Course · Human-Computer Interaction

Experiences from a prototyping workshop in a basic HCI course

As I have written earlier on this blog, Mohammad Obaid and I are course responsible for a basic HCI course during this autumn. The course focuses on a project, starting with problem definition and requirements elicitation and ending with a redesign of a prototype after an initial evaluation with users. One big difference in this course round compared to earlier ones is that the students are not starting off with an existing interface to evaluate/redesign, but they rather have to design and evaluate a new solution to a problem they identify themselves. This change – to focus more on the process than on interfaces – was inspired by a similar course I ran at KTH the last year I worked there. Each year the projects have a common theme and this year it is “Improving the biking experience”.

One of the new elements that were inspired by the KTH counterpart was a creative prototyping workshop. The workshop, in which students should build physical prototypes with different materials the teacher provided, was very appreciated at KTH but had never been tried before in our course in Uppsala.

Before the workshop both the students and I needed to prepare material. The project groups should prepare simple sketches based on the persona and scenario they had developed during a seminar two weeks earlier. I had to collect different materials that the students should work with during the workshop. The material I brought to the workshop (except for the scissors which were taken by the groups before I took the picture) can be seen in the blog image above.

Each of the three 45 minutes workshop sessions (four project groups participated in each session) started out with a short introduction from me, where I introduced the overall purpose and the material and highlighted the importance of having the persona/scenario in mind while designing. During the remainder of the sessions the students worked with building their prototypes.

Overall, I think the workshop was a success. There was a lot of creativity going on and as far as I could see everyone was involved in discussions and hands-on work during the entire sessions. It is not very often I see this kind of continuous deep engagement during higher education seminars. One group from the second session even stayed during the third one and one group from the third session stayed in the room after everyone else had left! Almost all types of material (except the stapler) was used by at least some of the groups (even the magnets!).

As far as I can understand from what I saw during the workshop sessions, this course element was as appreciated by students in our current course as it was at KTH. We will, however, have to wait until the course evaluations for the final verdict! 🙂

The results of the prototyping sessions clearly showed that the project groups have been successful in identifying relevant problems/users/scenarios. The solutions I saw were creative and it may even be possible to use some of them as basis for commercial products! At the end of the course the students in each seminar group (containing four project groups) will vote for the project group they think has come up with the best design (voting criteria will be defined shortly and it is of course not allowed to vote for one’s own group). The three finalists will later compete for the “best project award”. It will be very interesting to see the final result – as it looks at this point any group can become a finalist!

communication · conference · EIT · EIT Health

About a rather unexpected impact of this blog…

When I started blogging a little more than a year ago I was, of course, hoping that some people would start following the blog, that I would get quite a few readers and that there would be some sharing going on via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (other than my own 🙂 ). At least up until today I have quite a few readers each day and most of my posts are shared at least a few times. I currently also have 8 followers. I kind of expected these results, but what I certainly didn’t expect, when it comes to impact, started happening after the first week of a summer school I participated in last summer.

As several of you probably already know, I blogged about the summer school activities on a daily basis. You can see posts from the first week here. About three weeks after the summer school week in Dublin I got a comment on the above mentioned post (the first comment I ever got) where a representative from EIT Health wanted to know if they could use material from my blog to show other interested students what goes on during the summer schools! A few days after I answered that it was ok, the blog was e.g. linked at this page and in a news letter with general information about EIT Health activities.

A similar thing happened after I had visited the events EIT Health Alumni Connect and INNOVEIT 2017 in Budapest. As was the case for the summer school I wrote about both events directly after they took place. While I was still in Budapest one of the organizers of EIT Health Alumni Connect asked if he could post material from this blog post in order to show what we did during the event. Some new pictures were added and some minor edits in the text was done before this was posted on the EIT Health Alumni news page. Later on the same post was also used by EIT Alumni. I’m quite sure the use of these posts by EIT Health is one of the reasons why I was asked if I wanted to support the communications manager at EIT Health Alumni.

