School of Mathematics, Engineering and Computer Science


Human-Centric Systems Research Group

We are London's elite Human-Computer Interaction group. Our prime focus is the relationship between people and innovative technology with the aim of creating more useful and usable systems.

Our internationally recognised academic research is frequently published in leading journals and conferences. Our multi-disciplinary experts undertake teaching and consultancy & business services roles and have backgrounds in systems engineering, software engineering, human-computer interaction, psychology, social science, artificial intelligence and management science.

 
 

1991

the year we were founded.

20

research excellent academics.

£1.5m

in grants for active research projects.

13

PhD students.

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We held our Annual Open Day on 17th April 2013 with over 500 registered guests. Read the review of HCID2013!
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People

Research

The Centre undertakes internationally recognised research into the design of socio-technical systems, funded by the UK's Research Councils (EPSRC and ESRC), the European Union and also industrial partners.

We have numerous research projects running in the Centre. Our research focuses on creativity, collaboration, requirements engineering, healthcare, diverse users, novel interactions with information systems and innovative interfaces/devices. The coverage of these projects requires us to adopt a multi-disciplinary research approach. Staff and students have backgrounds in systems engineering, software engineering, human-computer interaction, psychology, social science, artificial intelligence and management science.

Featured project: Evaluating the Effects of a Virtual Communication Environment for People with Aphasia

Research Projects

User-centred requirements engineering

Our research on user-centred requirements engineering aims to develop new theories of requirements for complex socio-technical systems, i.e. systems composed of people and technology, and to apply these theories to design new requirements processes, techniques and tools that we evaluate through their industrial application. We are currently researching how to use scenarios in user-centred requirements processes, model-based discovery and analysis of emergent properties of complex socio-technical systems, creativity as integral to requirements processes, and how new paradigms such as web services impact on requirements.

Featured project: CHOReOS - Large Scale Choreographies for the Future Internet

  • COLLAGE - Social Creativity and Learning - Funding: € 399,207 Funder: EU Framework VII STREP Year: 3 years
  • CHOReOS - Large Scale Choreographies for the Future Internet - Funding: € 348,636 Funder: EU Year: 2010 - 2013
  • TRACEBACK - Integrated System for Reliable Traceability of Food Supply Chains - Funding: € 381,000 Funder: EU Year: 2007 - 2010
  • APOSDLE - Advanced Process-Oriented Self-Directed Learning Environment - Funding: €583,600 Funder: EU Year: 2006-2010
  • Information Technology and its Use in the Context of Museums and Art Galleries - Funding: £5,000 Funder: London Centre for Arts and Cultural Enterprise  Year: 2008
  • SARA - Safety-Related Requirements Analysis - Funding: £54,000 Funder: National Air Traffic control Year: 2006
  • VANTAGE PHASE 1 - Regional Airports and the Environment - Funding: £84,000 Funder: Department of Trade and Industry Year: 2005-2006
  • SeCSE - Service-Centric Systems Engineering - Funding: €775,000 Funder: EU  Year: 2004-2008
  • POMPEI - PompeiII P2P Location and presence - Funding: €255,00 Funder: EU  Year: 2004-2006
  • A-STAR - UK's Air Traffic Management (ATM) Knowledge Network - Funding:  none Funder: South East Regional Development Agency Year: 2004-2006
  • NATS-EASM - Applying the RESCUE process to determine feasility for Development of Enhanced Airspace Management -  Funding: £103,000 Funder: National Air Traffic Services  Year: 2004-2005
  • NATS-DMAN - Applying the innovative RESCUE requirements process to determine operational requirements for Eurocontrol's Departure Manager system - Funding: £62,000 Funder: National Air Traffic Services  Year: 2003
  • RESCUE-MSP - The RESCUE process Applied to Eurocontrol's Multi-Sector Planning System - Funding:£20,000 Funder: Eurocontrol  Year: 2003
  • FINTECH - Forward-looking research on technologies for software and systems in the Financial services area - Funding: €27,000 Funder:EU  Year: 2002-2003
  • GOMOSCE - Scenario walkthroughs to inform and explore goal-based trade-offs for complex systems - Funding: £19,000 Funder: DSTL  Year: 2002-2003
  • INBANKSS - Innovative BANKing Systems and Solutions - Funding: €55,700 Funder: eu  Year: 2001-2002
  • SIMP - Supporting requirement-architecture design drade-offs complex systems using requirements - Funding: £320,000 Funder: EPSRC  Year: 2000-2004
  • BANKSEC - Secure Banking Application Assembly using a Component-Based approach - Funding: €110,000 Funder: EU  Year: 2000-2002
  • RESCUE - An innovative requirements process designed for socio-technical systems in European air traffic control - Funding: £194,000 Funder: Eurocontrol  Year: 2000
  • ISRE - Immersive Scenario-based Requirements Engineering - Funding: £168,000 Funder: EPSRC  Year: 1999-2002
  • IMPRESSION - Initiative for Software Requirements Management Best Practice in Embedded Systems and E-Service Organistations - Funding: € 70,000 Funder: EU  Year: 2001-2002
  • CREWS - Co-operative Requirements Engineering With Scenarios - Funding: €252,000 Funder: EU  Year: 1996-1999
  • CROM - Cognitive ROute Model of perception of food risk - Funding:  Funder: ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Year: 1995-1998
  • PORE - Procurement Oriented Requirements Engineering - FundingFunder:  Year: 1995-2000
  • DATUM - Dependability Assessment of safety critical systems Through the Unification of Measurable evidence - Funding:  Funder: EPSRC Year: 1993-1996
  • NATURE - Novel Approaches and Theories Underlying Requirements Engineering - FundingFunder: EU  Year: 1992-1995
  • SERPS - Structured Elicitation of Requirements with Patterns - Funding: £7,000 Funder: Marconi Naval Systems  Year: 1988-1989

