Professor Russell Beale

Professor of Human-Computer Interaction

Professor Russell Beale

Contact Details

Telephone: (+44) (0)121 414 3729

Office: 141 (Y9 Computer Science Building)



School of Computer Science

University of Birmingham



B15 2TT



Open all sections

My interests range broadly across the border between interactive systems and society, with a particular focus on using artificial intelligence in interactive systems.

  • Theories of interaction
  • Usability
  • Mobile and pervasive computing
  • Intelligent agents
  • Genetic algorithms
  • Neural networks
  • e-learning and HCI education

I am Director of the HCI Centre which exists to promote leading-edge research and development in theories, designs, methodologies, and systems to support people in whatever they want to achieve.

The group acts as a focal point for research, development and expertise in anything that has the user at the core. This includes

  • mobile computing: laptops, handhelds, tablets, phones
  • internet-based systems: e-commerce, web design, shared spaces, communities
  • new media and new technologies
  • ambient computing: ad-hoc interaction with the environment, other users, other systems
  • intelligent agents: entities acting for or on behalf of the user
  • usability and design: theories and methodologies to promote effective, usable, enjoyable systems
  • visualisation, virtual and augmented realities: the representation of complex information in effective ways
  • gaming, edutainment
  • interaction technologies: speech, gesture, vision


  • Vasalou, A., Oostveen, A., Bowers, C., Beale, R., 2015, "Understanding engagement with the privacy domain through design research", Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology 66, pp. 1263--1273
  • Cowan, B.R., Branigan, H.P., Obregón, M., Bugis, E., Beale, R., 2015, "Voice anthropomorphism, interlocutor modelling and alignment effects on syntactic choices in human- computer dialogue", International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Academic Press 83, pp. 27--42
  • Ferguson, R., Sharples, M., Beale, R., 2015, "MOOCs 2030: a future for massive open online learning", Routledge
  • Ferguson, R., Clow, D., Beale, R., Cooper, A.J., Morris, N., Bayne, S., Woodgate, A., 2015, "Moving through MOOCS: pedagogy, learning design and patterns of engagement", Design for Teaching and Learning in a Networked World, Springer International Publishing, pp. 70--84
  • Pinder, C., Vermeulen, J., Beale, R., Hendley, R., 2015, "Subliminal Priming of Nonconscious Goals on Smartphones", Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services Adjunct, pp. 825--830
  • Pinder, C., Vermeulen, J., Beale, R., Hendley, R., 2015, "Exploring Nonconscious Behaviour Change Interventions on Mobile Devices", Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services Adjunct, pp. 1010--1017


  • Vasalou, A., Oostveen, A., Bowers, C., Beale, R., 2014, "Understanding engagement with privacy through design", Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
  • Creed, C., Beale, R., 2014, "Enhancing multi-touch table accessibility for wheelchair users", Proceedings of the 16th international ACM SIGACCESS conference on Computers & accessibility, pp. 255--256
  • Creed, C., Beale, R., Dower, P., 2014, "Digital tools for physically impaired visual artists", Proceedings of the 16th international ACM SIGACCESS conference on Computers & accessibility, pp. 253--254
  • Dadzie, A., Beale, R., 2014, "JuxtaLearn Deliverable D4.4: Interim requirements and testing."
  • A-S, ,, Beale, R., 2014, "JuxtaLearn Deliverable D4.3: Collaborative Editing Requirements Documentation."
  • Dadzie, A., Benton, L., Vasalou, A., Beale, R., 2014, "Situated Design for Creative, Reflective, Collaborative,", Technology-mediated Learning. 2014 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS), ACM, pp. 83--92
  • Vasalou, A., Oostveen, A., Bowers, C.P., Beale, R., 2014, "Understanding Engagement With The Privacy Domain Through Design Research", JASIST
  • Dadzie, A., Benton, L., Vasalou, A., Beale, R., 2014, "Situated Design for Creative, Reflective, Collaborative, Technology-Mediated Learning", Designing Interactive Systems (DIS)
  • Creed, C., Beale, R., Cowan, B., 2014, "The Impact of an Embodied Agent's Emotional Expressions Over Multiple Interactions", Interacting with Computers


  • Bell, B.T., Little, L., Toth, N., Beale, R., Guo, Y., Horton, M., Fitton, D., Read, J.C., 2013, "Teenagers Talking about Technologies: Designing Technology to Reduce Teen Energy Use", CHI 2013 Extended AbstractsShow abstract
    This paper describes the methodology through which a set of guidelines that inform the design and development of energy-use reduction technologies for teenagers were created. The presented research forms part of a wider project that aims to design, develop and evaluate mobile solutions to change teen attitudes and behavior to energy consumption. In order to understand how to approach the design of technologies that reduce teen electricity consumption, researchers engaged teenagers in a comprehensive user-centered evaluation of relevant existing prototypes. The evaluation feedback was used to generate a set of seven guidelines that will inform the design and development of future energy-reduction devices for teenagers as part of the final stages of this overall research project.
  • Hakvoort, G., Beale, R., Ch'ng, E., 2013, "Connect and Connectivity: Revealing a World of Interactions", CHI 2013 Extended Abstracts, ACM Press – Show abstract
    Connectivity is embedded into our modern day society. Devices increasingly rely on permanent network connections, and people keep connected through social networks. Technological advances allow everyday objects to become part of large networks of interconnected entities. Connectivity within these networks allows for the design of novel interaction methods that utilise the digital input and output capabilities of connected entities. However, when specifically designing for interaction, entities become entangled and remain oblivious of each other's features. In this paper we report on the current progress in opening up the space of connectivity in order to reveal and make use of the available technological capabilities. We describe how this will open channels for new synergy and novel interaction methods. We conclude by discussing the preparation of a case study which incorporates our initial designs and proof of concepts.
  • Bowers, C..., Creed, C., Cowan, B.R., Beale, R., 2013, "Touching Annotations: A Visual Metaphor for Navigation of Annotation in Digital Documents.", International Journal of Human Computer Studies. 71, pp. 1103--1111 – Show abstract
    Direct touch manipulation interactions with technology are now commonplace and significant interest is building around their use in the culture and heritage domain. Such interactions can give people the opportunity to explore materials and artefacts in ways that would otherwise be unavailable. These are often heavily annotated and can be linked to a large array of related digital content, thus enriching the experience for the user. Research has addressed issues of how to present digital documents and their related annotations but at present it is unclear what the optimal interaction approach to navigating these annotations in a touch display context might be. In this paper we investigate the role of two alternative approaches to support the navigation of annotations in digitised documents in the context of a touch interface. Through a control study we demonstrate that, whilst the navigation paradigm displays a significant interaction with the type of annotations task performed, there is no discernible advantage of using a natural visual metaphor for annotation in this context. This suggests that design of digital document annotation navigation tools should account for the context and navigation tasks being considered.


  • Beale, R., 2012, "Why am I doing everything?", Birmingham Post Science Blog
  • Beale, R., 2012, "Let them eat cake", Birmingham Post Science Blog
  • Beale, R., 2012, "The end of social media?", Birmingham Post Science Blog
  • Beale, R., 2012, "Technology and cool", Birmingham Post Science Blog
  • Beale, R., 2012, "Predictions for 2013", Birmingham Post Science Blog
  • Hakvoort, G., Ch'ng, E., Beale, R., 2012, "The Museum Environment: A Complex Community of Objects, People and Devices (best paper award)", International Journal of Heritage in the Digital Era 1, pp. 119--124 – Show abstract
    The beginning of the 21st century is an exciting time for museums in terms of new, engaging and interactive exhibits. Current technological developments offer museums ideal opportunities to meet the increasing expectations of their visitors, many of whom are the younger generation growing up in the digital age. With a multitude of devices and objects as well as people incorporated into an ever-growing network of interconnected systems, new patterns, forms of interactions and social relations will emerge. In order to engage visitors, museums are adopting new technologies which come with many possibilities, but also have their individual challenges and limitations. Museums should start looking at the unification of many such technologies in order to capture visitor attention, engage visitor interaction and facilitate social activities, since the large quantity of digital input and output capabilities of these technologies are hidden potentials. However, unless specifically designed for, many of these capabilities remain hidden and technologies remain oblivious of each other’s features. Making them aware of each other’s capabilities opens the channels for new synergy and engaging experiences for museum visitors. This paper proposes a framework which uniquely identifies a community of people, artefacts and devices within the museum environment and provides the means to discover, and make use of the technological properties of each element, treating them as an interacting ecosystem of complex adaptive systems and networks in physical spaces.
  • Beale, R., 2012, "Is the academic model broken?", Birmingham Post Science Blog
  • Beale, R., 2012, "Who owns Britain?", Birmingham Post Science Blog
  • Beale, R., 2012, "Where now for the Knowledge Economy?", Birmingham Post Science Blog
  • Beale, R., 2012, "Changing perspectives on value", Birmingham Post Science Blog
  • Beale, R., 2012, "IPhone and Android converge", Birmingham Post Science Blog
  • Hussain, J., Grewal-Kang, G., Jung, E., Hawes, N., Beale, R., 2012, "Let's Dance Right Nau", School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham
  • Bowers, C.P., Beale, R., Hendley, R., 2012, "Identifying Archetypal Perspectives in News Articles", Proceedings of the 26th Annual Interaction Specialist Group Conference on People and Computers: BCS HCI 2012, pp. 327--332 – Show abstract
    A novel approach to news aggregation is proposed. Rather than ranking or summarisation of cluster topics, we propose that articles are grouped by topic similarity and then clustered within topic groups in order to identify archetypal articles that represent the various perspectives upon a topic. An example application is examined and a preliminary user study is discussed. Future applications and planned comparative evaluation of usability and effectiveness are outlined.
  • CloudTomo, ., Ryan, M., Beale, R., Jaco, P., 2012, "Encrypted Data Processing"
  • Read, J.C., Fitton, D., Beale, R., 2012, "Dude, that’s Cool – Exploring Interaction Design with Teenage Informants (under review)", NordiChi 2012 - Proceedings of the 9th Nordic conference on Human-computer interactionShow abstract
    This paper describes a suite of three iterative studies that investigated ‘cool’ as it applies to the design of interactive products for teenagers. The method involved the derivation of theory from literature, the evaluation of this theory with groups of teenagers and then the refinement of these theories with an approach that brought together teenage informants and further teenage evaluations and confirmations. Seven core categories of cool were derived (desirability, authenticity, retro, sociality, innovation, rebellion and emotion) along with identification of further sub-categories. The categories for cool were mapped to a hierarchy of cool that moved from the having of cool things, the doing of cool activities and the being of cool. The paper concludes with a set of design heuristics that can be used by researchers to create engaging products for teenagers.
  • Read, J.C., Beale, R., 2012, "Clouds and Credibility: Young Teenagers and Trust in Facebook (under review)", NordiChi 2012 - Proceedings of the 9th Nordic conference on Human-computer interactionShow abstract
    Cloud computing can be confusing. For individuals who are used to having all their data in one place, the notion of having it floating around in a virtual weather system is a little alien but, with commonly used sites like Flikr, Spotify and Dropbox, many are getting the idea. Those who have not previously had experience with data in one place are a different group of computer users. Possibly untroubled by any ideas about where data might reside, or even about what actually is data, their views of, and opinions of, cloud computing will be quite different from those of (certainly older) adults. This paper begins to unpick how to design interfaces for cloud computing for children by exploring, in the context of Facebook, young teenagers views of security and safety as they relate to data, and identifies what factors raise their trust in the site.
  • Creed, C., Beale, R., 2012, "Teasing Embodied Conversational Agents (under review)", International Journal of Human Computer Studies (IJHCS)Show abstract
    Embodied Conversational Agents (ECAs) that attempt to interact naturally with users through utilising a number of human-like behaviours (e.g. use of natural language and simulation of human emotions and gestures) are often subjected to a wide range of abusive and aggressive behaviour. In this paper, we argue that perceived user aggression in interactions with ECAs can initially start out as a form of disinhibited teasing that is playful and harmless in nature and is used as a means for testing the abilities and behaviour of the agent. However, as conversations and interactions develop, this teasing can become more aggressive and hostile in nature and can result in abusive behaviour towards ECAs. Analysis of agent transcripts are provided highlighting teasing in conversations and how it can escalate into prolonged abusive statements from users.
  • Samperi, K., Beale, R., Hawes, N., 2012, "Please keep off the grass: individual norms in virtual worlds", BCS HCI 2012, BCS/ACM, pp. 375--380 – Show abstract
    This paper looks at how personal conventions are unintentionally carried from the real world into virtual environments. We look at a simple example where we investigate whether avatars will follow virtual paths, or will walk on the grass. By default, people use the paths in real world parks, but we have showed that this behaviour has carried over into virtual parks. We investigated this further, postulating that the more exposure an individual had to virtual worlds the more likely they were to break with this social convention and walk on the grass. We observed the movements of agents in a virtual park on two extended occasions, one in 2010 and the other in 2012. From this we were able to see that people, in general, were still keeping to the paths except when invited to move onto the grass. We also look at the likelihood of individuals using another mode of transport, flying. Finally, we conclude that while some patterns can be seen between the ‘age’ of the avatar and their movements on or off the path, more investigation must be done.
  • Sharples, M., Ainsworth, S., Beale, R., FitzGerald, E., Vavoula, G., 2012, "Connect - Exploit the power of personal devices to enhance learning (in "System Upgrade - Realising the vision for UK education")", pp. 8--10
  • Bowers, C.P., Byrne, W.F., Cowan, B.R., Beale, R., 2012, "Multi-touch multi-user interfaces to support learning and teaching", Surface Learning Workshop '12
  • Byrne, W., Beale, R., Clay, R., 2012, "Surburban Birmingham - designing accessible cultural history using multi-touch tables", HCI 2012, pp. 21--28 – Show abstract
    The suburban Birmingham project aimed to allow the exploration of a collection of resources originally presented through a website on a touch table. In this paper we will explore some of the issues illustrated by this project involving the manipulation and sharing of resources on multi-user applications in public spaces, including ownership, affordances, and managing and interpreting gestures in different contexts.
  • Mazzone, E., Tikkanen, R., Read, J.C., Iivari, N., Beale, R., 2012, "Integrating Children’s Contributions in the Interaction Design Process", International Journal of Arts and Technology 5, pp. 319--346 – Show abstract
    In this paper, we describe three studies for the design of a hand–held music device for children. The studies involved researchers from different disciplines and children from different schools. We reflected on what happened during the design activities. And we looked at the outputs produced by the children in order to understand the feasibility of the activities that were included in the design sessions from two perspectives: whether they contributed to the design of the product – termed their capability – and whether they suitably involved children in the process – called their suitability. We then report on how children's ideas were selected and integrated into the product design through iterative cycles of testing and refinements. This description of the process prompted the discussion on the involvement of children and their ideas throughout the whole process, its benefit and difficulties that could be applicable to a wide variety of design contexts with children.
  • Bowers, C., Byrne, W., Melhuish, J., Lonsdale, P., Creed, C., Pinder, C., Beale, R., Hendley, R., 2012, "Interaction Issues in Computer Aided Semantic Annotation of Multimedia", NordiChi 2012 - Proceedings of the 9th Nordic conference on Human-computer interaction, Springer LNCS to appearShow abstract
    The CASAM pro ject aims to provide a tool for more efficient and effective annotation of multimedia documents through collaboration between a user and a system performing an automated analysis of the media content. A critical part of the pro ject is to develop a user interface which best supports both the user and the system through optimal human-computer interaction. In this paper we discuss the work undertaken, the proposed user interface and underlying interaction issues which drove its development.


