Fully-funded PhD scholarship in user experience design

Applications are sought from passionate, creative and outgoing students interested in using their skills and interests in tabletop gaming in application to research in computer science, Human Computer Interaction, and User Experience design. This exciting PhD project will see the worlds of TTRPG and computing coincide to produce meaningful interactions to support the design, development and deployment of technology, whether from the software level, or at the pipeline level in support of those who will become developers and designers.

Tabletop Role Playing Games (TTRPG) allow the player to immerse themselves in a world where anything can happen — within the rules. You can become someone new, fight demons, play out exciting and speculative storylines, all with the help of your party. This ability to place yourself in the life of another person (or ethereal being) resonates with principles of User Experience Design (UX) where usability experts strive to understand the impact their application or interface might have on a hypothetical audience. There is also the potential for this technique to be used in computer science education, to enable students to explore real world design and programming processes, and the ethical challenges that ensue with the creation of new software and hardware.

The difficulty in eliciting requirements from users, especially users with complex interaction needs, is well-established in literature (Ferreira et al., 2019; Heumader et al., 2018; Pacheco et al., 2018). The process is one that is primarily an ongoing act of interpretation in which user ‘wants’ are translated from interviews, observation, focus groups and such into actionable ‘needs’ that can then be addressed in further design and development. The literature thus makes a distinction between ‘gathering’ requirements – as in collecting together feedback – versus ‘eliciting’ requirements, which is a a more participatory form of ongoing interpretation. As noted by Pacheco et al. the process is highly contextual and its complexities are influenced by everything from the project, the organisation, the environment, and the prior-experiences and skill-sets of all involved parties. It is also dependent on the requirements elicitation techniques employed.
Continue reading

PhD viva success: Julian Petford

Congratulations to Julian Petford, who successfully defended his thesis today. He is pictured with internal examiner Professor Aaron Quigley and external examiner Dr Jason Alexander, from Lancaster University. Julian’s PhD research in Full Coverage Displays for Non-Immersive Applications was supervised by Dr Miguel Nacenta.

Image courtesy of Wendy Boyter

PhD Viva Success: Michael Mauderer

Belated congratulations to Michael Mauderer, who successfully defended his thesis earlier this month. Micheal’s thesis, augmenting visual perception with gaze-contigent displays, was supervised by Dr Miguel Nacenta. Professor Aaron Quigley acted as internal examiner and Professor Hans Gellersen, from Lancaster University acted as external examiner.


Thursday Seminar from Japan – Prof. Yoshifumi Kitamura – Interactive Content Design and 3D Interactions

Date: 2014-11-13
Time: 14:00 to 15:00
Location: Maths Lecture Theatre A, North Haugh, University of St Andrews.

Title: Interactive Content Design and 3D Interactions

Abstract: Good media content has the power to enrich our lives. We focus on non-traditional content other than movies, music and games, conducting comprehensive research on a variety of interactive content which creates new value through interactions with humans. In this talk I will introduce a series of my group’s recent research projects involving technologies for interactive content design and 3D interactions.
Web: http://www.icd.riec.tohoku.ac.jp/index-e.html

Bio: Yoshifumi Kitamura is a Professor at Research Institute of Electrical Communication, Tohoku University. He received the B.Sc., M.Sc. and PhD. degrees in Engineering from Osaka University in 1985, 1987 and 1996, respectively. Prior to Tohoku University, he was an Associate Professor at Graduate School of Engineering and  Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Osaka University (1997-2010), and before that he was a researcher at ATR Communication Systems Research Laboratories (1992-1996) and Canon Inc. (1987-1992).

Event details

  • When: 13th November 2014 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Maths Theatre A
  • Format: Seminar, Symposium, Talk

Ae Fond Farewell: Per Ola Kristensson

As we start a new semester, we take time to reflect on those moving on to new ventures and wish colleague and friend, Per Ola Kristensson every success in his new post in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge.

During his time in the School he had many successes and viewed St Andrews as an “incredibly stimulating and vivid research environment.”

Describing the School and SACHI as “friendly and supportive” he underlined the school’s commitment to ensuring teaching and research is of “the highest calibre.”