Creativity

We conduct research into creativity and innovation in the design process. We are developing new theories and models of creativity in design, and applying them to inform the development of new techniques and software tools intended to produce more creative outcomes. Evaluating these creative outcomes is another direction of our research.

Featured project: MIRROR - Reflective Learning at Work

Accessiblity and Inclusive Design

We conduct research in Inclusive Design by investigating issues related to the elderly, the disabled but also focus on other diverse user groups not normally considered within design, such as gender.

Featured project: EVA - Evaluating the Effects of a Virtual Communication Environment for People with Aphasia

  • EVA - Evaluating the Effects of a Virtual Communication Environment for People with Aphasia - Funding: £204,898  Funder: The Stroke Association  Year: 2012 - 2015
  • AW - Model - Mathematical Modelling of Age Related Differences in Web Browsing - Funding: £26,600 Funder: EPSRC/SPARC Year: 2006-2008
  • TeDUB - Developing a system to enable blind users to access diagrams and technical drawings - Funding: €166,000 Funder: EU Year: 2002-2004
  • VISTA - Speech-based TV guides for the blind and elderly - Funding: £88,500 Funder: Department for  Business Innovation & Skills Year: 2002-2003
  • DRC Formal Investigation into Web Site Accessibility - Assessing the current state of web site accessibility in Great Britain - Funding: £95,000 Funder: Equality and Human Rights Commission  Year: 2003
  • Access Technology Survey - Survey of current uses and future needs of access technology by blind and partially sighted people in the UK - Funding: £35,000 Funder: RNIB Year: 2001-2002
  • SATURN - Investigated the use of smart cards to personalize access to public terminals for disabled and elderly people - Funding: £621,000 Funder: EU Year: 1994-1997

Innovative technologies and interactions

We conduct studies of individual and collaborative interactions in challenging fields ranging from healthcare, intelligent systems to computer games, develop and apply theoretical approaches to modelling work, design and prototype innovative interfaces and investigate and develop usability evaluation techniques.

