share something similar. Here we look at language patterns. Our findings across diverse online communities show that shared vocabulary significantly predicts future interaction among members. This holds valuable implications for fostering deeper engagement and meaningful peer support by harnessing the power of shared language.

    Bio: I am Albert Park, currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Software and Information Systems within the College of Computing and Informatics at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. I was a National Institutes of Health-National Library of Medicine Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Utah. I hold a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Computer Science from Virginia Tech, and a Ph.D. in Biomedical and Health Informatics from the University of Washington in 2015. My research focuses on the analysis of social interactions and social networks using modern data analysis and development of novel computational approaches to study social interactions and relationships in the context of health.

  • BBL Speaker Series: I + Agency + AAC: Identifying Challenges and Opportunities for Design

    Date: Mar 14th, 2024 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Stephanie Valencia Valencia, PhD, Assistant professor, College of  Information Studies, University of Maryland

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Abstract: Agency and communication are essential to our personal development, we advance our individual goals by communicating them. Nonetheless, agency is not a fixed property. Many individuals who use speech-generating devices to communicate encounter social constraints and barriers that reduce their agency in conversation including how much they can say, how they can say it, and when they can say it. In this BBL talk, I will argue how using agency as a design framework can serve us to generate accessible communication experiences and center the perspectives of people with disabilities in the design process of new technology. Through empirical studies and co-design with people with disabilities I explore how different technology materials can support their agency in conversation. In doing so, I will present accessible design methods as well as new design guidelines for augmented communication using automated transcription, physical artefacts, and AI-based language generative tools.

    Bio: Stephanie Valencia, PhD,  is an assistant professor at the College of  Information Studies at the University of Maryland. Dr. Valencia is a Human-Computer Interaction researcher who builds accessible technologies that are grounded in behavioral theory, co-designed with people with disabilities, and deployed to users for impact. Her research focuses on designing for accessibility and conversational agency when using assistive technologies such as augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices that support communication for users with motor and speech disabilities. Dr. Valencia uses participatory design to explore how different design materials such as AI and non-anthropomorphic robots can be used to create agency-increasing AAC systems and builds and deploys these systems to evaluate their impact. Dr. Valencia received her PhD and MS in Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University and a BS in Biomedical Engineering from EIA and CES university in Colombia. She has been awarded a Postgraduate Fellowship at the Yale School of Medicine, the MIT Technology Review Top 35 Innovators Under 35 Award in Latin America, and the Ada Lovelace fellowship from the Open Source Hardware Association.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Is the ‘African’ a Standing Reserve in Global AI Pipeline? Yes!

    Date: Mar 28th, 2024 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Muhammad Adamu, Senior Research Associate, Imagination Lancaster Digital Good SIG, Lancaster University, UK

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Watch Here!

    Abstract: What is this thing AI? Is it the possible mimicry of the technical, social, or cultural intelligence of the human or the actuality of superintelligence? But wait, which Human, the Hegelian Man-as-Human or the Wynterian Beyond MAN, towards the Human? We don’t know! This thing AI that was presented to us during the short-lived summers and long cold winters will solve the “common sense” problem, i.e., model human knowledge of the everyday, what Heideggerian phenomenology calls “Being-in-the-World”.

    In this talk, I will introduce a particular dimension of the Heideggerian critique of AI, i.e. enflaming [Gestell] and standing reserve [Bestand]. In particular, I will adopt the concept of standing reserve to articulate a particular relation of the African citizen – a user, a client, a producer, or a labourer- within a largely Eurocentric AI landscape, and attempt to demonstrate how the existing institutional conception of the African as an objectifiable subject that can be resourced for capital will inform (and reform) the African orientation of the future of AI. In short, I will argue that the African, just as Kalluri and colleagues (2023) “Surveillance AI pipeline” paper has demonstrated how Humans are conceived as entities under the umbrella term of “objects” or “region of interest” in computer vision research, is historically and continuously co-opted as standing reserve for the total mobilization of technocratic ideals – thus to be catalogued, computed and used as resource that is disposable and replaceable.

    Bio: Muhammad Adamu is a Senior Research Associate for Imagination Lancaster Digital Good SIG at Lancaster University, UK. Muhammad is strongly associated with the “African perspective” in Human-computer interaction, and more recently the social futures of artificial intelligence. His current interdisciplinary research focuses on establishing the themes of “Good AI societies” and “AI for Good” in Africa and has been funded by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) and Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Nigeria and the UKRI Research England.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Lifecycles of Peer-Produced Knowledge Commons

    Date: Apr 4th, 2024 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Mako Hill, Social scientist and Technologist

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Abstract: After increasing rapidly over seven years, the number of active contributors to English Wikipedia peaked in 2007 and has been in decline since. A body of evidence will be presented that suggests English Wikipedia’s pattern of growth and decline appears to be a general feature of “peer production”—the model of collaborative production that has produced millions of wikis, free/open source software projects, websites like OpenStreetMap, and more.

    It will be argued that this pattern of growth, maturity, and decline is not caused by newcomers who have stopped showing up, but rather because communities have become less open to the newcomers who do arrive. A theoretical model and a range of empirical evidence will be provided that suggests why this surprising dynamic may be a rational approach to the shifting governance challenges faced by digital knowledge commons.

    Bio: Benjamin Mako Hill is a social scientist and technologist. In both roles, he works to understand the social dynamics that shape online communities. His work focuses on communities engaged in the peer production of digital public goods—like Wikipedia and Linux. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington and a founding member of the Community Data Science Collective. He is also a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. He has also been an activist, developer, contributor, and leader in the free and open source software and free culture movements for more than two decades as part of the Debian, Ubuntu, and Wikimedia projects. During the 2023-2024 academic year, he is a Fellow at the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University.

  • BBL Speaker Series: On the Politics of Algorithmic Accountability: Comparing the Impacts of AI on Financially Vulnerable Communities in India and the US

    Date: Apr 11th, 2024 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Divya Ramesh, PhD candidate, Computer Science and Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Abstract: Algorithmic accountability ensures that the design, development, and use of AI systems has public approval and trust. However, barring a few success stories, accountability as a governance mechanism to ensure public trust in AI remains elusive. Recent work suggests that accountability mechanisms may be effective in a handful of democratic, rich, and western contexts. Algorithmic accountability also relies on the support of a critical public, watchdog journalism and strong institutions; these conditions are not universally available or true. How does algorithmic accountability mediate in contexts when one or more preconditions are not true? How do vulnerable users of AI systems perceive their relations to algorithmic accountability in such contexts?

    In this talk, I will present two examples from my research that give a glimpse into how AI-based decisions govern financially vulnerable communities in India and the US; and how such communities perceive their relations to algorithmic accountability. Placing the two case studies in conversation with one another does two things: 1) nudges us to examine the political nature of algorithmic accountability, and 2) raises questions about the extent to which our current accountability proposals address the needs of vulnerable communities around the world. I will conclude by re-centering the politics of technical questions in human-centered AI, and proposing alternative governance approaches that could better address the needs of vulnerable communities and rebuild their trust in AI.

    Bio: Divya Ramesh is a PhD candidate in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she examines the social, ethical, and design implications of AI in high stakes decision-making domains. Her dissertation situates empirical work on financially vulnerable communities in India and the US within theories of human-computer interaction and science and technology studies to inform design and policy for Responsible AI.

    Divya’s work has appeared in both HCI and AI venues such as ACM CHI, FAccT, DIS, TOCHI and AAMAS. She received a Best Paper nomination and Pragnesh Jay Modi Best Student Paper award at AAMAS 2020. Divya has also contributed to public conversations via media outlets such as CNBC TV18 and Techcrunch, one of which helped shape policy outcomes for Google in 2023. Divya was recognized as an inaugural Quad Fellow by the governments of Australia, India, Japan and the US in 2023. She was also recently recognized as a Barbour Scholar by the University of Michigan for 2024-25. In a previous life, Divya was a computer vision engineer at a startup called CloudSight, where architected the company’s first human-AI interaction pipeline for analyzing visual content in real-time.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Decoding Teenagers’ Implicit Struggles with Accessibility and Safety in Computing Technologies

    Date: Apr 18th, 2024 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Alex Wen, Postdoctoral researcher, Computer Science Department, Virginia Tech

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Abstract: This talk will explore the implicit struggles teenagers face in using computing technologies, focusing on the challenges presented by e-learning tools and social virtual reality (VR) applications. It uncovers that teenagers frequently conceal their emotional distress arising from learning challenges, exacerbated by the accessibility issues of e-learning tool designs. Furthermore, within social VR settings, teenagers demonstrate overconfidence in their protective strategies and a misplaced sense of safety, issues arising from inadequate design of interaction safety measures. These findings highlight the unique needs of teenagers, distinct from those of adults, shaped by their specific social situations and evolving mental models. Through a sociological lens, I aim to deepen the understanding of these needs and identify solutions that truly meet the teenagers. My goal is to design digital environments that are both accessible and safe for all young users, catering specifically to the nuanced demands of teenagers.

    Bio: Dr. Zikai Alex Wen is a researcher in human-centered computing committed to improving how young users (i.e., children, teenagers, and special education students) engage with AI agents. His research hones in on two critical challenges: (1) safeguarding usable privacy and security in AI interactions, and (2) dismantling barriers to AI accessibility for learners with neurodevelopmental disabilities. By focusing on these pivotal areas, he aims to create more engaging, inclusive, and safe AI agents that cater to the unique needs of our younger generation. His research has been published at prestigious CS conferences such as ACM CHI, ACM ASSETS, ACM CCS, and IEEE S&P.

    He is a postdoctoral researcher in the Computer Science Department at Virginia Tech, working with Prof. Yaxing Yao. He is fortunate to have worked as a postdoc at the HKUST Visualization Lab. He received his Ph.D. degree in computer science from Cornell University. Before that, he received his joint First-class Honours bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, U.K., and BUCT, Beijing, China.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Envisioning Identity: The Social Production of Computer Vision

    Date: Apr 25th, 2024 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Morgan Klaus Scheuerman, Postdoctoral Associate, Information Science, University of Colorado Boulder

    Abstract: Computer vision technologies have been increasingly scrutinized in recent years for their propensity to cause harm. Broadly, the harms of computer vision focus on demographic biases (favoring one group over another) and categorical injustices (through erasure, stereotyping, or problematic labels). Prior work has focused on both uncovering these harms and mitigating them, through, for example, better dataset collection practices and guidelines for more contextual data labeling. There is opportunity to further understand how human identity is embedded into computer vision not only across these artifacts, but also across the network of human workers who shape computer vision systems. Further, given computer vision is designed by humans, there is ample opportunity to understand how human positionality influences the outcomes of computer vision systems. In this talk, I present work on how identity is implemented in computer vision, from how identity is represented in models and datasets to how different worker positionalities influence the development process. Specifically, I showcase how representations of gender and race in computer vision are exclusionary, and represent problematic histories present in colonialist worldviews. I also highlight how traditional tech workers enact a positional power over data workers in the global south. Through these findings, I demonstrate how identity in computer vision moves from something more open, contextual, and exploratory to a completely closed, binary and prescriptive classification.

    Bio: Morgan Klaus Scheuerman is a Postdoctoral Associate in Information Science at University of Colorado Boulder and a 2021 MSR Research Fellow. His research focuses on the intersection of technical infrastructure and marginalized identities. In particular, he examines how gender and race characteristics are embedded into algorithmic infrastructures and how those permeations influence the entire system. His work has received multiple best paper awards and honorable mentions at CHI and CSCW. He earned his MS degree in Human-Centered Computing from University of Maryland Baltimore County and his BA in Communication & Media Studies (Minor Gender & Sexuality Studies) from Goucher College.

  • BBL Speaker Series: AGI is Coming… Is HCI Ready?

    Date: May 2nd, 2024 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Merrie Morris, Director for Human-AI Interaction Research, Google DeepMind

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Abstract: We are at a transformational junction in computing, in the midst of an explosion in capabilities of foundational AI models that may soon match or exceed typical human abilities for a wide variety of cognitive tasks, a milestone often termed Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). Achieving AGI (or even closely approaching it) will transform computing, with ramifications permeating through all aspects of society. This is a critical moment not only for Machine Learning research, but also for the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).

    In this talk, I will define what I mean (and what I do NOT mean) by “AGI.” I will then discuss how this new era of computing necessitates a new sociotechnical research agenda on methods and interfaces for studying and interacting with AGI. For instance, how can we extend status quo design and prototyping methods for envisioning novel experiences at the limits of our current imaginations? What novel interaction modalities might AGI (or superintelligence) enable? How do we create interfaces for computing systems that may intentionally or unintentionally deceive an end-user? How do we bridge the “gulf of evaluation” when a system may arrive at an answer through methods that fundamentally differ from human mental models, or that may be too complex for an individual user to grasp? How do we evaluate technologies that may have unanticipated systemic side-effects on society when released into the wild?

    I will close by reflecting on the relationship between HCI and AI research. Typically, HCI and other sociotechnical domains are not considered as core to the ML research community as areas like model building. However, I argue that research on Human-AI Interaction and the societal impacts of AI is vital and central to this moment in computing history. HCI must not become a “second class citizen” to AI, but rather be recognized as fundamental to ensuring the path to AGI and beyond is a beneficial one.

    Bio: Meredith Ringel Morris is Director for Human-AI Interaction Research at Google DeepMind. Prior to joining DeepMind, she was Director of the People + AI Research team in Google Research’s Responsible AI division. She also previously served as Research Area Manager for Interaction, Accessibility, and Mixed Reality at Microsoft Research. In addition to her industry role, Dr. Morris has a faculty appointment at the University of Washington, where she is an Affiliate Professor in The Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and also in The Information School. Dr. Morris has been recognized as a Fellow of the ACM and as a member of the ACM SIGCHI Academy for her contributions to Human-Computer Interaction research. She earned her Sc.B. in computer science from Brown University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University. More details on her research and publications are available at

  • BBL Speaker Series: Exploring immersive meetings in the Metaverse: A conceptual model and first empirical insights

    Date: May 9th, 2024 12:30 PM
    Talk Title: Exploring immersive meetings in the Metaverse: A conceptual model and first empirical insights

    Speaker: Marvin Grabowski, PhD Candidate at University of Hamburg, Germany

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Abstract: New technological developments open up new possibilities for the way teams can work together virtually. In particular, immersive extended reality (XR) meetings enable groups to represent, view, and interact with each other in a shared three-dimensional (3D) space. XR meetings take place in the highly publicized “metaverse”, defined as a multi-user interaction space that merges the virtual world with the real world (e.g., Dwivedi et al., 2022). By wearing a headset that blocks off perception from their current physical environment, group members become immersed into a shared virtual environment (i.e., the metaverse). Users generate realistic embodied avatars that are qualitatively different from two-dimensional (2D) video interactions, such as Zoom (e.g., Hennig-Thurau et al., 2023). We developed a conceptual framework of 3D immersive XR group meetings that integrates technological design characteristics, subjective attendee experiences, mediating mechanisms, and meeting outcomes. I am going to present our preliminary findings on meeting outcomes and individual XR experiences (i.e., group interaction characteristics, avatar perception, simulator sickness, and task load). Following the talk, you are cordially invited to discuss about opportunities and challenges of the metaverse as a platform for enabling immersive learning scenarios and conducting workplace meetings in the future.

    Bio: My research as a current PhD Candidate at University of Hamburg, Germany, highlights the future of workplace meetings. Between the interface of Industrial & Organizational Psychology and Human Computer Interaction, the immersive experience through VR glasses opens up new interdisciplinary perspectives. In particular, I am interested in underlying mechanisms of fruitful interactions in immersive meetings in the metaverse. Furthermore, I am interested in success factors of hybrid meetings with the goal of gaining new insights into how the new framework of New Work can be used practically Based on national and international academic stations, I am happy to build bridges between organizational needs and scientific findings. In addition, I am a speaker on career guidance and professional orientation after high-school and published the book “Early Life Crisis”.  

Fall 2023
  • BBL Speaker Series: The Road Less Taken: Pathways to Ethical and Responsible Technologies

    Date: Sep 7th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Dr. Susan Winter, Associate Dean for Research, College of Information Studies, the University of Maryland

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom Watch Here!

    Abstract: Technology is no longer just about technology – now it is about living. So, how do we have ethical technology that creates a better life and a better society? Technology must become truly “human-centered,” not just “human-aware” or “human-adjacent”. Diverse users and advocacy groups must become equal partners in initial co-design and in continual assessment and management of information systems with human, social, physical, and technical components. But we cannot get there without radically transforming how we think about, develop, and use technologies. In this chapter, we explore new models for digital humanism and discuss effective tools and techniques for designing, building, and maintaining sociotechnical systems that are built to be, and remain continuously ethical, responsible, and human-centered.

    Bio: Dr. Susan Winter, Associate Dean for Research, College of Information Studies, the University of Maryland. Dr. Winter studies the co-evolution of technology and work practices, and the organization of work. She has recently focused on ethical issues surrounding civic technologies and smart cities, the social and organizational challenges of data reuse, and collaboration among information workers and scientists acting within highly institutionalized sociotechnical systems. Her work has been supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation and by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. She was previously a Science Advisor in the Directorate for Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences, a Program Director, and Acting Deputy Director of the Office of Cyberinfrastructure at the National Science Foundation supporting distributed, interdisciplinary scientific collaboration for complex data-driven and computational science. She received her PhD from the University of Arizona, her MA from the Claremont Graduate University, and her BA from the University of California, Berkeley.

    !! There are hundreds of productivity apps and tools to help you get work done--far too many for any one person to go through and figure out what works best for them. In this week's BBL, we want you to share the tools, apps, and tips you use to help you in your research, classwork, and writing. How do you stay organized? What helps you be productive? What are things that didn't work for you? We'll talk about what people like and don't and run some quick demos during this BBL.

    Fill out this form to share what you use.

    Join us in the lab (HBK-2105) or on Zoom to hear about cool tools and to share the ones you use!

  • BBL Speaker Series: Research Speed Dating

    Date: Sep 21st, 2023 12:30 PM
    Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET Location: HBK 2105 This week we’ll do another round of our experimenting with “research speed dating”! If it’s anything like the last iteration of this in the Spring, it’ll be a fun time to hear from each other about what we’re brainstorming/working on, and give feedback in a lightweight, informal, low-stakes setup!

  • BBL Speaker Series: Successful Aging in Digital Era

    Date: Sep 28th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Dr. Madina Khamzina, postdoctoral associate, Department of Family Science, School of Public Health, University of Maryland

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Watch Here! | Slides Here!

    Abstract: This talk discusses the opportunities and challenges of technology to support successful aging. The population of people aged 65 and older is growing faster than any other age group worldwide. While people are living longer, it's crucial to ask whether those additional years are being lived healthier and happier. Successful aging has become a central priority at both societal and individual health levels. Technology holds the promise to significantly contribute to successful aging in various ways. For example, keeping people physically active, enabling independent living through fall detection and smart home technology, aiding in the early detection and management of diseases, as well as helping maintain social connections to reduce isolation. Keeping in mind that aging in the digital era presents its own set of challenges, we need to ensure that technologies are inclusive and accessible to everyone regardless of age. Addressing the specific needs and older adults’ factors is crucial in the endeavor to reap the benefits of technology for successful aging.

    Bio: Madina earned her Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in December 2022. She is currently a postdoctoral associate at the School of Public Health and is primarily focused on work with the University of Maryland Extension Services. While working in the Human Factors and Aging Lab in Illinois, she became passionate about the role of technology in supporting successful aging. She is a principal investigator for a research project the University of Maryland Extension that is aimed to assess the needs and challenges of broadband internet and technology adoption among older adults in Maryland.

  • BBL Series: Mastering the Paper Review Process

    Date: Oct 5th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Abstract: Even if you didn’t submit a paper to this year’s CHI conference, if you’re doing research, you probably know something about the review process. For most journals and conferences, submitted papers are read by 2-4 anonymous reviewers, who provide written feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the paper and decide whether a paper should be accepted, rejected, or revised. But what should go into the review process? And how should you respond to reviews? In this session, we’ll discuss tips and tricks for being an effective reviewer, how to provide constructive criticism, and how to respond to reviewer comments. Bring your questions and experiences with reviewing, and learn more about the ups and downs of academic publishing.

  • BBL Series: Mastering the Paper Review Process

    Date: Oct 5th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Abstract: Even if you didn’t submit a paper to this year’s CHI conference, if you’re doing research, you probably know something about the review process. For most journals and conferences, submitted papers are read by 2-4 anonymous reviewers, who provide written feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the paper and decide whether a paper should be accepted, rejected, or revised. But what should go into the review process? And how should you respond to reviews? In this session, we’ll discuss tips and tricks for being an effective reviewer, how to provide constructive criticism, and how to respond to reviewer comments. Bring your questions and experiences with reviewing, and learn more about the ups and downs of academic publishing.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Towards a Science of Human-AI Decision Making: Empirical Understandings, Computational Models, and Intervention Designs

    Date: Oct 12th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Ming Yin, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, Purdue University

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Watch Here! Abstract: Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have been increasingly integrated into human workflows. For example, the usage of AI-based decision aids in human decision-making processes has resulted in a new paradigm of human-AI decision making—that is, the AI-based decision aid provides a decision recommendation to the human decision makers, while humans make the final decision. The increasing prevalence of human-AI collaborative decision making highlights the need to understand how humans and AI collaborate with each other in these decision-making processes, and how to promote the effectiveness of these collaborations. In this talk, I'll discuss a few research projects that my group carries out on empirically understanding how humans trust the AI model via human-subject experiments, quantitatively modeling humans' adoption of AI recommendations, and designing interventions to influence the human-AI collaboration outcomes (e.g., improve human-AI joint decision-making performance).

