Professor Ann Blandford
Professor of Human–Computer Interaction
Location: Room 8.22
University College London
Telephone: +44 20 7679 0688 (x 30688)
Blog: HCI Sense & Safety
- Presenting the Donald Broadbent Lecture at EHF 2013.
- Vice Chair of IFIP Working Group 2.7/13.4.
- Member of the EPSRC College.
- Visiting Professor at Swansea University and Middlesex University.
- Member of the EU COST Action "TWINTIDE", the Cumberland Initiative, and SPIRES (Supporting People who Investigate Research Environments and Spaces).
- On the editorial board of Health Informatics Journal.
- Associate Chair for CHI 2013 and ICHI 2013.
Videos and other resources
- Presented Lunch Hour Lecture on human error and device design (UCL, Nov 2011). It's now available on YouTube.
- Presented Pecha Kucha talk on serendipity (UCL, Feb 2012). Available on YouTube.
- Wrote book with Simon Attfield on 'Interacting with Information'.
- Wrote invited commentary on Usability Evaluation for the Interaction-Design.org encyclopaedia.
- Blog HCI Sense & Safety gets new additions every week or two...
I am Professor of
Human–Computer Interaction in the Department of Computer Science at UCL,
and a member of UCL Interaction Centre (UCLIC, jointly supported by the
of Computer Science and the Division of Psychology and Language
Sciences). I was Director of UCLIC 2004-2011.
My first degree is in Mathematics, from Cambridge University, and my PhD
is in Artificial
Intelligence and Education, from the Open University. I started my
industry as a software engineer, followed by a period managing the
Computer Assisted Teaching Unit at QMUL. I gradually developed a focus
on the use
and usability of computer systems. In 1991, I joined the Applied
Unit in Cambridge as a research scientist, working on the AMODEUS project. I moved to Middlesex University,
initially as a lecturer, and subsequently as Professor and Director of
Research in Computing Science. I moved to UCL as a
Senior Lecturer in 2002 and became a professor (again) in 2005.
I have been technical programme chair for IHM-HCI 2001, HCI 2006, DSVIS 2006 and NordiCHI2010. I chaired AISB (1997-1999), and was a member of the EPSRC Information and Communications Technologies Strategic Advisory Team (2004-2008). I am a Fellow of the BCS and a member of UKCRC.
My funded work is on evaluating complex systems "in the wild", whether
to human error or the use of information within the working
context. I take a pragmatic approach to developing and applying theory
in practice, recognising and working with the inherent "messiness" of
the real world. I am currently UCL Principal Investigator for the
following funded projects:
Healthy Interactive Systems in Healthcare (EPRSC Platform Grant).
SerenA: The Serendipity Arena (EPSRC sandpit project).
INKE: Implementing New Knowledge Environments (SSHRC Major Collaborative Research Initiatives Program).
UKVAC: the UK Visual Analytics Consortium, making sense of big data through visualisations.
CHAPTER: MRC e-Health Informatics Translational Research Centre.
UBIHealth: Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme.
- Keynote speaker at ISIC 2012.
- Associate Chair for CHI 2012 and IHI 2012.
- Chair of the CPHC/BCS Distinguished Dissertations panel (2010 & 2011).
- Invited lecturer at DEVISE II Doctoral Training School, 31st October 2011.
- Chaired Visual Analytics Workshop 2011 at UCL.
- Co-chaired workshop on serendipity at Interact 2011.
- Talked at UCL e-Health symposium, 22nd November 2011.
I have led or participated in various funded research projects. My research has all
been broadly in the area of evaluating complex systems. Within this, there are several (ongoing, overlapping) themes:
Methods for evaluating interactive systems
- The CASSM method focuses on the conceptual fit between user and system; a tutorial and the Cassata support tool are available from the CASSM website.
- DiCoT is an approach to evaluating small team interactions in terms of Distributed Cognition.
- We have done a little work on Evaluating Multimodal Usability (EMU), e.g. evaluating a satnav system.
- CASSM and EMU both built, to some extent, on Programmable User Modelling (PUMA), an approach which turned out to be too costly relative to its benefits.
- PRET A Rapporter isn't a method as such, but a structured approach to planning any evaluation study. Sorry we've only reported on it in the context of information systems so far!
- As well as developing methods, we have tried to evaluate them; for example we tested the scope of various methods.
- We have also reflected on what it takes to develop and test a new method.
Interacting with information
- See our Synthesis Lecture, for an overview of much of our work on interacting with information, and in particular the "information journey".
- Our forthcoming paper on sensemaking summarises our work with lawyers.
- Ongoing work is studying the nature of serendipity (through the SerenA project) and how to design to support sensemaking, particularly through visual analytics.
Designing safe, usable systems for healthcare
- Our ongoing work on CHI+MED is focusing on human factors for medical devices, with a particular concern with error and resilience.
- Earlier work investigated the use of information technologies by clinicians, e.g. the role of communities of practice in take-up and use, design of an awareness server, and requirements on time management tools.
