What influences our experience of information and communication technology? How might we ensure that information technology is usable, useful and satisfying to use? The Interaction Design Lab explores these and other questions by studying the design and use of digital technologies by people.
We work on all aspects of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), including User Experience (UX), Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp). We research, teach and are fascinated by issues arising from humans interacting with emerging technologies. What influences our experience of information and communication technology? How might we ensure that information technology is usable, useful and satisfying to use? The Interaction Design Lab explores these and other questions by studying the design and use of digital technologies by people. Our research methods are human-centric, focusing on technology-in-use by people, either in their natural settings or in our state-of-the-art usability lab. Our research covers a variety of contexts such as health, sustainability, education, public spaces, aged care, gaming, workplace and the home.
The Interaction Design Lab also hosts the Microsoft Centre for Social Natural User Interfaces (SocialNUI), a collaboration between the University of Melbourne, Microsoft Research and the Victorian Government. For more information about what we do, please contact:
|Mitchell Harrop||2015||PhD||Unwritten multiplayer-online-game rules informing game creation|
|Joji Mori||2015||PhD||Designing digital memorials: commemorating the Black Saturday Bushfires|
|Marcus Carter||2015||PhD||Treacherous Play in EVE Online|
|John Downs||2015||PhD||Audience experience in domestic videogaming|
|Ivo Widjaja||2014||PhD||Digital content and its discontents: interpretive flexibility during the use and implementation of enterprise content management systems|
|Ardis Cheng||2013||PhD||The Role of Visualisation for Understanding Complex Systems|
|Greg Wadley||2012||PhD||Voice in virtual worlds|
|Florian `Floyd' Mueller||2011||PhD||Designing Sports: Exertion Games|
|Bernd Ploderer||2011||PhD||Understanding Participation in Passion-Centric Social Network Sites|
|Anna Lee Anda||2011||MSc||Persuasive Technologies and a Youth Mental-Health Intervention Application|
|Kate Goodwin||2010||MSc||Copresence and Informal Interactions: Investigating Connections in Physical and Technological Settings|
|Connor Graham||2009||PhD||The Case for Mobile Trajectory: A Practical 'Theory' for Mobile Work|
|Tuck Wah Leong||2009||PhD||Understanding Serendipitous Experiences when Interacting with Personal Digital Content|
|Sofia Pardo||2009||PhD||Child-Base Evaluation of Educational Effectiveness: Broadening the Child/Designer Dyad|
|Sonja Pedell||2008||PhD||A Scenario-Based Technique for Representing Dynamic Use Context in Mobile System Design|
|Stephen Smith||2007||PhD||Online Vicarious-Experience: Using Technology to Help Consumers Evaluate Physical Products over the Internet|
|Jeni Paay||2006||PhD||Understanding Hybrid Digital/Built Environments|
|Jon Pearce||2005||PhD||An Investigation of Interactivity and Flow: Student Behaviour during Online Instruction|
|Frank Vetere||2002||PhD||Redundant Multimedia at the Human-Computer Interface|
Virtual Reality Therapy for Youth Mental Health
We are investigating how virtual reality technologies like HTC Vive and Samsung Gear VR can be used to improve young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Virtual reality has already been used successfully to treat mental health conditions such as phobia. It may also be beneficial for young people suffering a broader set of conditions such as psychosis and depression. VR can provide compelling experiences that might increase youth engagement in treatment. New, high-quality yet affordable platforms are bringing VR within the reach of resource-strapped clinics.
Ageing Bodies and Embodied Interactions: Creating Social Inclusion Through Mediated Presence
In today’s ageing society, innovation that promotes the social inclusion of older adults is vitally important. This ARC Discovery funded project builds on previous research projects (such as Growing Old and Staying Connected), that have examined the role technology can play to ameliorate older people’s experience of social isolation. By utilising technology to promote active social participation, the project aims to engage with older people who would otherwise remain isolated in their homes.
Our team is exploring the increasing use of digital technology and networked media in the commemoration of the dead. The project will contribute to a broader understanding of changing commemorative practices, their digital mediation, and the interactions between them.
We are investigating how digital technologies enable citizens of local areas to document and share memories and records of their collective past.
Designing for Scale
We are exploring the nature and value of technology at different scales, individual, community and movement. We aim to produce insights that assist with design across multiple scales. Our case study is smart garden watering.