    Bio: Ming Yin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Purdue University. Her current research interests include human-AI interaction, crowdsourcing and human computation, and computational social sciences. She completed her Ph.D. in Computer Science at Harvard University and received her bachelor's degree from Tsinghua University. Ming was the Conference Co-Chair of AAAI HCOMP 2022. Her work was recognized with multiple best paper (CHI 2022, CSCW 2022, HCOMP 2020) and best paper honorable mention awards (CHI 2019, CHI 2016).

  • BBL Speaker Series: Navigating the New Normal: An Exploration of Face-to -Face Design Meetings in the Era of Remote Work

    Date: Oct 19th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Karen Holtzblatt

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Watch Here!

    Abstract: Advancements in technology, the globalization of companies, and a growing awareness of environmental issues have catalyzed a shift in work cultures, transforming traditional face-to-face meetings into online ones. The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated this transition, establishing videoconferencing as the prevailing mode of professional interaction. But now companies are asking workers to come back to the office at least some of the time. They cite better collaboration, information sharing, and coaching for early career folks. But is that true and what does it really mean? To find out, we 11 conducted deep dive interviews primarily with HCI professionals to understand their experience of working in person vs remotely or hybrid. HCI professionals often find themselves organizing, leading, facilitating, and participating in complex interactive meetings of various kinds: data synthesis, ideation, brainstorming, design review with whiteboarding, roadmapping, and project kickoffs. Our work complements recent research on Return-to-Work that has been conducted by surveys and gives a deeper understanding of what is going on. We sought to gain insights into these types of meetings and interactions to understand participants’ experiences and what works and what doesn’t. We hope these findings will helpguide both HCI professionals and companies as they choose when to be in-person and how to best run hybrid and remote meetings. We spoke with both senior people and early career professionals. Our insights are also against the backdrop of last year’s research into the experience of remote working during the pandemic and related literature. The presentation will tell stories of our experiences and explicate what drives people to bring people together for these complex meetings and what impacts the success of these meetings in any context. We will also describe the impact of the social dimension of working together. We discuss the need for a shared understanding, ensuring engagement, managing the meeting, and the powerful role of nonverbal communication as well as the need and desire for connection both for its own sake and for the sake of the work and career.

    Bio: Karen Holtzblatt is a thought leader, industry speaker, and author. A recognized innovator in requirements and design, Karen has developed transformative design approaches throughout her career. She introduced Contextual Inquire and Contextual Design, the industry standard for understanding the customer and organizing that data to drive innovative product and service concepts. Her newest book Contextual Design 2nd Edition Design for Life is used by companies and universities worldwide. Karen co-founded InContext Design in 1992 with Hugh Beyer to use Contextual Design techniques to coach product teams and deliver market data and design solutions to businesses across scores of industries in many countries. As CEO of InContext, Karen has worked with product, application, and design teams for over 30 years. Karen is also the driving force behind the Women in Tech Retention Project housed at WITops research explores why women in technology professions leave the field and creates tested interventions to help women thrive and succeed. Her new book with Nicola Marsden, Retaining Women in Tech: Shifting the Paradigm shares the work. Karen consults with companies to help them understand their diverse teams and improve retention, team cohesion, and equal participation by all. As a member of ACM SIGCHI (The Association of Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction) Karen was awarded membership to the CHI Academy a gathering of significant contributors and received the first Lifetime Award for Practice for her impact on the field. Karen has also been an Adjunct Research Scientist at the University of Maryland’s iSchool (College of Information Studies). Karen has worked with many universities to help design curriculum for training user experience professionals. Karen has more than 30 years of teaching experience professionally, at conferences and university settings. She holds a doctorate in applied psychology from the University of Toronto.

  • BBL Speaker Series: I to Support Everyday Life for People with Dementia

    Date: Oct 26th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Dr. Emma Dixon, Assistant Professor, Clemson University

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom Watch Here! | Slides Here!

    Abstract: We are seeing new AI systems for people with dementia, such as brain games which detect and diagnose cognitive impairment and smart-home systems to monitor the daily activities of people with dementia while caregivers are away. Although these are important areas of research, there are open opportunities to extend the use of AI to support individuals with dementia in a variety of different aspects of everyday life outside of diagnosis and monitoring. In this talk, Emma Dixon will briefly discuss her work in the area of AI for people experiencing age-related cognitive changes. The first study examines the technology accessibility needs of individuals with dementia, uncovering ways AI may be used to provide personalized solutions. The second study explores the ways tech-savvy people with dementia configure commercially available AI systems to support their everyday activities. Finally, the third study focuses on the design of future applications of AI to support the everyday life of people with dementia.

    Bio: Dr. Emma Dixon is an Assistant Professor in Human-Computer Computing with a joint appointment in Industrial Engineering at Clemson University. Her research investigates technology use by neurodivergent individuals and people living with neurodegenerative conditions. In doing so, her research agenda is situated at the intersection of health information technology and cognitive accessibility research. Due to the complexity of this space, she takes a mixed methods approach, using qualitative methods to ground her work deeply in situated understanding of people’s experiences and quantitative methods to test the usability of emerging technologies. She earned her undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering at Clemson University and her PhD in Information Studies at University of Maryland, College Park. Her research has received a Dean’s Award for Outstanding iSchool Doctoral Paper, as well as a Best Paper Nomination and Honorable Mention awards at ASSETS and CSCW conferences. She has published her work in CHI, CSCW, ASSETS, JMIR Mental Health, Applied Ergonomics, and TACCESS. Her dissertation work was supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Community-based Participatory Design Investigating Emerging Technologies

    Date: Nov 2nd, 2023 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Foad Hamidi, Assistant Professor in Information Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Watch Here!

    Abstract: Community-based participatory design (PD) offers inclusive and exciting principles and methods for enabling mutual learning among diverse interested parties. As PD moves from the workplace to other domains, such as Do-it-Yourself (DIY) design spaces, informal learning contexts, and domestic and home settings, we need to rethink and redefine what it means to do PD and what outcomes can move us towards desired futures. In this talk, I draw on several of my recent projects where I use PD to investigate and interrogate emerging technologies, such as DIY assistive technologies and living media interfaces (LMIs).

    Bio: Foad Hamidi is an Assistant Professor in Information Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). His research focuses on several areas within Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), including Living Media Interfaces, ParticipatoryDesign, and DIY assistive technology. He conducts transdisciplinary community-engaged research and regularly collaborates with community partners. At UMBC, he directs the DesigningpARticipatoryfuturEs (DARE) lab and the Interactive Systems Research Center (ISRC). He has a PhD in Computer Science from York University, Toronto.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Storytelling Health Informatics: Supporting Collective Efforts Towards Health Equity

    Date: Nov 9th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Dr. Herman Saksono, Assistant Professor, Health Sciences & CS, Northeastern University

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Watch Here!

    Abstract: We live in a storied life. Stories from people at present and in the past are guiding our actions in the future. Although this narrative mode of knowing complements the pragmatic mode, the pragmatic mode of knowing is the only ubiquitously supported mode in personal health informatics systems. In this talk, I will present my research on personal health informatics that uses storytelling to support health behavior in marginalized communities. These studies examined how storytelling technologies can amplify social connections and knowledge within the family and neighbors. The use of stories socially is a departure from health technologies that are often individually focused. Technologies that portray health solely as an individual’s responsibility could widen health disparities because marginalized communities face numerous health barriers due to systemic inequities. Storytelling health informatics could lessen this burden by supporting health behaviors as collective community efforts.

    Bio: Dr. Herman Saksono is an Assistant Professor at Northeastern University with a joint appointment at the Bouvé College of Health Sciences and the Khoury College of Computer Sciences. Previously, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Research on Computation and Society at Harvard University. He completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science at Northeastern University and a Fulbright scholarship recipient.

    Herman’s interdisciplinary research contributions are in Personal Health Informatics, Human-Computer Interaction, and Digital Health Equity. His research investigates how digital tools can catalyze social interactions that encourage positive health behaviors, thus facilitating collective efforts toward health equity. He conducts the entire human-centered design process by designing, building, and evaluating innovative health technologies in collaboration with local community partners. Herman published his work in ACM CHI and CSCW where he received honorable mentions for Best Paper awards.

  • Brown Bag Speaker Series: Student Lightning Talks

    Date: Nov 16th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Talk Title: Student Lightning Talks

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    This BBL will be dedicated to four student lightning talks. We are excited to hear what they are working on!

    How do lightning talks work?
    Typically, people give a 4-5 minute “presentation” — this can be very informal or involve slides. The presentation gives some background on your project and then introduces a specific question or “ask” that you want feedback on. Then we have ~15 minutes of conversation with attendees about your question/topic. This is a great opportunity for students to get feedback on research ideas or projects in various stages.

    Talks are held in the HCIL (HBK2105), but if you can’t make it in person, register for Zoom here.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Student Lightning Talks

    Date: Nov 16th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom This BBL will be dedicated to four student lightning talks. We are excited to hear what they are working on! How do lightning talks work? Typically, people give a 4-5 minute “presentation” — this can be very informal or involve slides. The presentation gives some background on your project and then introduces a specific question or “ask” that you want feedback on. Then we have ~15 minutes of conversation with attendees about your question/topic. This is a great opportunity for students to get feedback on research ideas or projects in various stages.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Fostering Digital Inclusion: Co-Design with Racial Minority, Low-Income Older Adults for Smart Speaker Applications to Enhance Social Connections and Well-being

    Date: Nov 30th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Dr. Jane Chung, Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom Watch Here!

    Abstract: Older adult residents of low-income housing are at a high risk of unmanaged health conditions, loneliness, and limited healthcare access. Smart speakers have the potential to improve social connections and well-being among older adult residents. We conducted an iterative, user-centered design study with primarily African American older adults who lived alone in low-income housing to develop low-fidelity prototypes of smart speaker applications for wellness and social connections. Focus groups were held to elicit feedback about challenges with maintaining wellness and attitudes towards smart speakers. Through design workshops, they identified several smart speaker functionalities perceived as necessary for improving wellness and social connectedness. Then, several low-fidelity prototypes and use scenarios were developed in the following categories: wellness check-ins, befriending the virtual agent, community involvement, and mood detection. We demonstrate how smart speakers can provide a tool for their wellness and increase access to applications that provide a virtual space for social engagement. This presentation will also highlight strategies for addressing digital health inequities among socially vulnerable older adults. The goal is to enhance technology proficiency, reduce fear, and ultimately foster the acceptance of essential technologies.

    Bio: Dr. Jane Chung is an Associate Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing. She is a nurse scientist with special emphasis on aging and technology research. Her research program has two foci: 1) advancing the methods for functional health monitoring and risk detection among older adults using innovative sensor technologies and 2) improving social connectedness and well-being in socially vulnerable older adults based on advances in data science and digital technologies including novel machine learning algorithms. She currently leads two NIH-funded studies – R01 project to identify digital biomarkers of mobility that are predictive of cognitive decline in community-dwelling older adults, and R21 project where her team is developing a smart speaker-based system for automatic loneliness assessment in older adults. Recently, she has been selected as a fellow for the Betty Irene Moore Fellowship for Nurse Leaders and Innovators, and in this fellowship program, she is working on a smart speaker-based intervention designed to assist low-income older adults in managing chronic conditions and daily activities more effectively.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Connecting Realities for Fluid Computer-Mediated Communication

    Date: Dec 7th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Seongkook Heo, Assistant Professor, CS, University of Virginia

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom Slides Here!

    Abstract: Computers are more deeply integrated into our daily lives than ever before, and recent advancements in ML and AI technologies enable computers to comprehend the real world. However, using such capabilities for daily tasks still induces friction because of inefficient interactions with them.

    In this talk, I will share my group's research on how we can better connect the physical and virtual worlds through the design and development of interactive systems. First, I will discuss how we can bring objects and interactions of the physical world into the virtual world to make virtual communication rich and frictionless. In many computer-mediated meetings, we not only share our faces and voices but also physical objects. We developed a remote meeting system that supports the instant conversion of physical objects into virtual objects to allow efficient sharing and manipulation of objects during the conversation.

    Second, I will share how we can physicalize computation results into physical actions. Many projects and applications have demonstrated the use of AI in assisting users with visual impairments. However, computers usually only provide guidance feedback to the user and leave the interpretation of the feedback and the execution to the user, which can be cognitively heavy tasks. We suggested automated hand-based spatial guidance to bridge the gap between guidance and execution, allowing visually impaired users to move their hands between two points automatically. Finally, I will discuss the implications and remaining challenges in bridging the two realities.

    Bio: Seongkook Heo is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Virginia. He has been working on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research, focusing on bridging the gap between physical and virtual worlds to make computers better support rich and nuanced human interactions by designing novel interactive systems and developing sensing and feedback technologies. His research has been published at top HCI venues, including CHI, UIST, and CSCW, and recognized by Best Paper and Poster Awards at CHI, MobileHCI, and IEEE VR. He is also the recipient of the Engineering Research Innovation Award at the University of Virginia and the Meta Research Award. He received his Ph.D. at KAIST and worked at the University of Toronto as a postdoctoral researcher before joining the University of Virginia.

Spring 2023
  • “Celebrating Happy Memories” (or Catherine recounts some of the many reasons you should be proud of HCIL)

    Date: Jan 26th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Catherine Plaisant is a Research Scientist Emerita at UMIACS and HCIL member. Catherine earned a Doctorat d’Ingénieur degree in France and joined HCIL in 1988. She works with multidisciplinary teams on designing and evaluating new interface technologies that are useful and usable. In 2015 she was elected to the ACM SIGCHI Academy recognizing principal leaders in the field of Human-Computer Interaction.  In 2018 she was awarded an INRIA International Chair, and in 2020 she received the IEEE VIS Career Award and the ACM SIGCHI Lifetime Service Award. She has published over 200 papers, on subjects as diverse as information visualization, medical informatics, universal access, decision making, digital humanities or technology for families. Her work spans the interface development lifecycle, with contributions to requirements gathering, interface design, and evaluation.

  • Sharing the Productivity Tools & Tips That Help You Get Work Done

    Date: Feb 2nd, 2023 12:30 PM
    There are hundreds of productivity apps and tools to help you get work done--far too many for any one person to go through and figure out what works best for them. In this week's BBL, we want you to share the tools, apps, and tips you use to help you in your research, classwork, and writing. How do you stay organized? What helps you be productive? What are things that didn't work for you? We'll talk about what people like and don't and run some quick demos during this BBL. Fill out this form to share what you use. Join us in the lab (HBK-2105) or on Zoom to hear about cool tools and to share the ones you use!

  • Developing an Approach to Support Instructors to Provide Emotional and Instructional Scaffolding for English Language Learners Through Biosensor-Based Feedback

    Date: Feb 16th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Abstract: In this talk, I'll present the potential of using biosensor-based feedback to support instructors in providing emotional and instructional scaffolding for English language learners (ELLs). This research includes classifying the intensity and characteristics of public speaking anxiety (PSA) and foreign language anxiety (FLA) among ELLs, with a view to providing tailored feedback to instructors. A focus group interview was conducted to identify instructors’ needs for solutions providing emotional and instructional support for ELLs. This was followed by an ideation and design session, where prototypes incorporating biosensing technology were designed to support teaching. I conclude this talk by discussing the feasibility of using electrodermal activity (EDA) to measure ELLs' emotional states, provide an algorithm for classifying speaking anxiety, and offer design guidance for an educational system using EDA data in an ESL/EFL environment as well as the instructors’ perspectives about using biosensor-based feedback in teaching. Bio: Heera Lee is a Lecturer in the Information Studies department at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her interest research area in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is educational technologies and affective computing for English language learners (ELLs) from diverse cultures. She has been focusing on investigating contributing factors to the public speaking anxiety (PSA) and foreign language speaking anxiety (FLA) among ELLs by analyzing their self-report questionnaire, individual interviews, non-verbal behaviors, and physiological data including electrodermal activity (EDA). These interests stem from her teaching experience as an instructor in English Language Institute (ELI), Teaching Assistant in undergraduate programs at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), and Adjunct faculty at Towson University. Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here).

  • Computational Thinking and Creativity – Do they go together?

    Date: Feb 23rd, 2023 12:30 PM
    Abstract: In recent years, Computational thinking (CT) and creativity have been recognized as essential skills to acquire from a young age. Despite the rich and fruitful research efforts to understand these skills, the association between CT and creativity still needs to be fully understood. In this lecture, I will present our research on the connection between CT and creativity among middle school students through designed challenges in a game-based learning environment. I will discuss the impact of our intervention program to promote these skills and describe the practices for collecting and analyzing data from standard creativity tests and the learning environment logfiles. Bio: Rotem Israel-Fishelson is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Teaching & Learning, Policy & Leadership in the College of Education at the University of Maryland. Her research explores ways to introduce learners to data science using engaging computational learning experiences. She is also interested in assessing computational thinking and creativity skills in game-based learning environments using learning analytics methods. Rotem holds a Ph.D. in Science Education from Tel Aviv University, an M.Sc. in Media Technology from Linnaeus University, and a B.A. in Instructional Design from the Holon Institute of Technology. Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here).

  • Brown Bag Talk: Human Spaceflight Risk from Decreasing Ground Support on Long-Duration Missions Beyond Low-Earth Orbit

    Date: Mar 2nd, 2023 12:30 PM
    Abstract: Human spaceflight over the past 60 years has been remarkably safe. This has been largely due to the fact that support from Earth, in the form of near-real-time communication, resupply, and evacuation options, has been a successful countermeasure to the significant hazards associated with in-space operations. Longer duration missions to the Lunar surface, and then to Mars, will quickly break this approach, requiring a paradigm shift in terms of on-board, in-mission capabilities for increased Earth-independence. Bio: Dr. Alonso Vera is Chief of the Human Systems Integration Division at NASA Ames Research Center. He has worked at NASA for over 20 years and has served as Division Chief since 2010. Dr. Vera has cross-disciplinary expertise 
in human performance, human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence. He has led the development and deployment of software systems across NASA robotic and human space flight missions including Mars Exploration Rovers, Phoenix Mars Lander, Mars Science Laboratory, Space Shuttle, International Space Station, and Exploration Systems. Dr. Vera received a Bachelor of Science from McGill University and a Ph.D. from Cornell University. He went on to a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here). This event is cosponsored with the Organizational Teams and Technology Research Society (OTTRS). Read more about this research group at

  • Brown Bag Talk: Aligning incentives with institutional values

    Date: Mar 9th, 2023 12:30 PM

    Abstract: In this talk, I will discuss key issues underlying the current incentive systems for research evaluation, summarize existing data on the relation between key indicators of research quality and traditional metrics, and highlight some of the challenges with reputation-based systems. I argue that real reform in research evaluation requires a fundamental rethinking of how we conceptualize research productivity, moving away from traditional incentive structures that heavily weigh quantity and toward a model in which the incentives align with our institutional and scientific values. I suggest that these reforms must be designed in a way to incentivize researchers to engage in pro-social behaviors.
    Bio: Dr. Dougherty received his PhD in 1999 from the University of Oklahoma and his BS from Kansas State University in 1993. Dr. Dougherty has received numerous research awards, including the Hillel Einhorn Early Investigator Award from the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, and the early investigator CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. Dr. Dougherty was appointed chair of the Department of Psychology in 2017.
    Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here).

  • Brown Bag Talk: Dr. Katie Davis discusses her new book, “Technology’s Child”

    Date: Mar 16th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Abstract: What happens to the little ones, the tweens, and the teenagers, when technology, ubiquitous in the world they inhabit, becomes a critical part of their lives? Technology’s Child brings clarity to what we know about technology’s role in child development and provides guidance on how to help children of all ages make the most of their digital experiences.

    From toddlers who are exploring their immediate environment to twenty-somethings who are exploring their place in society, technology inevitably and profoundly affects their development. Drawing on her expertise in developmental science and design research, Dr. Katie Davis describes what happens when child development and technology design interact, and how this interaction is complicated by children’s individual characteristics as well as social and cultural contexts.  Critically, she explains how a self-directed experience of technology—one initiated, sustained, and ended voluntarily—supports healthy child development, especially when it takes place within the context of community support, and how an experience that lacks these qualities can have the opposite effect.

    Bio: Katie Davis is Associate Professor at the University of Washington (UW) Information School, Adjunct Associate Professor in the UW College of Education, and a founding member and Co-Director of the UW Digital Youth Lab. Katie investigates the impact of digital technologies on young people’s learning, development, and well-being, and co-designs positive technology experiences for youth and their families. Her work bridges the fields of human development, human-computer interaction, and the learning sciences. In addition to her academic papers, Katie is the author of three books exploring technology’s role in young people’s lives: Technology’s Child: Digital Media’s Role in the Ages and Stages of Growing Up (MIT Press, 2023), Writers in the Secret Garden: Fanfiction, Youth, and New Forms of Mentoring (with Cecilia Aragon, MIT Press, 2019), and The App Generation: How Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World (with Howard Gardner, Yale University Press, 2013).  Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Washington, Katie was a research scientist at Harvard Project Zero, where she worked on the research team that collaborated with Common Sense Media to develop the first iteration of their digital citizenship curriculum. She holds two master’s degrees and a doctorate in Human Development and Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

    Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here).