  • Beale, R., 2011, "Seeing is believing", Birmingham Post Science Blog
  • Beale, R., 2011, "Hacking made easy by design", Birmingham Post Science Blog
  • Beale, R., 2011, "What is science? or, Here be Dragons.", Birmingham Post Science Blog
  • Beale, R., 2011, "Jobs worth", Birmingham Post Science Blog
  • Beale, R., 2011, "Science reporting in the media", Birmingham Post Science Blog
  • Beale, R., 2011, "Moving to the cloud; expect fog", Birmingham Post Science Blog
  • Read, J., Fitton, D., Cowan, B., Beale, R., Guo, Y., Horton, M., 2011, "Understanding and designing cool technologies for teenagers", Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems - CHI EA '11, ACM Press, pp. 1567
  • Beale, R., 2011, "Choice - what a weasel word", Birmingham Post: Science Blog
  • Dix, A., Beale, R., Shabir, N., 2011, "Anatomy of an Early Social Networking Site", BCS HCI, BCS, ACM
  • Mazzone, E., Read, J.C., Beale, R., 2011, "Organising Co-Design Sessions with Schoolchildren. Workshop on "Opportunities and Challenges when Designing and Developing with Kids @ School"", IDC 2011: 10th International Conference on Interaction Design and ChildrenShow abstract
    In this paper we present a framework of the elements that are influential in co-design sessions with schoolchildren and need special attention from practitioners. From lessons learnt by our direct experience in the field in school environments and in the related literature, we elicited variables that resulted relevant in the co-ordination of the co-design sessions, and we organised them in 5 dimensions, corresponding to the who, where, when, what and how categories. We highlighted the different roles that children, teachers and facilitators take in the co-design sessions and the implications of all the diverse elements involved in the practice. This framework aims to trigger reflections from novice practitioners in its dynamic application.
  • Read, J.C., Fitton, D., Cowan, B.R., Beale, R., Guo, Y., Horton, M., 2011, "Understanding and designing cool technologies for teenagers", CHI 2011 (Works in Progress), ACM, pp. 1567--1572
  • Read, J.C., Fitton, D., Beale, R., Little, L., 2011, "Design for Cool: Workshop", BCS HCI 2011, BCS/ACM – Show abstract
    HCI2011 - Workshop A important characteristic of today’s interactive technologies and applications is that they can be adopted and appropriated in different ways. Designing interactive technology that lends itself to user personalisation and allows appropriation in novel ways is not straightforward. The designer must somehow anticpate the changes a user may desire and consider the adoption/appropriation scenarios which may emerge in order to ensure they are catered for. Within this space, large numbers of users personalising and appropriating everyday technolgies in different ways is a very interesting area of work – especially where this is motivated by a desire to make a technology, or the behaviours around that technology, a must have item among a specific social group. For groups such as teenagers, being percieved as 'cool' by their peers can have a very significant impact on their actions. The Design for Cool Workshop (COOL2011) is about designing technologies and interactions that either themselves become cool or that allow users to appropriate them in cool ways. Aims & Goals The aim of this workshop is to stimulate debate on, and increase knowledge of, designing for cool. The workshop will aim to answer the following three questions; What is cool? How do artefacts become cool? What are its essential characteristics and what makes a product, or a behaviour around a product cool? How can ordinary items be appropriated in 'cool ways? How are we to design for appropriation in cool ways? The workshop is intended to open a debate about some key themes that are specific to cool but also have an interesting meaning throughout the HCI design space Discussion will include the extent to which an attribute can be designed for, can be specified by characteristics that do not rely too much on interpretation and to explore the most appropriate methods for design in this space. The workshop organisers are currently engaged in a project to design technologies for teenagers and whereas Cool design is surely about a wide range of products and applications.
  • Beale, R., Bullock, A., 2011, "Greening the Teens", Costing the Earth, BBC Radio 4, pp. 30 mins--30 mins – Show abstract
    Take your average teenagers, Trudy (13, loves sports and Twilight), Liam (16, loves computer games) and Craig (19, loves cars). So much of what they enjoy seems to be energy intensive, but does this demographic really use more power? How do you get them to care about the environment they are going to inherit? That's the experiment Birmingham University is about to undertake. Can computer games, mobile alerts and social media create a generation of greens or are they already ahead of the curve? Farmworld is the most popular application on Facebook but could a real world equivalent to keeping and trading your animals online really help to change attitudes? Nestle have committed themselves to making the palm oil they use more eco-friendly after a Greenpeace spoof KitKat advert went viral, but can teenagers pre-occupation with all things online always produce such results? And should the kids really have to shoulder the responsibility? After all it was probably their gas-guzzling, gadget-consuming baby boomer parents and grandparents that created the problem. The UK Youth Climate Coalition is launching a long-term campaign, which will see all 650 Members of Parliament in the UK 'adopted' by a young person in their constituency in an attempt to keep climate change at the top of their agenda. How successful will their campaign be, even if the kids are alright can they really affect change at the top?
  • Beale, R., 2011, "Science, Technology, and Society", Birmingham Post: Science BlogShow abstract
    It's fitting that there's now a Science blog in the Birmingham Post, and for me it's interesting to speculate what it may cover in the future. However, one thing that is guaranteed is that it's not just going to present scientific advances, technological achievements, and new knowledge in an abstract manner.
  • Beale, R., 2011, "Is technology helping us?", Birmingham Post: Science BlogShow abstract
    I have been wondering if technology is helping us, or not. A colleague told me that using email during the day equates to about a 10 point reduction in IQ, because of the interruption and change of focus and reduced concentration time - and whilst I can't find the source to back this up, it wouldn't surprise me. Now, whether it's actually true for a younger generation, more used to technological multi-tasking, is another issue, but it's certainly an indication that technology causes problems as well as solving them.
  • Beale, R., Bordbar, B., 2011, "Pattern Tool Support to Guide Interface Design", Interact, Springer, Lecture Notes in Computer Science Volume 6947, pp. 359--375 – Show abstract
    Design patterns have proved very helpful in encapsulating the knowledge required for solving design related problems, and have found their way into the CHI domain. Many interface patterns can be formalised and expressed via UML models, which provides the opportunity to incorporate such patterns into CASE tools in order to assist user interface designers. This paper presents an implemented tool-based approach for the discovery of an appropriate set of design patterns applicable to a high-level model of the system. The tool accepts a UML model of the system and presents a set of interface design patterns that can be used to create an effective implementation. The tool is aimed at providing designers with guidance as to which successful design approaches are potentially appropriate for a new interactive system, acting as a supportive aid to the design process. The use of high-level modelling approaches allows designers to focus on the interactions and nature of their systems, rather than on the technologically-driven details.
  • Fitton, D., Read, J.C., Cowan, B.R., Beale, R., Gao, Y., 2011, "Creating ‘Cool’ Mobile Technologies To Reduce Teen Energy Use ", Persuasion, Influence, Nudge, and Coersion (PINC) workshop, ACM CHI
  • Sim, G., Beale, R., England, D., 2011, "Panel - Breadth vs Depth in HCI teaching: Is it better to present an overview or focus on delivering a subset of the discipline", 25th BCS Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), BCS/ACM
  • Cowan, B.R., Beale, R., Branigan, H.P., 2011, "Investigating syntactic alignment in spoken natural language human-computer communication.", CHI 2011 (Works in Progress), ACM – Show abstract
    Psycholinguistic research has consistently shown that a person’s syntactic and lexical choices affect interlocutor utterance construction, effectively priming specific lexical and syntactic constructs, a concept termed alignment. This alignment is a dynamic process by which we converge on shared mental representations primed within dialogue affecting the words and grammatical structures we use when conversing with a conversational partner (Pickering & Branigan, 1998). Such an effect can be caused by conscious consideration of ones audience (mediated alignment or audience design) or through unmediated (unconscious) priming. Recent interest in this area has looked at this effect within human-computer interactions (Branigan, Pickering, Pearson, & McLean, 2010), although this research has mostly focused on text communication and semantic effects. Perceived quality of the system impacts on the amount of lexical alignment between computer-human interlocutors (J. Pearson, Hu, Branigan, Pickering, & Nass, 2006), thought to be mediated by a desire to enhance communication with the interlocutor because of users’ preconceptions of system function, so that assumptions of limited capability lead to stronger alignment. Although lexical alignment with computers has been researched in text based constructions, syntactic alignment in spoken dialogue with computer systems has not been explored. We report an experiment (currently underway) that explores whether users similarly show variations in syntactic alignment based on beliefs about system function, and whether alignment is linked to satisfaction in interaction. Specifically, we examine whether interaction with a truly advanced computer with natural language capabilities may lead to a shift in the user model of computer function away from perceived limitations of the computer system towards more natural conversation-based levels, and also a shift in the user model of computer function away from perceived limitations of the computer system towards more natural conversation-based levels.
  • Mazzone, E., Read, J.C., Beale, R., 2011, "Towards a Framework of Co-Design Sessions with Children", Interact 2011, IFIP, pp. 632--635 – Show abstract
    In this poster we present a framework of the elements of co-design session with children. The involvement of children in the design process is important to understand their needs but it is often considered a complex practice. Considering a thorough appreciation of this practice as the basis for its accurate application, we addressed its complexity in a framework. To do so, we identified and organised elements that have an impact on co-design sessions in who, where, when, what and how dimensions. This theoretical framework aims to support novice practitioners in their decisions when coordinating co-design sessions.
  • Cowan, B.R., Beale, R., 2011, "Cooler by numbers: Should we design for and influence people using cool?", Design for Cool Workshop: BCS HCi 2011, Newcastle, UK, BCS/ACM., BCS/ACM
  • Read, J.C., Beale, R., 2011, "What Teenagers think about when they think about Safety in the Cloud ", CHI Workshop, ACM
  • Bowers, C., Byrne, W., Cowan, B.R., Hendley, R., Beale, R., 2011, "Choosing your moment: Interruptions in multimedia annotation.", Interact 2011


  • Dearden, A., Light, A., Heeks, R., Marsden, G., Winters, N., Tongia, R., Beale, R., Kam, M., 2010, "Innovation everywhere : computing for 9 billion people", ACM-BCS Visions of Computer Science 2010 : Grand Challenges in Computing Research, pp. published online in Sheffield Hallam University Re – Show abstract
    The world’s population is expected to reach over 9 billion people by 2050. The FAO estimates that food production will need to increase by 50% on 2005 levels by 2030, and food price rises led to civil unrest in many countries in 2008. Many of the Millenium Development Goals (MDG) are unlikely to be met by the target year of 2015. The MDG progress report [5] notes that MDG 1 on halving world poverty had been ‘derailed’ by the recent economic crisis, with respect to MDG 5 of maternal health that “giving birth safely is largely a privilege of the rich”, whilst MDG 7 of global environmental sustainability suffered a serious setback with the lack of comprehensive agreement at the 2009 Copenhagen summit. The world faces serious challenges in security, health and climate change. Computing, computing researchers and organization such as the British Computer Society & the Association for Computing Machinery could make a significant contribution to addressing these challenges. This paper presents a grand challenge of configuring technologies, research and organizations such that they can contribute to different futures for the climate, for global health, and security.
  • Apostolikas, G., Spiliotopoulos, D., Georgousopoulos, C., Möller, R., Hendley, R.J., Petridis, S., Giannakopoulos, T., Koutsokeras, M., Papantoniou, K., Tsatsaronis, G., Paliouras, G., Akrivas, G., Gatos, B., Ntirogiannis, K., Perantonis, S., Zavitsanos, I., Karkaletsis, V., Gries, O., Nafissi, A., Rosenfeld, M., Sokolski, K., Wessel, M., Bowers, C., Byrne, W., Melhuish, J., Lonsdale, P., Creed, C., Pinder, C., Beale, R., Sarris, N., Vasiliou, C., Ramfos, A., 2010, "CASAM: A prototype system for computer-aided semantic annotation of multimedia", SAMT 2009 - 4th International Conference on Semantic and Digital Media Technologies, Springer LNCS – Show abstract
    The CASAM project targets the concept of computer-aided semantic annotation of multimedia content. An integrated system comprised of multimedia analysis, reasoning and human-computer interaction research and technologies allows users to semantically annotate multimedia documents combining user input with system-initiated annotation. The CASAM prototype implementation has finished and the final system will be extensively evaluated over the next few months. This paper reports on the project objectives, underlying methodologies, features and modules involved in the system processes, as well as the future work planned for this research endeavor.
  • Syv̈nen, A., Beale, R., Ropo, E., 2010, "Reflective Learning with Mobile Blogging Enabled Personal Digital Portfolios", Nordic Symposium on Technology-Enhanced learning (TEL), NORDITEL
  • Creed, C., Bowers, C.P., Hendley, R.J., Beale, R., 2010, "User Perception of Interruptions in Multimedia Annotation Tasks", NordiCHI: 6th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, pp. 610--622
  • Hendley, R.J., Wilkins, B., Beale, R., 2010, "Organix : Creating organic objects from document feature vectors", International Journal of Creative Interfaces and Computer Graphics (IJCICG) 1, pp. 40--53 – Show abstract
    This paper presents a mechanism for generating visually appealing but also effective representations for document visualisation. The mechanism is based upon an organic growth model which is driven by features of the object to be visualised. In the examples used we focus upon the visualisation of text documents but the methods are readily transferable to other domains. They are also scaleable to documents of any size. The objective of this work is to build visual representations which enable the human visual system to efficiently and effectively ‘recognise’ documents without the need for higher level cognitive processing. In particular, we want the user to be able to recognise similarities within sets of documents and to be able to easily discriminate between dissimilar objects.
  • Creed, C., Lonsdale, P., Hendley, R.J., Beale, R., 2010, "Synergistic Annotation of Multimedia Content", The Third International Conference on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions - ACHI 2010, IEEE, pp. 205--208
  • Mazzone, E., Iivari, N., Tikkanen, R., Read, J.C., Beale, R., 2010, "Considering context, content, management, and engagement in design activities with children", Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children - IDC '10, ACM Press, pp. 108
  • Holzinger, A., Thimbleby, H., Beale, R., 2010, "Editorial: Human–Computer Interaction for Medicine and Health Care (HCI4MED): Towards Making Information Usable", International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 68, pp. 325--327