Featured project: S-CUBE - Software Services & Systems Network

  • Digital Shoreditch Deep Insight - Funding: £9.991  Funder: Creativeworks London  Year: 2013
  • EASE - Exploring the Accessibility of Second Life for people with Aphasia - Funding: £5000  Funder: City University  Year: 2012
  • GReAT - Gesture Recognition in Aphasia Therapy - Funding: £297,280 Funder: EPSRC Year: 2010 - 2012
  • S-CUBE - Software Services & Systems Network - Funding: € 234,000 Funder: EU Year: 2008 - 2012
  • GHANDI - Generic Handover Investigation - Funding: £495,000 Funder: EPRC Year: 2007-2010
  • Safer Handover - Funding: £39,000 Funder: NHS Connecting for Health Year: 2009
  • Novel hardware solutions for health care consultations - An investigation of the impact of novel hardware solutions on the interaction between clinicians and patients in health care consultations - Funding: £5,000 Funder: City University London Year: 2008 - 2009
  • 3D Virtual World - A seminar on 3D Virtual World and Social Learning - Funding: £5,000 Funder: JISC Year: 2008
  • Usability of 3D Virtual Worlds - Investigating Usability Issues of 3D Virtual Worlds with Eye Tracking - Funding: £5,000 Funder: City University London Year: 2008
  • UISSTLE - User Interfaces, Social Software Technologies and Learning Experience - Funding: £13,000 Funder: JISC  Year: 2008
  • GREDIA - Grid enabled access to rich media content - Funding: €330,000 Funder: EU Year: 2006-2009
  • JISC II - Information Visualisation Foundation Studies - Funding: £45,000 Funder: JISC Year: 2003-2004
  • ACE - Information Appliances in Clinical Environments - Funding: £27,000 Funder: ESRC Year: 2003-2004
  • JISC - Usability Studies for JISC Services and Information Environment - Funding: £33,000 Funder: JISC  Year: 2002-2003
  • DUVE - Designing Usable Virtual Environments - FundingFunder: EPSRC Year: 1998
  • EUROSTAT - Multimedia and new Information Technologies  FundingFunder: EU Year: 1995-1997
  • MISSAR - Modelling Information Seeking Strategies and Resources -  FundingFunder: Year: 1995-1997
  • INTUITIVE - INTeractive User Interface and Tools for Information retrieval in a Visual Environment -  FundingFunder: EU Year: 1992-1995
  • IDEAL - Interactive Dialogues for Explanation and Learning - FundingFunder: EU Year: 1989-1992
  • BenToWeb - Benchmarking Tools and Methods for the Web - Funding: €177,600 Funder: EU Year: 2004-2005
  • Culture Online - Funding: £110,000 Funder: Department of Culture, Media and Sports Year: 2004-2005
  • Multi-Media Broker 

PhD Studies

PhD research forms a core part of the research activity in the Centre for HCI Design and we are keen to attract high-calibre students with a passion for thinking. If you are considering embarking on a PhD why not come along for a visit, discuss your ideas and find out what it's like to study in the Centre? Please contact Stephanie Wilson, steph@soi.city.ac.uk, for an informal discussion.

How to apply

PhD research forms a core part of the research activity in the Centre for HCI Design and we are keen to attract high-calibre students with a passion for thinking. If you are considering embarking on a PhD why not come along for a visit, discuss your ideas and find out what it's like to study in the Centre? Please contact Stephanie Wilson, steph@soi.city.ac.uk, for an informal discussion.

Full details of the application process are available online. On your application form, please state that you wish to be considered for admission to the Centre for HCI Design, School of Informatics. Submit your completed application to Mark Firman in the School of Informatics.

Research topics

PhD students in the Centre for HCI Design undertake cutting-edge research in four broad areas: usability, accessibility, creativity and requirements engineering. See below for a more detail description of the areas where we offer supervision or have a look at specific projects proposed by staff in the School of Informatics.