  • Brown Bag Talk: Dr. Andrea Parker presents “Transforming the Health of Communities through Innovations in Social Computing”

    Date: Mar 30th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Dr. Andrea Parker Transforming the Health of Communities through Innovations in Social Computing

    March 30, 2023, 12:30pm ET

    Abstract: Digital health research—the investigation of how technology can be designed to support wellbeing—has exploded in recent years. Much of this innovation has stemmed from advances in the fields of human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence. A growing segment of this work is examining how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be used to achieve health equity, that is, fair opportunities for all people to live a healthy life. Such advances are sorely needed, as there exist large disparities in morbidity and mortality across population groups. These disparities are due in large part to social determinants of health, that is, social, physical, and economic conditions that disproportionately inhibit wellbeing in populations such as low-socioeconomic status and racial and ethnic minority groups.

    Despite years of digital health research and commercial innovation, profound health disparities persist. In this talk, I will argue that to reduce health disparities, ICTs must address social determinants of health. Intelligent interfaces have much to offer in this regard, and yet their affordances—such as the ability to deliver personalized health interventions—can also act as pitfalls. For example, a focus on personalized health interventions can lead to the design of interfaces that help individuals engage in behavioral change. While such innovations are important, to achieve health equity there is also a need for complimentary systems that address social relationships. Social ties are a crucial point of focus for digital health research as they can provide meaningful supports for positive health, especially in populations that disproportionately experience barriers to wellbeing.

    I will offer a vision for digital health equity research in which interactive and intelligent systems are designed to help people build, enrich, and engage social relationships that support wellbeing. By expanding the focus from individual to social change, there is tremendous opportunity to create disruptive interventions that catalyze and sustain population health improvements.

    Bio: Andrea Grimes Parker is an Associate Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and at Morehouse School of Medicine. Dr. Parker holds a Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Tech and a B.S. in Computer Science from Northeastern University. She is the founder and director of the Wellness Technology Lab at Georgia Tech. Her interdisciplinary research spans the domains of human-computer interaction and public health, as she examines how social and interactive computing systems can be designed to address health inequities.

    Dr. Parker has published widely in the space of digital health equity and received several best paper honorable mention awards for her research. Her research has been funded through awards from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Aetna Foundation, Google, and Johnson & Johnson. Additionally, she is a recipient of the 2020 Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance Team Science Award. Dr. Parker has held various leadership roles, including serving as co-chair for Workgroup on Interactive Systems in Healthcare (WISH) and as a member of the Johnson & Johnson / Morehouse School of Medicine Georgia Maternal Health Research for Action Steering Committee.

    Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here).

  • Brown Bag Talk: Andy Stefik shares “Evidence Standards and Data Science for All”

    Date: Apr 6th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Talk Title: Evidence Standards and Data Science for All Abstract: Scientific fields often believe that they hold a strong basis of evidence for claims made by their own community. In practice, however, exactly what evidence is expected for a paper to be published or for a hypothesis to become an accepted theory is complex and historically bizarre. In this talk, we will discuss a snippet of the history of evidence and how these lessons are morphing into what some scholars are calling data science. In the process, we will discuss barriers and problems in data science that need resolution for it to become accessible to the general public, scholars, and notably people with disabilities.

    Bio: Andreas Stefik is a professor of computer science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. For more than a decade, he has been creating technologies that make it easier for people, including those with disabilities, to write computer software. He helped establish the first national educational infrastructure for blind or visually impaired students to learn computer science and invented the first evidence-based programming language, Quorum. The design of Quorum is created from data derived through methodologies similar to those used in the medical community. He has been a principal investigator on 8 NSF-funded grants, many of which related to accessible graphics and computer science education. Finally, he was honored with the 2016 White House Champions of Change award and the Expanding CS Opportunities award from and the Computer Science Teachers Association.


  • Brown Bag Talk: Arvind Satyanarayan presents, “Intelligence Augmentation through the Lens of Interactive Data Visualization”

    Date: Apr 13th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Arvind Satyanarayan, Associate Professor, MIT Title: Intelligence Augmentation through the Lens of Interactive Data Visualization

    Abstract: Recent rapid advances in machine learning have brought new energy to the future of human + machine partnerships. In this talk, I will use three research threads on interactive data visualization to better understand the balance between automation and augmentation. First, I will describe how new specifications of visual and non-visual data representations allow us to reason about visual perception and cognition. Second, I will explore how visualization can be used to bridge human mental models and machine-learned representations. And, finally, I will discuss how data visualization already exhibits an epistemological crisis of truth—one that generative models threaten to further widen.

    Bio: Arvind Satyanarayan is Associate Professor of Computer Science at MIT, and a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He leads the MIT Visualization Group, which uses visualization as a lens to explore how software systems can enhance our creativity and cognition, while respecting our agency. Arvind's work has been recognized with an IEEE VGTC Significant New Researcher award, an NSF CAREER and Google Research Scholar award, a Kavli fellowship, best paper awards at academic venues (e.g., ACM CHI and IEEE VIS), and honorable mentions amongst practitioners (e.g., Kantar's Information is Beautiful Awards). Visualization systems he has helped develop are widely used in industry (including at Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Netflix), on Wikipedia, and by the Jupyter/Python data science communities.

    Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here).

  • BBL: CHI practice talks!

    Date: Apr 20th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Students and faculty prepare for upcoming ACM CHI conference talks.   Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here).

  • BBL Talk: Affective Polarization and Support for Democratic Institutions

    Date: Apr 27th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Carolina Batista (left) and Flávia Batista (right)

    Title: Affective Polarization and Support for Democratic Institutions: Evidence from Survey Experiments in Brazil, Chile, and Colombia

    Abstract: We examine the relationship between partisan social media messages and voters' support for democratic institutions. The experiments test whether partisan voters favor dissolving Congress or impeaching the president to advance in-group goals, considering a range of messages on consensual and wedge issues. We hypothesize that incumbent voters and opposition voters are more likely to reduce their support for democratic institutions controlled by out-group members, with opposition respondents more supportive of impeaching the president and government respondents more supportive of dissolving Congress. Partisan messages are expected to increase these effects, weakening those institutions controlled by the out-group party. We implement survey experiments in Chile, Brazil, and Colombia between October 2022 and March 2023. The experiments randomly expose respondents to partisan messages on issues such as inflation, abortion, crime, and protests. Inter-party differences conform to expectations, with opposition voters reporting higher preferences for impeaching the president and government supporters reporting higher preferences for dissolving Congress. However, we find no consistent social media effect. Incumbent and opposition voters support undemocratic policies that align with in-group goals, yet the effect does not increase with exposure to partisan social media messages on wedge issues.


    Carolina Batista is a Ph.D. student in Government and Politics at the University of Maryland. She holds a Masters’ degree in International Policy Analysis from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At UMD, Carolina is a member of the Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Computational Social Science (iLCSS) and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center (LACS). Her main research interests rely on computational methods, as well as political behavior, democracy, polarization, and social justice in Latin America.

    Flávia Batista is a second-year Ph.D. student at the Government and Politics department at the University of Maryland, College Park, majoring in Comparative Politics and Political Methodology. At UMD, Flavia is a member of the Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Computational Social Science (iLCSS) and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center (LASC). She holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Brasilia, Brazil, and an M.A. in Brazilian Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Flávia's primary research interests include elections, electoral campaigns, disinformation, and democratic backsliding.

    Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here).

  • BBL Talk: Yi Ting Huang, “Technology and the future of clinical services: Language, communication, and disabilities”

    Date: May 4th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Yi Ting Huang, Associate Professor, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, University of Maryland

    Title: Technology and the future of clinical services: Language, communication, and disabilities

    Abstract: Speech-language pathologists and audiologists are at the front lines of improving functional language and communication across the lifespan. These include treating wide-ranging disabilities such as language disorders, autism, stuttering, hearing loss, traumatic brain injury, stroke, dementia, etc. The success of early diagnosis paired with rapidly changing US demographics have introduced two broad challenges. First, clinicians are faced with massively increasing caseloads, and new populations that were unseen decades ago. Second, clinicians are a 93% white workforce and 56% of clients identify as people of color, and this raises a host of challenges related to cultural and linguistic diversity. While existing technology has focused on specific client needs (e.g., hearing aids, AAC devices), developing tools that can increase the efficiency and efficacy of service delivery in a heavily labor-intensive industry will improve quality of life for individuals with disabilities at scale. To do so, I will introduce three on-going projects that leverage 1) telehealth to provide language therapy for children with Developmental Language Disorder, 2) automated methods for multilingual transcription to accurately assess language knowledge in bilingual children, 3) video-calling platforms for create augmented spaces for communication for autistic and neurotypical adults. These examples demonstrate how technology can reach clients that are geographically inaccessible, offer services that typically take substantial time and expertise, and alter environments that provide communicatively relevant information. I will close by considering the wealth of opportunities at the intersection of language, communication, and disabilities, and invite others to brainstorm technology applications to address urgent needs in health care access, disproportionality in diagnosis, and diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

    Bio: Yi Ting Huang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at Harvard University and trained as a post-doctoral fellow in Cognitive Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Huang’s research focuses on how young language learners acquire the ability to coordinate linguistic representations during real-time comprehension. She explores this question by using eye-tracking methods to examine how the moment-to-moment changes that occur during processing influence the year-to-year changes that emerge during development. She has applied this approach to examine a variety of topics including word recognition, application of grammatical knowledge, and the generation of pragmatic inferences. Other interests include the relationship between language and concepts, language comprehension and production, and language development and literacy.  She is currently a member of the Maryland Language Science Center and the Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science.

    Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here).

  • BBL Talk: Dr. Deokgun Park, “Cognitive Architecture for Operant Conditioning

    Date: May 11th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Deokgun ParkCognitive Architecture for Operant Conditioning

    Abstract: In this talk, I will present my research on cognitive architecture for operant conditioning.  To lay the foundation for the discussion, I will start by reviewing the definitions and tests for AI and propose a new definition and the test for human-level artificial intelligence (HLAI).  I claim that the essence of HLAI to be the capability to learn from others' experiences via language.  Based on the definition, a test based on the language acquisition task will be proposed with the simulated environment to run the test practically.  A next milestone toward programming HLAI would be enabling operant conditioning inspired by the ‘Skinner box’ experiment.  To achieve this goal, I will explain two lessons that we can learn from the biological brain.  First, the working principle of neocortex can be modeled as Modulated Heterarchical Prediction Memory (mHPM). In mHPM, autoregressive universal modules in sparse distributed memory (SDM) representations are connected in a heterarchical network, and they are update in a local and distributed way instead of current deep learning trend of end-to-end optimization based on the single objective function. mHPM stores the multi-modal world model.  Second lesson is that we need non-homogeneous cognitive architecture for innate and learned behaviors instead of current homogeneous architecture.  I will explain the role of innate components such as hippocampus, reward system, hypothalamus, and amygdala.  Those innate components use the world model in mHPM enabling episodic memory formation and rapid adaptation.

    Bio: Dr. Deokgun Park is an assistant professor of the Computer Science and Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). He leads the Human Data Interaction Lab at UTA, which studies the Human-Level Artificial Intelligence. Dr. Park earned his doctoral degree from the University of Maryland in 2018. He completed M.S. in Interdisciplinary Engineering at Purdue University and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Seoul National University, where he also obtained a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering. He worked at the Government and industry research labs, and startups. And his patents have been licensed to companies, including Samsung Electronics.

    Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here).

Fall 2022
  • BBL Speaker Series: Aphasia Profiles and Implications for Technology Use

    Date: Sep 8th, 2022 12:30 PM
    Talk Title: Aphasia Profiles and Implications for Technology Use

    Kristin Slawson, Clinical Associate Professor, University of Maryland Hearing and Speech Clinic, and Michael Settles

    Location: HBK 2105

    Abstract: Conservative estimates suggest that 2.5 million people in the US have aphasia, yet few people have ever heard of the condition. Aphasia is a poorly understood, "invisible disability" that specifically impacts use of language in all forms. People with aphasia are more likely than other stroke survivors to experience social isolation, loss of independence, and significantly lower levels of employment. These immediate consequences have negative ripple effects on the mental and physical health outcomes of survivors and their family members. This talk aims to increase awareness of specific aphasia profiles in hopes of exploring how technology can be adapted to help people with aphasia maintain their prior level of work, social engagement, and independence to the greatest degree possible.

    Bio: Kristin Slawson is a Speech-Language Pathologist and a Clinical Associate Professor in Hearing and Speech Sciences. As a brain injury specialist, she is particularly interested in the functional impact of brain injuries on cognitive-linguistic abilities and implications of these changes on maintenance of social connections and return to school and work.

    Bio: Michael Settles is a 2022 ASHA Media Champion Award for his work advocating for aphasia awareness.  He is featured in a special exhibit on aphasia and word finding at the Planet Word Museum in Washington, DC. He is an advocate for expanded use of technology to support communication needs of people with aphasia.

    Check out slides from Kristin's presentation here.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Ideological Trajectories in Recommendation Systems for News Consumption

    Date: Sep 15th, 2022 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Cody Buntain, Assistant Professor, iSchool, UMD

    Location: HBK 2105

    Abstract: While originally developed to increase diversity in product recommendations and show individuals personalized content, recommendation systems have increasingly been criticized for their opacity, potential to radicalize vulnerable users, and incentivizing anti-social content. At the same time, studies have shown that modified recommendation systems can suppress anti-social content across the information ecosystem, and platforms are increasingly relying on such modifications for soft content-moderation interventions. These contradictions are difficult to reconcile as the underlying recommendation systems are often dynamic and commercially sensitive, making academic research on them difficult. This paper sheds light on these issues in the context of political news consumption by building several recommendation systems from first principles, populated with real-world engagement data from Twitter and Reddit. Using domain-level ideology measures, we simulate individuals' ideological trajectories through recommendations for news sources and examine whether standard recommendation approaches drive individuals to more partisan content and under what circumstances such radicalizing trajectories may emerge. We end with a discussion of personalization's impact in consuming political content, and implications for instrumenting deployed recommendation systems for anti-social effects.

    Bio: Dr. Cody Buntain is an assistant professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland and a research affiliate for NYU's Center for Social Media and Politics, where he studies online information and social media. His work examines how people use online information spaces during crises and political unrest, with a focus on information quality, preventing manipulation, and enhancing resilience. His work in these areas has been covered by the New York Times, Washington Post, WIRED, and others. Prior to UMD, he was an assistant professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and a fellow at the Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Fellowship.

  • BBL Speaker Series:Anytime Anywhere All At Once: Data Analytics in the Metaverse

    Date: Sep 22nd, 2022 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Niklas Elmqvist, Professor, iSchool, UMD

    Location: HBK 2105

    Abstract: Mobile computing, virtual and augmented reality, and the internet of things (IoT) have transformed the way we interact with computers. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have unprecedented potential for amplifying human abilities. But how have these technologies impacted data analysis, and how will they cause data analysis to change in the future? In this talk, I will review my group's sustained efforts of going beyond the mouse and the keyboard into the "metaverse" of analytics: large-scale, distributed, ubiquitous, immersive, and increasingly mobile forms of data analytics augmented and amplified by AI/ML models. I will also present my vision for the fundamental theories, applications, design studies, technologies, and frameworks we will need to fulfill the vast potential of this exciting new area in the future.

    Bio: Niklas Elmqvist (he/him/his) is a full professor in the iSchool (College of Information Studies) at University of Maryland, College Park. He received his Ph.D. in computer science in 2006 from Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden. Prior to joining University of Maryland, he was an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. From 2016 to 2021, he served as the director of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (HCIL) at University of Maryland, one of the oldest and most well-known HCI research labs in the United States. His research area is information visualization, human-computer interaction, and visual analytics. He is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award as well as best paper awards from the IEEE Information Visualization conference, the ACM CHI conference, the International Journal of Virtual Reality, and the ASME IDETC/CIE conference. He was papers co-chair for IEEE InfoVis 2016, 2017, and 2020, as well as a subcommittee chair for ACM CHI 2020 and 2021. He is also a past associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Visualization & Computer Graphics, as well as a current associate editor for the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies and the Information Visualization journal. In addition, he serves as series editor of the Springer Nature Synthesis Lectures on Visualization. His research has been funded by both federal agencies such as NSF, NIH, and DHS as well as by companies such as Google, NVIDIA, and Microsoft. He is the recipient of the Purdue Student Government Graduate Mentoring Award (2014), the Ruth and Joel Spira Outstanding Teacher Award (2012), and the Purdue ECE Chicago Alumni New Faculty award (2010). He was elevated to the rank of Distinguished Scientist of the ACM in 2018.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Inclusion Efforts at Vanguard

    Date: Sep 29th, 2022 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Oxana Loseva, Senior UX Researcher, Vanguard

    Location: HBK 2105

    Abstract: A detailed look at how Vanguard fosters inclusion of research participants with various disabilities. We will discuss how to build a panel of participants with different disabilities, the work that is being conducted by them at Vanguard, and the work a contractor with Down Syndrome has done during her 5-month tenure with Vanguard.

    Bio: Oxana has an undergraduate degree in Service Design from Savannah College of Art and Design. While working on her bachelor's she started working with folks with disabilities and exploring the physical accessibility of spaces. She went on to earn a Master's in Design Research from Drexel University where she focused on developing a game for people with cognitive disabilities. She works at Vanguard as a Sr. UX Researcher and when she is not working on her game that teaches people with cognitive disabilities how to manage money, she spends time with her pup Pepper and takes her hiking around PA.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Assistive Smartwatch Application to Support Neurodiverse Adults with Emotion Regulation

    Date: Oct 6th, 2022 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Vivian Motti, Assistant Professor, Department of Information Sciences and Technology, George Mason University

    Location: HBK 2105

    Abstract: Emotion regulation is an essential skill for young adults, impacting their prospects for employment, education and interpersonal relationships. For neurodiverse individuals, self-regulating their emotions is challenging. Thus, to provide them support, caregivers often offer individualized assistance. Despite being effective, such an approach is also limited. Wearables have a promising potential to address such limitations, helping individuals on demand, recognizing their affective state, and also suggesting coping strategies in a personalized, consistent and unobtrusive way.  In this talk I present the results of a user-centered design project on assistive smartwatches for emotion regulation. We conducted interviews and applied questionnaires to formally characterize emotion regulation. We involved neurodiverse adults as well as parents, caregivers, and assistants as active participants in the project. After eliciting the application requirements, we developed an assistive smartwatch application to assist neurodiverse adults with emotion regulation. The app was implemented, tested and evaluated in field studies. I conclude this talk discussing the role of smartwatches to deliver regulation strategies, their benefits and limitations, as well as the users' perspectives about the technology.

    Bio: Vivian Genaro Motti is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Information Sciences and Technology at George Mason University where she leads the Human-Centric Design Lab (HCD Lab). Her research focuses on Human Computer Interaction, Ubiquitous Computing, Assistive Wearables, and Usable Privacy. She is the principal investigator for a NIDILRR-funded project on assistive smartwatches for neurodiverse adults. Her research has been funded by NSF, TeachAccess, VRIF CCI, and 4-VA.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Toward an Equitable Computer Programming Practice Environment for All

    Date: Oct 13th, 2022 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Carl Haynes-Magyar, Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow, Carnegie Mellon University Location: HBK 2105

    Abstract: Traditional introductory computer programming practice has included writing pseudocode, code-reading and tracing, and code-writing. These problem types are often time-intensive, frustrating, cognitively complex, in opposition to learners' self-beliefs, disengaging, and demotivating—and not much has changed in the last decade.  Pseudocode is a plain language description of the steps in a program. Code-reading and tracing involve using paper and pencil or online tools such as PythonTutor to trace the execution of a program, and code-writing requires learners to write code from scratch.  In contrast to these types of programming practice problems, mixed-up code (Parsons) problems require learners to place blocks of code in the correct order and sometimes require the correct indentation and/or selection between a distracter block and a correct code block.  Parsons problems can increase the diversity of programmers who complete introductory computer programming courses by improving the efficiency with which they acquire knowledge and the quality of knowledge acquisition itself.  This talk will feature experiments designed to investigate the problem-solving efficiency, cognitive load, pattern application and acquisition, and cognitive accessibility of adaptive Parsons problems. The results have implications for how to generate and sequence them.

