Research

Much of my current research focuses on designing and evaluating technologies aimed to reduce the user burdens associated with technologies for health and wellbeing and access technologies for people with disabilities. At the University of Washington, I am director of the Computing for Healthy Living and Learning (CHiLL) Lab. Please see the respective project pages linked below for each project to find associated researchers, publications, and downloads.

 

Research Projects

 

Baby Steps

Baby Steps

We are interested in designing technology to help detect, record, and track important developmental milestones that occur in children during their first 5 years of life. By tracking these milestones, we can help parents and healthcare providers detect developmental delays such as autism or deafness earlier, which can improve the effects of interventions. We have developed design guidelines for developing technology to support new parents in record-keeping and implementing novel technologies to support better record-keeping and decision-making about developmental progress. We have also designed and evaluated two systems called Baby Steps and KidCam, which were aimed to meet the record-keeping needs of new parents. We are currently in the process of developing a web portal with subsequent text messaging, Twitter, and Facebook links to help make tracking more interesting and motivating. Baby Steps has been published at CHI 2009, Pervasive 2009, IHI 2010, and PUC 2012. Baby Steps is funded by the National Science Foundation.

 

Eyes Free Yoga

Eyes-Free Yoga

We have designed and developed Eyes-Free Yoga on the Microsoft Kinect. It emulates a yoga instructor, teaches six yoga poses, and provides custom auditory-only feedback. After a player is guided into the pose by the game, they receive the custom feedback to improve their pose. We collaborated with ten yoga instructors through the design, development, and evaluation. We ran a study with 16 people who are blind or low vision. This work was published at ASSETS 2013.

 

Game Accessibility

Video Game Accessibility

A gap between the academic human-computer interaction community and the game development industry has led to games not being as thoroughly influenced by accessibility standards as most other facets of information and communication technology. As a result, individuals with disabilities are unable to fully, if at all, engage with many commercial games. We conducted a pair of complementary empirical studies intended to understand the current state of game accessibility in a grounded, real-world context and identify issues and barriers. The first study involved an online survey of 55 gamers with disabilities to elicit information about their play habits, experiences, and accessibility issues. The second study consisted of a series of semi-structured interviews with individuals from the game industry to better understand accessibility’s situation in their design and development processes. This work was published at ASSETS 2013.

 

PVT-Touch

PVT-Touch

 

The Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT) is a well-validated reaction time test used to assess a person's overall sleepiness. PVT has typically required a physical button to assess reaction time. When translating this application to mobile devices, a touchscreen version is useful for widespread use for in situ sleep assessments. PVT-Touch is a touchscreen version of PVT implemented on Android. We have evaluated four different touchscreen input techniques for PVT and found that for smartphone users, the familiar touch down technique is comparable to the physical button used in traditional PVT for several measures associated with sleepiness and was preferred by a majority of participants. We have also conducted an initial validation study of PVT-Touch against PVT-192, finding a high correlation in scores (r=0.902). PVT-Touch was published at Pervasive Health 2013 and presented at SLEEP 2013.

 
Empathy in Health Technologies

Empathy in Health Technologies

Many projects in HCI focus on health care and data collection, including those that help might diagnose or identify different disorders or communicate health information. One danger of this is the potential for these technologies to cause unnecessary fear and anxiety in its users over their health or the health of their loved ones. We are exploring ways that technology can be designed to be more empathic and sensitive to the prospect of delivering potentially negative health care information, and in particular, technology that may potentially identify bad news of a diagnosis. This work was presented at Design & Emotion 2010.

 

Design Libs

Design Libs

As technology takes an increasingly personal role in the user’s life, gaining their insight during ideation has become increasingly valuable. Unfortunately, engaging with users, especially in the ideation process, often requires significant planning, time, and resources that may be difficult on projects with limited budgets. This suggests that more lightweight methods for generating ideas with users are needed. To help address this need, we developed a new design method we call “DesignLibs,” inspired by the children’s game Mad Libs™. DesignLibs helps designers generate new ideas rapidly and easily while still involving users by combining the storytelling aspects of scenarios, but leaving aspects of the scenario to be filled in by the user. We developed and evaluated three different formats for DesignLibs. This work was published at CHI 2013.

 

Lullaby

Lullaby is a system designed to help users improve the quality of their sleep by monitoring environmental factors that disrupt sleep (currently light, sound, temperature, and motion) along with sleep quality itself (using commercial sleep trackers like the Fitbit) and providing feedback. To be practical for deployment into bedrooms, it is designed to be unobtrusive and inexpensive. It aims to respect users’ privacy in this sensitive context by providing them with the ability to selectively disable data collection and to review and delete collected data. Lullaby helps users identify relationships between sleep disruptions and environmental factors; in the future, we plan for Lullaby to give concrete recommendations for addressing identified sleep disruptors. Lullaby consists of four components: the sensor suite, the data collection computer, a sleep tracking device, and a tablet interface for control and feedback. We conducted evaluations of this technology, and the work was published at UbiComp 2012, where it was awarded Best Paper. Lullaby was funded by the UW Royalty Research Fund, Intel Labs Seattle, and an NSERC PhD fellowship.