Prof Neil Maiden is especially interested in supervising multi-disciplinary research in systems and software engineering, with particular interests in:

  • All aspects of requirements engineering, including acquiring requirements, creative thinking about requirements, requirements modelling, requirements negotiation and requirements for services delivered from web-systems and off-the-shelf packages.
  • Innovative processes and techniques for socio-technical system design.
  • New theories, processes and models for concurrent requirements and architecture modelling.
  • Scenario-based systems development.
  • Theories and models of creativity in software design.
  • New theories, processes and models for developing systems from packages, components and web-services.

Stephanie Wilson is interested in supervising research in the area of human-computer interaction. In particular:

  • Theories, models and empirical studies of collaborative work, especially in the healthcare or learning domains.
  • Technology enhanced learning: usability of learning support technologies, social networking tools and online communities for learning.
  • Usability evaluation: investigating and enhancing effectiveness of techniques, comparative studies, development of new evaluation paradigms for specific application areas.

Dr Sara Jones is interested in supervising research relating to the role of creativity in the design and development of software-intensive systems. This research could be conducted according to the traditions of either human-computer interaction or software engineering, and could focus, in particular, on:

  • Tools and techniques for stimulating creative inputs into the software development process
  • Processes and tools supporting the exploitation of creative results in the context of software development
  • Theoretical perspectives on the role of creativity in software design and development
  • Mobile search and browsing technologies
  • Improving user interaction with digital documents
  • Bridging between physical and digital information
  • Assisting users make effective decisions about the quality of documents

Dr Simone Stumpf is interested in supervising research about how people interact with intelligent system and intelligent user interfaces, focusing on:

  • Explanations of intelligent system behaviour and reasoning
  • End-user Programming of intelligent systems, especially Programming-by-demonstration and Programming-by-Example
  • Intelligent web mashups
  • Personal Information Management supported by intelligent approaches

Teaching

The Centre offers a MSc in Human Centred Systems (HCS). This is a flexible course delivered in two modes, either as a full-time or a part-time course. 

This course balances theory and practice of Interaction Design. We have a limited number of places on the course to ensure a staff-student ratio that can enable high-quality tuition and teaching. Upon graduation, you will be equipped for careers as usability and accessibility specialists, interaction designers and information architects. The course is also excellent preparation for doctoral (PhD) study.

Centre staff teaching on this course:

Featured Student Projects

We conduct studies of individual and collaborative interactions in challenging fields ranging from healthcare, intelligent systems to computer games, develop and apply theoretical approaches to modelling work, design and prototype innovative interfaces and investigate and develop usability evaluation techniques.

Featured project: S-CUBE - Software Services & Systems Network

  • Sonali D'Souza undertook ethnographic and creative design work in residential care homes to understand the potential roles for and barriers to technology use in such environments. Based on observed patterns of care work, she held co-design workshops with carers to explore and role-play new uses of mobile technologies in residential care. Emerging design concepts were storyboarded and wire framed.
  • Sonali D'Souza undertook ethnographic and creative design work in residential care homes to understand the potential roles for and barriers to technology use in such environments. Based on observed patterns of care work, she held co-design workshops with carers to explore and role-play new uses of mobile technologies in residential care. Emerging design concepts were storyboarded and wire framed.
  • Bianca Hollis conceived of and ran new forms of creativity workshops in agile development projects at the BBC. She piloted targeted creativity techniques in workshops to explore their effectiveness on epic and user story generation, and applied statistical analyses to reveal that creativity techniques used in short workshops were associated with outcomes ranked as significantly more novel by a pool of independent domain experts.
  • Booth T, Stumpf S (2013) End-User Experiences of Visual and Textual Programming Environments for Arduino. International Symposium on End-User Development (IS-EUD), Copenhagen, Denmark, 10-13 June 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-38706-7_4. This publication by Tracey Booth resulted from a project conducting detailed interviews and observations of users attempting to program a simple Arduino prototype using a visual programming environment and well as a textual programming environment and analysing the results using a qualitative approach. It was presented by the student at a conference attended by high-profile researchers in end-user programming and development.
  • Loumakis F, Stumpf S, Grayson D. (2011) This image smells good: Effects of image information scent in search engine results pages, ACM Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM), Glasgow, 24th-28 October 2011. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2063576.2063649. This project by Faidon Loumakis investigated how the relevance of images contributed to the efficacy, efficiency and satisfaction of search engine results pages (SERPs). Faidon carried out two user studies; in the first he collected relevance ratings of images by users and then in the second he tested SERP prototypes using different images. He presented this paper at a prestigious ACM-sponsored conference which typically only accepts 15% of submissions.
  • Maiden N.A.M., D'Souza S., Jones S., Muller L., Panesse L., Pitts K., Prilla M., Pudney K., Rose M., Turner I. & Zachos K., 2013, 'Computing Technologies for Reflective and Creative Care for People with Dementia', to appear in Communications of the ACM, November 2013.