    Bio: Carl C. Haynes-Magyar is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science in the Human–Computer Interaction Institute. Carl's master's work included evaluating curriculums based on their ability to develop a learner's proficiencies for assessment and assessing the relationship between perceived and actual learning outcomes during web search interaction. His doctoral work involved studying the design of learning analytics dashboards (LADs) to support learners' development of self-regulated learning (SRL) skills and investigating how people learn to program using interactive eBooks with adaptive mixed-up code (Parsons) problems. His postdoctoral work is a continued investigation into computing education that involves creating an online programming practice environment called Codespec. The goal is to scaffold the development of programming skills such as code reading and tracing, code writing, pattern comprehension, and pattern application across a gentle slope of different problem types. These types range from block-based programming problems to writing code from scratch. Codespec will support learners, instructors, and researchers by providing help-seeking features, generating multimodal learning analytics, and cultivating IDEAS: inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility, sexual orientation and gender awareness. Carl has published several peer-reviewed articles at top venues such as the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI). He has taught as an instructor for courses on organizational behavior, cognitive and social psychology, human-computer interaction, learning analytics, educational data science, and data science ethics. He has been nominated for awards related to instruction and diversity, equity, and inclusion. He is a member of AAAI, ACM SIGCHI and SIGCSE, ALISE, and ISLS. Carl received his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan School of information in 2022, and a master's degree in Library and Information Science with honors from Syracuse University's School of Information Studies (iSchool) in 2016.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Unobtrusive Machine-Readable Tags for Identifying, Tracking, and Interacting with Real-World Objects

    Date: Oct 22nd, 2022 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Doğa Doğan, Ph.D. candidate, MIT

    Location: HBK 2105

    Abstract: Ubiquitous computing requires that mobile and wearable devices are aware of our surroundings so as to augment the real world with contextual information that enriches our interactions with them. For this to work, the objects around us need to carry machine-readable tags, such as barcodes and RFID labels, that describe what they are and communicate this information to devices. While barcodes are inexpensive to produce, they are typically obtrusive, less durable, and less secure than other tags. Regardless of their type, most conventional tags are added to objects post hoc as they are not part of the original design.

    I propose to replace this post-hoc augmentation process with tagging approaches that extract objects’ integrated hidden features and use them as machine-detectable tags to make the real world more informative. In this talk, I will introduce three projects: (1) InfraredTags are invisible fiducial markers embedded into 3D printed objects using infrared-transmitting filaments, and detected using cheap infrared cameras. (2) G-ID marks different 3D printed copies of the same object by using unique printing (“slicing”) settings, which result in unobtrusive, machine-detectable surface artifacts. (3) SensiCut is a smart laser cutting platform that leverages speckle imaging and deep learning to distinguish visually similar workshop materials. It adjusts designs based on the chosen material and warns users against hazardous ones. I will show how these methods assist users in creative tasks and enable new interactive applications for augmented reality (AR), object traceability, and user identification.

    Bio: DoğaDoğan is a Ph.D. candidate at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and currently an intern at Adobe Research, where he builds novel identification and tagging techniques. At CSAIL, he works with Stefanie Mueller as part of the HCI Engineering Group. Doğa’s research focuses on the fabrication and detection of unobtrusive physical tags embedded into everyday objects and materials. His work has been nominated for best paper and demo awards at CHI, UIST, and ICRA. He is a past recipient of the Adobe Research Fellowship and Siebel Scholarship. Prior to MIT, Doğa conducted research in the Laboratory for Embedded Machines and Ubiquitous Robots at UCLA, and the Physical Intelligence Department of the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. His website:

  • BBL Speaker Series: Record, Reveal, and Share: Computer-mediated Perspective Sharing

    Date: Oct 27th, 2022 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Sang Won Lee, Assistant Professor, CS, Virginia Tech

    Location: HBK 2105

    Abstract: This talk discusses ways to design computational systems that facilitate empathic communication and collaboration in various domains. My research agenda is a journey for me to create a framework we can use to understand the components we need to consider in using technologies to foster empathy. The framework will be introduced, and I will focus on the recent projects that suggest sharing perspectives as a prerequisite towards empathy and address technical barriers to sharing perspectives in emerging technologies.

    Bio: Sang Won Lee is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. His research aims to understand how we can design interactive systems that facilitate empathy among people. His research vision of computer-mediated empathy comes from his computer music background, thriving to bring music's expressive, collaborative, and empathic nature to computational systems. He creates interactive systems that can facilitate understanding by providing ways to share perspectives, preserve context in computer-mediated communication, and facilitate self-reflection. He has applied these approaches to various applications, including creative writing, informal learning, writing, and programming.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Designing Health Technology for the Intersection of Evidence and Everyday Life

    Date: Nov 3rd, 2022 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Elena Agapie, Assistant Professor, Informatics, UC-Irvine

    Location: HBK 2105

    Abstract: Pursuing healthy behaviors is a complex, long-term process that is difficult to maintain. Many technologies promise to support people in pursuing health goals, yet many such technologies fail to account for people’s everyday needs or incorporate evidence-based strategies. In this talk, I discuss the challenges that researchers encounter in designing technologies that use health evidence-driven techniques and accounting for people’s everyday life. I use human-centered design methods and create novel systems that address key challenges that people encounter in working on health goals: starting new behaviors while accounting for the complexities of everyday life and engaging with health goals long term. I discuss how technology can better support clinicians and peers in providing evidence-driven tailored support to clients, for supporting physical activity, and mental health therapy.

    Bio: Elena Agapie is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. She studies, designs, and builds technology to support people in pursuing positive health behaviors by drawing on people’s everyday experiences and evidence-based interventions. Agapie’s work has been published and received awards in top HCI venues including CHI, CSCW, and HCOMP. She received her Ph.D. in Human Centered Design and Engineering from the University of Washington, and Masters degree in Computer Science from Harvard University. Agapie worked on research projects in industry research labs including Microsoft Research, Fuji Xerox Palo Alto Research Lab, Intel, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. Her work is supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

  • BBL Speaker Series: How and what kind of research we do in the Small Artifacts Lab (Hint: Design, Wearable, Fabrication, and Accessibility)

    Date: Nov 10th, 2022 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Huaishu Peng, Assistant Professor, CS, UMD

    Location: HBK 2105

    Abstract: In this talk, I will give a brief overview of the HCI research we are conducting (or planning) in the Small Artifacts Lab. I will showcase several recent works concerning various HCI topics, e.g., design, fabrication, wearable computing, and accessibility, but all from a technical perspective. As examples, I will discuss how we designed a small wearable robot that can relocate itself on a user's full body instead of staying only in one area of interest (e.g., a smartwatch on the wrist) and how the design opens new opportunities in both research and art; I will also talk about how we created a tangible artifact that supports blind developers to create the graphical layout of webpages on their own. Towards the end of the talk, I will time and discuss with the audience how technical innovation can drive HCI research.

    Bio: Huaishu Peng is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science department at the University of Maryland, College Park. He aims to advance interactive technologies by designing, prototyping, and evaluating novel artifacts that are personal, hands-on, and often small when it comes to the form factors. He is interested in the methods of building these personal artifacts (through design and interactive fabrication), the scenarios of using them (in mixed reality), and the users who can benefit from them (with assistive and enabling technology). His work has been published in CHI, UIST, and SIGGRAPH and won Best Paper Nominee. His work has also been featured in media such as Wired, MIT Technology Review, Techcrunch, and Gizmodo.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Participatory approaches to AI in digital health and well-being

    Date: Nov 17th, 2022 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Lauren Wilcox, Senior Staff Research Scientist, Google

    Location: HBK 2105

    Abstract: Advances in computing technology continue to offer us new insights about our health and well-being. As mutually reinforcing trends make the use of  wearable and mobile devices routine, we now collect personal, health-related data at an unprecedented scale.  Meanwhile, the use of deep-learning-based health screening technologies changes relationships between caregivers and care recipients, with multitudinous implications for equity, privacy, safety, and trust . How can researchers take inclusive and responsible approaches to envisioning solutions, training data, and deploying AI/ML-driven solutions? Who should be involved in decisions about how to use ML/AI in digital health and well-being solutions, and even what solutions matter in the first place? In this talk, I will discuss participatory approaches to designing digital health and well-being technologies with patients, family members, and clinicians.  Starting with field studies in clinics exploring how people navigated use of a deployed, diagnostic AI system, and moving onto examples of responsibility AI practices, I will discuss participatory approaches and their importance throughout the technology design, development, and evaluation process.

    Bio: Lauren Wilcox, PhD, is a Senior Staff Research Scientist in Responsible AI and Human-Centered Computing in Google Research. She brings sixteen years of experience conducting human-centered computing research in service of human health and well-being. Previously at Google Health, Wilcox led initiatives to align AI advancements in healthcare with the needs of clinicians, patients, and their family members. She also holds an Adjunct Associate Professor position in Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing. Wilcox was an inaugural member of the ACM Future of Computing Academy. She frequently serves on the organizing and technical program committees for premier conferences in the field (e.g., ACM CHI). Wilcox received her PhD in Computer Science from Columbia University in 2013.

  • BBL Speaker Series: (Some) things I worry about in HCI/CSCW research

    Date: Dec 1st, 2022 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Dan Cosley, Program Officer, National Science Foundation

    Location: HBK 2105

    Abstract: In this talk, rather than report out on some research that I'm involved with, I plan to do some meta-reflection on things that I worry reduce the contribution and impact of research in HCI, CSCW, and related areas. I tentatively plan to focus on four main issues, based both on work I've been involved with myself and on other studies I've seen:

    • Our Methods Make Us Dumb (Other People Know Things)
    • Whither the Artifact? (Goldilocks and the Three Stances)
    • Things Change (Tweet, Tweet… Musk!); and
    • Failure To Generalize (A Grounded Theory of X?)
    I haven't given a talk like this before, and many of the issues have already been observed in some form by people smarter than me, but I think there's value in bringing them together and hope that talking about this will be useful for both HCI practice and HCI research. I plan to have the talk itself run a little short so we can have a more interactive discussion, so feel free to bring a few of your own worries along to share.

    Bio: Dan Cosley is a permanent program officer at NSF as of September 2020, homed in the Human-Centered Computing program in CISE and associated with a number of other solicitations, with a mostly up to date list at Before that, he was an associate professor at Cornell in the Information Science department, doing both design-based and analytic research in the spaces of Human-Computer Interaction and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work. This includes work around designing user interfaces for recommender systems; modeling human information behaviors from computational traces; supporting crowdwork and online collaboration, and studying the power relationships involved; systems and models connecting social media, identity, and memory; and various other topics that he helped students work on along the way.

Spring 2022

5/5 | Shiqing (Licia) He
Finding the Grammar of Generative Craft

Abstract: Art and craft design is challenging even with the assistance of computer-aided design tools. Despite the increasing availability and intelligence of software and hardware, artists continue to find gaps between their practices and tools. Through this presentation, I introduce Grammar-driven Craft Design Tools (GCDTs), which explicitly embed and utilized craft domain knowledge as their primary mechanisms and interfaces. Besides bridging the gap between design-aid tools and craft domain knowledge, GCDTs also have additional benefits such as supporting generative design, facilitating learning, and preserving domain knowledge. This talk discusses how the next generation of design-aid tools can help artists find their creative expressions.

Bio: Licia He is a generative artist and a human-computer interaction researcher. After receiving her Ph.D. from the School of Information, University of Michigan, Licia is currently an assistant professor at the Department of Visualization, Texas A&M University, where she leads the Generative Craft Lab. Passionate about programming and visual art, she explores ways to record and present information around her through her research and artworks.

4/28 | Pablo Paredes
Everyday stress management technology “in the wild” towards equitable wellbeing computing

Abstract: In this talk, I discuss my work in stress management sensing and intervention technologies for everyday use, i.e. that can be widely adopted by the entire population. I present stress as an example and introduction to equitable wellbeing computing focused on the design, building, and evaluation of affordable, engaging, and efficacious ubiquitous computing technology enabling the equal widespread of wellbeing. I delve in detail into examples of both sensors and interventions that can enable this vision.
First I discuss “sensorless” sensing as an approach to repurposing existing data and infrastructure to obtain continuous, longitudinal stress data that is informed by sound theory on biomechanics. Then I describe an intervention design approach that combines applied machine learning with human-centered design to repurpose engaging attention-grabbing technology (Internet apps, messaging) into personalized just-in-time stress management interventions. My talk finalizes with a future vision on how to take wellbeing computing research out of the lab and “in the wild”, how to manage “shared autonomy” challenges between humans and automated wellbeing systems, and how to focus on embedding ethical principles in the design of these modern systems.

Bio: Pablo Paredes earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2015 with Prof. John Canny. He is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Department and the Epidemiology and Population Health Department (by courtesy) at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He leads the Pervasive Wellbeing Technology Lab, which houses a diverse group of students from multiple departments such as computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, anthropology, neuroscience, and linguistics. Before joining the School of Medicine, Dr. Paredes was a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University with Prof. James Landay. During his Ph.D. career, he held internships on behavior change and affective computing at Microsoft Research and Google. He has been an active associate editor for the Interactive, Mobile, Wireless, and Ubiquitous Technology Journal (IMWUT) and a reviewer and editor for multiple top CS and medical journals. Before 2010, he was a senior strategic manager with Intel in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a lead product manager with Telefonica in Quito, Ecuador, and an entrepreneur in his native Ecuador and, more recently, in the US. In these roles, he has had the opportunity to hire and closely evaluate designers, engineers, business people, and researchers in telecommunications and product development. During his academic career, Dr. Paredes has advised close to 40 mentees, including postdocs, Ph.D., master’s, and undergraduate students, collaborated with colleagues from multiple departments across engineering, medicine, and the humanities, and raised funding from NSF, NIH, and large multidisciplinary intramural research projects.

4/21 | Laura Moradbakhti
Considering Users’ Basic Psychological Needs in Technology Design

Abstract: Users’ needs should be at the center of new technology design and development efforts. Nonetheless, there is a big gap in current research surrounding basic psychological need fulfillment. According to the Basic Psychological Needs Theory, the satisfaction of our basic psychological needs is necessary for autonomous motivation: if our needs, namely autonomy (desire to have control over our actions), competence (innate desire to experience mastery) and relatedness (desire to care for others and be cared for in return) are fulfilled, we are motivated to engage in a task. If the needs are not fulfilled, our well-being is negatively affected. In the past, basic psychological needs were measured to explain motivation for task engagement in the workplace, education and sport sector but there is little research drawing a link to technology usage and interaction. However, especially with the growing use of technologies in our daily lives, their increasing autonomy and competence in executing tasks, and their role in virtual communication, it is crucial to assess users’ need satisfaction to ensure their well-being when interacting with new technologies. My research focuses on design factors that positively influence users’ basic psychological needs. I will present several studies that address design factors, individual differences in need satisfaction, and the importance of basic psychological needs for technology acceptance.

4/14 | Stephen MacNeil
Digital Tools to Facilitate Participatory Design at Scale

Bio: Dr. Stephen MacNeil is an Assistant Professor at Temple University where he founded the Temple HCI Lab. Before that, he received his PhD from the College of Computing and Informatics at UNC Charlotte and his BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. He was also a postdoctoral researcher in the Design Lab at UCSD. Although his background is highly technical, Dr. MacNeil’s research is rooted in human-computer interaction, participatory design, and learning sciences. These design sensibilities have led to his involvement in regional and global design initiatives as a lead organizer for Design for San Diego ( and as a US Representative for the Young Designers’ Circle at the World Design Organization.

4/7 | Jinjuan Heidi Feng
Understanding Social Media Usage related to Cognitive Disabilities in the Arabic World

Abstract: Social media has become a desirable means for spreading awareness, advocating for rights, establishing communities, acquiring information, and much more. Studies confirmed the substantial value of social support and community belonging for individuals with disabilities and their caregivers. Users in the Arabic world have shown an increasing interest in using social media in the past decade. However, there is limited research that investigated how social media was used in the Arabic world to support people with cognitive disabilities and advocate for their rights. We tried to start filling this gap through a two-stage project. In the first stage, we interviewed caregivers and teachers for children with cognitive disabilities from Saudi Arabia to examine their motivations and concerns around using social media in relation to their children or students’ conditions. We found that caregivers used social media with caution to seek information and emotional support, to spread awareness, and to communicate and build communities. In the second stage of the project, we applied text mining approaches, including sentiment and temporal analyses, on Arabic tweets related to cognitive disabilities during a nine year period. Content volume, temporal evolution, user accounts, sentiment, and topics of the tweets were analyzed. The results provide new insight into public perspectives, which may assist interested entities to form and distribute appropriate resources and information.

Bio: Dr. Jinjuan Heidi Feng, a visiting professor at the Trace Center of UMD, is a professor in the Computer and Information Sciences Department at Towson University. She received a Ph. D. in Information Sciences from UMBC in 2005. She conducts research in the area of Human-Computer Interaction, Accessible Computing and Health-informatics. She works with national and local communities to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities through information technology. Her current research projects focus on assistive technologies for people with cognitive disabilities, mobile applications for healthcare related services, and accessible security techniques for individuals with visual or cognitive disabilities. Dr. Feng has served as the program co-chair for the 23rd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS21) and the general chair for ASSETS16. She is associate editor for the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies and the ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing.

3/31 | Christina Chung
Personal Informatics in the Changing, Social World

Abstract: Personal informatics refers to information individuals can collect about themselves, such as food intake, physical activity, sleep, and mood. Current personal informatics tools have been designed primarily for personal use, focusing on quantitative measurements that are easy to collect via sensors or manual input. These systems often overlook the changing nature of everyday life, the social contexts individuals live in, the variety of goals and values they have, and the constraints and preferences associated with these contexts and values. My research has examined the collaborative use of personal informatics data and co-constructed experience in various contexts. In this talk, I will share a few recent studies unpacking ways to rethink personal informatics technology that considers the changing contexts of health behavior, shifting values and priorities, as well as the social roles and relationships that often deeply intertwine with health decisions.

Bio: Christina Chung is an Assistant Professor in Informatics and the Luddy Faculty Fellow 2020/2021 at the Indiana University Bloomington. She is also the director of the Proactive Health lab. Her research focuses on how ubiquitous computing and personal informatics data can be designed and shared to support relationships, motivate health behavior, and support collaborative care. She has published in top HCI conferences and medical journals; receiving a Best Paper Award, Honorable Mentions, and an Impact Recognition Award. Her research has been featured in mainstream media, such as CNN and Geekwire, and is supported by the National Science Foundation, IU Luddy Faculty Fellowship, and IU Precision Health Initiative. Christina received her Ph.D. in Human Centered Design and Engineering from the University of Washington while she was a member of the Design. Use. Build (DUB) group. Previously, she was also a software engineer in IBM Research Collaboratory Taiwan conducting service innovation research in health and wellness. She holds an M.B.A and B.B.A in Information Management from the National Taiwan University.

3/17 | Karen Holtzblatt
Understanding Remote Working and Diverse Teams

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3/10 | Dr. Merijke Coenraad
Designing to Introduce Technological and Algorithmic Bias in Computing Lessons

Abstract: Technology is ubiquitous in modern society. It affects our daily activities and exists in every household and on every street corner. Yet, research has shown that both the process of creating technologies and the technologies themselves are biased. New technologies are based on datasets, algorithms, and designs that encode developer and data biases. As youth increasingly use technologies in their daily lives, experience the effects of technologies and algorithms, and learn to be technology creators, it is important for them to critically explore and understand the ways that technology introduces and perpetuates inequities. In this talk, I present a design study on the development and implementation of materials specifically designed to teach about Threats to Techquity. Threats to Techquity are aspects of computing and technologies that cause or could cause inequalities, especially inequalities based on marginalized identities (e.g., inequalities due to race, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation, ability). To understand how to bring Techquity into the classroom, I partnered with youth and teachers using participatory design to develop the “Talking Techquity” curriculum for middle grades (5th through 8th grade) students. Findings from this work revealed: (1) youth initially named and identified examples of visible Threats to Techquity, but as they learned more about these threats, they uncovered and discussed invisible Threats to Techquity more frequently and identified these threats as important topics to be taught to peers; (2) youth and teacher designers had similar instructional priorities and utilized similar pedagogical strategies when designing and critiquing learning experiences about online data collection and data use, but had contrasting ways of discussing examples and different learning goals; and (3) when implementing “Talking Techquity,” teachers who helped co-design the curriculum made adaptations to content and project requirements to provide more scaffolding and ensure students experienced success based on teachers’ perceptions of student needs and other factors. This research encourages researchers, curriculum designers, educators, and students themselves to consider how to teach about the Threats to Techquity affecting youth’s daily lives and demonstrates how participatory design methods can help uncover key conceptualizations and instructional priorities that make this possible.

Bio: Merijke Coenraad is a Learning Experience Designer at Digital Promise. She recently defended her PhD dissertation in the Department of Teaching & Learning, Policy & Leadership in the College of Education at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on the intersections of educational technology and equity including the creation of materials, platforms, and experiences in partnership with teachers and youth through participatory design methods. Merijke has an M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from Boston College and a B.S. in Elementary Education and Spanish and Hispanic Studies from Creighton University. She is a former middle school teacher.

3/3 | Ben Shneiderman
Human-Centered AI: Ensuring Human Control, Enhancing Human Performance

Abstract: A new synthesis is emerging that integrates AI technologies with Human-Computer Interaction to produce Human-Centered AI (HCAI). Advocates of this new synthesis seek to amplify, augment, and enhance human abilities, so as to empower people, build their self-efficacy, support creativity, recognize responsibility, and promote social connections. Researchers, developers, business leaders, policy makers and others are expanding the technology-centered scope of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to include Human-Centered AI (HCAI) ways of thinking. This expansion from an algorithm-focused view to embrace a human-centered perspective, can shape the future of technology so as to better serve human needs. Educators, designers, software engineers, product managers, evaluators, and government agency staffers can build on AI-driven technologies to design products and services that make life better for the users. These human-centered products and services will enable people to better care for each other, build sustainable communities, and restore the environment. The passionate advocates of HCAI are devoted to furthering human values, rights, justice, and dignity, by building reliable, safe, and trustworthy systems. The talk will include examples, references to further work, and discussion time for questions. These ideas are drawn from Ben Shneiderman’s new book Human-Centered AI (Oxford University Press, February 2022). Further information at:

Bio: BEN SHNEIDERMAN ( is an Emeritus Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (, and a Member of the UM Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) at the University of Maryland. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, ACM, IEEE, NAI, and the Visualization Academy and a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. He has received six honorary doctorates in recognition of his pioneering contributions to human-computer interaction and information visualization. His widely-used contributions include the clickable highlighted web-links, high-precision touchscreen keyboards for mobile devices, and tagging for photos. Shneiderman’s information visualization innovations include dynamic query sliders for Spotfire, development of treemaps for viewing hierarchical data, novel network visualizations for NodeXL, and event sequence analysis for electronic health records. Ben is the lead author of Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (6th ed., 2016). He co-authored Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think (1999) and Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL (2nd edition, 2019). His book Leonardo’s Laptop (MIT Press) won the IEEE book award for Distinguished Literary Contribution. The New ABCs of Research: Achieving Breakthrough Collaborations (Oxford, 2016) describes how research can produce higher impacts. His new book on Human-Centered AI, was published by Oxford University Press in February 2022.