I have no idea if similar things will happen again, but I will definitely keep blogging about events I take part in and I’m really happy that EIT Health (Alumni) found my posts valuable enough to link to or reuse them! I also hope that I can support EIT Health Alumni in the future by e.g. reporting from other events. I really believe in that network and think that the work performed there is very important.

conference · DOME · eHealth · Medical Records Online · National patient survey · Vitalis

Co-authored three submissions to Medical Informatics Europe (MIE) 2018!


Since the conference Medical Informatics Europe (MIE) is held at the same time and place as Vitalis this year several of the researchers within the DOME consortium as well as in our HTO group at Uppsala University, have submitted quite a few papers to MIE and seminar proposals to Vitalis. In an earlier blog post I wrote about the two proposals I wrote to Vitalis, which both focused on different aspects of patients accessible electronic health records.

Aside from writing proposals to Vitalis, I also co-authored three MIE papers together with several DOME colleagues. One of those papers focuses on how patient access to medical records online is affecting the work environment for nurses and I wrote it together with Åsa Cajander. It’s actually based on an earlier master’s thesis which Åsa supervised. This paper was done quite a while ago.

The two other papers were based partly on results from the national patient survey study which I am currently leading (we have been at the analyses/reporting stage for quite a while). One of those papers focuses on delay periods (before patients can access information in their electronic health record) for signed and unsigned notes and how these differ between county councils. Maria Hägglund was the main author and Rose-Mharie Åhlfeldt and Isabella Scandurra were the other co-authors.

The second paper which was based on the patient survey focuses on psychiatry records online – an area which we will focus on much more in the near future. I will explain why in a later blog post about upcoming activities. I wrote this paper together with Gunilla Myreteg, who was the main author.

Here you can find an introduction of all researchers working with the national patients survey. I should not give any more details right now about specific analysis results or focus themes in the national survey study since that could interfere with later blind review processes. But I can tell you that the results covered in the very short MIE submissions (five pages is the limit!) are just small parts of the material we have regarding a few of the focus areas we are covering in that study. We are just getting started!  🙂

The deadline for MIE-submissions was last Sunday, November 12. January 20 the authors will get the verdicts (accept/reject). I can hardly wait!


communication · conference · Group work · Haptics · Multimodality

Paper and poster about haptic communicative functions and their effects on communication in collaborative virtual environments


Yesterday I blogged about a poster and a conference paper that Emma Frid and I developed for the SweCog conference in Uppsala. In this post I will focus on the second poster and paper that Eva-Lotta Sallnäs Pysander and I developed for the same conference.

The poster shown in the picture above, and even more so the paper, summarizes some of the main points made from my doctoral studies. My main focus during those years was collaboration in multimodal virtual environments with special emphasis on how haptic feedback can be used for communicative purposes. Mediated haptic communication has been studied for quite some time, but my specific contribution here has been to develop and test new functions for two-way haptic communication (see short descriptions of the functions on the poster) and also adapt some already developed ones in order to make them work better in a situation when a sighted person is collaborating with a severely visually impaired one in a collaborative virtual environment. There is a real potential in these kinds of functions when it comes to collaboration between sighted and visually impaired – the haptic feedback does not only enable establishment of a common ground about the interface but also effective two-way communication (see examples of results on the poster above). This is very important for the inclusion of visually impaired persons in group work. The example study is reported in much more depth in this article.

Even though the poster and paper include summaries of work already performed and reported, we are in this case even more explicit about the connection to other kinds of haptic communicative functions. This conclusion also takes the work to the next level:

We argue that for effective collaboration and communication to take place in virtual environments by means of haptic feedback the haptic functions need to be designed as to allow for reciprocal exchange of information. That is, both users need continuous feedback from each other during e.g. a guiding process or joint object handling.

The conference paper, on which the above poster is based, can be found here.