Describing the students he worked with as “fantastic” and a pleasure to supervise, he explained that some of their dissertations had lead to scientific publications.

His final reflection:

Looking back, these years I have spent in St Andrews have helped me develop as a researcher and a teacher and I will remember my years here fondly.

We wish him continued success and look forward to seeing him in the very near future. You can read more about his research on the SACHI blog.

Dr Gordon Baxter appointed Scottish Chair of BCS Interaction Group

Dr Gordon Baxter has recently been appointed as the chair of the Scottish regional sub-group of the BCS Interaction Group. The BCS Interaction Group celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, and is the longest established and largest national group in Europe devoted to human-computer interaction. The Interaction group is served by regionally based sub-groups with representatives from a broad range of academic and industrial centres of HCI interest. These sub-groups meet informally every few weeks to progress work, and all participants are committed to promoting the education and practice of HCI and to supporting HCI people in industry and academia.

Dr. Per Ola Kristensson awarded RSE/Makdougall Brisbane Medal

In recognition of academic excellence for his outstanding research work and entrepreneurialism Dr. Per Ola Kristensson is amongst the most outstanding academic talent documented by The Royal Society in their Royal Prizewinners list for 2014, announced today. The Prize was founded in 1855 by Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane, for particular distinction in the promotion of scientific research.

In 2013 Per Ola Kristensson was named as one of the people most likely to change the world by the prestigious MIT Technology Review’s list of Innovators under 35. Described as visionary he appears at number 11 in IMPACT 100.


People like Per Ola Kristensson are the shapers of the future where social interaction and new technology are concerned.

His research interconnects human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence and machine learning allowing intelligent interactive systems to be developed, that enable people to be more creative, expressive and satisfied in their daily lives. Dr. Kristensson also works in the areas of multi-display systems, eye-tracking systems, and crowdsourcing and human computation.

He is a Lecturer in the School of Computer Science, a member of the SACHI research group and is also a Member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland.

Professor Aaron Quigley, Chair of HCI in the School of Computer Science responded:

We are all delighted at the rightful recognition of Per Ola and his world-leading achievements. Last year he was the only UK member of the TR35, the most prestigious annual list published by MIT Technology Review. And now the Royal Society of Edinburgh has recognised his research. Per Ola is an excellent colleague who brings real enthusiasm, insight and dedication to whatever he does. Be it supervising an honours student, teaching, leadership in SICSA or working with industry. His work in intelligent interactive systems is laying the ground work for how the world will interact with computation in the future.

MSc in Human Computer Interaction

Students undertaking CS5042 User Centred Interaction Design are pictured prototyping their design ideas during creative thinking, and hands-on sessions in the Morrison Suite.

The module delivered by Miguel Nacenta is a compulsory element for students studying on our new MSc in Human Computer Interaction, a popular addition to our MSc Portfolio.

Images courtesy of Miguel Nacenta

Honorary Professor John Stasko

Dean Dearle, Professor Quigley with Professor StaskoProfessor John Stasko and the Associate Chair of the School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech has been appointed as an Honorary Professor in the School of Computer Science. This appointment comes following a SICSA distinguished visiting fellowship John was awarded. This fellowship allowed John to participate in the SACHI/Big Data Lab summer school in Big Data Information Visulisation in St Andrews. This industry linked summer school has successful paved the way for a new generation of students to explore Data Science and Information Visualisation.
Professor Stasko at the Big Data Info Vis Summer School 2013
John is a newly elected fellow of the IEEE for his contributions to information visualization, visual analytics and human-computer interaction. Professor Quigley who has known John for the past 14 years and said, “I’m delighted John will join us a honorary Professor here in St Andrews. His world leading research and experience in Information Visualisation will be of great benefit to our staff, students and colleagues across the University. I first met John when I was a PhD student and organiser of a Software Visualisation conference we held in Sydney. Then, as now, his enthusiasm, breath of knowledge and desire to engage and work with others marks him out as a true intellectual thought leader. We hope to see John here regularly in the years ahead and we will be working with him on new projects.”