- I am interested in how patients make sense of information pertinent to their health, but have only conducted pilot studies on this so far...
Human error and resilience in interactive systems
- We have conducted many studies on cognitive slips, such as that reported by Li et al. The focus of this work, currently being supported through CHI+MED, is on understanding how the design of interactive systems provokes or mitigates slips.
- Conversely, we are also studying how individuals and organisations develop resilient strategies, and how technology supports this. For example, we conducted studies in control rooms, and have developed a preliminary resilience markers framework.
Applying and developing theory in practical contexts
- As well as the work on resilience, error, communities of practice, sensemaking, serendipity, etc., we have investigated emergency medical dispatch from the perspectives of situation awareness and distributed cognition.
Currently funded projects:
CHI+MED: Computer–Human Interaction for Medical Devices (EPSRC Programme Grant).
Healthy Interactive Systems in Healthcare (EPRSC Platform Grant).
SerenA: The Serendipity Arena (EPSRC sandpit project).
INKE: Implementing New Knowledge Environments (SSHRCC).
Making Sense of Information (with John Dowell, Simon Attfield & Stephen de Gabrielle)
Human Error Modelling (HUM) (with Paul Curzon, Jonathan Back, Dominic Furniss, George Papatzanis & Rimvydas Ruksenas)
User Centred Interactive Search with Digital Libraries (with Claire Warwick, George Buchanan, Jeremy Gow, Jon Rimmer & William Newman)
Co-evolving roles and responsibilities in the NHS (with Anne Adams & Peter Lunt)
Concept-based Analysis of Surface and Structural Misfits (CASSM – formerly OSM) (with Thomas Green & Iain Connell)
Learning from Organisations Using Information Systems (with Henry Potts, David Patterson, Justin Keen, Chris Martin, Jackie Nicholls & Tracy Denby)
Interaction Modelling for the Design of Digital Libraries (with Harold Thimbleby, Hanna Stelmaszewska, George Buchanan, Ian Witten, David Bainbridge)
Usability evaluation tools for digital libraries (with Bob Fields & Suzette Keith)
Programmable User Modelling Applications (with Richard Butterworth, Richard Young & Paul Curzon)
My teaching materials for the MSc HCI-E are now available to current students via Moodle. For prospective students, information about the course is available here. I teach Usability Evaluation Methods and Organisational Informatics on the MSc HCI-E.
The main information
on MSc projects is available from Moodle. I am particularly interested in supervising projects that:
- relate directly to my funded research projects,
- improve our understanding of interactive phenomena, or
- develop or study methods for reasoning about those phenomena.
I usually study activities that are work-related (in contrast to entertainment or learning activities), and have a particular interest in health.
Projects supervised by me that have been awarded a Distinction include:
- Dantonio, Laura (2010) Reciprocity and investment: The role of social media in fostering serendipity
- O'Connor, Liam (2010) Workarounds in Accident and Emergency & Intensive Therapy Departments: Resilience, Creation and Consequences
- Rajkomar, Atish (2010) Extending Distributed Cognition Analysis for Complex Work Settings: A Case Study of Infusion Pumps in the Intensive Care Unit – awarded the John Long Prize for an outstanding research dissertation
- King, Ashton (2009) Goalchase: A motivation-driven design and evaluation framework for interactive systems – awarded the John Long Prize for an outstanding research dissertation
- Moore, Lisa (2009) At your leisure: Assessing ebook reader functionality and interactivity
- Kollmann, Johanna (2008) Designing the user experience in an agile context
- Tam, Phyllis (2008) UrbanBuzz: Evaluation of a niche professional social networking site
- Webb, Philip (2008) Extending a distributed cognition framework: The evolution and social organisation of line control – awarded the John Long Prize for an outstanding research dissertation
- Atkinson, Elizabeth (2007) Web analytics and think aloud studies in web evaluation: understanding user experience
- Ioannidis, Antonios (2007) Do you read me? An investigation into how expert users respond to dialogue boxes
- Kelley, Kimberley (2007) An exploration of internal cues to reduce omission errors in a procedural task – awarded the John Long Prize for an outstanding research dissertation
- Perera, Mickela (2006) Human error in context
- Smith, Penelope (2006) Trust, flow and pleasure: an ethnographic study of London Underground control rooms
Journal and conference publications that are based on MSc dissertations include:
- Hiltz, K., Back, J., Blandford, A. (2010). The roles of conceptual device models and user goals in avoiding device initialization errors. Interacting with Computers. 22.5. 363-374. [DOI link]
- Kollmann, J., Sharp, H., Blandford, A.(2009) The importance of Identity and Vision to user experience designers on agile projects. Agile 2009, 11-18. [DOI link]
- Smith, P., Blandford, A., Back, J.(2008). Questioning, exploring, narrating and playing in the control room to maintain system safety.Cognition, Technology and Work . ISSN: 1435-5558 [DOI link]
- Fleet, L., Blandford, A.(2005). Requirements of Time Management Tools for Outpatient Physiotherapy Practice. Health Informatics Journal 11, 179-199.[Eprint]
- Furniss,D., Blandford,A.(2006). Understanding Emergency Medical Dispatch in terms of Distributed Cognition: a case study.Ergonomics 49(12 & 13), 1174-1203. ISSN: 0014-0139 [Eprint] [DOI link]