  • Beale, R., 2009, "Back to the future: A retrospective on early predictions", Interacting with Computers, pp. online 4 May 2009--online 4 May 2009 – Show abstract
    Professor Brian Shackel’s paper “Designing for People in the Age of Information” was published in 1984. In his paper, Shackel looked ahead to the research areas that he considered important and makes some predictions for the future. This paper provides a current perspective on his views, assessing which areas he successfully predicted and which he did not, and contextualising his work in the field that he significantly shaped.
  • Beale, R., 2009, "Socially-aware design: the ‘Slanty’ approach", The International Journal of Sociotechnology and Knowledge Development (IJSKD) 1, pp. 1--7 – Show abstract
    In this article we discuss ‘slanty design’, which incorporate three new principles into a conventional user-centered design process. These are designing for non-goals (things you wish the user not to be able to do); creating anti-usability (designing so that it is difficult to achieve the non-goals); and clean design (solutions without unwanted side-effects that then have to have solutions designed for them). Slanty design incorporates many of the concepts of socio-technical approaches, and is explained using a variety of examples, including an airport baggage carousel, and the remaining challenges outstanding are described.
  • Abdelnour-Nocera, J., Eason, K., Beale, R., 2009, "New Socio-Technical Insights in Interaction Design (Guest Editorial Preface)", International Journal of Sociotechnology and Knowledge Development (IJSKD) 1Show abstract
    Information and communication technology is increasingly the means by which people relate to one another and engage in complex social activities. As a result the design of the interaction that we have with computers is no longer just about human-computer interaction. The computer is now the mediator of many forms of human-human interaction and effective designs for such systems must take account of the cultural settings in which these interactions take place. The human activities that the technology is now supporting are often complex social phenomena: they range, for example, from companies conducting their business in a global economy by connecting staff in ‘virtual organisations’ around the world; to consumers engaging in electronic shopping; to people engaging in new forms of shared activity through social networking sites. A technology that supports complex social activity is a socio-technical system. On May 30th 2008 the British Computer Society Specialist Groups on Interaction and on Sociotechnical Systems held a joint meeting in London to discuss interaction design in the light of the socio-technical systems the technology is now supporting. This special edition includes many of the papers presented at the meeting, two further papers will be published in the following journal edition- Dunckley et al., plus Oussena and French. The papers discuss a striking array of different systems that support human communities from, for example, systems to help students enjoy the exhibits in a museum (Kampf) to communication systems to support communities in Kenya (Dunckley et al). The papers are based on a range of different theoretical foundations that guide their analysis and design activities. It is a challenging task to understand and analyse the forms of human society that are now beginning to flower as a result of the rich communications that can now be enjoyed in the virtual world. Even more challenging is the task of designing in this rapidly changing environment. Fortunately, what the papers show is that we have some very substantial theoretical foundations coming from a variety of disciplines to guide our work. Although many theoretical frameworks are represented in the papers, there are three that most closely link socio-technical systems and interaction design, represented here by the three papers of Eason; Beale; and Morch in this edition.
  • Beale, R., 2009, "Usability and e-science", International Journal of Human Computer Studies 67, pp. 279--280 – Show abstract
    E-science covers a wide range of activities. For example, e-science can be about enabling widespread data collection and assimilation; it can use the Internet, or mobile devices; can be in the field or in the laboratory; and can be formal or informal. It can be about combining new computational techniques with existing scientific practice, or can be a whole new way of doing science. In many cases, it defines variants on the modern equivalent of mass observation, and these collated results can provide an effective picture for scenarios such as weather forecasting and measurement. For example, Springwatch is a UK initiative that gets individuals to send in information about things happening in their gardens. The combination of these data builds into a comprehensive picture of the temporal changes, patterns and variations signalling the arrival of Spring across the UK. Usability is a complex issue in any circumstance, but in such a varied domain as e-science it offers a whole new set of challenges. Modern approaches to science may involve multiple users with multiple systems, and so e-science usability is subject to a myriad of influences. Users are affected by other users, their tasks, political pressures, publication pressures, their collaborators, their competitors, and so on. The systems that people use are affected by their distributed nature, quality of service issues, outages, incompatibilities, prototype-level software – the list is long. And the science that is undertaken by these users can vary hugely with respect to its domain, can itself be highly distributed in nature, and may have a variety of researchers involved (in both background and experience). Hence, e-science is changing science itself: with the power of some of the computational techniques, the principle of looking for patterns is being augmented by the detection of abnormalities and subtleties in datasets, and by the quantification and mass data collection of previously qualitative data. Creating usability in such a diverse environment is clearly a major, and evolving, challenge. In general, only by embedding usable design concepts in the context of a system this becomes properly effective. However many e-science systems are ad-hoc collections of previously separate systems, so reverse engineering such usability is even more challenging.
  • Beale, R., Bond, M., 2009, "What makes a good game? Using reviews to inform design", HCI 2009 - 23rd Annual Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, BCS – Show abstract
    The characteristics that identify a good game are hard to define and reproduce, as demonstrated by the catalogues of both successes and failures from most games companies. We have started to address this by undertaking a grounded theoretical analysis of reviews garnered from games, both good and bad, to distil from these common features that characterize good and bad games. We have identified that a good game is cohesive, varied, has good user interaction and offers some form of social interaction. The most important factor to avoid is a bad pricing. Successfully achieving some of these good factors will also outweigh problems in other areas.
  • Beale, R., 2009, "What does Mobile Mean?", International Journal of Mobile Human Computer Interaction 1, pp. 1--8 – Show abstract
    This paper presents a perspective on what it really means to be mobile - why being mobile is different. It looks at the technological and physical implications, but really considers the broader issues: the social implications, the impact that data on the move can have on people, and the use of mobile devices as sensors that can drive intelligent, contextual systems that provide a much more effective experience for the user than existing systems do.
  • Read, J., Mazzone, E., Beale, R., 2009, "Under my Pillow – Designing Security for Children’s Special Things", HCI 2009 - 23rd Annual Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, BCS, pp. 288--292 – Show abstract
    This paper describes a novel design activity that was used to gather insights into security requirements for a mobile application for children. The study is described and design solutions that emerged following analysis of the children’s contributions are presented.
  • Edmondson, W., Beale, R., 2009, "Disembedding Computers – Interfacing Ubiquitous Computers", European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics (ECCE), ACM – Show abstract
    In this paper we look at four different interpretations of the term ‘Ubiquitous Computing’ - many computers; people using them much of the time; embedded computers, and ‘invisible’ systems - and consider how the two more specialist interpretations are being undermined by the other two. We explain how the increased manifestation of computers in our environment alters the ways in which we should consider how to design ubiquitous systems. There are some specific implications for design of interfaces to artefacts containing embedded computers and these are discussed in the context of recent work on Projected Cognition.
  • Bannon, L., Beale, R., Benyon, D., Bodker, S., Bratteteig, T., Costabile, M.F., de Michelis, G., de Ruyters, B., Gellersen, H., Huysman, M., Jacucci, G., Kuutti, K., Leidig, T., Moderini, C., Palanque, P., Paternó, F., Rizzo, A., Salembier, P., Schmidt, A., Schmidt, K., Simone, C., Strang, T., Sundblad, Y., Tscheligi, M., Wagner, I., Wulf, V., Zacklad, M., Rohde, M., 2009, "Manifesto: European Society of Socially Embedded Technologies" 2009Show abstract
    There is a paradigm shift in the computing field towards an anchoring of technology design in human activity that has been slowly gathering momentum over the past quarter century, and is now beginning to move from the periphery of the computing field to a central role. The issues at stake here are substantive and have profound implications for the understanding of the computing field. Thus it is not simply the need to (occasionally) talk about issues of computers and society, nor simply the need to incorporate user interface design or human-computer interaction. Rather, what is involved is a radical re-thinking of the computing field, and a shift in emphasis from aspects of the hardware and software to aspects of the human, social and organizational contexts within which information and communication technologies are both being designed and used. Many people have been involved in the attempt to shift the focus of computing - and informatics more generally – away from a purely technical approach concerned with hardware and software only, to one that considers the human activities of design and use of information systems as being of central concern. People such as Kristen Nygaard, who argued for a perspective on systems development that included the social and political, as well as the technical; in the US, Rob Kling spent many years as an advocate of a more open computer science (CS) discipline he labelled “Social Informatics”; Terry Winograd, one of a number of people involved in bringing the larger field of design into computing; and more recently, Pelle Ehn who argues that a Heideggerian approach to design creates a new understanding of the process of designing computer artifacts, that ‘help focus on the importance of everydayness of use as fundamental to design’.