2/24 | Paul Bricman
Building customizable and collaborative AI assistants

Abstract: AI assistance is an increasingly widespread approach to improving knowledge work. However, most commercial AI assistants today offer users limited customization options, making them difficult to integrate in specific workflows. You might be able to change its voice or superficially integrate it with other apps, but what if you wanted to teach it complex new skills (e.g. formulating research questions, connecting ideas, putting together counterarguments, etc.)? In this talk, I will describe two prototypes which explore this question. Dual is an experimental AI assistant whose skills are entirely defined by users through a lightweight scripting language which extends prompt engineering with variables and nested calls. However, even if customizable skills are handy in tailoring an AI assistant’s skill set to the user’s needs, knowing when to use what skill remains challenging. You might only have a broad overarching goal (e.g. learning a concept, solving a problem, making a decision, etc.) whose translation to individual replies is non-trivial. As an early step in addressing this challenge, I will introduce Oneironomicon, a conversational sandbox for training AI assistants on “dreamed-up” user simulators using reinforcement learning before repurposing their know-how to help real users.

Bio: Paul is a Romanian-born Netherlands-based student exploring ways of augmenting human cognition using AI. On the surface, this happens by designing tiny new primitives, mechanics, and affordances which symbiotically bring together minds and machines. On a deeper level, this happens by putting together a cognitive infrastructure: a patchwork of building blocks which together enable a rich combinatorial space of thought patterns, both organic and artificial, both individual and collective.

2/17 | Dr. Niloufar Salehi
From content moderation to school assignment: What do theories of justice teach us about design?

Abstract: Computational systems have a complex relationship with justice: they may be designed with the intent to promote justice, tasked to resolve injustices, or actively contribute to injustice itself. In this talk I will take two theories of justice, restorative and distributive justice, as frameworks to analyze and imagine alternatives to two real-world systems. First, I will analyze online harms such as harassment and revenge porn and how they are currently addressed through content moderation. I will use restorative justice to discuss the shortcomings of content moderation to effectively address those harms and discuss what alternatives we might design. Second, I will analyze an attempt at using computational systems to promote distributive justice in public schools in San Francisco that ultimately failed to achieve its theoretical promises of transparency, equity, and efficiency. I will show how incorrect modeling assumptions about families’ priorities, constraints, and goals clashed with the real world causing the algorithm to fail. Through this work I argue for recognizing the limitations of algorithmic solutions, broadening how we evaluate computational socio-technical systems, and ongoing engagement with those affected by those systems.

Bio: Niloufar Salehi is an Assistant Professor at the School of Information at UC Berkeley, with an affiliated appointment in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Her research interests are in social computing, participatory and critical design, human-centered AI, and more broadly, human-computer-interaction (HCI). Her work has been published and received awards in premier venues in HCI including ACM CHI and CSCW. Through building computational social systems in collaboration with existing communities, controlled experiments, and ethnographic fieldwork, her research contributes the design of alternative social configurations online.

2/10 | Lightning Talks
Four lightning talks featuring HCIL student researchers. Students will share a research project or idea and facilitate a discussion among attendees.

2/3 | Mohammad Ali
Fake-News Network Model: A Conceptual Framework for Strategic Communication to Deal with Fake News

Abstract: This article analyzes the entire life span of a corporate fake-news report as a case study, proposing a conceptual framework for strategic fake-news communication. Using the confirmation-bias theoretical model, this qualitative textual analysis examines the most widely circulated tweets of a fake-news item about Nike, 603 replies to the tweets, users’ biographical profiles (e.g., political affiliations), the role of opinion leader(s), and relevant prior contexts. The findings provide in-depth insight into how people believe fake news and how their conversations about fake news (re)shape the victim brand’s social realities. Overall, the findings of this study illustrate a “Fake-News Network Model” that explains the underlying mechanisms of how a fake-news item functions together with other aspects (e.g., context, perception, opinion leaders, and cognitive processes), prompting certain people to believe particular fake-news reports and, discuss the victim brand (e.g., Nike) based on that perceived truth. The article discusses the implications of this network model for both fake-news researchers and strategic communication professionals.

Bio: Mohammad Ali is a doctoral student in the College of Information Studies (iSchool) at the University of Maryland (UMD) College Park. The areas of his research interest include strategic communication, fake news, health informatics, computational journalism, HCI, and computational social science. A former journalist, Ali has studied public administration and mass communication prior to joining the iSchool Ph.D. program. His scholarly works got published/accepted and presented in different journals and conferences, including International Journal of Strategic Communication, Visual Communication Quarterly, Media Practice and Education journal, Atlantic Journal of Communication, Cultivating Q Methodology (book chapter), Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) conference, International Communication Association (ICA) conference, National Communication Association (NCA) conference, and Australian & New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) conference.

1/27 | Xiaojun Bi
AI-powered Interaction: Principles, Models, and Applications

Abstract: How to leverage AI to enhance and augment users’ interaction with computers is a grand challenge. In this talk, I will use text-based communication in Post-PC computing as an example to demonstrate how to integrate AI into interactive systems. We have created multiple AI-powered writing systems that can (1) infer users’ communication intention from noisy input such as eye gaze, voice, and finger touch, and (2) adapt to individuals and support text input on invisible and imaginary keyboards, and (3) detect whether users develop early signs of Parkinson’s Disease. The secret ingredient behind these AI-powered interactive systems is probabilistic modeling: we have created probabilistic models to quantify uncertainty in interaction, and adapted Bayesian inference as a principle of resolving uncertainty in interaction and integrating multimodal input.

Bio: Xiaojun Bi is an Assistant Professor (2017 – present) in the Department of Computer Science at Stony Brook University. Prior to joining Stony Brook, he was a Research Scientist at Google LLC. Xiaojun’s research lies at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), with a primary focus on AI-powered Interaction. Xiaojun Bi has authored over 40 publications in the premier HCI publication venues such as CHI and UIST, and has won 10 Best Paper or Honorable Mention awards. He is a two-time Google Faculty Research Award winner and inventor of 33 US patents. Xiaojun Bi earned his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, and received his Master’s degree in Computer Science and Bachelor’s degree in Automation from Tsinghua University. Further information, including publications and videos demonstrating some of his research, can be obtained from

Spring 2021

1/28 | Special Event led by Catherine Plaisant & Joel Chan
— Tagging the Historical CHI Video Archive (Watch-and-Hack-athon)

Abstract. The HCIL has worked to digitize 100’s of early CHI Videos from 1983 to 2002. Those videos show pioneering work and are important to our field. They are starting to be posted online but most have no keywords to help people find videos of interest. In teams (i.e. zoom rooms) we will watch a set of videos, tag them, then get back together and share impressions and thoughts about the videos we saw.

Bios. Catherine Plaisant is a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies and Associate Director of Research of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. Catherine earned a Doctorat d’Ingénieur degree in France (similar to an Industrial Engineering PhD). In 1988 she joined the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory where she has been working with multidisciplinary teams on designing and evaluating new interface technologies that are useful and usable.

Joel Chan is an Assistant Professor in the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies (iSchool), and Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL). His research and teaching focus on the intersection of people, information, and creativity. He wants to know how they (can best) combine to enable us to design the future(s) we want to live in. His work has been recognized with a Best Paper Award at the ASME Design Theory and Methodology conference, the Design Studies Award 2015, and supported by an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant. Previously, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Project Scientist in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his PhD in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh.

2/4 | Pardis Miri
— Facilitating Affect Regulation Using a Vibrotactile Technology


Abstract. Dr. Miri will discuss her work on designing vibrotactile technologies to facilitate affect regulation. Specifically, she will cover how she designed, engineered, and evaluated a vibrotactile breathing pacer to help with stress reduction in a population of young college students. She will discuss whether the pacer was effective in anxiety reduction (both in self report and psychophysiology measures) and, where effective for whom it was effective (e.g., for those low on Big Five Openness, the device was more effective). She will then discuss how she built on the knowledge gained from a college student population, and is currently targeting her research for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Bio. Pardis Miri, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, where she is working at the intersection of human computer interaction and affective science. Such research is highly interdisciplinary, and involves computer systems, human-computer interaction, psychology, and behavioral science. She is being advised by Professor Keith Marzullo at the University of Maryland iSchool, whose research is on distributed systems, and by Professor James Gross, whose research underlies much of what we now know about emotion regulation. She is also working with Professor Antonio Hardan of the Stanford School of Medicine, whose research is on children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Dr. Miri leads a multidisciplinary research team in the Stanford Psychophysiology Lab (the WEHAB team) aimed at the design, engineering, and evaluation of technologies to help people to successfully manage their emotions, moods, and stress responses. She is interested in both neurotypical and neurodiverse populations. Specifically, her work focuses on using theoretically-grounded and data-driven approaches to engineer end-to-end systems that empower people to regulate their unwanted affective experiences and behaviors in their everyday lives. Then, by running carefully-designed clinical experiments, she examines both the average effect (whether the system was effective in changing affect) and the heterogeneous effect (for whom the system was effective). The results of this research will inform practice about what types of interventions are more useful for what type of trait and state individual differences, and will reduce the use of drugs in personalized mental healthcare. To know more, please visit

2/11 | Nick Diakopoulos
— Automating the News: How Algorithms are Rewriting the Media

Abstract. Amid the push for self-driving cars and the roboticization of industrial economies, automation has proven one of the biggest news stories of our time. Yet the wide-scale automation of the news itself has largely escaped attention. In this rapidly shifting terrain, Nicholas Diakopoulos focuses on the people who tell the stories—increasingly with the help of computer algorithms that are fundamentally changing the creation, dissemination, and reception of the news.
Diakopoulos reveals how machine learning and data mining have transformed investigative journalism. Newsbots converse with social media audiences, distributing stories and receiving feedback. Online media has become a platform for A/B testing of content, helping journalists to better understand what moves audiences. Algorithms can even draft certain kinds of stories. These techniques enable media organizations to take advantage of experiments and economies of scale, enhancing the sustainability of the fourth estate. But they also place pressure on editorial decision-making, because they allow journalists to produce more stories, sometimes better ones, but rarely both.

Bio. Nicholas Diakopoulos is an Associate Professor in Communication Studies and Computer Science (by courtesy) at Northwestern University where he directs the Computational Journalism Lab. He is also a Tow Fellow at Columbia University School of Journalism as well as Associate Professor II at the University of Bergen Department of Information Science and Media Studies. His research focuses on computational journalism, including aspects of automation and algorithms in news production, algorithmic accountability and transparency, and social media in news contexts. He is author of the book, Automating the News: How Algorithms are Rewriting the Media, published by Harvard University Press. Recently he was a resident researcher in the Computational Political Journalism Lab at the Washington Post. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Computer Science from the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and his Sc.B. degree in Computer Engineering from Brown University.

2/18 | Campus closed today due to inclement weather —- WILL BE RESCHEDULED FOR A LATER DATE

2/25 | Cory Lebson
— Working in UX: During a Pandemic and Beyond


Abstract. Across the world, Covid-19 has led to lost jobs, economic stress and general uncertainty about what will come next. But how, specifically, have UX jobs been impacted? In this talk, Cory will provide an on-the-ground perspective on how Covid has impacted his UX work and provide perspective on what may be different about doing UX work in 2021 and eventually post-Covid.

Bio. Cory Lebson has been a user experience consultant for over 20 years and is the Principal and Owner of Lebsontech LLC. Lebsontech is focused on user research and evaluation, user experience strategy and UX training. Cory is the author of The UX Careers Handbook and is a LinkedIn Learning instructor. Cory also speaks frequently, has been featured on the radio and has also published a number of articles in a variety of professional publications. Cory has an MBA in marketing and technology management, as well as an MA in sociology and a BS in psychology (from UMD). Cory is a past president of the User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) International and is also a past president of the UXPA DC Chapter.

3/4 | Kent Norman
— Information Integration Theory and the Human-Computer Interface


Abstract. Information Integration Theory (IIT) was developed in the 1960’s by Norman H. Anderson. It is a comprehensive theory on how people assess information of different types from different sources to form an overall judgment or decision.  It has been used to scale information, determine the integration function, and measure the weighting of factors of information.While I was trained in IIT as a graduate student at the University of Iowa and a post doc  at UCSD with Anderson and published numerous studies in the 70’s and 80’s, I failed to truly carry it through to research in HCI and more recently the psychology of video games. In atonement, I present this talk and propose new research methods using the experimental designs of IIT to reap the benefits of IIT in human-computer interaction.

Bio. Kent L. Norman ( received his doctorate from the University of Iowa in Experimental Psychology, 1973. He was an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland where he was the director of the Laboratory for Automation Psychology and Decision Processes, (LAPPD) and is a founding member of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory since 1984. His research is on judgment and decision making, human/computer interaction, cognitive issues in interface design, usability research, and the design of electronic educational environments. During the last ten years his research lab has studied psychological aspects of video games including factors of attraction and immersion, violent acts in video games, and an assessment of skills required for different genres of games.   He is the developer of HyperCourseware™, a prototype for blended classroom and Web-based learning and the co-developer of the QUIS™, the Questionnaire for Interaction Satisfaction. His most recent book is Cyberpsychology: An introduction the human-computer interaction, Second Edition (2017).  He retired January 2018 after 42 years at the University  of Maryland.

3/11 | Bill Killam
— The Colorectal Cancer Risk Assessment Tool: A Case Study


Abstract. The Colorectal Cancer Risk Assessment Tool redesign project is a good, albeit rare, example of a “soup-to-nuts” project.  The project was conducted by the Human Factors Engineering firm I direct, for the National Cancer Institute .  It involved literature research, interaction design, and iterative design as well as both qualitative and quantitative evaluations.   After describing multiple interactive visualization designs we will discuss evaluation results and show a demonstration of the final implementation. The origin of the project provides some insight into when and how user experience design issues become the focus of a project in the corporate world. Sadly, it also shows when and how user experience design is forgotten in the corporate world.

Bio. Bill Killam is an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland and teaches undergraduate courses on interaction design, research methods, and usability testing. He also teaches the HCIL Open House’s longest running tutorial (every year since 2000 and counting). He has a BS in electrical engineering and an MA in psychology and is board certified in Human Factors Engineering. In addition to teaching, he runs a Human Factors Engineering consulting firm out of Ashburn, VA.

3/18 | Spring Break

3/25 | Hernisa Kacorri, Catherine Plaisant
— Tips and Tricks to Prepare Videos and Make them Accessible

SLIDES (with Edit Access so you can update them – restricted to UMd people)

Abstract. We will share general principles and tips to produce high quality videos (software demonstrations, talk presentations, etc.) then open the floor to hear from other members of HCIL what other techniques you have found useful or what questions you have. We will pay particular attention to steps you should take to make your videos accessible. This session is NOT an introduction to video editing tools. It will focus on producing research videos for conferences such as CHI, VIS or CSCW.

Bios. Hernisa Kacorri is an Assistant Professor in the College of Information Studies. She holds an affiliate appointment in the Department of Computer Science and the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Maryland, College Park and serves as a core faculty at the Trace R&D Center. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2016 from The Graduate Center at City University of New York, and has conducted research at the University of Athens, IBM Research-Tokyo, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and Carnegie Mellon University. Her research focuses on data-driven technologies that can benefit the disability community, with an emphasis on rigorous, user-based experimental methodologies to assess impact. Hernisa is a recipient of a Mina Rees Dissertation Fellowship in the Sciences, an ACM ASSETS best paper award and a best paper finalist, an ACM CHI honorable mention award, and an IEEE WACV best paper award. She has been recognized by the Rising Stars in EECS program of CMU/MIT.

Catherine Plaisant is a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies and Associate Director of Research of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. Catherine earned a Doctorat d’Ingénieur degree in France (similar to an Industrial Engineering PhD). In 1988 she joined the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory where she has been working with multidisciplinary teams on designing and evaluating new interface technologies that are useful and usable.

4/1 | Sungsoo Ray Hong
— Towards Alignable AIs: Helping humans to better understand, steer, and use deep neural networks


Abstract. As the use of machine learning models in product development and data-driven decision-making processes became pervasive in many domains, people’s focus on building a well-performing model has rapidly shifted to understanding how their model works. Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in understanding how Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) work under the hood and more importantly, how we can adjust the way DNNs work based on our knowledge and expectation. However, DNNs’ architecture offers limited transparency, imposing significant challenges in (1) determining when DNNs make unsuccessful predictions with potential bias and more importantly, and (2) improving the model to make the future behavior align with human expectation. In this talk, I will introduce my approach and vision towards establishing an interactive platform that assists data scientists in steering DNNs in a more cost-efficient, effective, and useful way. At the beginning of the talk, I introduce a formative study that aimed at deeply understanding the current practice of data scientists who apply explainable AI tools in designing, building, and deploying machine learning models. Then I introduce my recent approaches focusing on leveraging interactive attention mechanisms towards empowering users to better steering DNNs in the stage of data collection/annotation and model building stages.

Bio. Ray Hong is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Information Sciences and Technology at George Mason University. He earned his Ph.D. in Human-Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington. In Mason, he directs the Alignment lab where members focusing on bridging the gap between humans’ mental models and the way that AI operates by designing novel tools and establishing theories in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Computer-supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). His ultimate mission is to improve the way people interact with and tune AIs to have trustworthy and unbiased insights and decisions. Before joining the University of Washington, he had 5 years of industry experience at Samsung Research where he contributed to commercializing digital products adopted in Samsung’s millions of mobile and home devices.

4/8 | Dick Horst
— Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night, nor difficult to use websites, nor Covid-19 — User Research for the U.S. Postal Service


Abstract. Dick Horst is the founder and president of UserWorks, a DC-area consulting firm that specializes in UX design and evaluation. For the last ten years, UserWorks has been supporting Booz Allen Hamilton in helping the U.S. Postal Service enhance its web presence. The work has involved a series of user research studies that have utilized a variety of user research methods to address a wide range of interaction design issues. It thus serves as a good example of an ongoing program of support for an enlightened client who appreciates the value of a user-centered design process and who has had a sustained commitment to user research in implementing their online business processes. Dick will provide an overview of this work, including some of the challenges involved, design issues of interest, the UX methods employed, and the types of design improvements that have been recommended (and in most cases implemented). He will use this case study to address some of the similarities and differences between this sort of applied user research and the more academic cognitive research and tool development for which the HCIL is so well known.

Bio. Dr. Horst founded UserWorks over 30 years ago and has piloted the company through business upturns and downturns, including the current Covid-19 pandemic. He has a bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University, a masters and Ph.D. degrees from Carnegie-Mellon University in cognitive psychology, and a background in psychophysiological research, having conducted his dissertation research at the University of Illinois and worked early in his career at the University of Maryland Medical School.

4/15 | Martez Mott
— Accessible Virtual Reality for People with Limited Mobility


Abstract. Virtual reality (VR) offers new and compelling ways for people to interact with digital content. VR provides immersive experiences that can be beneficial in various domains, such as gaming, training simulations, education, communication, and design. As VR technologies continue to mature, and as commercial VR systems continue to grow in popularity, an opportunity exist to understand how to incorporate accessibility as a fundamental component in the design of VR systems and applications. This talk will describe ongoing research to understand and eliminate accessibility barriers that prevent people with limited mobility from engaging with VR.

Bio. Martez Mott is a Senior Researcher in the Ability Group at Microsoft Research. His research is focused on designing, implementing, and evaluating intelligent interaction techniques that improve the accessibility of computing devices for people with diverse motor and sensory abilities. His current research focuses on identifying and overcoming accessibility barriers embedded in the design of virtual and augmented reality systems. Martez is passionate about improving diversity in the CS and HCI communities. He co-chaired the 2020 CHIMe Workshop, is serving on the steering committee for CHIMe 2021, and co-founded the Black Researchers @ MSR group. Martez received his Ph.D. in Information Science from the Information School at the University of Washington. Prior to attending UW, he received his B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science from Bowling Green State University.

