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Public Research Presentation at the HCI Lab: Designing Social Interactions with Users

Author: Scott Bateman

Posted on Jul 26, 2019

Category: News and Notices

The UNB Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCI Lab) is pleased to host a public research presentation by visiting colleagues from the University of Toronto. All interested faculty, students and staff are invited to attend. 

Designing Social Interactions with Users: Contextual Inquiries in Practice
Benett Axtell and Cosmin Munteanu

Time and Place: Gillan Hall, GC127, 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, July 30.

Abstract: When designing for technology-mediated social interactions, understanding user needs is key to creating a usable tool, and this understanding needs to be built before designs are implemented. Contextual inquiry is a qualitative method designed to reveal requirements through guided in situ observations. Though underused in HCI, contextual inquiry is a powerful design tool that adapts well to a variety of settings and users. In this presentation, I show how contextual inquiry is particularly strong in designing for social interactions. I illustrate this through a case study discussion of PhotoFlow, a digital application that supports picture-mediated social storytelling of family memories. PhotoFlow's design is based on a contextual inquiry of older adults’ current photo storytelling activities. This method allows users to contribute directly to the design of their tools while avoiding existing biases, in both researchers and participants.

Benett Axtell is the Associate Director of the Technologies for Ageing Gracefully lab (TAGlab) and a senior PhD Student at University of Toronto under the supervision of Dr. Cosmin Munteanu. Her main research interest is the design of new speech interactions that include voices that are usually excluded, like older adults. Her general research revolves around how older adults and their experiences expand the possibilities for new technologies. Her current research project investigates tools to support reminiscing through storytelling, and digital management of family picture collections and their memories. URL:

Cosmin Munteanu is an Assistant Professor at the Institute for Communication, Culture, Information, and Technology at University of Toronto Mississauga, and Director of the Technologies for Ageing Gracefully lab (TAGlab). His area of expertise is at the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction, Automatic Speech Recognition, Natural User Interfaces, Mobile Computing, Ethics, and Assistive Technologies, having dedicated the past two decades to investigating the human factors of interacting with information-rich media and intelligent technologies. His main research goals are to facilitate natural, meaningful, and safe interactions between people and digital media and devices. Cosmin's multidisciplinary interests include speech and natural language interaction for mobile devices, assistive technologies for older adults, multimodal mixed reality systems, learning technologies for marginalized users, usable privacy and cyber-safety, and ethics in human-computer interaction research. URL:

Category: News and Notices

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