  • Edmondson, W., Beale, R., 2008, "Projected Cognition: capturing intent in descriptions of complex interaction", Designing Interactive Systems (DIS), ACM Press, pp. 281--287 – Show abstract
    In a study of activity and usage of comparatively complex configurations – where users have multiple screens and/or multiple computers – we have noticed that accounts of what is being observed and reported are tricky to unify within a coherent framework. In this paper we look in detail at one such setting, where a complex office configuration has the machines well spread out in a structure designed by an individual for themselves. The layout also permits pairs of users to work collaboratively and clear cases of co-operative working are observed. In order to describe this successfully, we have extended the distributed cognition approach to capture notions of intent. This Projected Cognition, as we have termed it, allows us to provide a richer description of intent, activity and context.
  • Voong, M., Beale, R., 2008, "Representing Location in Location-based Social Awareness Systems", HCI 2008: Culture, Creativity, Interaction, BCS – Show abstract
    We analyze the results of a survey distributed to heavy users of social networking website on current mobile communications practices regarding location disclosure. We discovered that deception on location disclosure is a common practice amongst this demographic. We also discovered privacy issues of location are reduced in line with cue accuracy. From these results we generate design guidelines for mobile awareness applications that utilize location; which when shared in a controlled manner has been shown to be a powerful awareness cue. We support this approach with insights into the social behavior of deception in location disclosure showing that active online social network users are more open to revealing location, but more likely to be deceptive. We present the results applied to a mobile user interface for a location-based mobile awareness system that allow user’s location cue and disclosure accuracy to be modified.
  • Beale, R., 2008, "Improving the accuracy and reliability of wireless location systems: a case study", micai - Seventh Mexican International Conference on Artificial Intelligence, pp. 383--387 – Show abstract
    Wireless location is of increasing importance in context-aware systems. We have developed a wireless location positioning system that can use multiple algorithms for providing estimates of device location, and we present a case study of the system in use with a building. We show that combining two algorithms allows us to provide improved accuracy over one algorithm alone, and draw some general purpose conclusions regarding location determination in real-world environments.
  • Creed, C., Beale, R., 2008, "Psychological Responses to Simulated Displays of Mismatched Emotional Expressions", Interacting with Computers 20, pp. 225--239 – Show abstract
    Embodied agents are often designed with the ability to simulate human emotion. This paper investigates the psychological impact of simulated emotional expressions on computer users with a particular emphasis on how mismatched facial and audio expressions are perceived (e.g. a happy face with a concerned voice). In a within-subjects repeated measures experiment (N = 68), mismatched animations were perceived as more engaging, warm, concerned and happy when a happy or warm face was in the animation (as opposed to a neutral or concerned face) and when a happy or warm voice was in the animation (as opposed to a neutral or concerned voice). The results appear to follow cognitive dissonance theory as subjects attempted to make mismatched expressions consistent on both the visual and audio dimensions of animations, resulting in confused perceptions of the emotional expressions. Design implications for affective embodied agents are discussed and future research areas identified.
  • Vaughan, M., Courage, C., Rosenbaum, S., Jain, J., Hammontree, M., Beale, R., Welsh, D., 2008, "Longitudinal Usability Data Collection: Art versus Science?", CHI '08 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems: panels, ACM – Show abstract
    In this proposal the authors describe an exciting panel for CHI 2008 on Longitudinal Usability Data Collection. Collecting usability data over time is increasingly becoming best practice in industry, but lacks "thought leadership" in the current literature -- very few articles or books exist addressing the topic. To inspire academic research and share best practices with practitioners, we propose a panel to debate some key questions that arose from the CHI 2007 SIG on the same topic.
  • Voong, M., Beale, R., 2008, "Location Deception and Ambiguity in Mobile Visualizations for Social Awareness (poster)", MobileHCI 2008Show abstract
    Mobile social awareness visualizations display an aggregation of data from one or more sources information pertaining to the current status, activities or context of those within a user’s egocentric social network, represented as awareness cues. In commercial and research-based location-based systems for social visualizations adopt only basic rules for tackling location deception – usually through a simple tracking on/off control. We show through analysis of a questionnaire deployed to heavy social network users that location deception is a common practice in existing communication channels, and argue the importance of applying this observation to future mobile social awareness system designs. Our poster will succinctly illustrate guidelines for social visualizations with deception in mind through a concept design of a mobile user interface making use of the touch gestures.
  • Noël, S., Beale, R., 2008, "Sharing Vocabularies: Tag Usage in CiteULike", BCS-HCI '08: Proceedings of the 22nd British CHI Group Annual Conference on HCI 2008: Culture, Creativity, Interaction, BCS, pp. 71--74 – Show abstract
    CiteULike is a collaborative tagging web site which lets users enter academic references into a database and describe these references using tags (categorizations of their own choosing). We looked at the tagging behavior of people who were describing four frequently entered references. We found that while people tend to agree on a few select tags, people also tend to use many variants of these tags. This lack of consensus means that the collaborative aspect of tagging is not as strong as may have been suggested in the past.
  • Beale, R., 2008, "Rant: Freebies", ITNOW 50, pp. 17
  • Creed, C., Beale, R., 2008, "Simulated Emotion in Affective Embodied Agents", Affect and Emotion in Human-Computer Interaction, Springer LNCS, vol., pp. 163--174 – Show abstract
    An important strand of research that is often neglected in the field of affective computing is that of how users respond to simulated displays of emotion. We present an overview of the few studies that have explicitly investigated this space and discuss a number of issues related to simulated emotion research. An overview of our own work in this area is then provided, along with forthcoming studies that we plan to conduct. We conclude with a number of suggestions of where future research in this space should focus.
  • Holzinger, A., Thimbleby, H., Beale, R., 2008, "Workshop HCI for Medicine and Health Care (HCI4MED)", People and Computers XXII - Culture, Creativity, Interaction. Proceedings of HCI 2008. The 22nd British HCI Group Annual Conference, BCS 2Show abstract
    Ensuring good usability can be seen as the key success factor in our whole digital world: technology must support people. In particular, Medicine and Healthcare are currently subject to exceedingly rapid technological change. Vital areas for the economy include health of nations; medicine and healthcare entangles everybody, accordingly the role of usability is of increasing importance. Consequently, Medicine and Healthcare are a great challenge for Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research; however, it is of vital importance that the findings are integrated into engineering at a systemic level. Information Processing, in particular its potential effectiveness in modern Health Services and the optimization of processes and operational sequences, is of increasing interest, but we need to ensure that we engineer effective solutions as well as understanding the stakeholders and the issues they can and do encounter. It is particularly important for Medical Information Systems (e.g. Hospital Information Systems and Decision Support Systems) to be designed from the perspective of the end users, especially given that this is a diverse set of people.
  • Peter, C., Beale, R., 2008, "Affect and Emotion in Human-Computer Interaction", Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS 4868), Springer, Heidelberg 4868Show abstract
    Affect and emotion play an important role in our everyday lives: They are present whatever we do, wherever we are, and wherever we go, without us being aware of them for much of the time. When it comes to interaction, be it with humans, technology, or humans via technology, we suddenly become more aware of emotion, either by seeing the other’s emotional expression, or by not getting an emotional response while anticipating one. Given this, it seems only sensible to explore affect and emotion in human-computer interaction, to investigate the underlying principles, to study the role they play, to develop methods to quantify them, and to finally build applications that make use of them. This is the research field for which, over ten years ago, Rosalind Picard coined the phrase "affective computing". The present book provides an account of the latest work on a variety of aspects related to affect and emotion in human-technology interaction. It covers theoretical issues, user experience and design aspects as well as sensing issues, and reports on a number of affective applications that have been developed in recent years.
  • Mazzone, E., Read, J., Beale, R., 2008, "Understanding Children’s Contributions during Informant Design", HCI 2008: Culture, Creativity, Interaction, BCS 2, pp. 61--64 – Show abstract
    In this paper we describe the analysis of the outcomes of a design session with children. Designing with children is often considered an inspirational activity mainly useful for the designers to get first hand insights of the users’ world. For this study we attempt an analytical approach to the results of a specific design session where children used low-tech prototyping to design the content of an interactive interface for a museum context. This analysis helped to inform the design of the specific product but was also useful to investigate methods of interpreting qualitative data of this kind. The analysis showed that the design method employed enabled the children to consider design features but also demonstrated that in some areas the children had only a limited understanding. Results from this work will be used to improve, and describe future design sessions.
  • Mazzone, E., Read, J., Beale, R., 2008, "Design with and for disaffected teenagers", NordiChi 2008 - Proceedings of the 5th Nordic conference on Human-computer interaction: building bridges, ACM, pp. 290--297 – Show abstract
    This paper describes how an e-learning product for teenagers was developed using design sessions based on a participatory design approach. The product, in the form of a computer game, is the outcome of a project that aims to improve teenagers' emotional intelligence. The specific user group is from institutes for pupils that had previously been excluded from mainstream education. The novelty in the approach is that participants were involved in designing a tool that was intended to modify their emotional behaviour - for this discussion, it is the participation in the process that is critical, less so the end product. The project and the design approaches are described and the participatory activity is reflected on. The benefits resulting from the design sessions were bi-directional: the engagement with the prospective users was valuable both for the actual contribution to the product design and as an experience for the participants.
  • Beale, R., Peter, C., 2008, "The Role of Affect and Emotion in HCI", Affect and Emotion in Human-Computer Interaction - From Theory to Applications, Springer LNCS 4868, pp. 1--11 – Show abstract
    Affect and emotion play an important role in our everyday lives: they are present whatever we do, wherever we are, wherever we go, without us being aware of them for much of the time. When it comes to interaction, be it with humans, technology, or humans via technology, we suddenly become more aware of emotion, either by seeing the other’s emotional expression, or by not getting an emotional response while anticipating it. Given this, it seems only sensible to commit to affect and emotion in human-computer interaction, to investigate the underlying principles, to study the role they play, to develop methods to quantify them, and to finally build applications that make use of them. In this introductory chapter we discuss and give short accounts on present developments in the field, covering theoretical issues, user experience and design aspects, sensing issues, and report on some affective applications that have been developed.
  • England, D., Beale, R., 2008, "People and Computers XXII - Culture, Creativity, Interaction: Proceedings of HCI 2008, The 22nd British HCI Group Annual Conference " 1Show abstract
    HCI2008 Culture, Creativity, Interaction is the 22nd running of the Interaction group’s annual conference. The conference continues the evolution of HCI as it reaches out to other disciplines. Interaction has become more than ubiquitous; it has become embedded in our social fabric with millions taking part in, for example, social networking. Thus the ubiquity of interaction is not only physical; it is also social, cultural, ethical and moral: impacting on our daily lives in ever increasing ways. Our reaction to that as researchers must be to leave our labs and engage with those who are creating new forms of interaction. This year HCI 2008 takes place in Liverpool, European Capital of Culture 2008. There are many events happening in the city raising questions about interaction and technology. Within this volume we explore the full range of areas of interest to HCI researchers and practitioners. We begin with culture and role of the digital in culture. We look at the visual experience of users. We also look at the experience of those need assistance with or by technology. Turning to ourselves we look at issues of methods and how we carry out HCI research and practice. Issues of privacy are a common concern and they are reflected here. The growth of information sometimes leaves us gasping: how do we make sense of it all? And how do we cope with demanding tasks? All papers were reviewed by five external reviewers matched against the expertise of the volunteers listed in the volume. We acknowledge their efforts in contributing to the academic quality of the conference. Papers were then subject to a further round of meta-reviewing before recommendations were presented to the Programme Committee. The authors and the reviewers were drawn from many countries, marking the international nature of the HCI series of conferences. We trust that you will find the selected papers enjoyable, interesting and relevant to your own work, and agree with us that they mark the steady and continued progress in the knowledge based of HCI. We look forward to a conference full of Culture, Creativity and Interaction and for this theme to resonate throughout HCI for years to come.
  • Baber, C., Cross, J., Khaleel, T., Beale, R., 2008, "Location-based Photography as Sense-making", HCI 2008: Culture, Creativity, Interaction, BCS Press, pp. 133--140 – Show abstract
    In this paper we consider ways in which images collected in the field can be used as to support sense-making. Weick's concept of sense-making is applied to the capture of images. A study is reported in which visitors to an open-air museum were asked to take photographs of aspects of the site that they found interesting. Photographs were taken using a bespoke application in which a webcam and global positioning system device, attached to a small tablet computer, are used to capture tagged images. Tagging is supported by the use of a simple menu that allows users to classify the images.
  • Edmondson, W., Beale, R., 2008, "Projected Cognition - extending Distributed Cognition for the study of human interaction with computers", Interacting with Computers 20, pp. 128--140 – Show abstract
    In this paper, we introduce the notion of Projected Cognition as an extension to Distributed Cognition. Distributed Cognition is a conceptual framework which can be useful in studying human interactions with artefacts; the idea is that of cognition not bounded by the cranium but instead perfusing artefacts in ways that are recoverable. We argue that this analysis has not been fully understood in relation to the behaviour of humans with artefacts in that the intentionality in behaviour has been ignored. We argue that we need to view the human as sometimes projecting their intention in behaviour onto the artefacts they use, and suggest that this conception permits greater clarity in the study of user behaviour with artefacts such as computers. We illustrate the development with case studies of two users of complex configurations of computers as well as examples drawn from the published literature. We conclude with consideration of some design implications and discussion of related domains in HCI where Projected Cognition could be influential.
  • Beale, R., 2008, "Mobile Design for the Developing World", Royal Academy of Engineering Research Forum - report on research award
  • Beale, R., 2008, "Supporting cooperative teamwork: information, action and communication in sailing", Designing Interactive Systems (DIS), ACM Press, pp. 129--138 – Show abstract
    This paper provides details of an in-depth investigation into how racing sailors use information displays and devices, and shows that these devices act as communication loci and instigators of action. The paper presents a detailed look at how sailors use instrumentation on their boats for both their own performance and as the foci for developing a shared understanding: this is a detailed study of computer-supported cooperative work in a new environment. We present a brief summary of the ways that technology has pervaded the environs of sailing yachts, and analyze how this has affected the activities of the crew and altered the relationship between the sailors and their environment. We introduce a taxonomy of information processing levels that allows us to understand what information is currently presented and in what form, and provides a basis for us to consider future developments in the field. After presenting the study and some analysis of the use of existing technology, we present a new design that addresses some of the issues identified, and evaluate its impact. The systems are analysed from the perspective of assisting people to improve their performance in training and in race situations. We use a combination of observation, discussion and personal reflection in undertaking the study.
  • Beale, R., 2008, "Architects or builders; scaffolding or duck tape?", IDA (Interaction Design and Architecture(s)), Special Issue: Proceedings of HCIEd 2008 Year II an, pp. 19--22 – Show abstract
    In this paper I reflect on the role of HCI Education in University level courses. The theme of the conference is ‘Architecting the Future’ and I analyse what we mean by this in terms of HCI Education. As a community we seem to have moved from fundamental HCI issues through usability and user-centered design, and last year were all about design and creativity – have we moved one step beyond again and moved to architecting the future? And if so, is this appropriate for our students? Four principles for HCI Education are presented that address the pressures that students and the curriculum is under. Further approaches to assisting HCI Education are given, in the light of case study experiences.
  • Creed, C., Beale, R., 2008, "Emotional intelligence: giving computers effective emotional skills to aid interaction", Computational Intelligence: A Compendium, Springer-Verlag, pp. 185--230 – Show abstract
    Why do computers need emotional intelligence? Science fiction often portrays emotional computers as dangerous and frightening, and as a serious threat to human life. One of the most famous examples is HAL, the supercomputer onboard the spaceship Discovery, in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. HAL could express, recognize and respond to human emotion, and generally had strong emotional skills — the consequences of which were catastrophic. However, since the movie’s release almost 40 years ago, the traditional view of emotions as contributing to irrational and unpredictable behavior has changed. Recent research has suggested that emotions play an essential role in important areas such as learning, memory, motivation, attention, creativity, and decision making. These findings have prompted a large number of research groups around the world to start examining the role of emotions and emotional intelligence in human-computer interaction (HCI). For almost half a century, computer scientists have been attempting to build machines that can interact intelligently with us, and despite initial optimism, they are still struggling to do so. For much of this time, the role of emotion in developing intelligent computers was largely overlooked, and it is only recently that interest in this area has risen dramatically. This increased interest can largely be attributed to the work of [6] and [85] who were amongst the first to bring emotion to the attention of computer scientists. The former highlighted emotion as a fundamental component required in building believable agents, while the latter further raised the awareness of emotion and its potential importance in HCI. Since these publications, the literature on emotions and computing has grown considerably with progress being made on a number of different fronts.
  • Melhuish, J., Beale, R., 2008, "News Not Noise: Socially Aware Information Filtering", HCI 2008: Culture, Creativity, Interaction, BCS, pp. 115--118 – Show abstract
    An understanding of how people in social networks consume news media by and about their friends shows that information overload is soon going to be a major problem for many participants. Users dislike manually prioritizing their friendships to help organize this data, and this leads us to develop a new interface to help users to find the news that most interests them by providing a visual representation of social proximity, in which friends most visited and those most likely to be met offline we prioritized.
  • Creed, C., Beale, R., 2008, "Abusive Interactions with Embodied Agents", Interaction Studies, Special issue on Agent Abuse 9, pp. 481--503 – Show abstract
    Numerous research groups around the world are attempting to build realistic and believable autonomous embodied agents that attempt to have natural interactions with users. Research into these entities has primarily focused on their potential to enhance human-computer interaction. As a result, there is little understanding of the potential for embodied entities to abuse and manipulate users for questionable purposes. We highlight the potential opportunities for abuse when interacting with embodied agents in virtual worlds and discuss how our social interactions with such entities can contribute to abusive behaviour. Suggestions for reducing such risks are also provided, along with suggestions for important future research areas.


  • Beale, R., 2007, "Supporting serendipity: Using ambient intelligence to augment user exploration for data mining and web browsing", International Journal of Human Computer Studies 65, pp. 421--433 – Show abstract
    Serendipity is the making of fortunate discoveries by accident, and is one of the cornerstones of scientific progress. In today's world of digital data and media, there is now a vast quantity of material that we could potentially encounter, and so there is an increased opportunity of being able to discover interesting things. However, the availability of material does not imply that we will be able to actually find it; the sheer quantity of data mitigates against us being able to discover the interesting nuggets. This paper explores approaches we have taken to support users in their search for interesting and relevant information. The primary concept is the principle that it is more useful to augment user skills in information foraging than it is to try and replace them. We have taken a variety of artificial intelligence, statistical, and visualisation techniques, and combined them with careful design approaches to provide supportive systems that monitor user actions, garner additional information from their surrounding environment and use this enhanced understanding to offer supplemental information that aids the user in their interaction with the system. We present two different systems that have been designed and developed according to these principles. The first system is a data mining system that allows interactive exploration of the data, allowing the user to pose different questions and understand information at different levels of detail. The second supports information foraging of a different sort, aiming to augment users browsing habits in order to help them surf the internet more effectively. Both use ambient intelligence techniques to provide a richer context for the interaction and to help guide it in more effective ways: both have the user as the focal point of the interaction, in control of an iterative exploratory process, working in indirect collaboration with the artificial intelligence components. Each of these systems contains some important concepts of their own: the data mining system has a symbolic genetic algorithm which can be tuned in novel ways to aid knowledge discovery, and which reports results in a user-comprehensible format. The visualisation system supports high-dimensional data, dynamically organised in a three-dimensional space and grouped by similarity. The notions of similarity are further discussed in the internet browsing system, in which an approach to measuring similarity between web pages and a user's interests is presented. We present details of both systems and evaluate their effectiveness.
  • Peter, C., Beale, R., Crane, E., Axelrod, L., 2007, "Emotion in HCI. Workshop summary.", Proceedings of the 21st BCS HCI Group Conference, 2007, British Computer Society 2Show abstract
    An increasing number of conferences, symposia, workshops, journals and books address the subject of emotions and their role in Human-Computer Interaction, including workshops at the last two HCI conferences. The need for discussion, exchange of ideas, and interdisciplinary collaboration is ever-increasing as the community grows. This workshop will meet the requirements of individuals working in fields affected by emotion, giving them a podium to raise their questions and work with like-minded people of various disciplines on common subjects. It will focus around four sessions, and will use predominantly small group work, rather than being presentation-based.
  • Beale, R., 2007, "So what? Why being pervasive is different. (Keynote)", 2nd International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Applications, 2007. ICPCA 2007, pp. iv--iv
  • Beale, R., 2007, "Blogs, reflective practice and student-centered learning", HCI 2007, BCS Publishing – Show abstract
    Blogging can be used to enhance education by encouraging reflective practice. We present a study in which a final year HCI course was constructed around regular blogging activity. We discuss the role of blogs in providing a social mechanism for the student body and in acting as a conduit between classroom and practical examples. We analyze the blogs from a quantitative and qualitative perspective, and show that the students found it a useful and effective addition to their learning.
  • Beale, R., 2007, "Slanty Design", Communications of the ACM (CACM) 50, pp. 21--24 – Show abstract
    This new take on usability yields desirable (and the absence of undesirable) user behavior, even as it furthers grander corporate goals.
  • Beale, R., 2007, "Ubiquitous Learning - or : Learn How To Learn And You'll Never HaveTo Learn Anything Again?", Beyond Mobile Learning Workshop, Trinity College Dublin Press, pp. 64--65 – Show abstract
    First came teachers: Plato spoke, asking questions – as did Socrates (giving rise to the Socratic method). People gathered, discussed, thought, reasoned, and were enlightened. Then came books. People read, thought, reasoned, and were educated. We then had teachers: talking, and using books, to instil knowledge in students, who listened, and read, and discussed, and wrote, and became educated. Then came e-teaching: like teaching, only on computers. People found it slightly harder to get to grips with, were sometimes educated, often frustrated, and were occasionally educated. The came e-learning: structured, personalised education based on personal abilities and interests. People were a little put off by their e-teaching experiences, but gave it a go, and it worked reasonably well for some of them – though the complexity of systems, the frustrations of computers, were still there. Then came m-learning – learning on mobile devices – and when people worked out that presenting large quantities of material on a small screen was sub-optimal, and that there were better things to do with mobile devices than focus on their least effective features, like their display or memory, we gained context- and location-sensitive systems, which provided relevant content tailored to individuals, and provided a rich and rewarding educational experience – at least in the laboratory. But with all these systems, different forms of learning were supported in different ways, and students adopted different learning styles and approaches to maximise their benefits from the technologies. Educators realise this, and propose that blended approaches to learning are used, since different topics, styles and learners benefit differently from the alternative approaches. For best effect, history has shown us that new technologies do not tend to best support existing practices; instead, they open up new opportunities for alternative learning that suits the medium more. Books widened participation; e-teaching tried to present books and schoolroom teaching on a computer, and failed, whereas proper e-learning utilised the multimedia capabilities of the system, and related it to models of user knowledge acquisition and self-testing and presented tailored programmes that suited users. Mobile learning has come into its own now that it better understands the nature of mobility (devices and users) and plays to the strengths of context, location, and immediate presentation of relevant and interesting information. So the interesting question is, where will we go next? What form of learning should we be considering for the next step beyond mobile learning? From both a technological and a social perspective, the next step beyond mobility is ubiquity: a vision of the world in which multitudinous devices are embedded in the everyday world, around our persons, and in the devices we carry. These systems communicate with each other and with us, connecting us every closer to a digital web in which information, the environment, other participants and ourselves are closely interwoven. If we try to present educational approaches that we currently use into this new mesh of interpersonal, interwoven information spaces, we are doomed to fail. Interaction in this new world is different – it is mediated as if by magic by multitudinous systems, many of which we have little or no comprehension of, and it is these differences in interaction that occurred at each of the historical shifts in approaches to education and learning. Current educational dilemmas present us with an insight into these issues. Questions have become less meaningful in today’s educational landscape: Google can answer a question, with no knowledge acquired by the student. Essays can be produced from essay banks, with the student participating in the learning process not one iota. However, knowing how to use information tools has become critical. In the ubiquitous future, it is quite likely that information is an easily accessible resource – if you know how to get to it. Facts become merely items to be accessed, rather than knowledge to be acquired. Knowing how to find out information, how to manipulate it, how to condense it; these will become key skills. Verifying information is reputable, understanding its veracity, assessing quality and reliability, combining and presenting it with conciseness and precision: these will be the key skills that separate the good from the bad, the innovative from the plodders. If you know how to access information, what information to trust, and how to combine and present it, then actually knowing anything will become irrelevant: details can be provided by the back end systems, by the environment. Deciding how best to access and fuse the different, conflicting and potentially overwhelming quantity of data will be a distinguishing feature of the new learning agenda. Finding new ways of seeing things, being creative, providing new perspectives on the world and our place in will become more important. Though maybe it was always thus?
  • Voong, M., Beale, R., 2007, "Music organisation using colour synaesthesia", CHI '07 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems, ACM, pp. 1869--1874 – Show abstract
    The movement of music from physical discs to digital resources managed on a computer has had an effect on the listening habits of users. We explore using the potential of the innate synaesthesia that some people report feeling between colour and mood in a novel interface that enables a user to explore their music collection and create musical playlists in a more relevant way. We show that there is a reasonable degree of consistency between users’ associations of colour and music, and show that an indirect descriptor can aid in the recall of music via mood, making playlist generation a simpler and more useful process.
  • Beale, R., Edmondson, W., 2007, "Multiple carets, multiple screens and multi-tasking: new behaviours with multiple computers", HCI2007, BCS, pp. 55--64 – Show abstract
    This study presents interview based case studies of users who work with multiple computers as well as multiple displays. Such users have not been studied before. The behaviour is discussed in terms of both technical and cognitive dimensions, and we identify the importance of having multiple carets and the complexity of multi-tasking and how it can be supported across multiple machines in a way not possible on a single system.
  • Creed, C., Beale, R., 2007, "User Responses To Embodied Agent Emotion ", The 3rd International Workshop on Emotion in Human-Computer Interaction, at HCI 2007