4/22 | Thijs Roumen
— Portable Laser-Cutting: Transitioning From 1000s of Users to Millions of Users


Abstract. Laser-cut 3D models shared online tend to be basic and trivial—models build over long periods of time and by multiple designers are few/nonexistent. I argue that this is caused by a lack of an exchange format that would allow continuing the work. At first glance, it may seem like such a format already exist, as laser cut models are already widely shared in the form of 2D cutting plans. However, such files are susceptible to variations in cutter properties (aka kerf) and do not allow modifying the model in any meaningful way. I consider this format machine specific. I tackled the challenge by writing software tools to modify 2D cutting plans, replacing non-portable elements with portable counterparts. This makes the models portable, but it is still hard to modify them. I thustook a more radical approach, which is to move to a 3D exchange format (kyub). This guarantees portability by generating a new machine-specific 2D-cutting plan for the local machine when exported.And the models inherently allow for parametric modifications. Instead, it raises the question of compatibility: Files already exist in 2D—how to get them into 3D? I demonstrate a software tool to reconstruct the 3D geometry of the model encoded in a 2D cutting plan, allows modifying it using a 3D editor, and re-encodes it to a 2D cutting plan. I demonstrate how this approach allows me to make a much wider range of modifications, including scaling, changing material thickness, and even remixing models. The transition from sharing machine-oriented 2D cutting files, to 3D files, enables users worldwide to collaborate, share, and reuse. And thus, to move on from users creating thousands of trivial models from scratch to collaborating on big complex projects.

Bio. Thijs Roumen is a PhD candidate in Human-Computer Interaction in the lab of Patrick Baudisch, Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany. He received his MSc from the University of Southern Denmark, Sønderborg in 2013 and BSc from the Technical University of Eindhoven, Netherlands in 2011. Between the PhD and master he worked at the National University of Singapore as a Research Assistant with Shengdong Zhao. His research interests are in personal fabrication, digital collaboration and enabling increased complexity for laser cutting. His papers are published as full papers in top-tier ACM conferences CHI and UIST. He serves on several ACM program committees including ACM UIST.

4/29 | Alex Leitch — Glitch As Interface

Abstract. When designing interfaces, there is an inherent tension between usability and learnability. Come and consider how style and breakage play into this tension by encouraging and then undermining user trust, and how expert users may take greater ownership over devices by working with breakage to make unique interactions. We will explore the promises of the most common interaction design grammars and contrast them with familiar grammars of other types of screen-based interaction, examining the role played by game feel, and how a play-oriented perspective can decompose a skilled, planned experience into alternate, client-driven use cases. TL:DR; people find their own uses for things, let’s see how that works with screen-based experiences.

Bio. Alex Leitch is a technology consultant and artist whose work focuses on interaction design. As an artist, they have exhibited at the Toronto International Film Festival, multiple galleries, and installation festivals such as Gladstone Hotel’s Come Up To My Room, Ontario Place’s Winter Lights, and the Burning Man festival. In their developer role, Leitch has served as a technical lead or senior software developer on many web-based projects. They cofounded Site 3 Colaboratory, an art and technology makerspace in Toronto, Dames Making Games Toronto, and have been involved in a variety of Canadian not-for-profit arts and entertainment organizations. Alex teaches how to approach technology from a creative perspective.

5/6 | No BBL (End of the Spring 2021 public BBL series)

Fall 2020
9/10 | Niklas Elmqvist — Meet & Greet

9/17 | Megan Boddum — Best Practices For Designing and Implementing Kids User Research


Abstract. How to better take into consideration and implement children’s feedback when it comes to product development
With the ongoing emergence of kids tech and media, it is important to understand how kids’ feedback and participation in the co-design process can be pivotal in the creative development and, ultimately, the success of products. How can companies better incorporate children’s feedback in the creative process to best design products that resonate and reach a wider audience?
For this session Megan will give an overview of kids user research and best practices. She will present on designing effective kids’ research for various media types, followed by a review of a few case studies.

Bio. Megan Boddum has over ten years of diverse experience working in different facets of children’s technology ranging from research to outreach, program management, curriculum design and production. Megan specializes in qualitative research that helps teams build innovative and positive digital experiences for kids and families. Megan has worked in research for Leapfrog, WestEd, YouTube Kids and other various Bay Area startups. Currently Megan is working as an independent consultant focusing on helping companies and individuals with various children’s technology, media, education and research initiatives. With her own practice Megan has designed and developed a set of creative methodologies to meet the unique needs of the products and industries served.

9/24 | Kathy Weaver, Emmett Ryan, Donal Heidenblad, Nathan Bos
— UMD Data Challenge Panel


Abstract. UMD Data Challenge is a week-long data exploration event at the University of Maryland hosted by The College of Information Studies. During the week, students will gain analytical experience by solving challenging problems exploring datasets provided by professional organizations, build technical aptitude integrating datasets to create multidisciplinary knowledge, and obtain real-world team-building experience. This week long distributed format allows for sufficient time to evaluate, formulate a question about the dataset, and conduct dataset integration, analysis, and results preparation.

Kathy Bio. Dr. Kathy Weaver is a Senior Lecturer in the College of Information Studies at UMD. In addition to teaching both InfoSci and graduate courses, she has hosted the information challenges for the iSchool during the past 6 years. Dr. Weaver has taught and worked in education in a variety of settings for over 30 years, including industry, higher education, and elementary schools. Her extensive experience in Information Management, has included 6 implementations of SAP focused on Information Assurance, Quality Assurance, and User Management, redesigning and managing an Intellectual Property website at the Boeing Corporation, and working with the King County Libraries in Washington.

Emmet Bio. Emmet Ryan is a junior at UMD. He is currently working towards a bachelor’s degree in information science with a minor in sustainability, and has taken part in the Data Challenge for the past two years. Emmet’s team received the Best Presentation of Results award from the 2020 Challenge. Most recently, Emmet was an IT analyst intern at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) where he worked with two teams on privacy and cybersecurity audits of the 2020 Census. After graduation, Emmet plans to apply his data science knowledge to his interest in policy, possibly through a full-time analyst position at GAO.

Donal Bio. Donal Heidenblad is a lecturer at the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland where he teaches information technology, programming, and data courses. Donal is interested in how to effectively incorporate ethics instruction into STEM courses. Donal earned his M.S. in Information Systems from UMBC. Before coming to the iSchool, Donal worked in a variety of roles including training engineer, project manager, and software developer.

Nathan Bio. Dr. Nathan Bos is a senior research associate at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory with more than 20 years of experience working in the applied behavioral sciences. Nathan’s research is in human-computer interaction, behavioral modeling, and advanced analytics. He has also worked in the area of applied data science for nonprofits. His recent work includes research in counterfactual forecasting, explainable AI and causal reasoning.  Nathan has more than 50 publications in peer-reviewed conferences and journals in information science, psychology, education and engineering. He has served as a judge for two Data Challenges.

10/1 | Joel Chan, Caro Williams-Pierce
— “What does a successful process for an HCI researcher look like? In terms of personal development, week to week / day to day, moving ideas forward, etc.? Special Pandemic Edition


Joel Bio: Joel Chan is an Assistant Professor in the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies (iSchool) and Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL), and Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study of Communities and Information (CASCI). Previously, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Project Scientist in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) at Carnegie Mellon University, and received his PhD in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. His research investigates how to build systems for innovation that are open and sustainable. His long-term goal is to help create a future where any person or community can design the future(s) they want to live in. His research has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the Institute for Museum and Library Sciences, and received Best Paper awards from the ASME Conference for Design Theory and Methodology, the journal of Design Studies, and the ACM SIGKDD Conference On Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD).

Caro Bio: Caro Williams-Pierce is an Assistant Professor at University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies (iSchool), a member of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) and the Youth eXperience (YX) Lab. She received her joint masters degree in Mathematics and Mathematics Education, and her PhD in Mathematics Education, from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her research focuses on designing for mathematical play and learning in a variety of informal contexts, but she also researches mathematics learning, embodied cognition, and games and learning more broadly. She has published in the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Information & Learning Sciences, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Frontiers in Education, and Science, among others.

10/8 | Sarah McGrew
— Who is Behind This? Teaching Students to Evaluate Online Information

Abstract. Young people often turn to the Internet for information, where they face nearly constant questions about what to trust. In this talk, I will argue that educational innovations are a necessary component of efforts to combat the spread of online mis- and disinformation. However, few research-based resources exist to support teachers and students to learn to effectively evaluate online information. I will outline a curricular approach designed to teach strategies that professional fact checkers use to evaluate online sources and explore students’ progress in learning these strategies with findings from a series of intervention studies in high school and college classrooms. I’ll discuss possibilities and hurdles for teaching evaluation strategies and consider how technological solutions might accompany educational innovations.

Bio. Sarah McGrew is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research focuses on young people’s civic online reasoning—how they search for and evaluate online information on contentious social and political topics—and how schools can better support students to learn effective evaluation strategies. Dr. McGrew has developed assessments of students’ online reasoning, conducted research on fact checkers’ strategies for evaluating digital content, and tested curriculum designed to teach these strategies to secondary and college students. In addition to investigating online reasoning curricula in secondary and college classrooms, Dr. McGrew’s current research focuses on how best to support teachers to learn online reasoning themselves and how to design lessons in online reasoning that are rooted in civic and community issues that students know and care about. She has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Teacher Education from Stanford University and previously taught high school history in Washington, DC.

10/15 | Karen Holtzblatt — The Jerk Project


Abstract. The Valuing and Jerk Project.
For the last 40 years we’ve been encouraging women to choose technology careers. But today the quit rate for women in tech is 41% compared to 17% for men. The number of WIT has fallen from 31% in 1990 to 25% in 2014. Research points to cultural dimensions of tech companies that create a work environment of bias, hostility and devalue. Overall women and people of color report a significantly more negative workplace experience. These interpersonal dynamics create more stress and work against feelings of belonging and value. It is not surprising that our research finds that women “thinking of leaving their job” score lower on key factors necessary for women to thrive.
In this talk Karen shares the research and some of the interventions to identify the explicit behaviors which create or undermine the experience of connection and value in the workplace. Field research identified 15 key valuing and 15 key jerk behaviors. A subsequent survey helped to determine the relative value of each behavior for men and women. We share our data and unveil our interventions including fun awareness posters, a self-assessment checklist, and workshop ideas. All work was done by world-wide professional and student volunteers, including many from UMD.

Bio. Karen Holtzblatt is CEO of InContext Design, a thought leader, industry speaker, and author. As a recognized leader in requirements and design, Karen has developed transformative design approaches throughout her career. Contextual Design, co-developed with Hugh Beyer, is the industry standard for understanding the customer and organizing that data to drive innovative product and service concepts. Her newest book Contextual Design 2nd Edition Design for Life is used by companies and universities worldwide. In recognition of her impact on the field, Karen was awarded the first Lifetime Award for Practice by ACM SIGCHI. In 2018 she founded the non-profit WITops to focus on the challenges of retaining women in high tech companies.

10/22 | Jinjuan Heidi Feng
— ARMStrokes: using mobile technology to support everyday stroke rehabilitation

Abstract. Stroke is a major contributor to adult disability in many countries. Stroke often causes long-term disabilities that affect cognitive, physical, and speech functions. Intensive rehabilitation exercise is critical for stroke recovery during the early stage of a stroke. However, only 31 percent of stroke survivors actually complete the recommended exercises due to a variety of factors including lack of motivation. Working closely with stroke survivors and therapists, we investigated the use of mainstream smart phone-based technology in supporting everyday stroke rehabilitation under the supervision of medical professionals. Rather than using specialized sensors to track user movements, we focused on developing an approach without the need for any additional hardware. ARMStrokes supports customized exercise plans to fit each stroke survivor’s specific functionalities in different recovery stages. Longitudinal evaluations with stroke survivors and therapists suggested the application played positive roles in motivating the patients to complete rehabilitation exercises. Design challenges were also identified through the evaluation studies.

Bio. Dr. Jinjuan Heidi Feng is a professor at the Computer and Information Sciences Department at Towson University. She conducts research in the area of Human-Computer Interaction, accessible computing and Health-informatics. She works with national and local communities to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities through information technology. Her current research projects focus on assistive technologies for people with cognitive disabilities, mobile applications for healthcare related services, and accessible security techniques for individuals with visual or cognitive disabilities. Dr. Feng has served as treasurer/secretary for the ACM Special Interest Group on Accessible Computing (SIGACCESS) since 2015. She is associate editor for the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies and the ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing. As the Director of the School of Emerging Technologies at Towson University, she promotes interdisciplinary research and curriculum development through collaboration both within and beyond Towson University.

10/29 | Leo Zhicheng Liu
— Towards a grammar for animated data graphics

Abstract. Animated data graphics are becoming popular for data-driven storytelling. However, creating such animated graphics remains challenging and time consuming. In this talk, I will present research results on understanding the design space and authoring paradigms of animated data graphics, and describe our first attempt at designing a tool for authoring animated transitions based on the keyframing paradigm. The ultimate goal of this line of research is to develop a visualization grammar that can power the creation of expressive animated narratives, and provide a foundation for developing authoring and design tools.

Bio. Zhicheng “Leo” Liu is an assistant professor in the department of computer science at University of Maryland. Prior to joining UMD in August 2020, he was a research scientist at the Creative Intelligence Lab, Adobe Research. Leo received his PhD in the Human-Centered Computing program from Georgia Tech and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Computer Science of Stanford University. His research focuses on developing effective and scalable tools to support data analysis and communication. His works have received multiple paper awards at IEEE InfoVis, IEEE VAST and ACM CHI.

11/5 | Ben Shneiderman
— Human-Centered AI: 15 Recommendations for Bridging from Ethics to Practice


Abstract. Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HCAI) is a growing theme that seeks to shift the focus from algorithms to the users and many stakeholders in modern information technology systems. This talk and related article ( attempt to bridge the gap between widely discussed ethical principles of Human-Centered AI (HCAI) and practical steps for effective governance. I propose 15 recommendations at three levels of governance: team, organization, and industry. The recommendations are intended to increase the reliability, safety, and trustworthiness of HCAI systems: (1) reliable systems based on sound software engineering practices, (2) safety culture through business management strategies, and (3) trustworthy certification by independent oversight.

Bio. Ben Shneiderman ( is an Emeritus Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (, and a Member of the UM Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) at the University of Maryland.  He is a Fellow of the AAAS, ACM, IEEE, and NAI, and a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, in recognition of his pioneering contributions to human-computer interaction and information visualization. His widely-used contributions include the clickable highlighted web-links, high-precision touchscreen keyboards for mobile devices, and tagging for photos.  Shneiderman’s information visualization innovations include dynamic query sliders for Spotfire, development of treemaps for viewing hierarchical data, novel network visualizations for NodeXL, and event sequence analysis for electronic health records.

Ben is the co-author with Catherine Plaisant of Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (6th ed., 2016).  He co-authored Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think (1999) and Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL (2nd edition, 2019).  His book Leonardo’s Laptop (MIT Press) won the IEEE book award for Distinguished Literary Contribution. The New ABCs of Research: Achieving Breakthrough Collaborations (Oxford, 2016) describes how research can produce higher impacts.

11/12 | Sheena Erete
— Countering Structural Oppression through Co-design with Residents in Resource-Constrained Communities


Abstract. There has been a recent push in technology design to consider social implications of design — both historical, current, and future. In resource-constrained communities, there have been historical policies and practices (e.g., redlining, overpolicing) that have created concentrated poverty, increased unemployment, and lack of adequate and equitable educational, housing, and health opportunities. However, several local community-based organizations have taken the initiative to address their communities’ challenges regarding issues such as safety and education. In this talk, I will discuss two projects that illustrate how we design technologies, practices, and programs with community residents and organizations to support their efforts to counter social issues that are a result of long-term structural oppression. Specifically, I describe (1) our co-design and evaluation process of a mobile application to support violence prevention efforts by street outreach workers and (2) the evolution of Digital Youth Divas, our program that encourages middle school Black and Latina girls to engage and participate in STEAM experiences. The first project is an example of how to design with organizations that intentionally attempts to counter traditional policing practices by law enforcement by taking a community-led approach to public safety in neighborhoods that experience high violence. The second project illustrates how we can address policies and infrastructure that create barriers for Black and LatinX girls and their families to engage in informal learning opportunities. Insights lead to discussion regarding how we as designers can intentionally support community-based counter structures to make a long-term, sustainable impact on communities that have historically faced systemic oppression.

Bio. Dr. Sheena Erete is an associate professor in the College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University. Her research explores the role of technology and design in addressing social issues such as violence, civic engagement, and STEM education in resource constrained communities in Chicago. She earned a Ph.D. in Technology and Social Behavior (a joint degree in Computer Science and Communication) from Northwestern University and a Masters of Computer Science from Georgia Tech. As an undergraduate, she attended Spelman College, where she studied Mathematics and Computer Science.

11/19 | Susan Campbell
— There’s no AI in Team: Evaluating Systems for Multiple-Human Interaction

Abstract. As AI systems become increasingly common, they will need to become more useful and usable as well. One way to make an AI more usable is to embed it into a team structure. Current research on AI-enabled teams generally focuses on functional requirements for the AI, such as task performance or levels of operator intervention required. However, AIs must be designed to optimize the outcomes of the entire sociotechnical system, or else gaps may lead to failures. Looking into the future, AI systems created to assist humans will need to be designed to work with humans, or within human teams. We do not argue that AI systems in human teams need to be human-like, but there are particular behaviors and non task-related requirements that are necessary for them to operate harmoniously as part of a team. This research effort uses a novel input-process-emergent state-output-input (IPEOI) model with four levels to describe what is needed for AI-enabled team performance. In this talk, I will describe the work our multidisciplinary team has done to define the problem of AI-human teaming and provide a preliminary look at our proposed model. This work has been done in collaboration with Breana Carter-Browne (ARLIS), Susannah Paletz (iSchool), Melissa Carraway (iSchool PhD student), Sarah Vahlkamp (iSchool PhD student), Jana Schwartz (ARLIS), and Polly O’Rourke (ARLIS).

Bio. Susan G. Campbell is an Assistant Research Scientist at the Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS) and a lecturer in the University of Maryland iSchool, focusing on cybersecurity. At ARLIS, she leads two research projects on assessing aptitude for cybersecurity jobs and a capacity building project for HCI assessment. Dr. Campbell has experience designing and evaluating assessments of cognitive abilities, skills, and knowledge, including assessments of cyber aptitude, risk tolerance, and English listening ability. Other project contributions range from designing interfaces for dictionary tool building to writing interview protocols to evaluate translation memory systems and analyzing complex language education data sets. Her current research focuses on understanding the cognitive underpinnings of performance in cybersecurity and using those frameworks to develop assessments and educational interventions. Dr. Campbell holds a PhD and MA in Psychology from the University of Maryland College Park and a BS in Cognitive Science from Carnegie Mellon University.

12/3 | Mols Sauter
— The Impact of Tool Design and Media Portrayals in the Success of Activist DDoS Attacks

Abstract. This talk explores the role of tool design and media coverage in the relative success of Operation Payback and earlier activist distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) actions. Through a close reading of changes in the tool’s interface and functionality across several iterations, the article considers the evolution of the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) DDOS tool, from one that appealed to a small, inwardly focused community to one that engaged with a larger population. The article further considers Anonymous’s contribution to the reframing of DDOS actions from a tool of direct action to a tool of media manipulation and identity construction as well as the news media’s role in encouraging individuals to participate in the Operation Payback actions.

Bio. M.R. Sauter is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies. They are the author of The Coming Swarm: DDoS Actions, Hacktivism, and Civil Disobedience on the Internet. They received their PhD from the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University in 2020, and they hold a masters degree in Comparative Media Studies from MI. They have held research fellowships at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society, and New America.

12/10 | HCIL Students & Faculty
— End of the Semester Virtual Holiday Party

Spring 2020

Dr. Joel Chan, Dr. Amanda Lazar and Dr. Catherine Plaisant University of Maryland

Panel discussion “What does a successful process for an HCI researcher look like?
We’ll be kicking off this semester with a panel discussion. Dr. Joel Chan, Dr. Amanda Lazar, and Dr. Catherine Plaisant will engage in a conversation with us about what successful processes for an HCI researcher look like in terms of personal development, week to week / day to day workflow, moving ideas forward, etc.

Christian Vogler, Gallaudet University

The User Experience of Viewing Captioned Content
Much has been made of the ability of automatic speech recognition (ASR) to supplement or replace human captioners both for video content and for live meetings. While the word error rate of ASR has been steadily improving, and on some types of content can even beat out human captioners, these improvements do not automatically in a good user experience for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. In this talk we will examine the reasons why this is so, and provide an overview of current efforts to develop human-centered caption quality metrics that are more closely aligned with meeting the needs of people who depend on captions to consume content.

Wei Ai University of Maryland

Promoting Pro-social Behavior with End-to-End Data Science
The recent development of data science methods, including large-scale machine learning and causal inference, has presented a game-changing opportunity for social good provision through the effort of the crowd. In this talk, I introduce an end-to-end data science pipeline to promote behavioral change for pro-social benefits. More specifically, this involves conducting causal data analysis on empirical data for actionable insights and robust prediction models, incorporating the insights and predictions in designing recommender systems for individual actions, and evaluating the effectiveness of the recommender systems in promoting behavioral changes with randomized field experiments. I will present two applications of the end-to-end pipeline, where we designed and deployed team recommender systems on an online microfinance platform ( and a ride-sharing platform (DiDi). We evaluated the recommender systems through large-scale field experiments, which show significant increases in user participation. The recommender system has been deployed in DiDi and has impacted millions of users in practice.