- Makri,S., Blandford,A., Gow,J., Rimmer,J., Warwick,C.Buchanan,G.(2007). A library or just another information resource? A case study of users' mental models of traditional and digital libraries.Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 58(3), 433-445. ISSN: 1532-2882 [Eprint] [DOI link]
Current Research Associates
Alexandra Eveleigh - studying crowdsourcing for digital archives (cross-disciplinary exchange from Department of Information Studies)
Sarah Faisal - working on visual analytics and sensemaking
Dr Dominic Furniss - working on the CHI+MED project, studying the situated use
of medical devices, how errors occur and how they are avoided
Dr Stephann Makri - working on the SerenA project, studying people's experiences of serendipity and how to design to facilitate it
Dr Sheila Pontis - working on the UKVAC project, studying sensemaking with large datasets
Dr Chris Vincent - working on the CHI+MED project, studying the practices of developers, procurers and policy-makers, with a view to providing tools that will help them
Current PhD/EngD Students
Paul Noble - tools for developers to understand human error
Aisling O'Kane - trust in medical devices
Katie Parker - situational and emotional factors in financial decision making
Atish Rajkomar - studying the use of medical devices by lay people in their homes
Sarah Renouf - behavior change and internet interventions in healthcare
Elena Simaitiene - games for behavioural change in finance
Amirrudin Kamsin - understanding people's to-do management behaviours and requirements for tools to support these behaviours
Kathy Stawarz - medication adherence
Ian Thurlow (EngD, Adastral Park) - providing better access to information in
David Thompson (EngD, NATS) - developing and testing behavioural markers for
assessing the expertise of air traffic controllers migrating to new systems
Huayi Huang (QMUL) - analysing incidents with medical systems.
Former Research Associates
Dr Richard Butterworth
Dr Iain Connell
Ms Suzette Keith
Former PhD Students (Graduated)
Ament - studying the role of task structure in provoking or mitigating
George Buchanan- spatial hypertext and digital libraries
Abdigani Diriye - investigating how digital library interfaces can better support exploratory search
Sarah Faisal - interacting with information visualisation of academic literature
Dominic Furniss - usability evaluation in design practice
Kostas Giannakis - graphical techniques for describing sounds
Stephen Hassard - design fixation and design decision making
Becky Hill - domain modelling for major incident planning
Jo Hyde - usability of multimodal systems
Simon Li - cognitive modelling of prospective memory errors
Stephann Makri - lawyers' information behaviours
George Papatzanis - evaluation of multimodal in-car systems
Cecile Rigny - executable user models
Serengul Smith - machine learning for user modelling in hypertext navigation
Hanna Stelmaszewska - photo sharing with camera phones
Suziah Sulaiman - usability of haptic interfaces
Haiyan Xiong - machine assisted proof
I work with both commercial and public organisations
to better understand how technology is used, and how it can be designed
and deployed to improve use. There are various ways of working with business and the public sector. The following are illustrative examples.In the ongoing CHI+MED programme,
we are working with manufacturers of interactive medical devices to
understand their needs and practices, with a view to providing tools
that support them in designing more usable (safer) systems. We are also
working with policy organisations such as the National Patient Safety Agency to improve safety through usability, and with various NHS Trusts looking at procurement, deployment and training issues.
With Lexis Nexis UK, I completed a series of consultancy projects, supported by Simon Attfield and Stephann Makri. We worked with them (using an "apprenticeship" model) to gather rich user data from their customers, jointly analysing that data to develop use cases and personas that have been used in subsequent development work within the company. We delivered training workshops on how journalists and lawyers work with information (particularly their products), and on how to evaluate their products from a Human Factors perspective. This work had three important outcomes:
- A set of use cases and personas that have been used in subsequent development work.
- Enhanced skills of the Human Factors team and their colleagues, expanding their repertoire of techniques for designing and evaluating their systems.
- Improved dialogue with key customers about their practices and requirements.
In an earlier research project studying the work of Emergency Medical Dispatchers at London Ambulance Service,
we highlighted some "quick fixes" that would make their systems more
efficient, as well as longer term design possibilities. For example, we
identified key information that should be displayed on the "overview"
screen; this design change substantially reduced the number of times
staff had to flick between screens to get the information they needed,
and was greatly welcomed by staff in the control room.
I have also worked with law firms, newspapers, e-commerce organisations, London Underground, BT, NATS, and the British Library. These have included organisations hosting MSc projects, organising workshops, working jointly on research projects, and providing consultancy services.
Page last modified on 12 apr 13 15:05 by Rowanne Fleck