  • Beale, R., 2006, "Ambient Art: Creative Information Representation", Human Technology: Special Issue on Culture, Creativity and Technology 3, pp. 34--53 – Show abstract
    Ambient art is the aesthetic presentation of information, using artistic techniques to achieve a pleasing image that also contains hidden depths, where exposure to it over time allows a viewer to understand something about the information sources that it represents. This paper reviews the artistic and computational background of ambient systems, and presents two case studies of systems developed by our research team, from their initial design to the experiences of the people encountering them. The first case presents a photo mosaic of images based on the news headlines coupled with a structured picture based on the weather; the second presents stylistic perspectives on activity in a public space. Both are evaluated and demonstrate that different forms of aesthetically pleasing displays can convey information to viewers.
  • Creed, C., Beale, R., ACM, ., 2006, "Agent Abuse: The Potential Dangers of Socially Intelligent Embodied Agents", What is the Next Generation of Human-Computer Interaction? ACM CHI Workshop, ACM – Show abstract
    Research into developing socially intelligent embodied agents has increased over the last decade with the main focus being on how they can enhance humancomputer interaction. However, little research has concentrated on the potential they have to manipulate our behavior for unethical purposes. A discussion is provided highlighting the main dangers associated with embodied agents. Suggestions for reducing these risks are then provided, along with a brief discussion regarding the need for further research.
  • Schnier, T., Yao, X., Beale, R., Hendley, B., 2006, "Nature Inspired Creative Design - Bringing Together Ideas From Nature, Computer Science, Engineering, Art, Design", Adaptive Computing in Design and Manufacture, Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference (ACDM 2006) The Institute for People Centred Computation, pp. 237--240 – Show abstract
    This paper presents an account of the nature inspired design research network. It discusses the potential benefits of researching and adopting nature inspired approaches in design. It summarises the topics discussed in the network, which include evolution, growth and development, emergence and self organization, robustness, natural structures, and human design behaviour and performance; and it reports on the activities of and experiences with the network.
  • Beale, R., Hendley, B., Pryke, A., Wilkins, B., 2006, "Nature-inspired Visualisation of Similarity and Relationships in Human Systems and Behaviours", Information Visualization. Special Issue on Visual Analysis of Human Dynamics 5, pp. 260--270 – Show abstract
    Visualisations of complex interrelationships have the potential to be complex and require a lot of cognitive input. We have drawn analogues from natural systems to create new visualisation approaches that are more intutive and easier to work with. We use nature-inspired concepts to provide cognitive amplification, moving the load from the user's cognitive to their perceptual systems and thus allowing them to focus their cognitive resources where they are most appropriate. Two systems are presented: one uses a physical-based model to construct the visualisation, while the other uses a biological inspiration. Their application to four visualisation tasks is discussed: the structure of information browsing on the internet; the structure of parts of the web itself; to aid the refinement of queries to a digital library; and to compare different documents for similar content.
  • Creed, C., Beale, R., 2006, "Embodied Interfaces: The Next Generation of HCI? ", Workshop on The Next Generation of HCI, in cooperation with the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI2006), ACM – Show abstract
    Advocates of embodied agents often assume that such agents will enhance humancomputer interaction (HCI) as they take advantage of our pre-existing social skills and provide an interface that is natural and engaging to use. But this is not guaranteed. A discussion is provided detailing some of the key technical and social issues that will need to be overcome for embodied interfaces to be of use in the next generation of HCI, along with an overview of related experiments that are to be conducted over the coming months. Final conclusions regarding embodied interfaces are then provided.
  • Beale, R., 2006, "HCI Case studies and issues: a perspective", HCI Educators workshop: Yellow Book
  • Creed, C., Beale, R., 2006, "Multiple and Extended Interactions with Affective Embodied Agents", Workshop at HCI 2006: Engaging with Emotions - The Role of Emotion in HCI
  • Peter, C., Crane, E., Beale, R., 2006, "The role of emotion in human-computer interaction", Interfaces Winter
  • Beale, R., 2006, "How to enhance the experience without interfering with it?", Big Issues in Mobile Learning: Report of a workshop by the Kaleidoscope Network of Excellence Mobile Learning Initiative, pp. 10--14 – Show abstract
    This workshop focussed on how to enhance the experience on learning and interacting without interfering with it. Is this possible? What do we understand by interference, and is it always bad? How can we design for optimal enhancement? These and other questions were explored by the participants. The report is in three main sections. The first details the structure of the workshop, so that others running similar events can adapt and develop the structure used here. The second summarises the main discussions, whilst the final part summarises the key findings from the day.
  • Peter, C., Crane, E., Axelrod, L., Beale, R., 2006, "Engaging with Emotions – the Role of Emotion in HCI. Workshop summary.", Proceedings of the HCI 2006 Conference, Volume 2, British Computer Society, pp. 270--272 – Show abstract
    Emotions are of increasing interest to the HCI community and there is an enthusiastic spirit of adventure amongst researchers exploring this area. Much technical research has been done focussing on development of various proof-of-possibility studies and prototypical emotion components, but work done to date has been fragmented and lacks coherence. The goal of this workshop is to share information among researchers and practitioners working in this field through organized discussion and thematic working groups. This workshop will continue bringing people together, forming a community, supporting networking and collaboration to advocate coordinated work in this fascinating field of research.
  • Beale, R., 2006, "Issues in designing for e-science", Workshop on Usability Design for e-ScienceShow abstract
    E-Science offers a special set of challenges for interactive systems designers. Whilst e-science has many different meanings, its key characteristics are that it deals with science that is distributed, asynchronous, and involves multiple participants (whether they be scientists or data gatherers). This makes it inherently different to desktop systems for single or a few users, and so we need to consider whether existing design approaches are adequate. This paper outlines three areas in which e-science and usability combine in interesting ways.
  • Beale, R., 2006, "Mobile blogging: experiences of technologically led design", CHI Experience Reports, ACM – Show abstract
    We discuss the details of the architecture, design, and acceptability of a system created to support mobile blogging, called SmartBlog. The process of blogging is often an instant-response mode of writing that provides its own challenges for systems that aim to support it.SmartBlog was developed from a technologically inspired design approach towards creating new artifacts, which we outline.
  • Creed, C., Beale, R., 2006, "Engaging Experiences with Emotional Virtual Therapists", International Design and Engagability Conference @ NordiCHI
  • Dix, A., Finlay, J., Abowd, G., Beale, R., 2006, "人机交互(第三版).北京:电子工业出版社 (Man-machine interaction (the third edition). Beijing: Electronics industry publishing house)"
  • Beale, R., 2006, "Improving Internet Interaction: From theory to practice", Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. Perspectives on Search User Interfaces: Best Practices and Future Visions 57, pp. 829--833 – Show abstract
    The Internet is a medium for education, entertainment, communication, and personal expression. User behavior has developed three main modalities for using thismedium effectively—searching, browsing, and monitoring—which are supported to different degrees by conventional tools. Understanding the nature of the interaction allows us to design and implement a system called Mitsukeru to support browsing behaviors, while retaining the free-form movements between other interaction styles. The system uses agent-based modeling and look-ahead to provide informative yet nonintrusive guidance to the user, and is described in detail.
  • Beale, R., Voong, M., 2006, "Managing online music: attitudes, playlists, mood and colour", Proceedings of HCI 2006, Springer-Verlag 2Show abstract
    The movement of music from physical discs to digital resources managed on a computer has had an effect on the listening habits of users. We present the results of a survey to quantify these changes, and identify problems with the creation and management of playlists, a mechanism which users use to organize and guide their listening experiences. We describe the design of a system to help automate the creation of playlists, using colour associations to guide the choice of music. We demonstrate that there is a reasonable degree of consistency between user’s associations of colour and music, despite their personal views that everyone will be different, and evaluate the system with a set of users.
  • Beale, R., Pryke, A., 2006, "Knowledge through Evolution", Advances in Applied Artificial Intelligence, Idea Group Inc (IGI), pp. 234--250 – Show abstract
    This chapter argues that a knowledge discovery system should be interactive, should utilise the best in artificial intelligence (AI), evolutionary, and statistical techniques in deriving results, but should be able to trade accuracy for understanding. Further, it needs to provide a means for users to indicate what exactly constitutes “interesting”, as well as understanding suggestions output by the computer. One such system is Haiku, which combines interactive 3D dynamic visualization and genetic algorithm techniques, and enables users to visually explore features and evaluate explanations generated by the system. Three case studies are described which illustrate the effectiveness of the Haiku system, these being Australian credit card data, Boston area housing data, and company telecommunications network call patterns. We conclude that a combination of intuitive and knowledge-driven exploration, together with conventional machine learning algorithms, offers a much richer environment, which in turn can lead to a deeper understanding of the domain under study.
  • Beale, R., 2006, "e-learning: painkiller or headache?", BCS Annual ReviewShow abstract
    'e-learning' is fast becoming the next artificial intelligence (AI). It is in danger of the hype setting expectations that exceed the reality, which in turn leads to disappointment and dismissal. As with AI, this would be a mistake.


