Our paper from the BCS HCI 2013 Habits in HCI workshop.
This year I once again photographed UX Camp London, this time held Central Foundation Boys School near Old Street. It felt strange wandering around a secondary school again, it somehow managed to smell just the same as my old school…
Anyway, it was a great day and I managed to make it to quite a few of the sessions and get lots of photographs.
I even got the chance to speak for a little while about my Fitbit study and the complications of running longitudinal research. I’m looking forward to next year!
More photographs on Flickr.
Yesterday I graduated from my Human Computer Interaction with Ergonomics MSc course from UCL. The more eagle-eyed amongst you will see that I’m still at the same university, in the same department, working on a PhD… Should give you an idea of how much value I found in the MSc course.
I started off feeling really rather tired… I ended up getting about an hour’s sleep the night before, this photograph was taken before I’d found any caffeine to perk me up.
However, once I’d had an energy drink I was feeling much better… Even more so after a glass or two of champagne
We really are quite lucky getting to graduate in such a beautiful place… I just wish there had been more of my course mates there!
More photographs on Flickr.
I visited the 100th anniversary of the Chelsea Flower Show a couple of days ago, armed with my trusty OM-D and the PL25 (I took the 7.5mm and the Oly 45mm too, but they didn’t get much of a look in). I had a really good afternoon and got quite a few nice photographs, some of which are displayed below:
Really pleased with how the set came out, the OMD & PL25 are a stunning combination.
The rest of the set is here: RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 – a set on Flickr
I returned from CHI last week, where I was an author on two papers. The full paper, Exploring the effects of space and place on engagement with an interactive installation and The Challenge of Maintaining Interest in a Large-Scale Public Floor Display which was shown at the EIPS workshop.
We made a rather funky video for Space and Place, which you can view below (embedded):
The conference was brilliant, a personal highlight for me was the Theory vs. Design-Driven Approaches for behaviour change panel on Wednesday afternoon, which will probably be the subject of its own post in the future.
I’m going to write another blog post with more details about the conference and the talks I went to (once I’ve revisited my photographs and notes).
For now I’m going to share some photographs of Paris, enjoy!
As you may be aware I’m currently recruiting for a study with the Fitbit Zip pedometer, we still need more participants for the study!
We want people who either live or regularly travel in to central London, are aged 18+ and use either an iPhone 4S, 5, or a Samsung Galaxy S3.
If you complete the study you may keep the Fitbit, we’re also offering prizes (1x £100 & 4x £25 Amazon vouchers) for randomly chosen participants who complete the study.
If you’re interested please sign up using the link below! It would also be fantastic if you could share the study details with anybody you know who fills the above requirements and might be interested- this could be family, friends, colleagues, housemates, drinking buddies, classmates, etc.
I thought a photograph of a kitten looking sad (because of recruitment struggle) might help, so here’s an appropriately cute one to inspire you to sign up:
You can view more information and sign-up to the study with the recruitment form, available online: www.walkerbit.co.uk.
(flyer available online)
Our submission to the Experiencing Interactivity In Public Spaces (EIPS) CHI Workshop, “The Challenge of Maintaining Interest in a Large-Scale Public Floor Display”, was accepted and I’ll be presenting at the workshop in Paris in April.
The paper, written by Jon Bird, myself and Paul Marshall is related to work on FloorPlay, the project I undertook for my masters. In the paper we argue that floor displays, because of the novelty of their location, can be more effective at grabbing the attention of passersby than public wall mounted screens. However, a concern is that as floor displays become more familiar, people will take less notice of them. We explore how to maintain interest in a large-scale interactive floor display in a semi-public university location. Our ongoing research involves exploring ways to enable participants to update the content of the display and seeing how effectively this keeps them interested. Firstly, we are making the floor display interactive so that participants can manipulate the content in real-time using whole body interaction. Secondly, we are encouraging the local community to generate content for the display.
You can read and download the paper here: EIPSMaintainingInterest.pdf
I’ve been using the trackpad on my laptops as my only input device for a number of years (and bought my iMac with a Magic Trackpad)- I’ve probably not used a mouse for about 5 years. However, when editing photographs in Lightroom or Photoshop I’d always missed the level of precision you could obtain with a mouse- I’d always fancied trying a Wacom and when I saw the Wacom Bamboo Pen Graphics Tablet (approx. £45) for a really good price I couldn’t resist.
I’ve been using it as the main input device on my iMac for the past 18 months, and generally I’ve been really happy with it. The only real gripe I had with the Bamboo was that I missed using gestures (mostly expose and swiping between spaces), so I always needed to keep the Magic Trackpad nearby- making the desk quite cluttered and requiring lots of arm movement when working on multiple spaces (something I do all too often).
The Wacom Bamboo is also available with an inbuilt touch surface, allowing use of fingers for gestures- perfect! However, I couldn’t upgrade to something so similar after a short amount of time and after 6 months or so with the Bamboo the Intuos5 was announced- also including the touch-surface (and a large number of other benefits over the Bamboo models), I’ve had my eye on it ever since. I was tempted by a larger size (the Bamboo I was using before is approximately the same size as the Intuos5 Small), but after using my Bamboo with a smaller screen I decided that the small size mapped nicely onto the 21.5″ iMac for me. This very much depends on your primary use of the tablet- I personally use it for every day input and rarely sketch- if my use was different then the bigger surface may have been more appropriate.