Featured Student Profiles

Consultancy & Business Services

Building on our strong research and teaching, we have up-to-date expertise on developing systems involving people and technology which we can translate to business contexts. We have a state-of-the-art usability lab available for hire and for use as part of our consultancy projects. Our Centre staff also have expertise in innovative technologies such as mobiles, multi-touch interfaces and intelligent systems, and we work in domains such as healthcare and privacy - we are happy to discuss your needs!

We strive to develop deep, honest and trusting relationship with our clients and partners - indeed we see our 'consultancy' work more of a two-way collaboration where we both learn throughout the project. Our work broadly fits into two categories:

Our specialities

Usability and Accessibility

Contact: Stuart Norman, Email: Stuart.Norman.2@city.ac.uk, Phone: +44 (0)20 7040 3087

Also see the Interaction lab for further details.

Usability means increased effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction by the user. These users could be your customers, your employers, your constituents. Too often, especially in government and large businesses, training is used as a costly substitute for usability, and almost as often it fails to meet its goals. Over the years our staff have worked in a range of sectors including finance, retail, telecommunications, government, and charities.

How we can help you get usability right:

  • developing a usability or user interface strategy and integrating it with your project plan;
  • gathering requirements from your users using a range of user research techniques;
  • produce the information architecture and conceptual design ;
  • prototyping user interface designs and draw wireframes;
  • get early feedback from users and other project stakeholders;
  • supporting you through the implementation phases ;
  • evaluating your systems or projects (against guidelines, standards or with your target users) to expose key those problems that are preventing users or customers from doing their work or using your products;
  • providing specialised training to your staff in all aspects of user interface development.

Inclusive design and accessibility

In addition, a significant proportion of your customers or users may have problems using your products or services through some sort of disability. These disabilities include dyslexia, visual impairments, deafness, physical handicaps. Designing 'accessible' software, products and services makes business and ethical sense. In addition, there is a legal obligation to make products and services accessible to people with disabilities.

Drawing on our expertise we can:

  • advise you how to 'design for all ' - how to set up a project to ensure that accessibility is a key goal from the beginning and an achievement at the end;
  • gather information from disabled users to inform your designs and technical specifications;
  • prototype user interface designs with accessibility as a key criterion and get early feedback from disabled users;
  • deal with accessibility issues and queries from developers as they arise during development;
  • evaluate your current systems against international standards and guidelines to determine how well your current systems comply;
  • evaluate designs and systems with disabled users - using their assistive technologies - to expose accessibility problems and make concrete recommendations on how to overcome them;
  • train your development staff to 'Design for all'.

Requirements Engineering

City Requirements offers advanced consultancy services for your requirements activities, with particular support for socio-technical systems that involve the specification of human and computer-based activities.

Our services include:

• Acquiring requirements from stakeholders;
• Inventing requirements using creativity workshops, techniques and tools;
• Running requirements workshops;
• Discovering requirements by walking through scenarios;
• Writing measurable requirements that are testable;
• Modelling system goals and goal trade-offs;
• Specifying requirements using UML use cases;
• Validating specified requirements using scenarios;
• Managing different groups of stakeholders;
• Producing requirements documents and specifications;
• Online project support for requirements activities;
• Requirements training courses;
• Tailoring requirements processes to your project.