  • Syvanen, A., Beale, R., Sharples, M., Ahonen, M., Lonsdale, P., Technology, I.T.C.O.L., 2005, "Supporting Pervasive Learning Environments: Adaptability and Context Awareness in Mobile Learning (poster)", IEEE International Workshop on Wireless and Mobile Technologies in Education (WMTE 2005), IEEE – Show abstract
    In the mobile learning context, it is helpful to consider context awareness and adaptivity as two sides of the same coin. The purpose of the adaptivity and context awareness is to better support a variety of learners, given that they may have very different skills and motivations to learn in varying contexts. The recent research on adaptivity and context awareness has turned towards supporting pervasive environments and this is coupled with the increasing trend in seeing learning environments from an informal learning perspective. Introducing mobility to learning in a meaningful way emphasizes the role of the contextual factors, and learning as an informal activity. In this paper are presented experiences of developing an adaptive and context aware mobile learning system, with examples of other systems underlining the development towards supporting pervasive learning environments. We then consider approaches for the future development of systems supporting pervasive learning environments.
  • Beale, R., Bordbar, B., 2005, "Using modelling to put HCI design patterns to work", HCI International. 11th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc (LEA). – Show abstract
    It is recognised that creating effective, usable interactive systems is a highly non-trivial task. One approach to supporting developers and designers is through the use of HCI design patterns - this is now recognised as an effective way to produce usable systems. Design patterns capture the key elements of a design, providing a library of approaches that are known to work, though most design patterns are at best only semi-formal, providing outline structures that are filled in with discursive text and/or images. In this paper we present a UML/OCL model of design patterns that captures not only the characteristics of the system but also its interface representation, and provide examples of how it can be used. This approach is shown to be flexible and very powerful. We focus on modelling a design pattern at a high level of abstraction, producing a template, or metamodel representation, from which specific UML instantiations can be refined. This approach immediately captures the relationships between similar designs, showing the connections between related conceptual elements. The approach goes further, however; from a specific UML model, we can derive code that implements the relevant design pattern. The role of OCL is to represent constraints on the model, allowing us to define more tightly the behaviour and representational aspects of the design pattern. This paper discusses the reasoning behind the approach and our initial results in modeling design patterns using UML.
  • Beale, R., 2005, "Mobile blogging: supporting social communication", Human-Computer Interaction, IASTED – Show abstract
    Creating and maintaining blogs is an increasingly common activity, in which users share personal thoughts and observations via the web. We want to understand whether users want to blog when out and about, and have designed and developed a mobile blogging client that allows users to share their experiences via their mobile phone, and have integrated it with the multimedia and networking capabilities of the device to provide a flexible, powerful, personal system. We discuss and evaluate the system and its design.
  • Beale, R., 2005, "Using blogs to support reflective practice in HCI", 8th HCI Educators Workshop (HCIEd-8), LTSN – Show abstract
    Blogs have become very popular recently[1, 2], as a fast, easy to use way of sharing your thoughts with others on the internet. Because of their web-based nature, they encourage external referencing to other sites, and communities of interest grow up, sharing information and opinions[3, 4]. They have recently become of interest to educationalists, who see their potential as tools for supporting student sharing of information, for engaging them with the subject by using cool new technology and relating their work to the outside world, and, by the very nature of the blogging activity, supporting reflective practice[5]. To investigate this, we studied 160 students on an HCI course over a semester, who were asked to use blogging as a tool for their learning. Students were asked to work in groups of five to produce a shared blog that referred to things in the real world that were related to HCI, usability, and the specific topics they were studying. In addition, they used the blogs to record information on a specialist topic that they were being asked to research and present. The aim of the blogs was to be formative, not summative, though a small number of marks were assigned to this activity to ensure participation. We present the results of our evaluation of their blogging activities in two forms: Quantitative: number of postings, size of postings, number of internal references, number of external references, number of comments, and so on Qualitative: quality of writing, relevance to material, evidence of learning, evidence of progression to deeper levels of understanding, evidence of reflective learning. We also put these results into the wider context of the web-directed learning approach first discussed at this workshop last year[5, 6]. In addition, we have just completed a final year HCI course, whose design and style has been influenced by the second year course discussed above. We discus how these influences have manifested themselves, the changes made for a more advanced course, and the lessons learned. We also look at how effective and efficient the overall approach is, and highlight the key factors that make it successful, and the main advantages and disadvantages of the approach.
  • Pryke, A., Beale, R., 2005, "Interactive Comprehensible Data Mining", Lecture Notes in Computer Science, LNCS/LNAI 3345, IGI Press, pp. 48--65 – Show abstract
    In data mining, or knowledge discovery, we are essentially faced with a mass of data that we are trying to make sense of. We are looking for something 'interesting'. Quite what 'interesting' means is hard to define, however – one day it is the general trend that most of the data follows that we are intrigued by – the next it is why there are a few outliers to that trend. In order for a data mining to be generically useful to us, it must therefore have some way in which we can indicate what is interesting and what is not, and for that to be dynamic and changeable.
  • Beale, R., 2005, "Mobiles for Social Interaction", Convivo workshop (unpublished) 4, pp. 35--41 – Show abstract
    The smart phone offers communication, connectivity, content consumption, and content creativity.This powerful device is both personal, containing private information, and public, providing a digital link to the rest of the world. The author has designed, built, and evaluated several systems thatsupport social interaction, enhancing the relationships and communication between individuals andgroups. He illustrates how the smart phoneýs capabilities can be manipulated to augment traditionalinteractions and develop new interactions. Pervasive systems become powerful when they improve people's lives; the smart phone's support of social interactions can help achieve this goal.
  • Beale, R., 2005, "Presenting appropriate information - a case study", New Zealand Journal of Sports Medicine 33, pp. 62--63
  • Beale, R., 2005, "Usability - a new slant", Interfaces Spring, pp. 5
  • Beale, R., 2005, "Russell Reflects: Having fun, or taking professional development Opportunities", Usability News
  • Beale, R., 2005, "Art, Design and Interaction (unpublished)", Workshop on The Theory and Practice of Experience Design, Digital Arts and Culture Conference
  • Beale, R., 2005, "Heavy weather", BCS ITNOW, pp. 34
  • Beale, R., 2005, "Would Software Patents Be All Bad?", ITNOW - BCS Computer Bulletin. Point/counterpoint
  • Beale, R., 2005, "Information Fragments for a Pervasive World", Proceedings of the 23rd annual international conference on Design of communication: documenting & designing for pervasive information (ACM SIGDOC'05), ACM Press, pp. 48--53 – Show abstract
    Is the second paragraph dead? Technology and users are tending to create and consume information in ever decreasing chunks, forcing content creators to create shorter fragments of text and other media. This paper examines this phenomenon, and provides examples of where and why this is happening. It examines the role of metadata, and how this can be used to provide effective, personalized communication in a fragmented digital world.
  • Lonsdale, P., Beale, R., 2005, "Using context awareness to enhance visitor engagement in a gallery space", Proceedings of HCI 2005, Springer-Verlag 1, pp. 101--111 – Show abstract
    Context-awareness can greatly enhance the usability of mobile devices by making it possible for users to continue with other activities without having to pay too much attention to the device. At the same time contextaware applications can provide timely support for user activities by responding to changes in the user’s state and acting accordingly. We describe our work on developing a generic context awareness architecture that is being deployed in a gallery space to enhance learner engagement with the gallery exhibits. Our system makes use of contextual information to determine what content should be displayed on the device. Users can also navigate this content by explicitly changing their context in the dimensions of physical location and dwell time. Visitors have the opportunity to physically interact with the abstract information layer that is overlaid on the gallery space. The system also actively encourages movement in the gallery by identifying links between paintings. We describe our architecture, implementation, and the design challenges faced in deploying this system within a gallery.
  • Beale, R., 2005, "Mobile blogging: supporting informal mobile learning", MLEARN 2005Show abstract
    Reflective practice is recognised as a useful tool to support a wide variety of learning opportunities and approaches (Schon, 1983), providing a period of reflection on action and drawing out key lessons learned. Supporting such introspection about learning is as useful in mobile learning; potentially, even more so in informal, unstructured scenarios that often occur in a mobile setting, where a deeper understanding of the things learnt comes about after the event and not during it. Weblogs have been used to support reflective practice, but often there is a long delay between experiencing a learning episode whilst out and about, and being able to record the key elements of it and reflect on it. To address this problem, we have developed a mobile blogging client that runs on a smartphone, which allows the learner to record the event at the time, using the phone’s multimedia capabilities – photos, sound, text and so on, and to enter their thoughts and impressions and reflections immediately, and post these to their blog. This approach captures the more immediate stream-of-consciousness style that is prevalent in blogging (Nardi et al., 2004 , Nardi, Schiano and Gumbrecht, 2004 ), and produces a system that is always available and therefore supports the immediate, ad-hoc nature of mobile learning experiences more effectively. This paper discusses the design and architecture of the system, discusses it in relation to other more limited approaches (Nokia, 2003, Gratton, 2004), and reports on its use in mobile blogging.
  • Beale, R., 2005, "University HCI—Squeezed Into Where?", ACM <interactions>, pp. 15--16 – Show abstract
    I’m a passionate advocate of HCI, whether it be forcing it into the curriculum, trying to get my computer science colleagues to mention relevant aspects of it in their software engineering, project management or distributed systems modules, or by championing specific HCI modules within a computing course. I also appear to be a failing passionate advocate.
  • Beale, R., 2005, "Modern art and design", Interfaces
  • Beale, R., 2005, "Ambient art: information without attention", HCI International. 11th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc (LEA) – Show abstract
    Art explores and expresses our aesthetic relation to our environment and ourselves. However, since the rise of photography, the value ascribed to art’s representative power has waned and in its place are explorations of the poetics of each piece, the way in which an object’s materiality intervenes in the space (and time) in which it is sited, authorship, the role of the viewer and so on. In 2D media, these subjects have been explored in many ways. Mark Rothko, concerned with the search for the sublime, created vast modernist works than aimed to stupefy the viewer into a response to the hidden ‘divine’. Picasso’s light paintings subverted the photograph’s modus operandi by generating an image over time, rather than in a single snapshot instant. Many artists working in video explore directly the way in which time and image can interact. These concerns offer themselves uniquely to the development of a ‘new’ medium – an exploration of the way in which ambient information can be represented in a visual, 2D (or perhaps 3D) format. In technologically enhanced modern life, there are many pieces of information relating to the environment, the workplace, the tasks and requirements of users that we can collect, collate and represent - but how do we visualise them? In particular, 2D representations that are aware of individuals and alter their properties according to the relationships between them are interesting. We are not focused on providing a direct mapping between information and representation, but on the creation of a representation of what might be termed the ‘mood’ of a place, and in the modifications that occur as users interact indirectly with the artefact. This brings the viewer into direct interaction with the artwork, something that has been carried out by digital artists within a gallery or studio environment, but which has not yet transgressed the boundaries of the gallery walls. This defines ambient art: representations of complex environmental and user information that reflect their surroundings as well as simply being displayed in them. This paper presents the rationale for exploring ambient art, details the basic technical infrastructure, and discusses our experiences with using the system.
  • Beale, R., 2005, "Rise up, revolt!", ACM <interactions>, pp. 42--44


  • Beale, R., Pryke, A., Hendley, R.J., 2004, "Evolutionary approaches to visualisation and knowledge discovery", Computer Human Interaction, Springer-Verlag 3101, pp. 30--39 – Show abstract
    Haiku is a data mining system which combines the best properties of human and machine discovery. An self organising visualisation system is coupled with a genetic algorithm to provide an interactive, flexible system. Visualisation of data allows the human visual system to identify areas of interest, such as clusters, outliers or trends. A genetic algorithm based machine learning algorithm can then be used to explain the patterns identified visually. The explanations (in rule form) can be biased to be short or long; contain all the characteristics of a cluster or just those needed to predict membership; or concentrate on accuracy or on coverage of the data. This paper describes both the visualisation system and the machine learning component, with a focus on the interactive nature of the data mining process, and provides case studies to demonstrate the capabilities of the system.
  • Beale, R., 2004, "BCS HCI Group has new Chair at the Helm", Usability News
  • Byrne, W., Lonsdale, P., Sharples, M., Baber, C., Arvanitis, T., Brundell, P., Beale, R., 2004, "Determining location in context-aware mobile learning", Mobile learning anytime everywhere: Proceedings of MLEARN 2004, CRATOS, pp. 43--45 – Show abstract
    Context-aware mobile learning systems rely on the availability of information about a mobile user. One of the most obvious aspects of context is location (Small, Smailagic and Siewiorek 2000), and several methods exist to determine a user’s position, varying not just in the accuracy of the information they provide, but also in the extent to which they intrude on the user’s experience. Issues with intrusiveness also arise when this information is used. For instance, a user may not necessarily want content in their browser automatically updated whenever they change position, or when they are busy with other activities. This paper describes the ongoing development of a testbed to explore some of these methods and issues by modelling a mobile learning scenario involving a visit to an art gallery. A user with a mobile device will have the most relevant content made available as he or she moves around the gallery.
  • Beale, R., Lonsdale, P., 2004, "Mobile context aware systems: The intelligence to support tasks and effectively utilise resources", Mobile Human-Computer Interaction - Mobile HCI 2004, Springer-Verlag 3160, pp. 240--251 – Show abstract
    The complex usage of mobile devices coupled with their limited resources in terms of display and processing suggests that being able to understand the context of the user would be beneficial. In this paper we present a model that describes context as a dynamic process with historic dependencies. We also describe software architecture to support this model, and evaluate its effectiveness in a mobile learning scenario. Preliminary results from our evaluation suggest important issues for consideration in the continuing development of context aware systems and interfaces, including the need for appropriate representation of contextual data to the user, and maintaining a balance between effective support and intrusion.
  • Beale, R., Newton, T., 2004, "Experiences in creating an online community for children with cystic fibrosis", Engagability and Design Conference
  • Beale, R., Jones, M., 2004, "Integrating Situated Interaction with Mobile Awareness", AISB Quarterly, CRATOS 117, pp. 4 – Show abstract
    This paper describes the design and implementation of an intelligent messaging system to allow students and lecturers to communicate better with each other when office-based interactions fail.
  • Lonsdale, P., Barber, C., Sharples, M., Byrne, W., Arvanitis, T., Brundell, P., Beale, R., 2004, "Context awareness for MOBIlearn: creating an engaging learning experience in an art museum", Mobile learning anytime everywhere: Proceedings of MLEARN 2004, CRATOS, pp. 115--118 – Show abstract
    The MOBIlearn project aims to develop a reusable architecture for delivering mobile learning experiences. A key component of this architecture is a context-awareness subsystem that is intended to tailor the content and options made available to a learner, depending on their current situation, preferences and learning history. The context-awareness subsystem has been developed alongside a hierarchical model of context, and has been subjected to formative evaluation. With reference to our context model, preliminary user trials and input from museum staff, we describe the planned deployment of this system in an art museum learning scenario.
  • Witchett, D., Beale, R., 2004, "Ambient Art, Advanced MSc Project", School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, UK
  • Englefield, P., Beale, R., MacKinnon, L., McEwan, T., McManus, B., Rosbottom, J., 2004, "HCI Educators Workshop - curriculum development (organisers)", HCI 2004
  • Lonsdale, P., Beale, R., 2004, "Towards a dynamic process model of context", Proceedings of Ubicomp 2004 workshop on Advanced Context Modelling, Reasoning and Management.Show abstract
    The complex usage of mobile devices coupled with their limited resources in terms of display and processing suggests that being able to understand the context of the user would be beneficial. In this paper we present a model that describes context as a dynamic process with historic dependencies. This model allows us to i) build a useful, understandable context-aware system in collaboration with content creators and stakeholders; ii) describe this set-up with other system developers; iii) represent the current context state to users and allow them make changes where necessary.
  • Beale, R., 2004, "Ferraris and Fiestas", Interfaces Autumn, pp. 5
  • Beale, R., 2004, "Internet ubiquity or social inequality?", Interfaces Summer, pp. 5
  • Beale, R., 2004, "Wireless Learning Community Hub", Proceedings of MLEARN, CRATOS, pp. 23--24 – Show abstract
    It is often argued that in everyday society our sense of community is being eroded. This is particularly relevant for learners, who may find that they have fewer opportunities to interact with colleagues and so become isolated in their learning activities. Whilst it may be true that less people spend time chatting on street corners or in coffee rooms, the decline of human interaction is overstated since they have often shifted their communication to digitally-enabled routes. [more in article]
  • Beale, R., 2004, "University timetable program", Interfaces Winter, pp. 5
  • Beale, R., Lonsdale, P., Sharples, M., 2004, "Models for mobile context awareness", AISB Quarterly 117
  • Dix, A., Finlay, J., Abowd, G., Beale, R., 2004, "Interazione uomo-macchina (Human-Computer Interaction, Italian translation)", McGraw-Hill, pp. 600
  • Davies, S., Beale, R., Tiplady, B., Dixon, P.R., 2004, "An investigation into the measurement of driver impairment at the roadside using a Logitech Digital Pen", 17th International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic SafetyShow abstract
    The prevalence of drugs in modern society has increased dramatically in recent years and consequently a growing proportion of the population is now likely to drive under the influence of drugs. It is well documented that alcohol and drugs can act alone and in combination to impair cognitive functions, especially those related to driving. Due to this increasing problem, the Police Scientific Development Branch has been tasked with producing a device that is capable of screening driver impairment at the roadside. While driving simulators and on-the-road assessments of driving performance can be used to record impairment, these procedures tend to be costly and impractical for wide-scale application. A portable, reliable, cost-effective device manufactured for roadside use is needed to aid police officers in detecting impairment in drivers. Pen and paper impairment tests are extensively used in medical trials to gauge a subject’s level of impairment due to a treatment. Tests such as the Gibson Spiral Maze, where subjects are instructed to use a stylus to trace a path through a maze as rapidly and as accurately as possible, are well documented and are proven methods of measuring impairment in human subjects. The downfall, however, of these tests are the prolonged marking times and the dependency on the maker’s interpretation of the rules. This lack of consistency is an overriding factor why these tests are not practicable for roadside use. To combat such problems some traditional pen and paper tests have been computerised for use on a PC. This, however, creates a new problem as the user’s ability to interact with a machine is also being assessed. Pen and paper is nearly 4,000 years old and is still a popular and convenient method of recording information. Using a new stylus device that digitally stores the xy co-ordinates a pen traverses, a computer program has been created to accurately, efficiently and consistently calculate a subject’s score from a traditional pen and paper test. Anoto Group AB is a Swedish hi-tech company with unique solutions for transmission of hand-written text from paper to digital media, scanning of printed text and intelligent camera surveillance. All products are based on digital camera technology and image processing in real time. The new technology works by using Anoto Functionality and a sophisticated Logitech pen with in-built memory, processor and IR camera. As the subject writes onto a page the pen records the movements, which are then transmitted to a computer to calculate the users score. This paper describes how the technology has been applied to well established paper and pen tests in order to develop a screening test for driver impairment which may be used at the roadside. This form of impairment testing should not discriminate against or intimidate any member of the general public as a computerised test may do.
  • Shuster, J., Beale, R., 2004, "Ambient Art: An Implementation of a Distributed Web Services Architecture", BSc Project Report, School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham.
  • Beale, R., 2004, "Personal time and temporal imposition", ACM CHI Workshop on Time Design, ACM – Show abstract
    We introduce the concept of personal social time, which is not directly related to clock time, and varies from person to person, task to task, context to context. We look at how communication causes large changes in personal timescales, and how the degree of imposition of one party's personal time on another is part of the characteristic defining features of a communication system. With this understanding, we can demonstrate why text messaging should be expected to be useful.
  • Beale, R., 2004, "Washington Post Style Invitational, extended", Usability News
  • Beale, R., Lonsdale, P., 2004, "Engaging larger HCI classes with a mixture of methods and resources", HCI Educators' Workshop, LTSN – Show abstract
    We describe our efforts to engage a large HCI class using a variety of teaching styles, methods, and resources. With larger classes, practical work to illustrate key HCI issues becomes less feasible. This course was run using a series of short, primer lectures in combination with student presentations and a number of web-based resources (including a weblog, bulletin board, and web links). Many students found this approach beneficial, and they gained a lot. Overall, the course was a success, but some students still expected a more traditional lecture-based course, and did not make the best use of the resources we offered. We consider the implications and possibilities for using a variety of methods for teaching HCI to larger groups and give some pointers to ways in which this approach can be improved.
  • Beale, R., 2004, "Designing architectures to support mobile learning", International Conference on Computers in Education, pp. 1433--1439 – Show abstract
    Modern technologies support us learning in an ever-increasing number of situations, and mobile learning is moving from the feasible to the accessible. We identify some key characteristics for systems that support the user, and then go on to describe a software architecture that supports system intelligence and has all the necessary features to provide mobile learners with timely, simple, and relevant information.
  • Beale, R., 2004, "Russell Reflects: Too many Remotes, too little Control?", Usability News
  • Lonsdale, P., Byrne, W., Beale, R., Sharples, M., Barber, C., 2004, "Spatial and context awareness for mobile learning in a museum", KAL CSCL Workshop on "Spatial Awareness and Collaboration"Show abstract
    The MOBIlearn project aims to develop a re-usable architecture for delivering mobile learning experiences. A key component of this architecture is a context-awareness subsystem that is intended to tailor the content and options made available to a learner, depending on their current situation, preferences, and learning history. The context awareness subsystem has been developed alongside a hierarchical model of context, and has been subjected to formative evaluation. A major input to the context awareness system comes from an ultrasound tracking system that has been developed at the University of Birmingham. This tracking system is being deployed along with the context awareness system to support learners in a visit to an art museum. The system is intended to offer not only content but also recommendations of collaborative activities based on physical and contextual proximity We describe our system and outline our plans for evaluation in the museum setting.
  • Beale, R., 2004, "Engaging with browsing: designing for unobtrusive assistance", Engagability and Design Conference
  • Beale, R., CHISIG, ., HFESA, ., 2004, "Social Circles and Intersections: Creating a Peer-Based Supportive Community Online", OZCHI, pp. 9 pages--9 pages – Show abstract
    In this paper, we present a design study that describes how we used a web-based bulletin board system to support children who suffer from cystic fibrosis. Their illness tends to make them feel socially isolated, and face-to-face group meetings are not possible, and hence we looked to the internet to provide a suitable infrastructure for us to build a supportive community dedicated to this patient group, which could provide support, information and a social meeting place of which they could feel an important part of. We discuss the design issues that faced us in trying to create such a community for this group of users.
  • Pryke, A., Beale, R., 2004, "Ambient Intelligence for Serendipitous Science", Lost in ambient intelligence? ACM CHI Workshop, ACM, pp. 4 pages--4 pages
  • Beale, R., Davies, S., 2004, "Standing up to Falling Down - Using the Familiar to Catch the Unusual", OZCHI, pp. 9 pages--9 pages – Show abstract
    Detecting impairment is particularly difficult in people, and is especially important if they are in charge of a vehicle. We describe how we have augmented the familiar and unchallenging medium of pen and paper by using a digital pen coupled with established paper tests in order to develop a screening device for driver impairment which may be used at the roadside. This form of impairment testing does not isolate or intimidate any member of the general public as a computerized test may do, and proves to be highly acceptable and accurate. Results presented show that impairment can be detected, but that the current tests are not discriminatory enough.
  • Beale, R., 2004, "I bought my parents a computer for Christmas", Interfaces 58Show abstract
    I bought my parents a computer for Christmas a couple of years ago. When you do that, you know you are also offering them free access to a 24/7 helpline, but I'm getting fewer calls now than I did initially. If you think computers have actually become easy to use, buy your parents one.