See also the collection of Social NUI projects
Improving Vitamin D Status and Related Health in Young Women
With increasing awareness of the harmful effects of sun exposure, Australia has growing levels of vitamin D deficiency. Here we will compare the effectiveness of oral medication and smart apps in achieving healthy levels of vitamin D.
Growing Old and Staying Connected
Social isolation affects many older people. This project investigates novel technologies to prevent and to ameliorate social isolation experienced by older adults.
Promoting Student Peer Review
This project aims to make an easy-to-use and feature-rich online student peer review tool available to educators and students across the higher education sector in Australia. This will be achieved by building on ‘PRAZE’: a highly successful, award-winning prototype developed at The University of Melbourne.
Getting Well and Being Present
Hospitalized children can experience significant disruption to school and family life. We are designing technologies to help young patients connect with their friends, family and classroom. We have trialled an ambient ‘orb’ and are currently designing an Android tablet-based application.
Social Network Sites for Ambivalent Socialisers
The aim of this project is to extend the reach of Web 2.0 technologies to ambivalent socialisers: groups of people that do not form spontaneously on social network sites but which might nevertheless benefit from online participation.
This project investigates the gap between tangible interactions offered by mobile and embedded technologies and opportunities for social engagement offered by social technologies.
Mobile Fieldwork and Learning
Through design investigations we are studying the opportunities and pitfalls of using mobile technology to create and deliver new fieldwork exercises to university students. We are carrying out studies with students of architecture and the built environment, but aim for more general theories and evidence.
The web is abundant with search engines but often they don’t work well for us because we really want to ‘explore’ an unknown (data) space rather then narrow down to a particular ‘search’. This research uses a novel approach to supporting exploration and its application in various contexts.
Smart Garden Watering
This project’s aim was to provide gardeners in the Melbourne/Geelong areas with a resource to help them make the optimal use of water in their gardens.
This research project aims to use social networking sites to deliver health promotion messages about sexual health and safer sex to young people and men who have sex with men (MSM).
Death and The Internet
This project examines the role of Internet and other communication technologies in the experience of death, grieving and memorialisation.
Connecting Learners for Collaboration
We are exploring how we can use technologies that help students to explore students in other locations and find suitable partners with whom to carry out collaborative work.
Cross-Community Information Systems
This project addressed unsolved issues of usability of e-health information systems across diverse stakeholder communities that need to coordinate to deliver the expected revolution in patient-centred health care.
Socially Oriented Requirements Engineering
This project led to the design and development of better software/information and communications technologies to encourage flexible social interactions, and have been designed with the user in mind.
The Usability Lab is a specialist laboratory with sophisticated audio-visual equipment to conduct user experience tests and interaction research.
While the lab is used for basic research by postgraduates and staff, we welcome others making use of the facility. The lab can be hired by companies and individuals on a day or half-day basis. For enquiries, please contact:
The usability lab consists of one control room (for usability engineers) and three observation rooms (for study participants). The lab can be used to conduct a traditional usability session (i.e. a single evaluation), but it also supports up to three concurrent usability sessions.
The control room can be used to monitor one, two or three simultaneous usability sessions. This configuration is ideal when many groups of participants must simultaneously access the lab; but is also useful when investigating distributed technologies, such as those used by people interacting over a distance (e.g. pervasive communication technologies). The lab allows the investigator to simultaneously observe both interactions.
There are two smaller observation rooms suitable for a single computer desk, and one larger observation room that can also be used as a meeting room, for focus groups, and as a training facility for large groups. It can seat about 30 people.
The observation rooms are highly configurable. A patch system allows video cameras to be located anywhere in the rooms. Video cameras can be positioned on the ceiling or on tripods around the room. Typically three cameras are used for each session. Various microphones (lapel, desk, and table) are used to capture high quality audio of participants’ communications and utterances.
In the control room, four video signals – three from the participant and a fourth from the screen – can be viewed at the one time on the quad display. The quad display unit can show a view from any of three video cameras, or the PC. The usability engineer can select from four live channels.
The session is usually recorded to a digital file for later inspection and analysis. Digital video mixers are used to combine video sources in real-time.
The lab supports a variety of activities concerning the design and evaluation of interactive technologies, including user-based testing, heuristic evaluations and cognitive walkthroughs, brainstorming sessions, and participatory design.
AboutWeekly seminars are usually held on Fridays from 3-4pm on topics relevant to interaction design. Special and additional seminars are also held occasionally; please refer to the upcoming seminars for details.
Interaction Design Usability Lab
Level 9, Doug McDonell Building (Building 168)
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- Romina Carrasco Zuffi