Resources

• RESCUE - a process for specifying requirements of socio-technical systems;
• ART-SCENE - a tool for automatically generating scenarios from use case specifications and walking through scenarios to discover requirements;
• CRIS - a tool that supports creative thinking and invention of new requirements;
• REDEPEND - a tool for system-wide goal modelling and analysis;
• UCaRE - a web-based tool for online specification of requirements and use cases;
• EDDiE - for retrieving web services that satisfy specified requirements;
• AnTiQue - a tool for retrieving web services that are analogical to specified requirements.
Consulting Collaborations
• The Atlantic Systems Guild
• Ian Alexander Consultancy

Past projects

• CORA-2 - Requirement specification for en-route conflict resolution assistant: client was Eurocontrol;
DMAN - Requirement specification for departure management system for major European airports: client was Eurocontrol;
• MSP - Requirement specification for multi-sector planning for route-to-route flight management in European airspace: client was Eurocontrol;
EASM - Requirement specification for enhanced airspace management in UK airspace: client was NATS;
VANTAGE - Requirements specification for airport operations to minimize environmental impact at Belfast City Airport: client was UK Department of Trade and Industry;
APOSDLE - Requirement specification for work-integrated learning systems; client was European Commission;
TRACEBACK - Requirement specification for Europe-wide food information traceability systems: client was European Commission;
• CAIT - Analysis of new software for airspace infringement detection on safety-related system goals; client was NATS;
• Engine control systems - Pilot requirements process to discover requirements for engine control systems: client was Rolls Royce.

Requirements staff

Our requirements staff have extensive experience in requirements work, and include:
Neil Maiden
Sara Jones
Kristine Karlsen
James Lockerbie
Konstantinos Zachos

Consultancy options

Consultancy support is available for short activities lasting 1 or 2 days, such as a requirements workshop, and for longer activities such as supporting the complete requirements process for a project.

Contact details

Prof Neil Maiden
Centre for HCI Design
City University London
Northampton Square
London EC1V 0HB, UK
Tel: +44-20-7040-8412
Fax: +44-20-7040-8859
E-mail: N.A.M.Maiden@city.ac.uk

Software Tools

  • ART-SCENE: A web-based environment for walking through enhanced
    scenarios to discover and document requirements for software-based
    systems, as well as inventing requirements with support for creative
    thinking
  • UCaRE/EDDiE: A web-based environment for discovering web services
    compliant with use cases and requirements specified in styles
    compatible with mainstream requirements and UML processes.
    UCaRE/EDDiE has been developed as part of the EU-funded SeCSE project
  • REDEPEND: A graphical modelling tool for creating and analysing goal models for complex socio-technical systems using the i* approach. It extends the standard Microsoft Visio 2003 application with new diagramming and model checking features.

What we're working on…

A Virtual world for people with aphasia

The EVA project is investigating whether involvement in EVA Park, a tailor-made virtual world, benefits the communication skills of people with aphasia and reduces any feelings of social isolation they may have. It is also exploring the accessibility and usability of virtual worlds for people with aphasia.

S-Cube, no idea what this project is about, web content is poor.

S-Cube, the European Network of Excellence in Software Services and Systems, has established an integrated, multidisciplinary, vibrant research community, enabling Europe to lead the software-services revolution and helping shape the software-service based Internet which is the backbone of our future interactive society.

Mirror Project

The focus of 'Mirror' is the creation of an easily used set of applications ('Mirror' apps), that enable employees to learn lessons from their own and others experiences to perform better in the future.

Contact

We're in the heart of East London Tech City, the biggest computing technology community outside of Silcon Valley. We focus on our relationships with partners in industry and the professional world of technology, business, government, arts and heritage.

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Postal Address

City University London, Northampton Square, London, EC1V 0HB.