B Prabhakaran University of Texas, Dallas

Quantifying Human Performance and the Quality of Immersive Experiences
Psychometric evaluations are generally used to understand the Quality of Experience (QoE) of immersive environments produced using augmented/mixed/virtual reality. Typically, these subjective evaluations are done from an end-user point-of-view, but these are limited by the subjective observations due to a number of factors. The objective approach consists of measuring the QoE by monitoring the network technical parameters or the network Quality of Service (QoS), such as throughput, delay, and packet loss. Most of the research on objective approaches for QoS-QoE mapping have focused on video streaming. Such objective QoS-QoE mapping strategies cannot be directly applied for immersive environments. Hence, in this talk, we address two related questions: (1) Can we identify metrics that can objectively quantify the performance of an immersive environment? (2) Can we use the above objective performance metrics to understand the possible user QoE without the need for subjective user study or with minimal user study? We start with different examples of immersive environments such as haptic-enabled applications, mirror therapy, and games. We discuss what metrics are influenced by different system parameters such as processing power, and network QoS. Then, we present some of our preliminary work on understanding users’ QoE through these metrics.

Dr. Joel Chan University of Maryland
What does a successful process for an HCI researcher look like?

Fall 2019


HCIL Website Hack-a-thon.
We are kick starting this semester’s BBL with a Hack-a-thon event. You will be tasked to update the HCIL website by checking for broken links, updating faculty information, checking for spelling and grammar errors and also improving the accessibility of the images in the website.

Prof. Jun-Dong Cho Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea

Celestial: Color Patterns for improving Color Perception for blind people.
It is relatively difficult to recreate the abstract three-dimensional shape with only the tactile sense. Gibson said “These abilities can be improved through practice.” “When you touch something, You may have no idea about it at first touch, but as you continue touching, you soon will know vaguely what it is” , Kojiro Hirose said.

Recently, we developed “Blind-touch” to aid the visually impaired to appreciate greater painter’s work of art. This work is a reproduction of an existing masterpiece by means of a 3D printer and haptic electronics. It recognizes the pattern by touching the object in the artwork with a fingertip, and voice explanation and sound effect are provided through the voice user interface. Color is an equaling lens through which we experience the natural and digital realities. Now, we are exploring the tactile-color association based on semiotics to represent colors with fingertip tactile sensation. In this way, audio and touch contribute information to the non-visual perception of color in an complementary manner. In this talk, we review the related works and introduce a so-called “Celestial color tactile pattern” built based on the concept of both pictogram and ideogram and its variants.

Prof. Niklas Elmqvist, Prof. Amanda Lazar, and Prof. Joel Chan University of Maryland

A panel discussion on approaches to reviewing research papers.
In light of the approaching deadline for SIGCHI 2020, Professors Niklas Elmqvist, Amanda Lazar, and Joel Chan will discuss the why/how of giving feedback on drafts of research papers. This would be helpful for anyone (Undergrad, Masters, or PhD students) who might be thinking of volunteering to review for conferences, ACM SIGCHI, or even for other lab members in the HCIL’s very own CHI clinic. Reviewers of all levels of expertise, even if you’ve never reviewed a research paper, are encouraged to participate and ask questions during the discussion. (link to video)

Ben Shneiderman University of Maryland

Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence: Designing Next Generation User Experiences
The next generation of user experiences will produce 1000-fold improvements in human capabilities. These new tools will amplify, augment, enhance, and empower people, just as the Web, email, search, navigation, digital photography, and many other applications have already done. These new human-centered tools will produce comprehensible, predictable, and controllable applications that promote self-efficacy and social participation at scale. The goal is to ensure human control, while increasing the level of automation. In short, the next generation of tools will make more people, more creative, more often.
Improved designs will give billions of users comprehensible interfaces that hide the underlying complexity of advanced algorithms. Users will see familiar visual strategies based on direct manipulation to provide informative feedback about the machine’s state and what they can do. Every use will build confidence that users can reliably accomplish their goals and increase the trust that the machine is under their control.

Tom Ball Microsoft Research

MakeCode and CODAL: intuitive and efficient embedded systems programming for education
Across the globe, it is now commonplace for educators to engage in the making (design and development) of embedded systems in the classroom to motivate and excite their students. This new domain brings its own set of unique requirements. Historically, embedded systems development requires knowledge of low-level programming languages, local installation of compilation toolchains, device drivers, and applications. For students and educators, these requirements can introduce insurmountable barriers.
We present the motivation, requirements, implementation, and evaluation of a new programming platform that enables novice users to create software for embedded systems. The platform has two major components:
1) Microsoft MakeCode (, a web app that encapsulates an entire beginner IDE for microcontrollers; and
2) CODAL, an efficient component-oriented C++ runtime for microcontrollers.
We show how MakeCode and CODAL provide an accessible, cross-platform, installation-free programming experience for the BBC micro:bit and other embedded devices.

Naeemul Hassan University of Maryland

Towards Automated Fact Discovery and Ranking
In this talk, I present the work of finding new, prominent situational facts, which are emerging statements about objects that stand out within certain contexts. Many such facts are newsworthy—e.g., an athlete’s outstanding performance in a game, or a viral video’s impressive popularity. Effective and efficient identification of these facts assists journalists in reporting, one of the main goals of computational journalism. A situational fact can be modeled as a “contextual” tuple that stands out against historical tuples in a context, specified by a conjunctive constraint involving dimension attributes when a set of measure attributes are compared. New tuples are constantly added to the table, reflecting events happening in the real world. Our goal is to discover constraint-measure pairs that qualify a new tuple as a contextual significant tuple, and discover them quickly before the event becomes yesterday’s news.

John Dickerson University of Maryland

Diversity in Matching Markets
In bipartite matching problems, vertices on one side of a bipartite graph are paired with those on the other. In its offline variant, both sides of the graph are known a priori; in its online variant, one side of the graph is available offline, while vertices on the other arrive online and are irrevocably and immediately matched (or ignored) by an algorithm. Examples of such problems include matching workers to firms, advertisers to keywords, organs to patients, and riders to rideshare drivers. Much of the literature focuses on maximizing the total relevance—modeled via total weight—of the matching. However, in many real-world problems, it is also important to consider the contribution of diversity: hiring a diverse pool of candidates, displaying a relevant but diverse set of ads, and so on.

In this talk, we model the promotion of diversity in matching markets via maximization of a submodular function over the set of matched edges. We present new results in a generalization of traditional offline matching, b-matching, where vertices have both lower and upper bounds on the number of adjacent matched edges. We also present new theoretical results in online submodular bipartite matching. Finally, we conclude with ongoing work that approaches the problem of hiring a diverse cohort of workers through the lens of combinatorial pure exploration (CPE) in the multiarmed bandit setting, and discuss an ongoing experiment in this space at a large research university.

This talk will cover joint work with Saba Ahmadi, Faez Ahmed, Samsara Counts, Jeff Foster, Mark Fuge, Samir Khuller, Zhi Lang, Nicholas Mattei, Karthik A. Sankararaman, Candice Schumann, Aravind Srinivasan, and Pan Xu.

Prof. Caro Williams-Pierce University of Maryland

Designing for Mathematical Play: Failure and Feedback
Prof. Caro will share her analysis of three types of microworld (videogame, simulation, and cognitive tutor), and how each constrain and afford mathematical play differently through their feedback and failure mechanisms. In doing so, she will also introduce her framework for youth and adult mathematical play, and describe how different design approaches influence different ways of mathematical learning. Anyone interested in designing digital learning environments is particularly encouraged to come – Prof. Caro promises that it’ll be interesting even if you don’t research math learning!

Karen Holtzblatt Incontext Design

What is Valuing vs “Jerk” Behavior? How behavior impacts a positive working experience
Women in tech leave the field at twice the quit rate as men. Women often state, and research confirms, that women don’t feel valued. They point to the culture of the organization and how they are treated as a contributing factor. They say that men are “bro’s” or “jerks.” In 2018, we launched the Valuing & Jerk Project as one WITops initiative ( This talk will present our findings and perspective. Behavior creates or undermines connection and value. The Valuing and Jerk Project focuses on understanding which behaviors are experienced as valuing in everyday work and which result in naming the other as a “jerk”. Using Contextual Inquiry, we have uncovered core valuing behaviors, what devaluing means, and where behavior crosses the line to become “jerk” behavior. Armed with this understanding our next step is to generate and test interventions and solutions. The talk will introduce the Valuing and Jerk Project.

Rachael Bradley Montgomery
University of Maryland

Designing to Support People with Cognitive and Learning Disabilities
Have you ever wondered how to create websites, applications, and content that support individuals with cognitive and learning disabilities; individuals who are aging; or individuals who are tired, overworked, and distracted? The W3C Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility (COGA) Task Force has been working on a design guide that goes beyond WCAG 2.2 to support individuals with cognitive and learning disabilities. The resulting design patterns and guidance bridges accessibility and usability and support a much wider audience than just those with disabilities. Rachael will present her perspectives as an invited expert on this work. Please come learn about the design patterns and how to provide input on this evolving document.

Dr. Gregg Vanderheiden
TRACE center

Underestimating the challenge of cognitive disabilities (and digital literacy). Directions to explore in short, medium and long term.
Recent work has caused us to question our understanding of the challenge of digital access by people with cognitive disabilities. Our underestimation may, in part, help explain our difficulties as a field to date. In part, it has exposed what may be a much wider problem than we understood, and one that goes beyond those we have thought of as having cognitive disabilities. It intersects with digital literacy but also has implications for those with other disabilities as well. The concept of Technology Quotient (TQ) will be discussed and approaches for addressing access by people with cognitive disabilities and low digital literacy today, tomorrow and in the future will be explored in this talk.

Adam Aviv George Washington University

Human Factors in Mobile Authentication
Mobile authentication is a crucial component of authentication more broadly, especially as mobile devices become evermore connected to the broader computer security ecosystem. The overarching goal of my research is to improve the current state of mobile authentication by taking a holistic approach to measuring mobile authentication and its impacts that intersect directly with the user experience. In this talk, I will present a narrative of contributions to mobile authentication over the last 10 years, focusing on how human factors impact the security, from attacks, choices, and perceptions. I will particularly focus on one form of mobile authentication, Android’s graphical pattern unlock, which may be the most heavily used graphical authentication system, ever. Based on my experience, I will also present some new directions and methods that can improve the security of mobile authentication and some new results on PINs and LG’s graphical Knock Code Authentication.

Whitney Quesenbery Co-Director, Center for Civic Design

Storytelling makes research data come to life
We all love our user research data…but why is it such a struggle to use the insights we uncover to create direction for a project? Storytelling is the missing link, getting past charts and graphs to dig into what the data means for meeting human needs and making something usable and useful. Whitney will show how stories put research insights into context, communicate the entire user journey, show problems through the eyes of your users, and help you ask better questions (and run better usability tests) to gain deeper insights. Whitney is the co-founder of the Center for Civic Design, approaching democracy as a design problem, so there will be examples from the challenges of designing elections as well as stories from her work in theatre.

Happy Thanksgiving Day
No BBL. Time to catch up with families and friends 🙂


Spring 2019

Faculty Only BBL
Regular BBLs will start from 7th Feb, 2019.

Faez Ahmed, University of Maryland
Design Democratization in the Age of Machine Learning.
Design democratization can transform the way we think about designing products. However, to enable design democratization, we need machine learning and computing methods to enable organizations to process a large amount of information efficiently. Using the example of online design contests, we will discuss three problems which organizations face in conducting design contests: a) How does one form teams to evaluate design ideas? b) How does one filter high quality and diverse ideas out of hundreds of submissions? and c) How does one reliably measure the creativity of ideas? We will discuss how matching, ranking, and novelty estimation methods developed in our work address these issues and what challenges remain for the field.

Huaishu Peng, University of Maryland
Interactive Fabrication and Fabrication for Interaction.
3D printing technology has been widely applied to produce well-designed objects. There is a hope to make both the modeling process and printing outputs more interactive, so that designers can get in-situ tangible feedback to fabricate objects with rich functionalities. To date, however, knowledge accumulated to realize this hope remains limited. In this talk, I will present two lines of research. The first line of work aims at facilitating an interactive process of fabrication. I demonstrate novel interactive fabrication systems that allow the designer to create 3D models in AR with a robotic arm to print the model in real time and on-site. The second line of work concerns the fabrication of 3D printed objects that are interactive. I report new techniques for 3D printing with novel materials such as fabric sheet, and how to print one-off functional objects such as sensor and motor. I will conclude the talk by outlining future research directions built upon my current work.

Niklas Elmqvist University of Maryland
Everyone a Data Scientist: Empowering Casual Users to Understand Complex Data.
Understanding data is quickly becoming the new digital divide. Merely having access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) is no longer sufficient when our society is overflowing with massive volumes of raw, complex, and heterogeneous data. Since best-practice data science workflows are still only available through esoteric software libraries, typically accessed using the Python and R languages, leveraging this data to its full potential often requires significant programming expertise. Even commercial point-and-click analytics tools such as Tableau, Spotfire, and QlikView require training and assume significant prior knowledge of mathematical, statistical, and sometimes even machine learning concepts. This means that currently only people who have the appropriate data and technology literacy can harness the ready availability of data in our society.

In this work-in-progress talk, I will discuss our efforts for shrinking or outright eliminating this new digital data divide through interactive visualization, explainable machine learning, and collaborative technologies. More specifically, I will talk about several past, current, or planned projects on this topic, including (1) the use of mixed-initiative interaction, which combines both human and computational efforts in the analytical process; (2) the use of attention for computational steering; (3) recommender systems for automatically suggesting the next analytical step in a workflow; (4) direct manipulation methods for interacting with machine learning models; and (5) “team-first” collaborative mechanisms that reduce the barrier to synchronizing and sharing work to facilitate emergent collaboration. This is ongoing research, so your feedback on these efforts is welcome.

Research Speed Dating
This week everyone is a speaker. We want everyone to talk about what is keeping you busy these days. This is a great way to recruiting participants, get feedback on your research questions, your data collection methods or anything concerning your research. We want you to share your research to the rest of HCIL group.

Faculty members, Ph.D. students, Masters students, and Bachelors students, we strongly encourage you to share your work so that everyone is aware of what’s happening inside HCIL.

HCIL Spring Cleaning

Join and help spruce up the HCIL and be a part of a larger conversation of what the lab space should look like. We start at noon (12 pm) and there is free food for anyone who joins!

Stories from the HCIL
Come and tell your favorite stories about the HCIL and the iSchool in this new format that we’re trying for the BBL. It’s like a casual fireside chat where you get to learn about the rich history of the HCIL from the people who know it best! And there is pizza, of course.

No Brown Bag, Spring Break

HCIL Symposium Practice Talks
All speakers are invited to come rehearse their talk. Please shoot an email to the BBL coordinators and add your name to the schedule: HERE.

04/04/2019 HCIL Symposium In Session
No BBL, instead we encourage you to join us at the HCIL Symposium.

Wayne Lutters, University of Maryland
Supporting service work in information infrastructure
An introduction to Wayne’s lab via a high-level overview of some key historical projects and an active discussion of what we are wrestling with this particular week – representing maps of belief space (w/ Phil Feldman).

Zheng Yao, Carnegie Mellon University
Join, Stay or Go? Members’ Life Cycles in Online Health Communities
This talk discusses temporal changes in members’ participation in online health community (OHC), focusing on their motivations for joining and changes in their motivations as they transition to other roles or ultimately leave the community. We use mixed methods, combining behavioral log analysis, automated content analysis, surveys and interviews. We found that members started participating in OHCs for a common set of reasons, mainly to acquire support and to perform social comparisons. When their need for support decreased, most members quit the site. The motivations of those who stayed shifted to providing support and helping other members in the community. Oldtimers also established social ties with others members, which motivated them to stay in the community. These oldtimers, who contributed the majority of content, encountered challenges that threatened their commitment to the community, including negative emotion related to other members’ deaths. These challenges led them to take leaves of absence from the community or to drop out permanently. Our findings shed light on the changing motivations of OHC members, which provide implications for better designing OHCs.

Aravind will run a workshop on how to make PDF documents accessible

Yue Jiang, University of Maryland, College Park
ORC Layout: Adaptive GUI Layout with OR-Constraints
We propose a novel approach for constraint-based graphical user interface (GUI) layout based on OR-constraints (ORC) in standard soft/hard linear constraint systems. ORC layout unifies grid layout and flow layout, supporting both their features as well as cases where grid and flow layouts individually fail. We describe ORC design patterns that enable designers to safely create flexible layouts that work across different screen sizes and orientations. We also present the ORC Editor, a GUI editor that enables designers to apply ORC in a safe and effective manner, mixing grid, flow and new ORC layout features as appropriate. We demonstrate that our prototype can adapt layouts to screens with different aspect ratios with only a single layout specification, easing the burden of GUI maintenance. Finally, we show that ORC specifications can be modified interactively and solved efficiently at runtime.

Note: CHI 2019 will be in session during this time. Everyone is still invited, but many people might be away for the conference.

Adil Yalcin, Founder and CEO at Keshif

It’s all about creating new possibilities for people: A journey from the lab to a startup

One of the most valuable parts of the DNA of HCIL is its focus on “human”, and how our mentors guide us to connect our work with people (users). As a student of this school of thought, I had found my purpose to help the 95% by identifying, questioning, and removing barriers (creating opportunities) in visual analytics. Two years ago, with results baked in lab, and the same driving purpose, I stepped into a world unknown to me: creating, running, and growing a business, one customer at a time.

I am back to share some of the surprises, new perspectives, and validations from this journey so far. What I missed can help you realize the opportunities you already have. What I wish I knew may reveal some gaps. And, what remained constant may hint that research in university and what comes after may not be so different after all. I also will touch on the subtle and dynamic balance between your elevator pitch, your audience, the value you provide, and crossing the finish line.

Note: This slot may be cancelled since it is right at this end of the semester.

Fall 2018

Student Townhall
Instead of the regular BBL, there will be an internal HCIL-students-only townhall meeting instead.

BBL Student Co-coordinators
Come, network, make introductions, and share what you are working on.

Joel Chan, Tammy Clegg
University of Maryland, College Park

Joel Zhang
University of Maryland, College Park
Research proposal centered around pain tracking and sharing.

No Brown Bag, Cancelled.

Brian Ondov, Sriram Karthik Badam
University of Maryland, College Park

Brian’s paper talks about Evaluating Visual Comparison and seeks to understand how different encodings of data can drastically affect how we perceive quantities. More information about this project is available at

Karthik’s paper is about a computing platform called Vistrates which seeks to unify the fragmented analytical workflows employed by users to analyze a group of visualizations created in different tools.

Polly Lee O’Rourke
University of Maryland, College Park
Improving language learning using brain simulation.

Andrea Batch
University of Maryland, College Park

Information Olfactation: Harnessing Scent to Convey Data
Olfactory feedback for analytical tasks is a virtually unexplored area in spite of the advantages it offers for information recall, feature identification, and location detection. We have introduced the concept of information olfactation as the fragrant sibling of information visualization, and this talk will cover our theoretical model of how scent can be used to convey data. Building on a review of the human olfactory system and mirroring common visualization practice, we propose olfactory marks, the substrate in which they exist, and their olfactory channels that are available to designers. To exemplify this idea, we present viScent: A six-scent stereo olfactory display capable of conveying olfactory glyphs of varying temperature and direction, as well as a corresponding software system that integrates the display with a traditional visualization display, along with three applications that make use of the viScent system.

Student Townhall
Research speed-dating

Joohee Choi
University of Maryland, College Park
Will Too Many Editors Spoil The Tag? Conflicts and Alignment in Q&A Categorization (CSCW Practice Talk)

Alina Striner
University of Maryland, College Park
Learning in the Holodeck: the Role of Multisensory Cues on Pattern Recognition in VR
Designing for multiple senses has the capacity to improve virtual realism, extend our ability to process information, and more easily transfer knowledge between physical and digital environments. HCI researchers are beginning to explore the viability of integrating multisensory media (“multimedia”) into virtual experiences, however research has yet to consider whether mulsemedia truly enhances pattern recognition in virtual reality (VR). In the context of citizen science watershed habitat training, our research asks, how does realism affect observation skills in VR? Within this domain, we build a multisensory system that allows users to feel (wind, thermal, humidity) and smell landscape and environmental conditions. We then compare and report on how users make observations and infer patterns between 2 stream habitats in VR, with and without the multisensory information. Our findings reveal that multisensory information improved the number of high-level, mid-level and low-level observations participants made, and positively impacted engagement and immersion.

Student Townhall
Research speed dating.

No Brown Bag, Thanksgiving Break

Lelani Battle
University of Maryland, College Park

A Characterization Study of Exploratory Analysis Behaviors in Tableau
Exploratory visual analysis (EVA) is an interactive process comprising both focused tasks and more open-ended exploration. Visual analysis tools aim to facilitate this process by enabling rapid specification of both data transformations and visualizations, using a combination of direct manipulation and automated design. With a better understanding of users’ analysis behavior, we might improve the design of these visualization tools to promote effective outcomes.
In this talk, I will present our recent work on characterizing the EVA process. We contribute a consistent definition of EVA through review of the relevant literature, and an empirical evaluation of existing assumptions regarding how analysts perform EVA. We present the results of a study where 27 Tableau users answered various analysis questions across 3 datasets. We measure task performance, identify recurring patterns across participants’ analyses, and assess variance from task specificity and dataset. We find striking differences between existing assumptions and the collected data. Participants successfully completed a variety of tasks, with over 80% accuracy across focused tasks with measurably correct answers. The observed cadence of analyses is surprisingly slow compared to popular assumptions from the database community. We find significant overlap in analyses across participants, showing that EVA behaviors can be predictable. Furthermore, we find few structural differences between open-ended and more focused analysis tasks. Finally, I will discuss the implications of our findings for the design of effective data analytics systems, and highlight several promising directions for future study.