 

Sensing & Inference in the Home

We have conducted several studies to understand the acceptability of sensing and inference systems in the home. The first study used an anonymous postcard and surveys to understand and characterize the private moments that occur in the home that participants would not want recorded. The second study used sensor proxies to probe people's responses in situ to sensing and inference systems. This work was published at UbiComp 2012, where it was nominated for best paper. This work was funded by Intel Labs Seattle.

 

ShutEye

ShutEye

ShutEye is a research application that was developed by the University of Washington and Intel Labs Seattle for Android-based mobile phones. The intent of ShutEye is to help improve people's awareness about healthy sleep hygiene—that is, the practices that are believed to promote improved quality of sleep. A glanceable display on the wallpaper of a person's mobile phone provides recommendations about common activities that are known to impact sleep relative to sleep and wake times: consuming caffeine, napping, exercising, eating heavy meals, consuming alcohol, ingesting nicotine, and relaxing. For example, a person can quickly glance at his or her phone to see if having a cup of coffee or doing vigorous exercise right now is likely to impact tonight's sleep. ShutEye was evaluated in a 4-week field study with 12 participants who were recruited from the general population. This work was published at CHI 2012 and was funded by Intel Labs Seattle.

 

Sleep Technology Design Space

Sleep Technologies Design Space

We are investigating the design space for the use of technologies to support health sleep behavior. As part of this research, we conducted a large survey, interviews with 16 participants, and a contextual inquiry with a sleep disorders center. We determined a number of design opportunities and challenges for working in this space. To help map out the space of existing and future computing technologies for supporting healthy sleep, we developed a framework that can be used to organize existing technologies and look for opportunities to design new ones. This work was published at CHI 2011.

 

Heuristic Evaluation of Persuasive Health Technologies

Persuasive technologies for promoting physical fitness, good nutrition, and other healthy behaviors have been growing in popularity. Despite their appeal, the evaluation of these technologies remains a challenge and typically requires a fully functional prototype and long-term deployment. In this project, we attempt to help bridge this gap by presenting a method for using heuristic evaluation to evaluate persuasive technologies. We developed a set of 10 heuristics intended to find problems in persuasive technologies that would affect persuasive elements, adoption, or long-term effectiveness of the technologies. We compared the performance of Nielsen's heuristics to our heuristics on two persuasive technologies using 10 different evaluators. Using our heuristics, evaluators found more severe problems more frequently. In addition, the issues that found only by our heuristics were more severe and more relevant to persuasive, cultural, and informational issues of the interfaces evaluated. Our method can be helpful in finding problems in persuasive technologies for promoting healthy behaviors earlier in the design process. This work was published at IHI 2010.

 

Personality & Persuasive Technology

Though a variety of persuasive health applications have been designed with a preventive standpoint toward diseases in mind, many have been designed largely for a general audience. Designers of these technologies may achieve more success if applications consider an individual’s personality type. Our goal for this research was to explore the relationship between personality and persuasive technologies in the context of health-promoting mobile applications. We conducted an online survey with 240 participants using storyboards depicting eight different persuasive strategies, the Big Five Inventory for personality domains, and questions on perceptions of the persuasive technologies. Our results and analysis revealed a number of significant relationships between personality and the persuasive technologies we evaluated. The findings from this study can guide the development of persuasive technologies that can cater to individual personalities to improve the likelihood of their success. This work was published at Persuasive 2010.

 

BuddyClock

BuddyClock

BuddyClock is a tool for helping promote awareness of sleep habits within a social network. Users of BuddyClock can share their sleeping status based on their alarm clock settings (e.g., awake, asleep, or snoozing) with other members of their group. We evaluated BuddyClock with 5 different social networks and found that it helped increase a sense of social awareness and connectedness, as well as an increased interest in tracking sleep habits over time. BuddyClock was published at CSCW 2008.

 

Abaris

Abaris

Abaris is a fully functioning prototype capture and access application to support therapists who perform Discrete Trial Training therapy, a current best practice intervention for children with autism. We have evaluated Abaris in homes and schools to determine its effectiveness in supporting data-based decision-making through better collaboration, better access to reliable artifacts, and higher confidence in decision-making. Abaris was published at Ubicomp 2004, Ubicomp 2005, and CSCW 2006.

 

FETCH

FETCH

FETCH is a mobile system for aiding the visually impaired in locating their misplaced objects in many locations. Through a focus group and individual interviews with the visually impaired, we discovered a need for a quick, temporary tagging system for frequently lost objects that can be used in many locations. We deployed this system with 4 users in visual impairments on a mobile phone using Bluetooth tags. This work was published at ASSETS 2006.

 

Proximity Study

Studying the Proximity of Users to Mobile Phones

Many Ubicomp and mobile applications being developed assume users alway have their phones nearby, but we suspect that this may not always be true. Thus, we empirically studyied the proximity of users to mobile devices to determine people's usage of mobile phones. We found that people do not keep their phones as close as they might expect. Our study was published at Ubicomp 2006. Our work was recently replicated by Anind Dey and his students at CMU to update the data for smart phones. They presented their findings at Ubicomp 2011.

 

Ambient Displays

While participating in the University of California, Berkeley's SUPERB program, I worked with Anind Dey, Jennifer Mankoff, and Scott Lederer on the design and evaluation of two types of ambient displays. These displays were called the Bus Mobile and Daylight Display and were intended to provide information to individuals in a windowless computer lab. These displays were later used as test examples for a project on the heuristic evaluation of ambient displays. This work was published at the CHI 2003 conference.