  • Beale, R., 2003, "Artificial Intelligence makes you go faster (poster)", Human Performance in Sailing. Proceedings of the 1st world conference on Human performance in sailing (incorportating the 4th European Conference on Sailing and Sports Medicine and the 3rd Australian Sailing Science Conference)
  • Sharples, M., Beale, R., 2003, "A technical review of mobile computational devices", Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 19, pp. 392--395
  • Beale, R., 2003, "Moneyclaim Online is an e-Government Success Story", Usability News
  • Beale, R., 2003, "Virgin Toilet poses interesting questions", Usability News
  • Beale, R., 2003, "Information superhighway or back street hustle?", BCS Interfaces 57, pp. 5
  • Beale, R., 2003, "When Present can mean Virtually Absent", Usability News
  • Beale, R., 2003, "Intelligence, Mobility and Learning: invited plenary", pp. 8 pages--8 pages – Show abstract
    We learn things all the time - whether we are reminding ourselves of something we once knew but have forgotten, are extending our knowledge of a familiar topic, or tackling something new, we undertake learning in a variety of places and settings. Learning is not restricted to classrooms and formal education - it can occur on an ad hoc basis, often 'just-in-time', and covers the spectrum of human experience, from science and language through culture and art to sport, gardening and DIY. We are now in a phase where modern technology allows us to provide electronic support for learning; technological advances have moved us on from the mobile computing paradigms of "anywhere, anytime" access to information and resources towards ubiquitous computing, which we can characterise as "everywhere, everytime". The list of technologies that power our progression is large, and still-growing (802.11a-g, bluetooth, 3G, GPRS, etc.), and is supported by a raft of software implementations (J2ME, J2SE, .net, ldots) and theories (OO programming, extreme programming, agent-based systems). These can be coupled with ever-decreasing sizes of portable device with increasing power, from the mobile phone to the handheld computer to the notebook to portable heads-up displays: all of these allow us to envisage, design and deliver systems to meet the needs of these technologically-aware users. However, we need to understand what these needs actually are, and identify the characteristics of systems that will effectively support such approaches.
  • Beale, R., 2003, "Challenges in the expanding world of interaction", British HCI Group HCI Educators' Workshop, LTSN 55, pp. 10
  • Beale, R., 2003, "Radio 4 gets interactive", Usability News
  • Beale, R., 2003, "Information processing for optimum performance (poster)", Human Performance in Sailing. Proceedings of the 1st world conference on Human performance in sailing (incorportating the 4th European Conference on Sailing and Sports Medicine and the 3rd Australian Sailing Science Conference)
  • Beale, R., 2003, "Finding the right stuff", ACM CHI: Search Interfaces workshop, ACM – Show abstract
    This position paper presents a perspective on the problems of finding information on the internet. The context of the interaction and the nature of the internet make the search activity very different in the electronic space compared to the physical world. We identify some of the behaviours commonly encountered in search situations, and identify the issues that arise. We also present an overview of a system developed to help resolve those problems.
  • Beale, R., 2003, "Highly intelligent, well-connected, and mobile - the perfect assistant?", Media-tech 2003, pp. 8
  • Beale, R., 2003, "Website: HCI Commentary - thoughts and issues related to human-computer interaction"
  • Beale, R., 2003, "The ultimate interface: virtually there?", BCS Interfaces 57


  • Beale, R., 2002, "Website: Outdoor Education Centre, Upton Warren.", Worcestershire County Council
  • Beale, R., Sharples, M., 2002, "Design Guide for Developers of Educational Software", British Educational Technologies and Communications Agency (BECTA), pp. 1--34 – Show abstract
    This guide is intended mainly for developers of educational software and websites, it should also help users (teachers and students) to evaluate educational software and to give feedback to the software developers. Ease of use can be split into three aspects: <br> • Usability (can people use the software effectively and efficiently to perform a task?), <br> • Usefulness (does it improve teaching and learning?) <br> • Desirability (do people enjoy using it?).<br> This guide is primarily about usability. Designing and assessing the usefulness of educational systems is a complex topic, beyond the scope of a short report. Desirability depends on usability (the user will not enjoy a system they can’t use) but it also involves issues such as motivation, fashion, marketing, and peer pressure. Good software is all of these things, and whilst the guidelines presented here focus on usability, they assist the wider issues as well.
  • Beale, R., 2002, "Website: International e-trading system - Swiss bank", (identity confidential)
  • Beale, R., 2002, "Contextual information presentation for optimal learning: initial study", European Workshop on Mobile and Contextual Learning, The University of Birmingham, UK, pp. 66
  • Beale, R., 2002, "Website: Early Learning Centre: critique and redesign", (confidential)
  • Beale, R., 2002, "Mitsikeru - intelligent browsing", aQtive Limited


  • Dix, A., Beale, R., Wood, A., ACM, ., 2000, "Architectures to make Simple Visualisations using Simple Systems", Proceedings of Advanced Visual Interfaces (AVI), ACM Press, pp. 51--60 – Show abstract
    In previous work, the first author argued for simple lightweight visualisations. These are surprisingly complex to produce due to the need for infrastructure to read files, etc. onCue, a desktop 'agent', aids the rapid production of such visualisations and their integration with desktop and Internet applications. Two examples are used dancing histograms for 2D tables and pieTrees for hierarchical numeric data. A major focus is the importance of architecture, both that of onCue itself and the underlying component infrastructure on which it is built – separation of concerns, mixed initiative computation and plug-and-play components lead to easily produced and easily used systems.


  • Dix, A., Beale, R., Wood, A., 1999, "Improved Software Interface Agent"Show abstract
    A software agent is described that can suggest to the user appropriate software services, documents or other resources on a network or local computer. It also describes a novel software framework for the implementation of software agents and several other embodiments of the underlying invention. The underlying software framework, aQtiveSpace, is based on component programs called Qbits which have a variety of types of interaction which together allow highly flexible interconnection. The main embodiment, referred to in this document as aQtiveDesk and available commercially as onCue, is a desktop software agent that watches the users activity and each time the user copies text or other data it uses various recogniser programs (implemented as Qbits) to determine what kind of data is provided and then invokes various service programs (also Qits) depending on the kind of data. These services include local desktop applications. Internet applications and shortcuts to web pages. Other embodiments, BrainStorm, SiteStore and DeskStore, also incorporate the principle of suggesting appropriate resources based on the users current activity and context.
  • Hendley, R.J., Drew, N.S., Wood, A., Beale, R., 1999, "Narcissus: visualising information", Readings in information visualization: using vision to think., Morgan Kaufmann Publishers Inc., pp. 503--511
  • Beale, R., 1999, "Simple Web Tools for an Easy life", The Active WebShow abstract
    In a modern University, traditional teaching methods are hard to sustain. There are an increased number of students from a wider spectrum of intellectual ability taking more courses. Educators have increasing pressures on their time to both prepare and present material, whilst institutions have resource limitations. To deliver the appropriate material, we require educational techniques that are student-centred, offering flexible learning, that are involving, and maximise the exposure of students to different approaches to information dissemination and presentation. The web offers itself as a medium, tool and platform to deliver such new material, and has seen increasing use over the past few years. However, to take advantage of this technology, we require new tools that can help us exploit it to the full. This paper explores the design and use of a few simple aids that all share the properties of providing dynamic information and content in the web environment to aid its use as an educational medium. The tools are not themselves complex since the focus has been on providing functionality as easily and as quickly as possible; however, they have proved themselves useful over the past few years of testing.


  • Pryke, A., Beale, R., 1998, "Data Mining using Genetic Algorithms and Interactive Visualization", Computer Science, University of Birmingham
  • Cunningham, S., Holmes, G., Littin, J., Beale, R., Witten, I.H., 1998, "Applying Connectionist Models to Information Retrieval", Brain-Like Computing and Intelligent Information Systems, Springer Verlag, pp. Chapter 18. pp435--457 – Show abstract
    Adaptive information retrieval (IR) systems based on connectionist architectures have captured the attention of researchers over the past decade. This paper provides a review of connectionist IR research, including the major models for connectionist document and query representation, techniques to enhance query re-formulation, dynamic document routing (information filtering), and connectionist techniques for document clustering.
  • Beale, R., 1998, "Intelligent components for interactive multimedia", IEE Colloquium on Neural Networks in Interactive Multimedia Systems (Ref. No. 1998/446), IEE, pp. 3--5
  • Beale, R., 1998, "Foreign Interactions", BCS Interfaces 37, pp. 23--26


  • Beale, R., Dix, A., Hendley, R.J., 1997, "Concept formation through evolution", Strategic Knowledge and Concept Formation, pp. 173--180
  • Dix, A., Finlay, J., Abowd, G., Beale, R., 1997, "Human-Computer Interaction", Prentice-Hall, pp. 600 – Show abstract
    Much has changed since the first edition of Human-Computer Interaction was published. Ubiquitous computing and rich sensor-filled environments are finding their way out of the laboratory , not just into movies but also into our workplaces and homes. The computer has broken out of its plastic and glass bounds providing us with networked societies where personal computing devices from mobile phones to smartcards fill our pockets and electronic devices surround us at home and work. As the distinctions between the physical and the digital, and between work and leisure start to break down, human-computer interaction is also changing radically. The excitement of these changes is captured in this new edition, which also looks forward to other emerging technologies. However, the book is firmly rooted in strong principles and model independent of the passing technologies of the day: these foundations will be the means by which today's students will understand tomorrow's technology. The third edition of Human-Computer Interaction can be used for introductory and advanced courses on HCI, Interaction Design, Usability or Interactive Systems Design. It will also prove an invaluable reference for professionals wanting to design usable computing devices.
  • Beale, R., McNab, R.J., Witten, I.H., 1997, "Visualising sequences of queries: a new tool for information retrieval", IEEE Conf on Information Visualisation, IEEE, pp. 57--62 – Show abstract
    This paper describes a system that uses visualisation to assist a user in dealing with the information returned from a search engine. The user's queries, and the documents they return, are represented by a 3D spatial structure that shows their relationships and provides a way of accessing and exploring the documents retrieved. It is implemented to work with the New Zealand Digital Library, a set of large document collections that is available over the Web. The visualisation scheme is a Java applet that is updated dynamically whenever the user makes a new search, and can be browsed alongside the search engine
  • Fiesler, E., Beale, R., 1997, "Handbook of Neural Computation (CD-ROM and supplements)", Oxford University Press/Institute of Physics – Show abstract
    From the Publisher: <p> A hands-on guide to the design and implementation of neural networks <br> -- A comprehensive source of reference for all neural network users, designers and implementers <br> -- Provides an information pathway between scientists and engineers in different disciplines who apply neural networks to generically similar problems <br> -- Offers access to timely information in a rapidly changing field <br> -- World Wide Web access to the complete handbook available free to electronic edition subscribers <br> In recent years, neural computation has developed from a specialized research discipline into a broadly based and dynamic activity with applications in an astonishing variety of fields. Many scientists, engineers and other practitioners are now using neural networks to tackle problems that are either intractable or unrealistically time consuming to solve through traditional computational strategies. The inaugural volume in the Computational Intelligence Library provides speeedy dissemination of new ideas to a broad spectrum of neural network users, designers and implementers. Devoted to network fundamentals, models, algorithms and applications, the work is intended to become the standard reference resource for the neural network community. As the field expands and develops, leading researchers will report on an analyze promising new approaches. In this way, the Handbook will become an evolving compendium on the state of the art of neural computation. Available in loose-leaf print form as well as in an electronic edition that combines both CD-ROM and on-line (World Wide Web) access to its contents, the Handbook of Neural Computation is available on a subscription basis, with regularly publishedsupplements keeping readers abreast of late-breaking developments and new advances in this rapidly developing field.


  • Wood, A.M., Beale, R., 1996, "Agent-Based Interaction. PhD Thesis", School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, UK
  • Dix, A., Beale, R., 1996, "Remote Cooperation: CSCW Issues for Mobile and Teleworkers", Springer-Verlag, pp. 236
  • Dix, A., Beale, R., 1996, "So Near Yet So Far. Introduction.", Remote Cooperation: CSCW Issues for Mobile and Teleworkers, Springer-Verlag, pp. 1--10
  • Dix, A., Beale, R., 1996, "Information Requirements of Distributed Workers", Remote Cooperation: CSCW Issues for Mobile and Teleworkers, Springer-Verlag, pp. 113--143
  • Le Bas, T., Somers, M., Campbell, J.M., Beale, R., 1996, "Swath bathymetry with GLORIA", IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering 21, pp. 545--553 – Show abstract
    For many years, GLORIA has been producing sonar images of the deep ocean floor. In the mid-198O's, the SeaMARC II system came to prominence producing depth values as well as sonar images. The basic method compares the phases of the signals returning from the seafloor to two rows of transducers. The phase differences are converted into angles of arrival and together with the arrival times converted into range and depth values. This capability has now been added to the GLORIA system. The fact that GLORIA uses a 2-s FM pulse means the backscattered reverberffation can come from a strip of seafloor up to 1.5 km wide. To accommodate this, overlapping complex FFT's are used to produce a time-frequency matrix for the returning signals. In this matrix, a constant range feature appears as a diagonal. Phases are then calculated using a least-mean- squares estimate along diagonals. The main source of error and bias is due to surface reflection, and this is taken into account. The GLORIA swath bathymetry system was tested on two cruises and it was possible to produce depth contours with a good level of confidence. The total swath width was over eight water depths and would have been greater with a more favorable velocity profile. Comparison with other bathymetry data (such as multibeam systems) showed excellent correlation, having a standard deviation of only 4% of total water depth.


  • Hendley, R.J., Drew, N.S., Wood, A.M., Beale, R., 1995, "Case study: Narcissus: Visualising Information", IEEE InfoVis, Computer Society Press, pp. 90--97 – Show abstract
    It is becoming increasingly important that support is provided for users who are dealing with complex information spaces. The need is driven by the growing number of domains where there is a requirement for users to understand, navigate and manipulate large sets of computer based data; by the increasing size and complexity of this information and by the pressures to use this information efficiently. The paradigmatic example is the World Wide Web, but other domains include software systems, information systems and concurrent engineering. One approach to providing this support is to provide sophisticated visualisation tools which lead the users to form an intuitive understanding of the structure and behaviour of their domain and which provide mechanisms which allow them to manipulate objects within their system. The paper describes such a tool and a number of visualisation techniques that it implements.
  • Wood, A., Beale, R., Drew, N.S., Hendley, R.J., 1995, "HyperSpace: Web Browsing with Visualisation", Third International World-Wide Web Conference Poster Proceedings, pp. 21--25 – Show abstract
    The W3 is a vast collection of geographically distributed, essentially unorganised information, and whilst there is likely to be the answer to your question out there, it can be impossible to find it. Worse, once you have discovered relevant information, it is unclear where to go next to find further information, and even when you choose an interesting path, rediscovering one that you noticed earlier is difficult. Users become lost in the maze of hypertext links, and need support in navigating the web.
  • Beale, R., Harvey, O., 1995, "High-dimensional data compression", Proceedings of the Sixth Australian Conference on Neural Networks (ACNN'95)
  • Wood, A., Beale, R., 1995, "Social Surfing: Opening the World-Wide Web for Interaction", ACM CHI'95 Research Symposium, ACM
  • Beale, R., Brayshaw, M.C., Hendley, R.J., Drew, N.S., Wood, A., 1995, "Combining Agents and Visualisation for large information spaces", Proceedings of CKBS-SIG workshop on Intelligent Agents and the Next Information Revolution
  • Beale, R., Hendley, R.J., Knight, D., O'Garr, G., McGuire, M., Samuels, P., 1995, "River Management Software: A case study in interaction redesign", IEE symposium on human-centred automation, IEE, pp. 3
  • Wood, A., Beale, R., Drew, N., Hendley, B., 1995, "HyperSpace: A World-Wide Web Visualiser and its Implications for Collaborative Browsing and Software Agents "Show abstract
    The World-Wide Web is the largest and fastest changing hypertext information system in the world. As a result, users often become ‘lost’ while casually browsing or searching for information, and are unable to take full advantage of its power. This paper describes three ways in which users can be supported in their navigation through the web. Firstly, visualisation techniques provide the user with insights into the structure and organisation of the space being explored, and give indications of relevance and content, helping the user to develop more effective search strategies. Our prototype web visualisation system based on these techniques is discussed and some promising initial results are presented. Secondly, the integration of support for collaborative exploration of the web is a natural development of the metaphor presented by the visualisation, and some examples of this approach are examined. We then finally show how the system could be extended to support software agents, and consider the drawbacks and further improvements that this would bring.
  • Beale, R., Wood, A., 1995, "Agent-based Interaction on the Internet", ACM CHI'95 Research Symposium, ACM
  • Beale, R., Biddell, M., 1995, "Concept Synthesis", Underwater Defence Technology Conference (UDT)


  • Liu, Z.J., Naar, D.F., Beale, R., Somers, M., Demoustier, C., 1994, "GLORI-B Data Processing", EOS: Trans. AGU 75
  • Beale, R., 1994, "Emergent Interaction", CHI'94 Research Symposium, ACM
  • Beale, R., Jackson, T., 1994, "Neural Computing: an Introduction - German translation", Adam Hilger, pp. 255
  • Beale, R., Wood, A., 1994, "Agent-based Interaction", People and Computers IX, Proceedings of HCI '94, Cambridge University Press, pp. 239--245 – Show abstract
    Agents are becoming widespread in a variety of computer systems and domains, but often appear to have little in common with each other. In this paper we look at different agent systems and identify what a generic agent should be composed of. We also identify the characteristics of a task that make it worthy of an agentbased approach. We then discuss the implications for the interaction of using agents, that is, the notion of a balanced interface, and briefly look at how an agent-based approach assists in two very different application domains.
  • Beale, R., Somers, M.L., IEEE, ., 1994, "Deep ocean bathymetric imaging with GLORI-B", First IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP), IEEE Computer Society 1, pp. 886--889 – Show abstract
    This paper describes the bathymetric imaging and processing of the GLORI-B system GLORI-B is a deep ocean sidescan sonar surveying device which is able to produce bathymetry measurements and images of the sea oor in swaths of up to km wide . The basics of the GLORI-B system are described and then the various stages of processing the received data to transform it into a geographically registered bathymetric record are given. A brief discussion of the major sources of error is also provided .
  • Beale, R., 1994, "Paediatric Support System", First World Conference on Computational Health and Medicine
  • Beale, R., 1994, "Doing it forwards, undoing it backwards: high-dimension compression and expansion", Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS). Workshop on the Inverse Mapping Problem
  • Wood, A., Beale, R., 1994, "Using Autonomous ``Trailblazing'' Agents for Online Data Collection.", Workshop on Privacy and Security, CHI'94, ACM
  • Beale, R., Newton, T., 1994, "Pattern Recognition in Handheld Computing", CHI'94 Workshop, ACM


  • Hey, R.N., Martinez, F., Johnson, P.D., Korenaga, J., M., S., Huggett.Q., ., Campbell, J., Le Bas, T., Beale, R., Rusby, R., 1993, "GLORI-B / Sea Beam 2000 Survey of the Fastest Seafloor Spreading Center", Trans. Am. Geophys. Union 74
  • Beale, R., Somers, M.L., 1993, "GLORIA Processing", AGU
  • Somers, M.L., Beale, R., Campbell, J.M., Bishop, D.G., Harris, A.J.K., Le Bas, T.P., Huggett, Q.J., Gray, A.J., 1993, "GLORIA upgraded - phase difference bathymetry with a linear FM pulse of large BT product. (Abstract)", EOS: Transactions Supplement 74, pp. 342
  • Naar, D.F., Liu, Z.J., Rappaport, Y., Batiza, R., Hagen, R., Hey, R., Nelson, R., Plake, T., Stefani, R., Schilling, J., Kincaid, C., Xu, G., Poreda, R., Joseph, L., Jacobs, C., Beale, R., Bishop, D.G., Harris, A.J.K., Rusby, R., Fontignie, D., Woods, A., Kruse, S., Korenaga, J., Seama, N., Vergara, H., Guarda, R., 1993, "GLORI-B and Geochemical Investigation of the Easter Seamount Chain: EPR to San Ambrosio Island", EOS: Trans. Am Geophysics Union 74


  • Beale, R., Finlay, J., 1992, "Neural Networks and Pattern Recognition in Human-Computer Interaction", Neural Networks and Pattern Recognition in Human-Computer Interaction, Ellis-Horwood 25, pp. 65--90 – Show abstract
    This paper reports on the activities of the workshop held on Sunday 28th April at the CHI'91 conference. Participants were there to discuss different ideas, methods and approaches to using pattern recognition in human-computer interaction.The workshop aimed to bring together researchers using novel methodologies, such as neural networks, in HCI applications, as well as practitioners using alternative or more traditional methods to perform pattern recognition tasks in HCI. The intention was to explore the scope and limitations of each type of approach and its requirements, for example in terms of representation and resources. The workshop considered the relationships between the different approaches and the possibility of developing hybrid methodologies to resolve HCI problems.Researchers working with both traditional and novel pattern recognition methods that have applications to human-computer interaction, and those with strong views either way, submitted position statements outlining their interest and viewpoints. Their research results are summarised in this report; in addition, the discussions on methods, on how the work reported interrelates, and on future areas of interest are presented. Major results from the use of neural network systems and other pattern recognition systems in the interface are presented, with application areas ranging from the interpretation of gestural input to the automatic determination of user task.
  • Beale, R., Abowd, G., 1992, "Contextualizing novel research in HCI", Neural Networks and Pattern Recognition in Human-Computer Interaction, Ellis-Horwood, pp. 21--36
  • Dix, A., Finlay, J., Beale, R., 1992, "Analysis of user behaviour as time series", Proceedings of HCI'92: People and Computers VII, Cambridge University Press, pp. 429--444 – Show abstract
    The trace of user interactions with a system is the primary source of data for on-line user modelling and for many design and research experiments. This trace should really be analysed as a time series, but standard time series techniques do not deal well with discrete data and fuzzy matching. Techniques from machine learning (neural nets and inductive learning) have been applied to this analysis but these are limited to fixed size patterns and fail to deal properly with the trace as a time series. Many of the notations used to describe the system dialogue (e.g. CSP, production systems) and the user's behaviour (e.g. GOMS, grammars) can be regarded as describing non-deterministic finite state machines. Such a representation forms a key to using machine learning techniques, focussed on the state transitions.
  • Beale, R., 1992, "Bounding the alphabet size of fixed weight block codes", Proceedings of International Conference on Artificial Neural Networks (ICANN-92)
  • Beale, R., 1992, "ADAM: A rapid coding/decoding methodology", Proceedings of International Conference on Artificial Neural Networks (ICANN-92)
  • Beale, R., Dix, A., Finlay, J., 1992, "Neural Network Task Identification for Distributed Working Support", Neural Computing Research and Applications: Proceedings of the 2nd. Irish Neural Networks Conference, Adam Hilger, pp. 297--306 – Show abstract
    25-26th June 1992
  • Beale, R., Edwards, A.D.N., 1992, "Recognising Postures and Gestures Using Neural Networks", Neural Networks and Pattern Recognition in Human-Computer Interaction, Ellis-Horwood, pp. 163--172


  • Beale, R., Edwards, A.D.N., 1991, "Gestures and Neural Networks in Human-Computer Interaction", Proceedings of International Joint Conference on Neural Networks. IJCNN-91, IEEE
  • Beale, R., Jackson, T., Austin, J., 1991, "Paging Associative Memories.", In Proceedings of International Conference on Artificial Neural Networks. ICANN-91
  • Beale, R., Austin, J., 1991, "The Theory and Application of Associative Neural Architectures", Computer Science, York
  • Abowd, G., Beale, R., 1991, "Users, systems and interfaces: a unifying framework for interaction", HCI'91: People and Computers VI, Cambridge University Press, pp. 73--87 – Show abstract
    We introduce a basic framework for the analysis of existing interactive systems which wll aslo serve for the principled design of more usable systems. We present a simple yet effective model of an interactive system that extends previous interaction frameworks. Within our framework, the user, system and interface are all represented equally. We also present several notions of distance as qualitative measurements of the interactive features of a system based on specific tasks. These notions of distance can be formalised to give an understandable quantitative approach required for principled design and analysis.
  • Beale, R., 1991, "The Associative Memory Toolkit and MAGIC Interface", Proceedings of International Conference on Artificial Neural Networks. ICANN-91


  • Beale, R., Edwards, A.D.N., 1990, "Gestures and Neural Networks in HCI", IEE Colloquium on Neural Nets in Human-Computer Interaction. IEE Digest 1990/179, IEE, pp. 5/1--5/4
  • Beale, R., Finlay, J., 1990, "Neural Networks in HCI: a view of user modelling.", IEE Colloquium on Neural Nets in Human-Computer Interaction. IEE Digest 1990/179, IEE, pp. 7/1--7/4


  • Beale, R., Finlay, J., Austin, J., Harrison, M., 1989, "User Modelling by Classification: a neural-based approach", New Developments in Neural Computing, IOP, pp. 103--110 – Show abstract
    A neural-based system is used for a classification task in the field of user modelling. The properties associated with neural methods such s learning by example and generalization are exploited to provide a system that overcomes the limitations of traditional approaches, removing the need for an extensive, explicit knowledge base, and wxhibiting the desirable properties of domain-independence, noise tolerance and resource efficiency.
  • Beale, R., Finlay, J., 1989, "User Modelling with a Neural System", Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on Methodologies for Intelligent Systems (ISMIS) - Poster Sessions, ORNL, pp. 177--186