Student Townhall

Cookie Exchange
We encourage you to make/buy cookies (or some related treat) and create individual bags (about six cookies in each bag, and about 4-6 bags). Then bring them in labeled on 12/13 and you can pick bags from other people to take home or eat on the spot. However, you do not need to make cookies to attend! All are welcome to come and hang out.

Spring 2018

Kickoff to a new Semester!
Come, network, make introductions, and share what you are working on

Bahador Saket
Georgia Tech, Atlanta
Visualization by Demonstration

Elissa Redmiles
University of Maryland, College Park
Dancing Pigs or Security? Measuring the Rationality of End-User Security Behavior

Erin Peters-Burton
George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Building Student Self-Awareness of Learning to Enhance Diversity in the Sciences

Norman Su
Indiana University
The Problem of Designing for Subcultures

Ya-Wei Li
Center for Conservation Innovation, Defenders of Wildlife
Using Data and Technology to Save Endangered Species.

Deok Gun Park
University of Maryland, College Park
Thinking, Autism and AGI

Clemens Klokmose
Aarhus University, Denmark
Shareable Dynamic Media: A revisit of the fundamentals of interactive computing

No Brown Bag, Spring Break

Wei Bai
University of Maryland, College Park
Understanding User Tradeoffs for Search in Encrypted Communication

Eun-Kyoung Choe
University of Maryland, College Park
Designing A Flexible Personal Data Tracking Tool

CHI practice talks
Combining smartwatches with large displays for visual data exploration by Karthik Badam and Tom Horak

Hernisa Kacorri
University of Maryland, College Park
Accessibility and Assistive Technologies at the Intersection of Users and Data

Chi-Young Oh
University of Maryland, College Park
Small Worlds in a Distant Land: International Newcomer Students’ Local Information Behavior in Unfamiliar Environments

Amanda Lazar
University of Maryland, College Park
Rethinking technology for dementia

Joel Chan
University of Maryland, College Park
Back to the Future: How people construct new creative ideas from old knowledge, and how technology can help

Rachel Kramer
World Wildlife Fund
WILDLABS.NET: the conservation technology network

Fall 2017

Kickoff to a new Semester! Come network, make introductions, and share what you are working on

David Weintrop, University of Maryland, College Park
To block or not to block: Understanding the effects of programming language representation in high school computer science classrooms.

Stacy Branham,University of Maryland Baltimore-County
From Independence to Interdependence: A Social Narrative of Assistive Technology

Gabriela Marcu, Drexel University
Cody Buntain, University of Maryland, College Park
Gabriela: Addressing health inequities through human-centered design
Cody: Gaining Insight into Real-World Societal Response Using Social Media

Mark Fuge, University of Maryland, College Park
Designing with Data: How machine learning is morphing human, product, and system design

Sigfried Gold,
University of Maryland, College Park
Exploratory visualization tools for health records research, and an exciting detour into infrastructural support for health records research at UMD

Foad Hamidi, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Designing for User Agency and Participation

Internship Panel
Internship Panel

Janet Walkoe, University of Maryland, College Park
Teacher Noticing: Leveraging Technology to Explore Noticing and Noticing to Explore Technology

Joseph G. Davis,
University of Sydney
Visualizing and Exploring Cliques and Cartel-Like Patterns in Citation Networks

Ben Shneiderman, University of Maryland, College Park
How do art & design accelerate research in science & engineering?

Karthik Ramani, Purdue University, West Lafayette
A New Genre of Human Computer-Interaction and Interfaces for 3D Creative Design and Fabrication

11/23/2017 No Brown Bag, Thanksgiving recess

Karen Holtzblatt, InContext Design
Jumpstart your Career: How to Get and Keep Industry Jobs

Pamela Wisniewski, University of Central Florida
Taking a Teen-Centric Approach to adolescent Online Safety

Spring 2017

Kickoff to a new Semester!
Come network, make introductions, and share what each of us is working on

Bilge Mutlu, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Human-Centered Principles and Methods for Designing Robotic Technologies

Susan Winter, University of Maryland, College Park
Designing for Diversity: HCI and the Support of Scientific Research

Virginia Byrne and Joohee Choi, University of Maryland, College Park
Research design review & CSCW Practice Talk

Diversity in Tech Discussion
To continue our discussions surrounding diversity in tech please come to Thursday’s BBL prepared to talk about two current diversity topics:

Tim Summers & Sanjna Srivatsa,
University of Maryland, College Park
Using Business Intelligence and Machine Learning in financial decision making in Cybersecurity sector

Raja Kushalnagar, Gallaudet University
Multimedia for Deaf Eyes: How do we make multimedia accessible for deaf and hard of hearing people?

No Brown Bag, Spring Break

Dion Goh, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and information Nanyang Technological University
Gaming the System: How Useful are Game-based Approaches for Crowdsourcing Content?

Allison Druin, University of Maryland, College Park
Information @ the Extremes: The National Park Service and a Digital Future

Daniel Votipka, University of Maryland, College Park
Who is Mr. Robot?: A Study of the Humans Behind Software Vulnerability Discovery

Rebecca Stone, University of Maryland, College Park
Keeping Culture SAFe – DrupalCon Practice Talk

Anthony Pellicone, Elissa Redmiles, Brenna McNally
University of Maryland, College Park
CHI Practice Talk

Fan Du, Matthew Mauriello, Majeed Kazemitabaar
University of Maryland, College Park
CHI Practice Talk

Tim Dwyer
Monash University
Network Visualization and Immersive Analytics

Fall 2016

09/01/2016 Kickoff to a new Semester!
Come network, make introductions, and share what each of us is working on

CHI Papers Clinic Lunch

09/15/2016 Karen Holtzblatt
InContext Design / University of Maryland, College Park
Contextual Design, Cool Concepts, and Women in Tech Project

09/22/2016 Elissa Redmiles
HCIL, University of Maryland, College Park
How I Learned to be Secure: a Census-Representative Survey of Security Advice Sources and Behavior

09/29/2016 Gregg Vanderheiden
Director, Trace R&D Center, University of Maryland, College Park
UMD’s New Trace Center; Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

10/06/2016 John Wilbanks, Sage Bionetworks
Using Human Centered Design to Make Informed Consent Actually Inform

10/13/2016 Fan Du
HCIL, University of Maryland, College Park
EventAction: Visual Analytics for Temporal Event Sequence Recommendation

10/20/2016 Grant McKenzie,University of Maryland, College Park
Exploring dimensions of ‘place’

10/27/2016 Greg Walsh, University of Baltimore
Life in the Big City: A reflection of four years of HCI Education and Research in Baltimore

11/03/2016 John Dickerson, Computer Science, University of Maryland, College Park
Better Matching Markets via Optimization

11/10/2016 Bill Kules, iSchool, University of Maryland, College Park
Teaching JavaScript as Social Justice: Interrogating Culture, Bias and Equity in an Introductory Programming Course

11/17/2016 Mohammed AlGhamdi, McGill University
Usability of Three-dimensional Virtual Learning Environments: An Exploratory Study of the Think Aloud Approach

11/24/2016 No Brown Bag, Thanksgiving Break

12/01/2016 HCIL
Discussion: Diversity in Tech

12/08/2016 HCIL
HCIL Seasonal Cookie Exchange

Spring 2016

01/28/2016 Kickoff to a new Semester!
Come network, make introductions, share what each of us is working on, and learn about the new HCIL website

02/04/2016 Tom Yeh
Assistant Professor, University of Colorado CS (link). Host: Jon Froehlich
Printing Pictures in 3D

02/11/2016 Cliff Lampe
Associate Professor, University of Michigan iSchool (link) Host: Jessica Vitak
Citizen Interaction Design and its Implications for HCI

02/18/2016 Thomas Haigh
Associate Professor of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (link) Host: ???
Working on ENIAC: The Lost Labors of the Information Age

02/25/2016 Adil Yalcin
PhD Candidate in Computer Science at UMD (link)
Keshif: Data Exploration using Aggregate Summaries and Multi-Mode Linked Selections

03/03/2016 Eytan Adar
Assoc Prof, School of Information, Univ. of Michigan (link). Host: Ben Shneiderman
All the Data Fit to Print: Newsroom Tools for Generating Personalized, Contextually-Relevant Visualizations (Campus Visualizations Partnership lecture)

03/10/2016 Alina Goldman
PhD Student in Information Studies at UMD’s iSchool
StreamBED: Teaching Citizen Scientists to Judge Stream Quality with Embodied Virtual Reality Training

03/17/2016 No Brown Bag for Spring Break

03/24/2016 Daniel Robbins (link)
Visualize getting a job (Campus Visualizations Partnership lecture)

03/31/2016 TBD

04/07/2016 Andrea Wiggins
Assistant Professor, University of Maryland iSchool (link)
Community-based Data Validation in Citizen Science

04/14/2016 CHI Practice Talks
Kotaro Hara & Elissa Redmiles
Kotaro: The Design of Assistive Location-based Technologies for People with Ambulatory Disabilities: A Formative Study
Elissa: I Think They’re Trying to Tell Me Something: Advice Sources and Selection for Digital Security

04/21/2016 Sir Timothy O’Shea (link) & Eileen Scanlon (link)
Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh University, &
Regius Professor of Open Education, The Open University, UK (respectively)

How New Technologies Can Enhance Learner Autonomy

04/28/2016 Tamara Clegg
Assistant Professor, University of Maryland iSchool & Education (link)
Scientizing Daily Life with New Social, Mobile, & Ubiquitous Technologies

05/05/2016 Chris Preist
Reader in Sustainability and Computer Systems at Bristol University (link)
Host: Jon Froehlich
On the role of gamification in citizen engagement: What is it good for, and what not?

Fall 2015

09/03/2015 All new students!
New student introductions!

09/10/2015 Jean-Daniel Fekete
Senior Research Scientist at INRIA (link)
ProgressiVis: a New Workflow Model for Scalability in Information Visualization

09/17/2015 Liese Zahabi
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Maryland, College Park (link)
Exploring Information-Triage: Speculative interface tools to help college students conduct online research

09/24/2015 HCIL Student Presentations
Graduate students will give short presentations about their past, present, and/or future work. If you are interested in participating, please email the BBL student co-coordinators Austin Beck ( or Leyla Norooz (

10/01/2015 Celine Latulipe
Associate Professor at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (link)
Borrowing from HCI: Teamwork, Design and Sketching for Intro Programming Classes

10/08/2015 Adil Yalçın
PhD Student, Department of Computer Science (link)
AggreSet: Rich and Scalable Set Exploration using Visualizations of Element Aggregations (InfoVis practice talk)


10/22/2015 Heather Bradbury
Director, Masters of Professional Studies Programs at Maryland Institute College of Art (link)
Tipping the Balance

10/29/2015 Kurt Luther
Assistant Professor of Computer Science in HCI/CSCW at Virginia Tech (link)
Combining Crowds and Computation to Make Discoveries and Solve Mysteries

11/05/2015 C. Scott Dempwolf
Research Assistant Professor and Director, UMD – Morgan State Joint Center for Economic Development (link)
Visualizing Innovation Ecosystems: Networks, Events and the Challenges of Policy and Practice

11/12/2015 Matt Mauriello1, Zahra Ashktorab2, Uran Oh1, Brenna McNally
[1] UMD CS PhD Student
[2] UMD iSchool PhD Student
Where Oh Where Have My Grad Students Gone?: An Internship Panel

11/19/2015 Jen Golbeck
Associate Professor at UMD’s iSchool (link)
What I Did On My Sabbatical

11/26/2014 No Brown Bag for Thanksgiving break

12/03/2015 Ben Shneiderman
Professor of Computer Science ([1])
Editing Wikipedia Tutorial/Workshop

12/10/2015 Larry Lee
Chief System Engineer at Elucid Solutions (link)
The Lucidity Project: Bringing Privacy Back to the Web

12/17/2015 HCIL
Seasonal Cookie Exchange

Spring 2015

01/29/2015 Catherine Plaisant
Associate Director of Research HCIL (link)
HCIL’s work and its influence

02/05/2015 Karthik Badam
PhD Student, Department of Computer Science
Cross-Device Frameworks for Collaborative Visualization

02/12/2015 Jack Kustanowitz
Principal at MountainPass Technology (link)
BusWhere – Never Miss the School Bus Again

02/19/2015 Jeff Rick
Developer and Researcher, ScienceKit project (link)
Two kids, one iPad

02/26/2015 Wei Bai
PhD student, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (link)
BrowserCrypt: A Research on Encryption Usability

03/05/2015 (Cancelled due to snow) Kurt Luther
Center for Human-Computer Interaction, Virginia Tech (link)
Designing Social Technologies for Creativity and Discovery

03/12/2015 Michele Williams
PhD student, Department of Information Systems, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) (link)
SWARM: Sensing Whether Affect Requires Mediation

03/19/2015 Spring Break
(no food) Sana Malik
UMD CS PhD Candidate (link)
IUI ’15 Practice Talk

03/26/2015 Hyojoon Kim
PhD Student, Georgia Institute of Technology (link)
uCap: An Internet Data Management Tool for the Home

04/02/2015 Matthew Mauriello
PhD Student, Department of Computer Science (link)
CHI Practice Talk: Understanding the role of thermography in energy auditing: current practices and the potential for automated solutions

Meethu Malu
PhD Student, Department of Computer Science (link)
CHI Practice Talk: Personalized, Wearable Control of a Head-mounted Display for Users with Upper Body Motor Impairments

04/09/2015 Fan Du
PhD Student, Department of Computer Science (link)
CHI Practice Talk: Trajectory Bundling for Animated Transitions

Leyla Norooz
PhD Student, iSchool (link)
CHI Practice Talk: BodyVis: A New Approach to Body Learning Through Wearable Sensing and Visualization

04/16/2015 Yla Tausczik
Assistant Professor, iSchool (link)
Open Government Data and Civic Applications: What would successful collaboration look like?

04/23/2015 (Cancelled) Heather Bradbury
Maryland Institute College of Art
Building a Plane in Mid-air

04/30/2015 Andrea Forte
Associate Professor of College of Computing & Informatics at Drexel University (link)
Social Information Spaces: Designing for Smart(er) Societies

05/07/2015 Peter Teuben
Astronomy dept (link)
Interface design for the Analysis and Data Mining of the large data coming out of the ALMA telescope

05/14/2015 CHI-tacular
Come talk (and listen) about the HCIL’s time at CHI 2015!

Fall 2014

09/04/2014 Niklas Elmqvist
New iSchool Professor in Infovis (link)
Ubiquitous Analytics: Interacting with Big Data Anywhere, Anytime

09/11/2014 All new students!
New student introductions!

09/18/2014 Moving the cubes!
Resisting the cookies is futile.

09/25/2014 Kotaro Hara
CS PhD Student: (link)
UIST2014 Practice Talk: Tohme: Detecting Curb Ramps in Google Street View Using Crowdsourcing, Computer Vision, and Machine Learning

10/02/2014 Michelle Mazurek
Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science (link)
Measuring Password Guessability for an Entire University

10/09/2014 (room 2119) m.c. schraefel
Professor, University of Southampton (link)
Exploring the role of HCI as an agent of cultural change: from health as a medical condition to health as shared, social aspiration.

10/16/2014 Uran Oh
CS PhD Student
ASSETS 2014 Practice Talk: Design of and Subjective Response to On-body Input for People With Visual Impairments

10/23/2014 Andrea Wiggins
Assistant Professor, iSchool (link)
Citizen Science at Scale: Human Computation for Science, Education, and Sustainability

10/30/2014 Nicholas Diakopoulos
Assistant Professor, UMD College of Journalism (link)
Computational Journalism: From Tools to Algorithmic Accountability

11/06/2014 Susan Winter
Assistant Program Director, MIM
Top-Down and Bottom-Up: Building Information Science for an Active Middle

11/13/2014 Alina Goldman
iSchool PhD Student Audience Performer Collaboration

11/20/2014 Beverly Harrison
Principal Scientist & Director Mobile Research, Yahoo!
Yahoo Labs – Mobile Research Group

11/27/2014 No Brown Bag for Thanksgiving break

12/04/2014 Georgia Bullen
New America (link) Balancing Expertise and Public Audiences: Usability in Internet Research and Policy

12/11/2014 Holiday Cookie Exchange

Spring 2014

Jan 30 Helena Mentis
New UMBC HCI faculty member
Tracking the Body in Healthcare

Feb 6 Catherine Plaisant and Michael Gubbels Reviewing CHI ’13 best videos

Feb 13 Beverly Harrison
Yahoo Research
Research at Yahoo Labs

Feb 20 Karyn Moffatt
HCI Professor at McGill Univ.
Accessible Social Technology

Feb 27 Romain Vuillemot

March 6 Megan Monroe
PhD Student
The Talk Talk

March 13 cancelled

March 20 No Brown Bag. Spring Break

March 27 Jessica Vitak
Assistant Professor in iSchool
HCIL faculty member
Privacy Management in the Digital Age

April 3 Chris Imbriano
CS Ph.D. Student
Inclusive Design Lab
Talk and discussion about GitHub and why the HCIL may want to adopt it.

April 10 Vanessa Frias-Martinez
Assistant Professor in iSchool
From Digital Footprints to Social Insights

April 17 Alex Pompe
Senior Technical Advisor at IREX
Bridging ICT4D lessons from the NGO sector towards academia (Slides)

April 24 Matt Mauriello
HCI CS Grad Student CHI2014 Practice Talk: Social Fabric Fitness

May 1 No Brown Bag. CHI 2014 from April 26 to May 1.

May 8 Michael Gubbels, Human-Computer Interaction Master’s Student
Jon Gluck, Computer Science Ph.D. Student
Kent Wills, Computer Science Master’s Student
Introduction to 3D Printing in the HCIL (Slides)

Fall 2013

Jan 24
Jan 31
John Gomez
Feb 7
Ben Bederson Tools for synchronous crowdsourcing
Feb 14
Feb 21
Feb 28
Lisa Anthony (Host: Leah Findlater) Gestural Interaction for Children

March 7
Awalin Sopan Wrong Patient Selection Problem
March 14
Michael Smith-Welch? (Host Jon Froehlich) Kids, Programming, and Makerspaces
March 21
Spring Break (No BBL)
March 28
April 4
Ben Bederson, Jon Froehlich, Leah Findlater HCIL Discussion: Activities, BBL, email lists, etc.
April 11
Urah Oh, Anne Bowser CHI Practice Talks: (1) Urah Oh (full paper) and (2) Anne Bowser (full paper)
April 18
Megan Monroe, Kotaro Hara CHI Practice Talks: (1) Megan Monroe (full paper) and (2) Kotaro Hara (full paper)
April 25
May 2
CHI 2013 (No BBL)
May 9

Spring 2013

Th, Sept 5 No Brown Bag. Rosh Hashanah

Th, Sept 12 Jon Froehlich
Assistant Professor in CS and HCIL faculty member
Talk/Discussion HCIL Hackerspace

Th, Sept 19 HCIL/HCI Graduate Students facilitated by Michael Gubbels and Tak Yeon Lee Talk/Discussion
The goal of this session is to provide several students at various points in their academic programs

Wed, Sept 25 Jonathan Donner External Speaker
Everybody’s internet? :Designing for mobile-centric internet users in the developing world

Jonathan Donner – Researcher, Technology for Emerging Markets, Microsoft Research

Th, Oct 3 Ed Cutrell External Speaker
Technology for Emerging Markets (TEM) group at Microsoft Research

Th, Oct 10 Marshini Chetty
Assistant Professor in iSchool and HCIL faculty member
HCI and Networking – Taming the Internet One Bit at a Time

Th, Oct 17 Kotaro Hara
CS PhD Student
Uran Oh
CS PhD Student
ASSETS’13 Practice Talks
Talk 1: Improving Public Transit Accessibility for Blind Riders by Crowdsourcing Bus Stop Landmark Locations With Google Street View
Talk 2: Follow That Sound: Using Sonification and Corrective Verbal Feedback to Teach Touchscreen Gestures

Th, Oct 24 Makeability Lab
Jon Froehlich’s research group in the HCIL Discussion Reflective discussion of experience exhibiting projects at Silver Spring Mini-Maker Faire

Th, Oct 31 Jen Golbeck
Associate Professor in the College of Information Studies, Affiliate Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department, Affiliate in the Center for the Advanced Study of Language, and HCIL Director
Work In Progress Discussion HCI and Cybersecurity

Th, Nov 7 Bryan Sivak
Chief Technology Officer at U.S. Department of Health & Human Services External Speaker
Bryan Sivak’s bio

Th, Nov 14 Erica Estrada
Lecturer, Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
(Tammy Clegg, contact)
External Speaker/Design Charette Design Thinking

Th, Nov 21 June Ahn
Assistant Professor in the College of Information Studies and College of Education (joint appointment), and HCIL faculty member
Work In Progress Discussion Video Games, Blended Learning, and Large-scale Education Reform

Th, Nov 28 No Brown Bag. Happy Thanksgiving and Hanukkah

Th, Dec 5 Shannon Collis
Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Maryland
Discussion of creative work in digital media and computational arts.

Th, Dec 12