I saw the Intuos5 Pen and Touch Small for a very good price at Amazon last week (£154- grab ‘em quick!), so I went ahead and ordered one.
Now it’s arrived I’m very pleased that I’ve made the right decision. Whilst its not up to the level of the Magic Trackpad (it is nowhere near as responsive and I often have to do gestures more than once to get them to register), for swiping through spaces and expose it is more than adequate. Unfortunately there’s no feedback for your fingers to let you know you’re in the active zone for touching- it’s very easy to have a finger or two outside of the zone which is why I suspect it’s often missing my gestures. Another personal annoyance with the touch-input is that I can’t use click-to-drag (available through the accessibility options for the Apple trackpads, but not for other input devices), but I don’t think many people use it since Snow Leopard, so perhaps more of an issue for me.
The pen itself is also much nicer than on the Bamboo- its something I’ve often got in my hand for most of the day, so its nice to have some more quality- the buttons are more positive, it’s a nicer shape, and has a lovely grippy rubber coating. It’s more sensitive than the pen on the Bamboo (2048 levels of pressure over the 1024 on the Bamboo) and also offers detection of the angle, however I don’t really make any use of this as I rarely draw/ sketch (and when I do I’m not very good!).
There’s also controls down the side of the tablet, with 6 touch-sensitive buttons and a scroll-wheel. I’ve not really settled into using these yet (other than turning touch-off when the cat sits on the tablet), but I’m sure over time I’ll get used to having it there and will make use of it.
The Intuous5 is available from various retailers, and with special academic pricing for university staff and students. However, I bought mine from Amazon for the absolute bargain price of £154- buy one whilst you can! AMAZON LINK
I’ve got about twenty posts I want to make, but this one’s timely and short so it’s going up first!
I’ve been evaluating a FitBit Zip for the past four months, and I’m pretty happy with it- a few days ago I was told about the “moves” application for the iPhone, since then I’ve been using the two alongside each other.
I had quite a long journey today, so I decided to take this opportunity to post a quick comparison between the two tracking systems, as shown in the following screenshot:
(also, this is the first time I’ve broken 30,000 steps in one day on the Fitbit- pretty pleased with that!)
Now, those numbers are impressively similar (especially considering the Fitbit uses additional hardware- a posh £50 Bluetooth 4 accelerometer and Moves mostly relies upon GPS), and whats more impressive is the additional information moves provides- there’s a list of the places I’ve visited, a breakdown of the different transport methods (walking, running, bicycle and, for now, “other”) and a breadcrumb trail of my route. In my testing so far I’ve found there to be very little effect on the battery life of my phone too, which is a relief as it’s rather awful already (I must go and see Apple about that)!
There are, of course, a couple of limitations. The application needs to be running all the time, which obviously does have some effect on battery life. It also of course only tracks activity when you’ve got the phone on you, and now when you’ve left it charging on your desk… and it doesn’t count activity that consists of less than 50 steps. This probably accounts for the difference between the two counts, and in my opinion makes the lack of discrepancy between the two all the more impressive.
As you can probably tell, I’m very impressed, and especially so for a fairly early iteration of the application (it was originally released in September and has had a number of fairly small updates since). Whilst it currently misses most of the encouragement and intervention techniques offered by the Fitbit and alternatives it also offers additional functionality missing from all of these, and best of all, it’s free!
As my particular research interest is more in sustainable transport methods than physical activity I’m especially interested in Moves. I’m sure that motivational techniques will be added soon, the developers have also stated that there’s an API coming, so I’m watching very closely to see how I might be able to make use of this in my PhD research.
Last week I went to see Sonic Boom Six, Imperial Leisure and Tyrannosaurus Alan at the Borderline in London. I’m a massive fan of both Sonic Boom Six (who I believe I’ve now seen 8 or 9 times) and Imperial Leisure (who I’ve only seen twice before), so I had been really excited about this gig for quite some time.
I’d heard of Tyrannosaurus Alan before, but I wasn’t really familiar with their music. We arrived just as they started playing, I really enjoyed their set, hopefully we’ll see more of them in the future. Imperial Leisure were fantastic, my only “complaint” would be that I would have enjoyed a longer set! I was surprised they didn’t play London to Brighton, and I’d have liked to have heard Browns and Beer Belly- I guess I’ll have to catch them at Surya next month. Boom were, as ever, amazing. I’ve seen them quite a few times before, and everybody always has a brilliant time (except for perhaps the unfortunate people who had their phones stolen at the gig- not cool). Their New self title album- “Sonic Boom Six” was released a couple of months ago and represents some of their best work yet. The set was mostly newer stuff, but with a few older songs in there too- I think they got the mix spot on. As Laila said, “you know it’s been a good gig when you’re just about to play (hear) the last song”, I’d have loved for them to have played all night… I seriously recommend that everybody should go see this band live (they’re supporting the blackout in the UK early next year)!
As ever I’ve uploaded a full album of photographs on Flickr, some of my favourites from the evening are below: