See also Google Scholar Citations, where I seem to have at least two identities…

A Large-Scale Study of iPhone App Launch Behaviour
Morrison, A., Xiong, X., Higgs, M., Bell, M. and Chalmers, M.
Proc. ACM CHI 2018, p. 344. doi:10.1145/3173574.3173918
There have been many large-scale investigations of users’ mobile app launch behaviour, but all have been conducted on Android, even though recent reports suggest iPhones account for a third of all smartphones in use. We report on the first large-scale analysis of app usage patterns on iPhones. We conduct a reproduction study with a cohort of over 10,000 jailbroken iPhone users, reproducing several studies previously conducted on Android devices. We find some differences, but also significant similarities: e.g. communications apps are the most used on both platforms; similar patterns are apparent of few apps being very popular but there existing a ‘long tail’ of many apps used by the population; users show similar patterns of ‘micro-usage’; almost identical proportions of people use a unique combination of apps. Such similarities add confidence but also specificity about claims of consistency across smartphones. As well as presenting our findings, we discuss issues involved in reproducing studies across platforms.

Synchronous Text Messaging: A Field Trial of Curtains Messenger
Podlubny, M., Rooksby, J., Rost, M. and Chalmers, M.
PACM Human-Computer Interaction, 1 (CSCW), 86. doi:10.1145/3134721
We have created and evaluated a novel mobile messaging app named Curtains Messenger. The app has been designed to support synchrony in messaging. It does this by requiring users to be in the app at the same time as each other in order to send, receive and read messages. This design is contrary to typical apps where messages can be sent and read asynchronously at an individual’s convenience. We have conducted a field trial in which 15 users installed the app on their own devices and used it in the wild. We present a qualitative analysis of interviews with the participants following the trial. The findings address how the app was used, how synchrony affected conversational flows, how synchrony raised issues of attention and intimacy, and what issues users faced in the practical work of conducting synchronous messaging. This work demonstrates how core concepts in the study of cooperative work such as a/synchrony can be drawn upon to reconsider taken-for-granted design features of mobile applications and the lived experience of communication.

Supersensors: Raspberry Pi Devices for Smart Campus Infrastructure
Hentschel, K., Jacob, D., Singer, J. and Chalmers, M.
In: FiCloud 2016: 2016 IEEE 4th International Conference on Future Internet of Things and Cloud, Vienna, Austria, 22-24 Aug 2016, pp. 58-62. (doi:10.1109/FiCloud.2016.16)
We describe an approach for developing a campus-wide sensor network using commodity single board computers. We sketch various use cases for environmental sensor data, for different university stakeholders. Our key premise is that supersensors — sensors with significant compute capability — enable more flexible data collection, processing and reaction. In this paper, we describe the initial prototype deployment of our supersensor system in a single department at the University of Glasgow.

Implementing Ethics for a Mobile App Deployment.
Rooksby J, Asadzadeh P, Morrison A, McCallum C, Gray C, Chalmers M.
ACM OzCHI 2016, doi:10.1145/3010915.3010919
This paper discusses the ethical dimensions of a research project in which we deployed a personal tracking app on the Apple App Store and collected data from users with whom we had little or no direct contact. We describe the in-app functionality we created for supporting consent and withdrawal, our approach to privacy, our navigation of a formal ethical review, and navigation of the Apple approval process. We highlight two key issues for deployment-based research. Firstly, that it involves addressing multiple, sometimes conflicting ethical principles and guidelines. Secondly, that research ethics are not readily separable from design, but the two are enmeshed. As such, we argue that in-action and situational perspectives on research ethics are relevant to deployment-based research, even where the technology is relatively mundane. We also argue that it is desirable to produce and share relevant design knowledge and embed in-action and situational approaches in design activities.

Study protocol of European Fans in Training (EuroFIT): a four-country randomised controlled trial of a lifestyle program for men delivered in elite football clubs.
van Nassau, F. et al. (2016)
BMC Public Health, 16, 598. doi:10.1186/s12889-016-3255-y PMID:27430332  PMCID:PMC4950080
Lifestyle interventions targeting physical activity, sedentary time and dietary behaviours have the potential to initiate and support behavioural change and result in public health gain. Although men have often been reluctant to engage in such lifestyle programs, many are at high risk of several chronic conditions. We have developed an evidence and theory-based, gender sensitised, health and lifestyle program (European Fans in Training (EuroFIT)), which is designed to attract men through the loyalty they feel to the football club they support. This paper describes the study protocol to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the EuroFIT program in supporting men to improve their level of physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour over 12 months.

Investigating how users engage with a pedometer app.
Parvin Asadzadeh, John Rooksby, Matthew Chalmers
Adjunct Proc. UbiComp 2016, 612-617.  doi:10.1145/2968219.2971589
Mobile application usage data has been investigated by many researchers to explore reasoning about users’ contexts and their routines. A large number of early studies in this area provide relatively simple analyses, and some more recent works look more deeply at the patterns of logged events. This paper explains a new work on the analysis of interaction logs collected from a pedometer-based mobile app to extract different usage patterns of the app.

Deployment of an App for Self Monitoring and Social Support within a Health Promotion Programme.
John Rooksby, Mattias Rost, Doudou Tang, Matthew Chalmers.
Poster presented at Workshop on Interactive Systems in Healthcare (WISH), May 7th 2016, San Jose, CA.

Forget-me-not: History-less Mobile Messaging.
Rost M, Kitsos C, Morgan A, Podlubny M, Romeo P, Russo E, Chalmers M.
ACM CHI 2016 (Honorable Mention Award),  doi:10.1145/2858036.2858347
Text messaging has long been a popular activity, and today smartphone apps enable users to choose from a plethora of mobile messaging applications. While we know a lot about SMS practices, we know less about practices of messaging applications. In this paper, we take a first step to explore one ubiquitous aspect of mobile messaging – messaging history. We designed, built, and trialled a mobile messaging application without history—named forget-me-not. The two-week trial showed that history-less messaging no longer supports chit-chat as seen in e.g. WhatsApp, but is still considered conversational and more ‘engaging’. Participants expressed being lenient and relaxed about what they wrote. Removing the history allowed us to gain insights into what uses history has in other mobile messaging applications, such as planning events, allowing for distractions, and maintaining multiple conversation threads.

Personal Tracking of Screen Time on Digital Devices.
Rooksby J, Asadzadeh P, Rost M, Morrison A, and Chalmers M.
Proc. CHI 2016, pp. 284-296. doi:10.1145/2858036.2858055
Numerous studies have tracked people’s everyday use of digital devices, but without consideration of how such data might be of personal interest to the user. We have developed a personal tracking application that enables users to automatically monitor their ‘screen time’ on mobile devices (iOS and Android) and computers (Mac and Windows). The application interface enables users to combine screen time data from multiple devices. We trialled the application for 28+ days with 21 users, collecting log data and interviewing each user. We found that there is interest in personal tracking in this area, but that the study participants were less interested in quantifying their overall screen time than in gaining data about their use of specific devices and applications. We found that personal tracking of device use is desirable for goals including: increasing productivity, disciplining device use, and cutting down on use.

Uncovering smartphone usage patterns with multi-view mixed membership models.
Seppo Virtanen, Mattias Rost, Alistair Morrison, Matthew Chalmers and Mark Girolami.
Stat 5(1), pp. 57-69, 2016. DOI: 10.1002/sta4.103
We present a novel class of mixed membership models for combining information from multiple data sources inferring inter-view and intra-view statistical associations. An important contemporary application of this work is the meaningful synthesis of data sources corresponding to smartphone application usage, app developers’ descriptions and customer feedback. We demonstrate the ability of the model to infer meaningful, interpretable and informative app usage patterns based on the app usage data augmented with rich text data describing the apps. We provide quantitative model evaluations showing the model provides significantly better predictive ability than comparative related existing methods.

Probabilistic Formal Analysis of App Usage to Inform Redesign
Oana Andrei, Muffy Calder, Matthew Chalmers, Alistair Morrison, Mattias Rost.
In: iFM 2016, Reykjavik, Iceland, 1-5 June 2016. Published as: Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer 9681, pp. 115-129. (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-33693-0_8)
Evaluation and redesign of user-intensive mobile applications is challenging because users are often heterogeneous, adopting different patterns of activity, at different times. We set out a process of integrating statistical, longitudinal analysis of actual logged behaviours, formal, probabilistic discrete state models of activity patterns, and hypotheses over those models expressed as probabilistic temporal logic properties to inform redesign. We employ formal methods not to the design of the mobile application, but to characterise the different probabilistic patterns of actual use over various time cuts within a population of users. We define the whole process from identifying questions that give us insight into application usage, to event logging, data abstraction from logs, model inference, temporal logic property formulation, visualisation of results, and interpretation in the context of redesign. We illustrate the process through a real-life case study, which results in a new and principled way for selecting content for an extension to the mobile application.

Nonparametric Bayes to Infer Playing Strategies Adopted in a Population of Mobile Gamers
Seppo Virtanen, Mattias Rost, Matthew Higgs, Alistair Morrison, Matthew Chalmers, Mark Girolami
Stat 4(1), 2015: 46-58
Analysis of trace logging data collections of interactions of a heterogenous and diverse population of consumers of digital software with mobile devices provides unprecedented possibilities for understanding how software is actually used and for finding recurring patterns of software usage over the population that are exhibited to greater or lesser degree in each individual software user. In this work, we consider an elementary mobile game played by a population of mobile gamers and collect pieces of game sessions over an extended period of time resulting in a collection of users’ trace logs for multiple sessions. We develop a simple, yet flexible, nonparametric Bayes approach to infer playing strategies adopted in the population from the logged traces of game interactions. We demonstrate our approach finds interpretable strategies and provides good predictive performance compared to alternative modelling assumptions using a nonparametric Bayes framework.


Configuring Attention in the Multiscreen Living Room
Rooksby, J., Smith, T. E., Morrison, A., Rost, M. and Chalmers, M.
ECSCW 2015: 14th European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Oslo, Norway, 19-23 Sept 2015, pp. 243-261. ISBN 9783319204987 (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-20499-4_13)
We have conducted a video study of households in Scotland with cohabiting students and young professionals. In this paper we unpack five examples of how mobile devices are used by people watching television. In the examples we explore how screens are used together a) in a physical ecology, b) in an embodied way, c) in an orderly way, and d) with respect to others. We point out that mobile devices are routinely used to access media that is unconnected and unrelated to media on television, for example for sending and receiving messages, browsing social media, and browsing websites. We suggest that mobile devices are not used to directly enhance television programmes, but to enhance leisure time. We suggest that it is important, when considering mobile devices as second screens, not just to treat these as a design topic, but to pay attention to how they are interactionally integrated into the living room.

Rooksby, J., Smith, T. E., Morrison, A., Rost, M. and Chalmers, M.
ECSCW 2015: 14th European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Oslo, Norway, 19-23 Sept 2015, pp. 243-261. ISBN 9783319204987 (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-20499-4_13)
We have conducted a video study of households in Scotland with cohabiting students and young professionals. In this paper we unpack five examples of how mobile devices are used by people watching television. In the examples we explore how screens are used together a) in a physical ecology, b) in an embodied way, c) in an orderly way, and d) with respect to others. We point out that mobile devices are routinely used to access media that is unconnected and unrelated to media on television, for example for sending and receiving messages, browsing social media, and browsing websites. We suggest that mobile devices are not used to directly enhance television programmes, but to enhance leisure time. We suggest that it is important, when considering mobile devices as second screens, not just to treat these as a design topic, but to pay attention to how they are interactionally integrated into the living room.

Improving Consent in Large Scale Mobile HCI through Personalised Representations of Data
Alistair Morrison, Donald McMillan, Matthew Chalmers
ACM NordiCHI 2014, 471-480,
In using ‘app store’-style software repositories to distribute research applications, substantial ethical challenge exists in gaining informed consent from potential participants. Standard ‘terms and conditions’ pages are commonly used, but we find they fail to communicate relevant information to users. We suggest interrupting use of an application with a visual representation of collected data, rather than merely providing a description at first launch. Data collected, but not uploaded, before this can be used to create personalised examples of what will be shared. We experiment with different ways of presenting this information and allowing opt-out mechanisms, finding that users are more concerned when presented with a visual, personalised representation, and consequently stop using the application sooner. We observe a particular difference in non-English speakers, suggesting that our proposed approach might be especially appropriate for global trials, where not all users will be able to understand researchers’ disclosures of data logging intent.

Personal Tracking as Lived Informatics
John Rooksby, Mattias Rost, Alistair Morrison,Matthew Chalmers
ACM CHI 2014, 1163-1172,
This paper characterises the use of activity trackers as “lived informatics”. This characterisation is contrasted with other discussions of personal informatics and the quantified self. The paper reports an interview study with activity tracker users. The study found: people do not logically organise, but interweave various activity trackers, sometimes with ostensibly the same functionality; that tracking is often social and collaborative rather than personal; that there are different styles of tracking, including goal driven tracking and documentary tracking; and that tracking information is often used and interpreted with reference to daily or short term goals and decision making. We suggest there will be difficulties in personal informatics if we ignore the way that personal tracking is enmeshed with everyday life and people’s outlook on their future.

Practices of Parallel Media
John Rooksby, Tim Smith, Marek Bell, Mattias Rost, Alistair Morrison, Matthew Chalmers
‘Designing with Users for Domestic Environments’ Workshop at CSCW 2014.
We have been studying how people use mobile phones and laptops while watching television. Our results show that these are not necessarily used to access content that is related to what is being watched. However, this is not to say devices are being used in isolation from their surrounds; their use is interwoven with watching television and with interacting with other people. We suggest that designing for ‘the connected home’ is more than an integration project, and should take account of the social fabric of domestic life.

Experiences in Logging Everyday App Use
Marek Bell, Matthew Chalmers, Lucas Fontaine, Matthew Higgs, Alistair Morrison, John Rooksby, Mattias Rost, Scott Sherwood
Proc. Digital Economy 2013,
This paper discusses our experiences in logging app use on computers, mobile phones and tablets. We have created logging software to record app launches on iOS, Android and Mac OS X devices, and have used this in a study with 13 students over a period of one month. This paper discusses the practicalities of logging across multiple devices, the forms of enquiry suitable for log analysis, and the ethics of logging. We also discuss future work in which we will scale the study up to thousands of users.

Analysing User Behaviour Through Dynamic Population Models
Matthew Higgs, Alistair Morrison, Mark Girolami and Matthew Chalmers
Work In Progress paper, Proc. ACM CHI 2013, 271-276,
We apply a statistical modelling-based approach to exploring, analysing and predicting behavioural patterns of users of mobile software. The technique employed represents the behaviour of each user through a weighted mixture over data-generating distributions. In the described pilot study, we show how we have modelled the behaviour of over a hundred users of an iOS game. We illustrate how this modelling approach can be used to determine user play strategies and learning rates and show how this affects the length of time users keep returning to play the game. We describe our ongoing work, including feeding results of the modelling into the design process.

Categorised Ethical Guidelines for Large Scale Mobile HCI
Donald McMillan, Alistair Morrison and Matthew Chalmers
Proc. ACM CHI 2013, 853-1862,

The recent rise in large scale trials of mobile software us- ing ‘app stores’ has moved current researcher practice be- yond available ethical guidelines. By surveying this recent and growing body of literature, as well as established pro- fessional principles adopted in psychology, we propose a set of ethical guidelines for large scale HCI user trials. These guidelines come in two parts: a set of general principles and a framework into which individual app store-based trials can be assessed and ethical concerns exposed. We categorise exist- ing literature using our scheme, and explain how researchers could use our framework to classify their future user trials to determine ethical responsibility, and the steps required to meet these obligations.

A Hybrid Mass Participation Approach to Mobile Software Trials

Alistair Morrison, Donald McMillan, Scott Sherwood, Stuart Reeves and Matthew Chalmers

ACM CHI 2012, 1311-1320,

User trials of mobile applications have followed a steady march out of the lab, and progressively further ‘into the wild’, recently involving ‘app store’-style releases of software to the general public. We examine the literature on these mass participation systems and identify a number of reported difficulties, which we aim to address with a hybrid methodology combining a global software release with a concurrent local trial. A phone–based game, World Cup Predictor, was created to explore the uptake and use of ad hoc peer-to-peer networking, and evaluated using our hybrid trial method, combining a small-scale local trial (11 users) with a ‘mass participation’ trial (over 10,000 users). Our hybrid method allows for locally observed findings to be verified, for patterns in globally collected data to be explained and addresses ethical issues raised by the mass participation approach. We note trends in the local trial that did not appear in the larger scale deployment, and which would therefore have led to misleading results were the application trialled using ‘traditional’ methods alone. Based on this study and previous experience, we provide a set of guidelines to researchers working in this area.

A Comparison of Distribution Channels for Large-Scale Deployments of iOS Applications

Donald McMillan, Alistair Morrison & Matthew Chalmers

IJMHCI 3(4), Special Issue on “Research in the Large”, 1-17, 2011

When conducting mass participation trials on Apple iOS devices researchers are forced to make a choice between using the Apple App Store or third party software repositories. In order to inform this choice we describe a sample application that was released via both methods along with comparison of user demographics and engagement. The contents of these repositories are examined and compared, and statistics are presented highlighting the number of times the application was downloaded and the user retention experienced with each. The results are presented and the relative merits of each distribution method discussed to allow researchers to make a more informed choice. Results include that the application distributed via third party repository received ten times more downloads than the App Store application and that users recruited via the repository consistently used the application more.

SGVis: Analysis of Data From Mass Participation Ubicomp Trials

Alistair Morrison & Matthew Chalmers

IJMHCI 3(4), Special Issue on “Research in the Large”, 36-54, 2011

The recent rise in popularity of ‘app store’ markets on a number of different mobile platforms has provided a means for researchers to run worldwide trials of ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) applications with very large numbers of users. This opportunity raises challenges, however, as more traditional methods of running trials and gathering data for analysis might be infeasible or fail to scale up to a large, globally-spread user base. SGVis is a data analysis tool designed to aid ubicomp researchers in conducting trials in this man- ner. This paper discusses the difficulties involved in running large scale trials, explaining how these led to recommendations on what data researchers should log, and to design choices made in SGVis. The authors outline several methods of use and why they help with challenges raised by large scale research. A means of categorising users is also described that could aid in data analysis and management of a trial with very large numbers of participants. SGVis has been used in evaluating several mass-participation trials, involving tens of thousands of users, and several use cases are described that demonstrate its utility.

Large Scale User Trials: Research Challenges and Adaptive Evaluation

Scott Sherwood, Stuart Reeves, Jules Maitland, Alistair Morrison, Matthew Chalmers

Book Chapter, “Human Computer Interaction and Innovation in Handheld, Mobile and Wearable Technologies”, Joanna Lumsden (ed.), IGI Global, 2011.

Ethics, Logs and Videotape: Ethics in Large Scale User Trials and User Generated Content

M Chalmers, D McMillan, A Morrison, H Cramer, M Rost, W Mackay,

Workshop summary, published in ACM CHI Extended Abstracts, 2011.

As new technologies are appropriated by researchers, the community must come to terms with the evolving ethical responsibilities we have towards participants. This workshop brings together researchers to discuss the ethical issues of running large-scale user trials, and to provide guidance for future research. For example, ‘mass participation’ trials engage tens or hundreds of thousands of participants by ‘app store’-style distribution of software. Trials of this scale offer great potential benefits in terms of attracting very large user numbers from vastly different geographical and social contexts providing increased generalisability of results, but raise significant ethical challenges. The inability to ensure or confirm user understanding of the information needed to provide informed consent, the inability to confirm the users’ age, or the problems involved in making users understand the implications of the information being logged all beg the question of how can researchers ethically take advantage of the opportunities these new technologies afford?

Informed consent and users’ attitudes to logging in large scale trials

Alistair Morrison, Owain Brown, Donald McMillan & Matthew Chalmers

Proc. ACM CHI 2011, 1501-1506,

The HCI community has begun to use ‘app store’-style software repositories as a distribution channel for research applications. A number of ethical challenges present themselves, not least that of gaining informed consent from potential participants before logging data on their use of the software. We note that standard ‘terms and conditions’ pages have proved unsuccessful in communicating relevant information to users, and explore further means of conveying researchers’ intent and allowing opt-out mechanisms. We test the hypothesis that revealing collected information to users will affect their level of concern at being recorded and find that users are more concerned when presented with a graphical representation of recorded data, and consequently stop using the application sooner. Also described is a means of allowing between-groups experiments in such mass participation trials.

Designing for Peer Involvement in Weight Management

Julie Maitland and Matthew Chalmers

Proc. ACM CHI 2011, 315–324

Prompted by the common citing of obesity and overweight as underlying motivation behind much of the recent work seeking to improve physical activity levels, and the social nature of many of the emerging applications, this paper presents our investigation of the sociality of weight management as experienced by a broad demographic of individuals. Our results highlighted the broad scope of peer involvement, and provided insight into the context and mechanics of related interaction that may prove valuable in informing the next generation of peer-based weight management technology for use in everyday life.

Self-Monitoring, Self-Awareness, and Self-Determination in Cardiac Rehabilitation

Julie Maitland and Matthew Chalmers

Proc. ACM CHI 2010, 1213-1222,

The application of self-monitoring technologies to the problem of promoting health-related behavioural change has been an active area of research for many years. This paper reports on our investigations into health-related behavioural change within the context of a cardiac rehabilitation programme, and considers the role that self-monitoring currently plays and may play in the future. We carried out semi-structured interviews with nineteen cardiac rehabilitation participants. Our main findings relate to distinctions between implicit and conscious change, tensions between cardiac rehabilitation and everyday life, the importance of self-awareness and self-determination, and an overall reluctance towards unnecessary self-monitoring. In view of these findings, we then offer suggestions as to how self-monitoring technologies can be designed to suit this particular context of use.

Mutually Reinforcing Systems

John Ferguson, Marek Bell and Matthew Chalmers

Proc. HCOMP 2010 (SIGKDD Workshop on Human Computation), ACM, pp. 34-37

This paper demonstrates strategies for designing mobile games with by-products in order to allow the acquisition of specific data. A mobile game with by-products called EyeSpy and a photo website called Realise will be used as examples to demonstrate these strategies. The Realise website allows users to browse geographically tagged photos and make specific requests for new ones. In the EyeSpy game, players use mobile phones to tag geographic positions with photos and text. EyeSpy players can earn points from validating each others’ tags by visiting tag locations and attempting to ‘confirm’ them. If players go to the correct location, both the player confirming the tag and the player who created it will gain points. This creates game content for EyeSpy and provides more refined results for the Realise website. In this way, both the systems mutually reinforce each other.

A Population Approach to Ubicomp System Design

Matthew Chalmers

Proc. ACM-BCS Visions of Computer Science 2010,

In this paper we propose and explore a new approach to the design of ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) systems. One of ubicomp’s design ideals is systems that adapt so as to maintain contextual fit, but the varied and changing contexts and uses of ubicomp systems make achieving this ideal challenging, especially when using traditional design approaches that are grounded in static definitions of computational structure. Here we outline an alternative approach to system design, a ‘vision’ for ubiquitous computing, that relies on dynamically coupling together several complementary representations of structure, context and use. We offer examples and proposals for tools and analyses that set these representations within an ongoing socio-technical process that, we propose, offers significant potential for satisfying ubicomp’s requirement for adapting system structure so as to sustain contextual fit.

Further into the Wild: Running Worldwide Trials of Mobile Systems

Donald McMillan, Alistair Morrison, Owain Brown, Malcolm Hall, Matthew Chalmers

Proc. Pervasive 2010, 210-17,

Many studies of ubiquitous computing systems involve deploying a system to a group of users who will be studied through direct observation, interviews and the gathering of system log data. However, such studies are often limited in the number of participants and duration of the trial, particularly if the researchers are providing the participants with hardware. Apple’s App Store and similar application repositories have become popular with smartphone users, yet few ubiquitous computing studies have yet utilised these distribution mechanisms.  We describe our experiences of running a very large scale trial where such a distribution model is used to recruit thousands of users. We explain how we conducted such a trial, covering issues such as data logging, interviewing users based in several different continents and using web-based social networking applications to manage a large and disparate user-base and to conduct mass scale user-informed design.

VisGenome with CartoonPlus: Supporting Large Scale Genomic Analyses via Physical Space Deformation

Joanna Jakubowska, Ela Hunt and Matthew Chalmers

Future Generation Computer Systems journal, 2009,

We focus on visualisation techniques used in genome browsers and examine the available browsers with respect to their suitability for comparative genome analysis, and the legibility of display. Based on this investigation, we then report on a new technique, CartoonPlus, which improves the visual representation of data. We describe our use of smooth zooming and panning, and a new scaling algorithm and focus on options. CartoonPlus scaling allows the users to see data not in physical size but deformed to improve data legibility, depending on the data type chosen by the users. In VisGenome we have chosen genes as the basis for scaling. All genes have the same size and all other data is scaled in relationship to genes. Additionally, objects which are smaller than genes, such as micro array probes or markers, are scaled differently to reflect their partitioning into two categories: objects in a gene region and objects positioned between genes. This results in a significant legibility improvement and should enhance the understanding of genome maps. The technique may be useful in other information rich contexts, such as comparison of histograms or schema mapping.

Visualisation of spectator activity at stadium events

Alistair Morrison, Marek Bell, Matthew Chalmers

Proc. Information Visualization 2009, iv, pp.219-226,

Recent advances in mobile device technology have opened up new possibilities in enhancing the experience of spectators at stadium-based sporting events. In creating novel applications for use in such settings, designers must be aware of the current practices of spectators and of features of the environment at such events that novel applications may seek to exploit. This work forms an early part of the Designing the Augmented Stadium project. Data sets have been collected from spectators, logging the results of Bluetooth scans alongside GPS location. This paper presents an information visualisation tool that can be used in the analysis and exploration of this data, to provide insight into the activities of spectators, the relationship between an individual spectator and the crowd as a whole and the suitability of stadium environments for applications based on infrastructure such as mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs) and wireless mesh networking. Various visualisation tools are described and example cases are illustrated, using several real-world data sets recorded at football matches.

The Appropriation of Information and Communication Technology: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Jose Rojas and Matthew Chalmers

Proc. HCI International 2009, pp. 687-696, published as LNCS 5610.

One of the long standing concerns of the HCI field is to facilitate the introduction of new information and communication technology (ICT) into society by lowering the barriers they might experience through an ongoing cycle of design, development and refinement of features in ICT. Interest in this problem seems to arise from a preoccupation with the fast-paced change of technological development and the seemingly limited ability of society to cope with this deluge of change. The study of such a phenomenon broadly falls within what has been termed the appropriation of ICT. Appropriation is here understood as the “processes by which individuals and communities consciously take both conceptual and operational control of an idea, a tool, a technology, etc. within the context of their real and perceived culture”. It could be argued that in the HCI field there is an assumption that by achieving the right combination of features in a new technology (i.e., a device, system, service, etc.) it is possible to produce a technology that can be “naturally” appropriated. This view of appropriation as a single trait that can be captured and endowed upon new ICT seems to prevent us from considering a wider range of influences that might affect this process. Conversely, this crusade to find the technology that can be seamlessly appropriated does not say anything about the fact that many people, every day, continue using certain technologies like mobile phones, mp3 players, IM clients, the Internet and, of course, computers, regardless of their proficiency operating them. It seems to be there are other reasons beyond the technology itself that influence people in adopting and appropriating an ICT. Elucidating what those other influences might be is precisely the purpose of this work. Therefore, in this paper we will first review a popular approach to the study of appropriation in HCI through the concept of cultural dimensions highlighting some of its shortcomings in this regard. Later we will present alternative approaches to the study of appropriation of ICT. Drawing from these approaches, we will then introduce our work and argue on its relevance to describe the appropriation of ICT.

Adapting Ubicomp Software and its Evaluation

Malcolm Hall, Marek Bell, Alistair Morrison, Stuart Reeves, Scott Sherwood, Matthew Chalmers

Proc. ACM Engineering Interactive Computing Systems 2009, pp. 143-148,

In this paper, we describe work in progress on tools and infrastructure to support adaptive component-based software for mobile devices—in our case, Apple iPhones. Our high level aim is ‘design for appropriation’, i.e. system design for uses and contexts that designers may not be able to fully predict or model in advance. Logs of users’ system operation are streamed back in real time to evaluators’ data visualisation tools, so that they can assess design problems and opportunities. Evaluators and developers can then create new software components that are sent to the mobile devices. These components are either integrated automatically on the fly, or offered as recommendations for users to accept or reject. By connecting developers, users, and evaluators, we aim to quicken the pace of the loop of design, use and evaluation so as to improve the process of creating and sustaining contextually fitting software.

Persuasion not Required: Improving our Understanding of the Sociotechnical Context of Dietary Behavioural Change

Julie Maitland, Matthew Chalmers, Katie Siek

Proc. Pervasive Health 2009, (Best Paper nominee)

In view of the well-acknowledged inequalities in health between the rich and the poor, populations of low socioeconomic status stand to benefit most from advances in technology designed to promote health- related behavioural change. In this paper we investigate attitudes towards diet and the perceived barriers to making positive changes from the perspective of the primary caregivers of seventeen families with low socioeconomic status. Participants were aware of the weaknesses their family’s dietary habits and were motivated to make changes, but lacked financial, strategic, and social resources needed to do so. Based on our analysis, the current trend of raising awareness and motivation to change does not appear to address the needs of this population. We call for research to investigate systems that address existing gaps in health-related communication and empower people to take practical steps towards achieving realistic goals; matching any attempt to motivate change with an attempt to facilitate change.

Probe-lems: reflecting on a technology probe into peer involvement in cardiac rehabilitation

Julie Maitland, Matthew Chalmers

Proc. Pervasive Health 2009

Given the widely acknowledged impact that social support has on health outcomes, we set out to investigate peer-involvement in cardiac rehabilitation and explore the potential for technological support thereof. We planned to deploy a purpose built technology probe into a 10–week rehabilitation program. This paper presents the findings of the probe’s pilot study, where rejection of technology and reluctance to involve peers highlighted important considerations for the design of peer-based health promotion technologies and methodological considerations for the study of peer-involvement in behavioural change as well as pervasive health research in general.

Empowering the Remote Visitor: Supporting Social Museum Visits Among Local and Remote Visitors

Areti Galani and Matthew Chalmers

To appear as a chapter in Museums in a Digital Age, Ross Parry (ed.), Routledge 2009

Republished paper from Proceedings of 2nd International Conference of Museology, Mytilene, Greece, 2004.

EyeSpy: Supporting Navigation Through Play

Marek Bell, Stuart Reeves, Barry Brown, Scott Sherwood, Donny MacMillan, John Ferguson, Matthew Chalmers

Proc. ACM CHI 2009, pp. 123-132,

This paper demonstrates how useful content can be generated as a by-product of an enjoyable mobile multiplayer game. In EyeSpy, players tag geographic locations with photos or text. By locating the places in which other players’ tags were created and ‘confirming’ them, players earn points for themselves and verify the tags’ locations. As a side effect of game-play, EyeSpy produces a collection of recognisable and findablegeographic details, in the form of photographs and text tags, that can be repurposed to support navigation tasks. Two user trials of the game successfully produced an archive of geo-located photographs and tags, and in a follow-up experiment we compared performance in a navigation task using photographs from the game, with geo-referenced photos collected from the Flickr website. Our experiences with EyeSpy support reflection upon the design challenges presented by ‘human computation’ and the production of usable by-products through mobile game-play.

Studying long-term, fragmented data sets

Stuart Reeves, Alistair Morrison and Matthew Chalmers

Proc. CHI 2009 ‘Interacting with temporal data’ workshop

In this paper we suggest two challenges for the study of fragmented data sets generated from long-term studies. The first of these is the wide range of temporal perspectives from which a single data set may be inspected (from seconds to weeks). The second challenge involves the importance of considering user experience of time as a useful resource in analysis. Finally we briefly conclude with a call to consider new analytic tools that move beyond solely timeline-bound representations.

Homework: Developing a Corpus of Domestic Network Usage

Tom Rodden, Paul Tennent, Matthew Chalmers, Beki Grinter, Keith Edwards, Andrew Crabtree

Proc. CHI 2009 ‘Developing Shared Home Behavior Datasets to Advance HCI and Ubiquitous Computing Research’ workshop

We present a new collaboration aiming to develop strategies for the capture, filtration, representation, and analysis of home network data leading to the redesign of home network infrastructure. A central feature of this is the development of a corpus of digital domestic data based on a combination of network traffic monitoring and ethnographic studies situated in domestic environments. A significant portion of the evolving corpus will be stored, managed, filtered, represented and explored using the Digital Replay System.

Adapting Evaluation to Study Behaviour in Context

Scott Sherwood, Stuart Reeves, Julie Maitland, Alistair Morrison, Matthew Chalmers

Intl. J. Mobile Human-Computer Interaction 1(2), pp. 1-19, April-June 2009

We present a reflection on a series of studies of ubiquitous computing systems in which the process of evaluation evolved over time to account for the increasing difficulties inherent in assessing systems ‘in the wild’. Ubiquitous systems are typically designed to be embedded in users’ everyday lives, however, without knowing the ways in which people will appropriate the systems for use, it is often infeasible to identify a predetermined set of evaluation criteria that will capture the process of integration and appropriation. Based on our experiences, which became successively more distributed in time and space, we suggest that evaluation should become adaptive in order to more effectively study the emergent uses of ubiquitous computing systems over time.

VisGenome and Ensembl: Usability of Integrated Genome Maps

Joanna Jakubowska, Ela Hunt, John McLure, Matthew Chalmers, Martin McBride, Anna Dominczak

Proc. Data Integration in the Life Sciences (DILS), Evry, 2008. (Best paper nominee.)

It is not always clear how best to represent integrated data sets, and which application and database features allow a scientist to take best advantage of data coming from various information sources. To improve the use of integrated data visualisation in candidate gene finding, we carried out a user study comparing an existing general-purpose genetics visualisation and query system, Ensembl, to our new application, VisGenome. We report on experiments verifying the correctness of visual querying in VisGenome, and take advantage of software assessment techniques which are still uncommon in bioinformatics, including asking the users to perform a set of tasks, fill in a questionnaire and participate in an interview. As VisGenome offers smooth zooming and panning driven by mouse actions and a small number of search and view adjustment menus, and Ensembl offers a large amount of data in query interfaces and clickable images, we hypothesised that a simplified interface supported by smooth zooming will help the user in their work. The user study confirmed our expectations, as more users correctly completed data finding tasks in VisGenome than in Ensembl. This shows that improved interactivity and a novel comparative genome representation showing data at various levels of detail support correct data analysis in the context of cross-species QTL and candidate gene finding. Further, we found that a user study gave us new insights and showed new challenges in producing tools that support complex data analysis scenarios in the life sciences.

CartoonPlus: A New Scaling Algorithm for Genomics Data

Joanna Jakubowska, Ela Hunt, Matthew Chalmers

Proc Intl. Conf. on Computational Science, Krakow, June 2008.

We focus on visualisation techniques used in genome browsers and report on a new technique, CartoonPlus, which improves the visual representation of data. We describe our use of smooth zooming and panning, and a new scaling algorithm and focus on options. CartoonPlus allows the users to see data not in original size but scaled, depending on the data type which is interactively chosen by the users. In VisGenome we have chosen genes as the basis for scaling. All genes have the same size and all other data is scaled in relationship to genes. Additionally, objects which are smaller than genes, such as micro array probes or markers, are scaled differently to reflect their partitioning into two categories: objects in a gene region and objects positioned between genes. This results in a significant legibility improvement and should enhance the understanding of genome maps.

Finding a balance: social support v. privacy during weight management

Julie Maitland, Matthew Chalmers

Extended Abstracts, Proc ACM CHI, 3015-3020. Florence, 2008.

This work investigates current attitudes towards the involvement of others during weight-management (WM). It is prompted by ongoing attempts to harness social influence within system design so as to promote an increase in physical activity, with obesity often cited as a motivation. Through in-depth interviews, we have found that the complexities of sharing information in existing WM practices are not reflected in current system designs. Initial findings highlight the design tension raised by the need for social support as well as privacy. Preliminary design concepts of selective disclosure and relative comparison are offered to developers of sociocentric systems supporting WM-specific behavioural change.

From Awareness to Repartee: Sharing Location within Social Groups

Louise Barkhuus, Barry Brown, Marek Bell, Scott Sherwood, Malcolm Hall and Matthew Chalmers

Proc ACM CHI, 497-506, Florence, 2008.

This paper investigates emergent practices around  ‘microblogging’, changing and sharing status within a social group. We present results from a trial of ‘Connecto’, a phone based status and location sharing application that allows a group to ‘tag’ areas and have individuals’ locations shared automatically on a mobile phone. In use the system moved beyond being an awareness tool to a way of continuing the ongoing ‘story’ of conversations within the group.  Through sharing status and location the system supported each groups’ ongoing repartee – a site for social exchange, enjoyment and friendship.

Problems of space and time: learning from the experience of studying ubicomp use in the wild

Scott Sherwood, Julie Maitland and Matthew Chalmers

Proc. Interact 2007 Workshop: Usability in the Wild, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In this paper we describe, how the evaluation of ubiquitous computing systems can be problematic, how we augmented existing evaluation techniques to aid in our analysis, and how we created new techniques for evaluation of such systems within everyday settings. We will discuss four systems, briefly highlighting the problems faced and how the experiences from each changed our approach to evaluating the following systems.

VisGenome: visualisation of single and comparative genome representations

Joanna Jakubowska, Ela Hunt, Matthew Chalmers, Martin McBride, Anna F. Dominiczak

Bioinformatics, 2007 23: 2641-2642.

VisGenome visualises single and comparative representations for the rat, the mouse, and the human chromosomes at different levels of detail. The tool offers smooth zooming and panning which is more flexible than seen in other browsers. It presents information available in Ensembl for single chromosomes, as well as homologies (orthologue predictions) for any two chromosomes from different species. The application can query supporting data from Ensembl by invoking a link in a browser.

Tracking and sharing daily activity levels with unaugmented mobile phones

Julie Maitland, Scott Sherwood, Louise Barkhuus, Ian Anderson, Malcolm Hall, Barry Brown, Matthew Chalmers and Henk Muller

ACM Mobile Networks and Applications (MONET) 12(3), 185-199, June 2007.

This paper explores the potential for use of an unaugmented commodity technology—the mobile phone—as a health promotion tool. We describe a prototype application that tracks the daily exercise activities of people, using an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) to analyse GSM cell signal strength and visibility to estimate a user’s movement. In a short-term study of the prototype that shared activity information amongst groups of friends, we found that awareness encouraged reflection on, and increased motivation for, daily activity. The study raised concerns regarding the reliability of ANN-facilitated activity detection in the ‘real world’. We describe some of the details of the pilot study and introduce a promising new approach to activity detection that has been developed in response to some of the issues raised by the pilot study: Hidden Markov Models (HMM), Task Modelling and Unsupervised Calibration. We conclude with our intended plans to develop the system further in order to carry out a longer-term clinical trial.

Using Location, Bearing and Motion Data to Filter Video and System Logs

Alistair Morrison, Paul Tennent, Matthew Chalmers and John Williamson

Proc. Pervasive 2007, Toronto, 109-126

In evaluating and analysing a pervasive computing system, it is common to log system use and to create video recordings of users. A lot of data will often be generated, representing potentially long periods of user activity. We present a procedure to identify sections of such data that are salient given the current context of analysis; for example analysing the activity of a particular person among many trial participants recorded by multiple cameras. By augmenting the cameras used to capture a mobile experiment, we are able to establish both a location and heading for each camera, and thus model the field of view for each camera over time. Locations of trial participants are also recorded and compared against camera views, to determine which periods of user activity are likely to have been recorded in detail. Additionally the stability of a camera can be tracked and video can be subsequently filtered to exclude footage of unacceptable quality. These techniques are implemented in an extension to Replayer: a software toolkit for use in the development cycle of mobile applications. A report of initial testing is given, whereby the technique’s use is demonstrated on a representative mobile application.

Increasing the Awareness of Daily Activity Levels with Pervasive Computing

Julie Maitland, Scott Sherwood, Louise Barkhuus, Ian Anderson, Malcollm Hall, Barry Brown, Matthew Chalmers and Henk Muller

Proc. ACM Pervasive Health, Innsbruck, 2006.

Public health promotion technology should be accessible to the general public at which it is aimed. This paper explores the potential for use of an unaugmented commodity technology—the mobile phone—as a health promotion tool. We describe a prototype application that tracks the daily exercise activities of people carrying phones, using fluctuation in signal strength to estimate a user’s movement. In a short-term study of the prototype that shared activity information amongst groups of friends, we found that awareness encouraged reflection on, and increased motivation for, daily activity. We describe some of the details of the pilot study, and conclude with our intended plans to develop the system further in order to carry out a longer-term clinical trial.

Ubicomp: From Theory to Play

Matthew Chalmers

Keynote at Ubimob 2006, Paris (abstract)

Ubicomp systems have a history that extends back to the late 1980s, to work at Xerox PARC and EuroPARC. Researchers, in particular Mark Weiser, drew from much older theory and discourse in framing a new system design research agenda. Studying the strengths and the weaknesses in this conceptual work led us to explore new approaches to designing, analysing and understanding the use of ubicomp systems. Our vehicle for much of this research has been mobile multiplayer games, such as Treasure and Feeding Yoshi, and analysis tools such as Replayer. In giving an overview of this work, I hope to give some practical examples of how apparently contradictory opposites within ubicomp are interdependent and synergistic.

Auto-classifying Salient Content In Video

Alistair Morrison, Paul Tennent, John Williamson, Matthew Chalmers

Proc. Workshop on Computer Assisted Recording, Pre-Processing, and Analysis of User Interaction Data, BCS HCI 2006, London.

In this position paper we present a procedure with which large volumes of video data can be

automatically processed to extract only that which is salient given the current context of analysis. This

technique is presented as an extension to Replayer: a software toolkit for use in the development cycle

of mobile applications. By augmenting the cameras used to capture a mobile experiment we are able to

establish both a location and heading for each camera, and thus generate a field of vision. Locations of

each trial participant are also recorded and compared against camera visual fields to determine which

periods of user activity have been recorded. A report of initial testing is given, whereby the technique’s

use is demonstrated on a trivial application.

Coordinated Visualisation of Video and System Log Data

Alistair Morrison, Paul Tennent, Matthew Chalmers
Proc. 4th Intl. Conf. on Coordinated & Multiple Views in Exploratory Visualization (CMV) 2006, 91-102.

In this paper we present Replayer, a distributed, cross platform toolkit for utilising multiple coordinated visualisations in the analysis and understanding of heterogeneous data. In particular we analyse the methods used to combine recorded media such as video with numerical visualisations such as histograms and time series graphs. We examine in some detail the architecture behind the system, and the techniques used to maintain synchronicity and coordination when interactively brushing components. We demonstrate how Replayer can be used to explore data sets using an array of available visualisations, can focus analysis of video data on the most salient periods and can provide context for every area of the recorded data. (ISBN: 0-7695-2605-5)

Ubiquitous Computing: Experience, Design and Science

Dan Chalmers, Matthew Chalmers, Jon Crowcroft, Marta Kwiatkowska, Robin Milner, Eamonn O’Neill,

Tom Rodden, Vladimiro Sassone, Morris Sloman

UKCRC Grand Challenges, 2006

There is burgeoning population of ‘effectively invisible’ computers around us, embedded in the fabric of our homes, shops, vehicles, farms and some even in our bodies. They are invisible in that they are part of the environment and we can interact with them as we go about our normal activities. However they can range in size from large Plasma displays on the walls of buildings to microchips implanted in the human body. They help us command, control, communicate, do business, travel and entertain ourselves, and these ‘invisible’ computers are far more numerous than their desktop cousins. How many computers will you be using, wearing, or have installed in your body, in 2020? How many other computers will they be talking to? What will they be saying about you, doing for you, or to you? By that time computers will be ubiquitous and globally connected. Shall we be able to manage such large-scale systems, or even understand them? How do people interact with them and how does this new pervasive technology affect society? How can non-computing people configure and control them? What tools are needed for design and analysis of these constantly adapting and evolving systems? What theories will help us to understand their behaviour? These are the sort of issues which make Ubiquitous Computing a Grand Challenge; join us in addressing them. The Ubiquitous Computing Grand Challenge (UbicompGC) is one of the 6 UKCRC Grand Challenges.  It was formed by merging  two of the original Grand Challenges  GC2 “Science for global ubiquitous computing” which focused on theory and GC4 “Scalable ubiquitous computing systems” which focused on engineering aspects.  UbicompGC is formulating a research manifesto which postulates the need for combined Science (theory) as well as addressing the Engineering and Social issues related to building Ubiquitous Systems. So far, most research in the UK and elsewhere has focussed on the Engineering with very little attention on the theory required to underpin the design and analysis of ubiquitous systems which are intrinsically large-scale and complex. Some of the work in the Equator project  has addressed social aspects and how people will interact with Ubiquitous Systems.  The overview page summarises the goals of the challenge.

Supporting Ethnographic Studies of Ubiquitous Computing in the Wild

Andy Crabtree, Steve Benford, Chris Greenhalgh, Paul Tennent, Matthew Chalmers, Barry Brown
Proc. ACM Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) 2006, 60-69.

Ethnography has become a staple feature of IT research over the last twenty years, shaping our understanding of the social character of computing systems and informing their design in a wide variety of settings. The emergence of ubiquitous computing raises new challenges for ethnography however, distributing interaction across a burgeoning array of small, mobile devices and online environments which exploit invisible sensing systems. Understanding interaction requires ethnographers to reconcile interactions that are, for example, distributed across devices on the street with online interactions in order to assemble coherent understandings of the social character and purchase of ubiquitous computing systems. We draw upon four recent studies to show how ethnographers are replaying system recordings of interaction alongside existing resources such as video recordings to do this and identify key challenges that need to be met to support ethnographic study of ubiquitous computing in the wild.

Interweaving Mobile Games with Everyday Life

Marek Bell, Matthew Chalmers, Louise Barkhuus, Malcolm Hall, Scott Sherwood, Paul Tennent, Barry Brown, Duncan Rowland, Steve Benford, Mauricio Capra, Alistair Hampshire

Proc. ACM CHI 2006, Montreal, pp. 417-426.

We introduce a location–based game called Feeding Yoshi that provides an example of seamful design, in which key characteristics of its underlying technologies—the coverage and security characteristics of WiFi—are exposed as a core element of gameplay. Feeding Yoshi is also a long–term, wide–area game, being played over a week between three different cities during an initial user study. The study, drawing on participant diaries and interviews, supported by observation and analysis of system logs, reveals players’ reactions to the game. We see the different ways in which they embedded play into the patterns of their daily lives, augmenting existing practices and creating new ones, and observe the impact of varying location on both the ease and feel of play. We identify potential design extensions to Feeding Yoshi and conclude that seamful design provides a route to creating engaging experiences that are well adapted to their underlying technologies.

Replayer: Collaborative evaluation of mobile applications

Paul Tennent, Alistair Morrison, Matthew Chalmers

Proc. Workshop on Information Visualization and Interaction Techniques for Collaboration Across Multiple Displays, ACM CHI 2006, Montreal.

To adequately gain insight into large bodies of multisource data, analysts from a variety of disciplines often need to work cooperatively, each using distinct sets of skills to focus on specific aspects of the task. We discuss Replayer, a collaborative tool for analysis of recorded data, designed primarily to cater for the evaluation of distributed mobile applications. The system is designed to blend traditional practices of quantitative and qualitative evaluation, drawing inspiration from both and offering support for collaboration to practitioners from different fields.

Domino: Exploring Mobile Collaborative Software Adaptation

Marek Bell, Malcolm Hall, Matthew Chalmers, Phil Gray, Barry Brown

Proc. Pervasive 2006, Dublin, pp. 153-168.

Social Proximity Applications (SPAs) are a promising new area for ubicomp software that exploits the everyday changes in the proximity of mobile users. While a number of applications facilitate simple file sharing between co–present users, this paper explores opportunities for recommending and sharing software between users. We describe an architecture that allows the recommen-dation of new system components from systems with similar histories of use. Software components and usage histories are exchanged between mobile users who are in proximity with each other. We apply this architecture in a mobile strategy game in which players adapt and upgrade their game using components from other players, progressing through the game through sharing tools and his-tory. More broadly, we discuss the general application of this technique as well as the security and privacy challenges to such an approach.

Sharing the square: collaborative leisure in the city streets

Barry Brown, Matthew Chalmers, Marek Bell, Ian MacColl, Malcolm Hall, Paul Rudman

Proc. Euro. Conf. Computer Supported Collaborative Work (ECSCW), Paris, pp. 427-447, 2005

Sharing events with others is an important part of many enjoyable experiences. While most existing co-presence systems focus on work tasks, in this paper we describe a lightweight mobile system designed for sharing leisure. This system allows city visitors to share their experiences with others both far and near, through tablet computers that share photographs, voice and location. A collaborative filtering algorithm uses historical data of previous visits to recommend photos, web pages and places to visitors, bringing together online media with the city’s streets. In an extensive user trial we explored how these resources were used to collaborate around physical places. The trial demonstrates the value of technological support for sociability – enjoyable shared social experiences.  We also discuss support for collaborative photography and the role history can play in collaborative systems.

Picking Pockets on the Lawn: The Development of Tactics and Strategies in a Mobile Game

Louise Barkhuus, Matthew Chalmers, Malcolm Hall, Paul Tennent, Marek Bell, Scott Sherwood, Barry Brown

Draft of a paper in Proc. Ubiquitous Computing (Ubicomp), Tokyo, LNCS 3660, pp. 358-374, 2005

This paper presents Treasure, an outdoor mobile multiplayer game inspired by Weiser’s notion of seams, gaps and breaks in different media.Playing Treasure involves movement in and out of a wi-fi network, using PDAs to pick up virtual ‘coins’ that may be scattered outside network coverage. Coins have to be uploaded to a server to gain game points, and players can collaborate with teammates to double the points given for an upload. Players can also steal coins from opponents. As they move around, players’ PDAs sample network signal strength and update coverage maps. Reporting on a study of players taking part in multiple games, we discuss how their tactics and strategies developed as their experience grew with successive games. We suggest that meaningful play arises in just this way, and that repeated play is vital when evaluating such games.

System level visualization of eQTLs and pQTLs

Joanna Jakubowska, Ela Hunt, Matthew Chalmers, David Leader, Martin McBride, Anna F Dominiczak

BMC Bioinformatics,  6(3), (Poster in Proc. BioSysBio: Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Conference, Edinburgh, UK. 14–15 July 2005), p15

Three Applications for Mobile Epidemic Algorithms

Paul Tennent, Malcolm Hall, Barry Brown, Matthew Chalmers, Scott Sherwood

Draft of a paper in Proc. Mobile HCI, Salzburg, 2005, pp. 223-226

This paper presents a framework for the pervasive sharing of data using wireless networks. ‘FarCry’ uses the mobility of users to carry files between separated networks. Through a mix of ad-hoc and infrastructure–based wireless networking, files are transferred between users without their direct involvement.  As users move to different locations, files are then transmitted on to other users, spreading and sharing information. We examine three applications of this framework.  Each of these exploits the physically proximate nature of social gatherings.  As people group together in, for example, business meetings and cafés, this can be taken as an indication of similar interests, e.g. in the same presentation or in a type of music. MediaNet affords sharing of media files between strangers or friends, MeetingNet shares business documents in meetings, and NewsNet shares RSS feeds between mobile users.  NewsNet also develops the use of pre-emptive caching: collecting information from others not for oneself, but for the predicted later sharing with others.  We offer observations on developing this system for a mobile, multi-user, multi-device environment.

Mobile Pollution Mapping in the City

Paul Rudman, Steve North, Matthew Chalmers

Proc. UK-UbiNet workshop on eScience and ubicomp, Edinburgh, May 2005


Mobile computing has the potential to allow both experts and the public to collect and understand environmental

data such as pollutants in urban areas. We describe an experimental system—eGS—that allows users to explore a

city area while collaboratively visualising a common atmospheric pollutant— carbon monoxide—in real-time.

Users carry a networked tablet PC. Using GPS and an attached sensor, a map shows pollutant values as a colour coded trail as the user moves around the city. Users may take photographs of pollution-significant situations that

are referenced against their current map location. Pollutant readings and photographs appear on all users’ maps as

shared information for potential collaboration. We report on lessons learned and design issues arising from the

implementation and us of this research prototype. In particular, we question some assumptions regarding the

use of map-based representations with transient environmental information.

Recording and Understanding Mobile People and Mobile Technology

Paul Tennent and Matthew Chalmers

Proc. 1st . Intl. Conf. on eSocial Science, Manchester, 2005


We present an approach to recording and understanding the activity of people moving and interacting with each other via technologies such as mobile phones and handheld computers. Our focus is the combination of observational techniques, usually based on video recordings, and system–based techniques that log or instrument the technologies in use. At a higher level, we explore tools to allow sociologists and computer scientists to interact around a coherent visualisation that coupled resources usually associated with just one of these two communities of research practice. The Replayer system supports the creation of system logs, and the visualisation of the results in a display that is synchronised with video and audio recordings. We present a case study showing how Replayer was used in the evaluation of a mobile multi-user system called Treasure, highlighting evaluation results that would not easily have been discovered by more traditional means.

Gaming on the Edge: Using Seams in Ubicomp Games

Matthew Chalmers, Marek Bell, Barry Brown, Malcolm Hall, Scott Sherwood & Paul Tennent

Draft of a short paper to appear in Proc. ACM Advances in Computer Entertainment (ACE) 2005


Outdoor multi-player games are an increasingly popular application area for ubiquitous computing, supporting experimentation both with new technologies and new user experiences. This paper presents an outdoor ubicomp game that exploits the gaps or seams that exist in complex computer systems. Treasure is designed so that players move in and out of areas of wireless network coverage, taking advantage not only of the connectivity within a wireless ‘hotspot’ but of the lack of connectivity outside it. More broadly, this paper discusses how the notion of seamful design can be a source of design ideas for ubicomp games.

A later/modified version of this review of Paul Dourish’s Where the Action Is appears in J.CSCW 14, 69-77, 2005.

Sharing photos and recommendations in the city streets

Marek Bell, Matthew Chalmers, Barry Brown, Ian MacColl, Malcolm Hall, Paul Rudman

Short paper presented at the Pervasive 2005 Workshop on Exploiting Context Histories in Smart Environments (ECHISE)


Sharing events with others is an important part of many enjoyable experiences. While most existing co-presence systems focus on work tasks, in this paper we describe a lightweight mobile system designed for sharing leisure. This system allows city visitors to share their experiences with others both far and near, through tablet computers which share photographs, voice and locations. A collaborative filtering algorithm uses historical data of previous visits to recommend photos, web pages and places to visitors. In an extensive user trial we explored how these resources were used to collaborate around a physical place.

Gaming on the Edge: Using Seams in Pervasive Games

Matthew Chalmers, Louise Barkhuus, Marek Bell, Barry Brown, Malcolm Hall, Scott Sherwood & Paul Tennent

Short paper presented at the Pervasive 2005 workshop on Pervasive Games (PerGames 2005)


Outdoor multi-player games are an increasingly popular application area for pervasive computing, supporting experimentation both with new technologies and new user experiences.  This paper presents a set of experiments with an outdoor pervasive game that exploits the gaps or seams that exist in complex computer systems. The Bill game is designed so that players move in and out of areas of wireless network coverage, taking advantage of the connectivity within a wireless ‘hotspot’ and also of the lack of connectivity outside it. We draw lessons for how such games can successfully encourage social interaction between players, discuss the interaction between the game and the local environment, and describe our approach to recording and ‘replaying’ such games. More broadly, this paper discusses how the notion of seamful design can be a source of design ideas for such games.

Blurring boundaries for museum visitors

Areti Galani and Matthew Chalmers

Book chapter to appear in Museum Informatics, Marty, P. and K. Jones (eds). Francis & Taylor.

No PDF available yet.

Delivering Real-World Ubiquitous Location Systems

Gaetano Borriello, Matthew Chalmers, Anthony LaMarca and Paddy Nixon

Draft of a paper in Communications of the ACM, 48(3), 36-41, March 2005.


Location-enhanced applications are poised to become the first real-world example of ubiquitous computing.  In this paper, we emphasize the practical aspects of getting location-enhanced applications deployed on existing devices, such as laptops, tablets, PDAs, and cell phones, without the need to purchase additional sensors or install special infrastructure.  Our goal is to provide readers with an overview of the practical considerations that are currently being faced, and the research challenges that lie ahead. We ground the article with a summary of initial work on two deployments of location-enhanced computing: multi-player location-based games and a guide for the Edinburgh Festival.

Using Peer-to-Peer Ad Hoc Networks for Play and Leisure

Matthew Chalmers, Marek Bell, Barry Brown, Malcolm Hall, Scott Sherwood & Paul Tennent

Proc. UK-UbiNet workshop, Bath, February 2005.


As part of the Equator interdisciplinary research collaboration (, we are exploring the use of P2P ad hoc networks to support a number of interactive applications for leisure and entertainment, such as mobile multiplayer games and—in collaboration with the Kelvin Institute—a guide and recommender for visitors to the Edinburgh International Festival. This builds on our earlier work on collaborative ubicomp, such as our system for the Lighthouse in Glasgow. Our earlier systems were often constrained to operation within a building—effectively, to within a hotspot—and so we have changed our direction so as to concentrate on new techniques in three areas. Firstly, we are exploring new ways, involving P2P ad hoc networks, to share and disseminate information amongst a community of use. Secondly, we are using these information subsystems in developing new ways to personalise and contextualise the information available, using histories of system use and movement, and personal profiles. Thirdly, we are developing new tools for evaluating such systems in use, combining system logs from multiple devices and digital video from evaluators’ cameras in composable and tailorable visualisation tools.

Space/Place Reconsidered

Matthew Chalmers

Proc. 2nd Workshop on Space and Spatiality, Dec. 2004… although, sadly, I couldn’t present it at the actual workshop.


This paper focuses on conceptions of space and media, and how we often conceive of space as a medium that stands as an absolute, above or apart from other media. It is this usually implicit assumption that lets us talk of virtual ‘worlds’ and of working or even living in an information ‘space’. I’d like to present an opposing view, which treats space as merely one medium among the many used in everyday life, and space as relative i.e. only meaningful in and through its relationships to other spaces and other symbols used in human experience. I’ll outline this view, and use it to critique a conceptual treatment of space well–known within HCI and CSCW, the space/place distinction of (Harrison & Dourish 1996). The view is based on experience with information visualisation, collaborative virtual environments (CVEs) and ubiquitous computing systems, as well as some borrowing of structuralist linguistics and semiotics, and philosophical hermeneutics.

A Historical View of Context

Matthew Chalmers

Early draft of paper in J. CSCW 13(3), 223-247, August 2004.


This paper re–examines a number of the approaches, origins and ideals of context–aware systems design, looking particularly at the way that the past influences what we do in our ongoing activity. As a number of sociologists and philosophers have pointed out, past social interaction, as well as past use of the heterogeneous mix of media, tools and artifacts that we use in our everyday activity, influence our ongoing interaction with the people and media at hand. We suggest that the past is thus part of one’s current context, and can be seen as combining and interweaving the temporal and subjective patterns of individuals’ use of heterogeneous media as well as objectively structured representations of individual media. Based on this theoretical discussion, we present a number of critiques and suggestions for systems design approaches that reflect this historical aspect of context, and which make good use of the past in supporting ongoing user activity.

Hermeneutics, Information and Representation

Matthew Chalmers

Draft of a paper in European Journal of Information Systems 13(3), 210-220, 2004.


By drawing from semiology, epistemology and philosophical hermeneutics, we discuss the way CSCW models information, situation and activity—its approaches to representation. We point out similarities between discourse in hermeneutics and in the anthropology and sociology that predominates in CSCW, and propose that a hermeneutic perspective offers a unifying view on the social science and computer science within CSCW. We discuss formalisation, adaptation, and objectivity in our theories, methodologies and implementations, and offer collaborative filtering and its extension, the path model, as examples of practical approaches to representation that show, support and adapt with activity in a hermeneutic style.

Social Navigation and Seamful Design

Matthew Chalmers, Andreas Dieberger, Kristina Höök, Åsa Rudström

Cognitive Studies: Bulletin of the Japanese Cognitive Science Society 11(3), pp 171-181, 2004.


Social navigation exploits social practices to help users navigate and explore system functionality. In a wireless world, people move around, meet others and experience places and situations. Those activities may be recorded and presented to others through wireless devices, and serve in social navigation. One design challenge is how to deal with the technical limits and ‘seams’ of such devices, such as gaps and breaks in functionality, imprecise positioning, and errors in recording and representation. Social navigation systems rely on recording and representing people’s activity, and computational representation is affected by seams. We gained some insights into the way that social navigation and seams are socially constructed by analysing the functionality and social practice of three systems: GeoNotes, Hocman and the Seamful Game. We propose that social navigation and a ‘seamful design’ approach helps users take advantage of seams, appropriating and adapting system functionality for their own uses and interpretations.

Equator: Mixing Media and Showing Seams

Matthew Chalmers

Keynote talk, Proc. ACM Interaction Homme-Machine (IHM 2004), Namur, September 2004, p1.


The Equator interdisciplinary research collaboration has been exploring the combination of media such as mobile devices and collaborative virtual environments. We have built collaborative systems for a number of application areas including cultural heritage and tourism, performance, games, medical monitoring and environmental science. These systems have generally involved online visitors to a building or the city streets interacting with on-site visitors to the building or the streets. Sometimes the people online, using new media, are also on-site, using old media. Overall, Equator explores the interconnection and interweaving of activity in heterogeneous media which are usually treated in an isolated way. A number of higher-level design concepts have either motivated this work, or have arisen from experimentation with and evaluation of such systems. In this talk I offer my perspective on Equator’s approach to ubicomp and HCI, giving examples of system designs, user experiences and conceptual work, and how they too are interconnected and interwoven in our research.

Seamful Interweaving: Heterogeneity in the Theory and Design of Interactive Systems

Matthew Chalmers and Areti Galani

Proc. ACM DIS 2004, pp. 243-252, August 2004.


Design experience and theoretical discussion suggest that a narrow design focus on one tool or medium as primary may clash with the way that everyday activity involves the interweaving and combination of many heterogeneous media. Interaction may become seamless and unproblematic, even if the differences, boundaries and ‘seams’ in media are objectively perceivable. People accommodate and take advantage of seams and heterogeneity, in and through the process of interaction. We use an experiment with a mixed reality system to ground and detail our discussion of seamful design, which takes account of this process, and theory that reflects and informs such design. We critique the ‘disappearance’ mentioned by Weiser as a goal for ubicomp, and Dourish’s ‘embodied interaction’ approach to HCI, suggesting that these design ideals may be unachievable or incomplete because they underemphasise the interdependence of ‘invisible’ non-rationalising interaction and focused rationalising interaction within ongoing activity.

Coordinating Components for Visualization and Algorithmic Profiling

Greg Ross, Alistair Morrison and Matthew Chalmers

Conf. on Coordinated and Multiple Views in Exploratory Visualization (CMV 2004), London.


A number of researchers have put forward approaches to the development and use of visualisation

systems consisting of a number of components, through which data and interaction commands flow. Systems

based on hybrid and multistage algorithms can be used to reduce algorithmic complexity, and to open up

intermediate stages of the algorithm for inspection and steering. In this paper we present work on aiding the

developer and the user of such algorithms, applying interactive visualisation techniques to the process of

designing, evaluating and using visualisation systems. We present a set of tools designed to show and control

the performance of other visualisation components, and we offer case studies of their application to a number of

data sets. Through this work we are exploring ways in which techniques traditionally used to prepare for

visualisation runs, and to retrospectively analyse them, can find new uses within the context of a multi–

component visualisation system. We aim to demonstrate that when such systems use flexible structures for data

flow and cross–component interaction, developers and users can gain valuable understanding and control of the

processes and parameters of visualisation, and hence insight into the information being visualised.

Empowering the Remote Visitor: Supporting Social Museum Experiences among Local and Remote Visitors

Areti Galani and Matthew Chalmers

Proc. 2nd Intl. Conference of Museology (ICM), Mytiline, Greece, 2004.


Museum visits are social events. Social interaction among museum companions influences one’s engagement with the exhibition and one’s friends and shapes the overall experience. This paper drawing on examples from observational studies of non-educational groups of collocated visitors identifies the role of the friend as a filter of one’s engagement with displays and the gallery environment. It then investigates the same concept on examples of non-collocated visitors who explore a mixed reality museum environment and argues that technology may successfully support social interaction during museum visits. The role of social conduct in mixed reality museum environments is discussed with regard the status of the museum object, the emergence of a mutually complementing physical and digital museum presence and the practicalities of running and maintaining such environments. It concludes with suggestions for possible future applications within the scope and aims of the museum.

Models of Space in a Mixed-Reality System

Anthony Steed, Ian MacColl, Cliff Randell, Barry Brown, Matthew Chalmers and Chris Greenhalgh

Information Visualisation 2004 (IV2004), 768-777, London.


In this paper we discuss the use of models of space in the building of mixed-reality systems. By model of space we mean a distinguishable geometric or symbolic description associated with a physical space. We outline several types of model that exist, how they are surveyed and authored, how they are represented to the users and how they are supported by middleware and sensors. We show that systems often contain numerous models of space and we elucidate the issues in maintaining or reifying assumptions about transformations between models. We illustrate these ideas by describing the implementation of a collaborative mixed-reality system that allows users to experience a museum in three modalities: physically co-located visitor with personal digital assistant guide, virtual reality visitor and web visitor.

City: A Mixture of Old and New Media

Matthew Chalmers

In: Inhabited Information Spaces (Snowdon, Churchill & Frecon, eds.), 71-88, Springer, 2004.


A “devil’s advocate” chapter for book summarising and collecting work from the EU i3 (i-cubed) project on Inhabited Information Spaces. Uses the City project, especially the theory behind it, to critique the notion of ‘inhabiting’ information, and on virtual spaces as ‘spaces’.

Production of Pace as Collaborative Activity

Areti Galani and Matthew Chalmers

Proc. ACM CHI2004, pp. 1417-1420, Vienna, April 2004.


In this paper we investigate the concept of pace development and management among groups of people. We

explore and compare groups visiting museums, and groups virtually co-located in a mixed reality system for a museum. In considering pace, and how to design to support it, we have to consider more than the speed or location of information display. We have to also take into consideration the social formation of pace through features such as the visitors’ awareness of each other’s location and attention. By considering aspects of collaboratively produced pace such as presenting engagement and disengagement, we offer suggestions as to how social handling of pace might be better supported by technology.

Coupling and Heterogeneity in Ubiquitous Computing

Matthew Chalmers

Workshop paper for ACM CHI 2004 Workshop on Reflective HCI: Towards a Critical Technical Practice


As mobile computers’ processing and communications systems become more powerful, they can support interactive tools such as collaborative virtual environments. Similarly, mixed reality systems use some of the same technologies as ‘traditional’ collaborative virtual environments and virtual worlds, but they are increasingly coupled and interconnected with other media in a way that we usually associate with ubiquitous computing systems. The context of use of a system, and context as modelled within that system, may consist of a heterogeneous combination of both new and old media. This paper uses theoretical work on the interdependence and interpretation to discuss such coupling among heterogeneous media. Our long–term aim is better understanding of the design and use of such systems, and better design practice consistent with theory and studies of user experience.

A Pivot-Based Routine for Improved Parent-Finding in Hybrid MDS

Alistair Morrison and Matthew Chalmers

Draft of a paper in Information Visualization 3(2), 109-12, 2004.


An algorithm is presented for the visualisation of multidimensional abstract data, building on a hybrid model introduced at InfoVis 2002. The most computationally complex stage of the original model involved performing a nearest-neighbour search for every data item. The complexity of this phase has been reduced by treating all high-dimensional relationships as a set of discretised distances to a constant number of randomly selected items: pivots. In improving this computational bottleneck, the algorithmic complexity is reduced from O(N root(N)) to O(N^5/4 ). As well as documenting this improvement, the paper describes evaluation with a data set of 108000 14-dimensional items; a considerable increase on the size of data previously tested with such algorithms. Results illustrate that the reduction in complexity is reflected in signicantly improved run times and that no negative impact is made upon the quality of layout produced.

Textile Tools for Wearable Computing
Cliff Randell, Sharon Baurley, Matthew Chalmers and Henk Muller
Draft version of a paper to appear in Proc. 1st International Forum on Applied Wearable Computing (IFAWC 2004), Bremen, March 2004.
This paper describes the concept and application of textiles as tools, or components, for garments with wearable computing features. Evaluations of a selection of fabric swatches are presented and their suitability for use in the construction of smart textile systems. The electrical and electromagnetic properties of the textiles are investigated with a fabric recommended for use as a UHF antenna, and another for thermochromatic use. The possibilities for power and signal networking are also explored. An illustrative garment using these fabrics is outlined, and opportunities for further research identified.

Extending the Grid to Support Remote Medical Monitoring

Carl Barratt, Andrea Brogni, Matthew Chalmers et al.

Proceedings of the 2nd UK e-Science All Hands Meeting 2003

In this paper we show how we have used and adapted GT3 to support scalable and flexible remote medical monitoring applications on the Grid. We use two lightweight monitoring devices (a java phone and a wearable computer), which monitor blood glucose levels and ECG/SpO2 activity. We have connected those devices to the Grid by means of proxies, allowing those devices to be intermittently connected. The data from the devices is collected in a database on the Grid, and practitioners can obtain real time data or observe the patients historical data.

A Visual Workspace for Constructing Hybrid MDS Algorithms and Coordinating Multiple Views

Greg Ross and Matthew Chalmers

Information Visualization 2(4) December 2003, pp. 247-257.


Data can be distinguished according to volume, variable types and distribution, and each of these characteristics imposes constraints upon the choice of applicable algorithms for their visualisation. This has led to an abundance of often disparate algorithmic techniques. Previous work has shown that a hybrid algorithmic approach can be successful in addressing the impact of data volume on the feasibility of multidimensional scaling (MDS). This paper presents a system and framework in which a user can easily explore algorithms as well as their hybrid conjunctions and the data flowing through them. Visual programming and a novel algorithmic architecture let the user semi-automatically define data flows and the co-ordination of multiple views of algorithmic and visualisation components. We propose that our approach has two main benefits: significant improvements in run times of MDS algorithms can be achieved, and intermediate views of the data and the visualisation program structure can provide greater insight and control over the visualisation process.

Seamful Design and Ubicomp Infrastructure
Matthew Chalmers
Proc. Ubicomp 2003 Workshop At the Crossroads: The Interaction of HCI and Systems Issues in UbiComp

No PDF right now.
In this paper, we discuss taking a ‘seamful’ design approach to ubicomp systems. Some features that we designers usually categorise as infrastructure problems may, to users, be useful interactional features. Examples include the edges and gaps in 802.11 coverage, and the patterns of where one can and cannot get GPS positioning. Sometimes we cannot smooth over or hide these ‘seams’. Seamfulness is about taking account of these reminders of the finite and physical nature of digital media. Seamful design involves deliberately revealing seams to users, and taking advantage of features usually considered as negative or problematic. We outline the origins of the seamful approach, offer two examples of seamful design, and finally discuss potential approaches to ‘design for appropriation’ whereby user activity drives infrastructural adaptation.

Seamful Design: Showing the Seams in Wearable Computing
Matthew Chalmers, Ian MacColl and Marek Bell
Proc. IEE Eurowearable 2003, Birmingham, pp. 11-17, 2003.

In this paper, we question the assumption that seamless integration of computer system components is necessarily a design requirement for wearable computing and for ubiquitous computing. We explore Mark Weiser’s notions of seamlessness and ‘seamfulness’, and use them in discussing the design and use of wearable and ubicomp systems. The physical nature of the systems we design reveals itself in, for example, uncertainty in sensing, limited coverage of communications infrastructure, and the transformations needed to share data between heterogeneous tools and media. When such seams show through, as they inevitably do, users perceive and appropriate them for their own uses. However, we suggest that new opportunities for system design arise if we take fuller account of this process. We offer examples of seams and some suggestions for seamful design, drawing from the Equator interdisciplinary research collaboration’s work on ubiquitous computing and mixed reality systems. More particularly, we focus on our work in Equator’s City project, on a system that lets a visitor using a PDA in a museum exhibition or cultural institution co-visit with people using virtual reality and web versions of the same institution.

The Equator ‘City’ Project
Matthew Chalmers
Proc UK Ubiquitous Computing Network Workshop (UK-UbiNet),London, September 2003.
City deals with the way that ubicomp technologies’ integration with communications networks supports interaction between people in different locations and contexts where, by definition, they have different resources at hand. As they discuss and refer to contextual information, heterogeneity is inevitable: one person can use the non–digital resources of his or her location while others have only digital representations of that location. A case that is more easily handled is audio: each person will hear his or her own voice and sounds from other nearby sources differently to others, because of the digitisation and transmission of audio, but we have become relatively accustomed to handling this. A much more challenging heterogeneity is that of people’s position, orientation and gesture within rooms, buildings and streets. For example, a museum exhibition room may present much greater visual and tactile richness than the room’s digital representations, e.g. maps and VR models. The City project addresses this inevitable heterogeneity in urban spaces by coupling media together, tracking activity in each medium and representing it in others, and so letting participants interweave these media in their social interaction. The project is about interweaving the digital information about a city with its traditional structures such as its street configuration and signage, and treating activity in streets, maps, VRs and hypertext as peers.

Close at hand but far away: Shared mixed reality museum experiences for local and remote museum companions

Areti Galani and Matthew Chalmers

Proc. International Cultural Heritage Informatics Meeting (ICHIM), Paris, September 2003.


This paper discusses the use of a shared mixed reality system that supports co-visiting of
museum exhibitions for both on-site and on-line visitors. We briefly present the prototype
system that uses wireless communication technologies to combine handheld devices, virtual
environments and hypermedia to support a museum visit. We then discuss its use, focusing
on the ways that the system shaped the visiting experience with regard to collaboration in the
exploration of artefacts, mutual exchange of suggestions and creative conversations among
the visitors. We conclude with implications for both the design of mixed reality experiences
for museums and the character of the museum.

Improving Hybrid MDS with Pivot-Based Searching

Alistair Morrison and Matthew Chalmers

Draft version of a paper in Proc. IEEE Information Visualization (InfoVis) 2003, Seattle, pp. 85-90.


An algorithm is presented for the visualisation of multidimensional abstract data, building on a hybrid model introduced at InfoVis 2002. The most computationally complex stage of the original model involved performing a nearest neighbour search for every data item. The complexity of this phase has been reduced by treating all high-dimensional relationships as a set of discretised distances to a constant number of randomly selected pivot items. In improving this computational bottleneck, the complexity is reduced from O(N^3/2) to O(N^5/4). As well as documenting this improvement, the paper describes evaluation with a data set of 108000 14-dimensional items; a significant increase on the size of data previously tested. Results illustrate that the reduction in complexity is reflected in significantly improved run times and that no negative impact is made upon the quality of layout produced.

A Visual Workspace for Hybrid Multidimensional Scaling Algorithms
Greg Ross and Matthew Chalmers
Draft version of a paper in Proc. IEEE Information Visualization (InfoVis) 2003, Seattle, pp. 91-96.
In visualising multidimensional data, it is well known that different types of data require different types of algorithms to process them. Data sets might be distinguished according to volume, variable types and distribution, and each of these characteristics imposes constraints upon the choice of applicable algorithms for their visualisation. Previous work has shown that a hybrid algorithmic approach can be successful in addressing the impact of data volume on the feasibility of multidimensional scaling (MDS). This suggests that hybrid combinations of appropriate algorithms might also successfully address other characteristics of data. This paper presents a system and framework in which a user can easily explore hybrid algorithms and the data flowing through them. Visual programming and a novel algorithmic architecture let the user explicitly define data flows and the co-ordination of multiple views.

Tourism and Mobile Technology
Barry Brown and Matthew Chalmers
Proc. Euro. Conf. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (ECSCW 2003), Helsinki, pp. 335-354.
While tourism presents considerable potential for the use of new mobile technologies, we currently have little understanding of how tourists organise their activities or of the problems they face. This paper presents an ethnographic study of city tourists? practices that draws out a number of implications for designing tourist technology. We describe how tourists work together in groups, collaborate around maps and guidebooks, and both ‘pre-‘ and ‘post-visit’ places. Implications are drawn for three types of tourist technology: systems that explicitly support how tourists co- ordinate, electronic guidebooks and maps, and electronic tour guide applications. We discuss applications of these findings, including the Travelblog, which supports building travel-based web pages while on holiday.

Fast Multidimensional Scaling through Sampling, Springs and Interpolation
Information Visualization 2(1) March 2003, pp. 68-77.
The term ‘proximity data’ refers to data sets within which it is possible to assess the similarity of pairs of objects. Multidimensional scaling (MDS) is applied to such data and attempts to map high-dimensional objects onto low-dimensional space through the preservation of these similarity relationships. Standard MDS techniques have in the past suffered from high computational complexity and, as such, could not feasibly be applied to data sets over a few thousand objects in size. Through a novel hybrid approach based upon stochastic sampling, interpolation and spring models, we have designed an algorithm running in O(N rootN). Using Chalmers’ 1996 O(N^2) spring model as a benchmark for the evaluation of our technique, we compare layout quality and run times using data sets of synthetic and real data. Our algorithm executes significantly faster than Chalmers’ 1996 algorithm, whilst producing superior layouts. In reducing complexity and run time, we allow the visualisation of data sets of previously infeasible size. Our results indicate that our method is a solid foundation for interactive and visual exploration of data.

Lessons from the Lighthouse: Collaboration in a Shared Mixed Reality System
Brown,B. MacColl,I. Chalmers,M. Galani,A. Randell,C. Steed,A.
Proc. ACM CHI 2003, pp. 577-584.
Museums attract increasing numbers of online visitors along with their conventional physical visitors. This paper presents a study of a mixed reality system that allows web, virtual reality and physical visitors to share a museum visit together in real time. Our system allows visitors to share their location and orientation, communicate over a voice channel, and jointly navigate around a shared information space. Results from a study of 34 users of the system show that visiting with the system was highly interactive and retained many of the attractions of a traditional shared exhibition visit. Specifically, users could navigate together, collaborate around objects and discuss exhibits. These findings have implications for non-museum settings, in particular how location awareness is a powerful resource for collaboration, and how ‘hybrid objects’ can support collaboration at-a-distance.

Developing a mixed reality co-visiting experience for local and remote museum companions
Galani, A., M. Chalmers, B. Brown, I. MacColl, C. Randell, A. Steed
Proceedings of HCII2003, Crete, Greece. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, pp. 1143-1147.
This paper focuses on the first stage of the City project that concerns the design of a mixed reality system that may support co-visiting for local and remote museum visitors. We discuss the initial visitor studies, the prototype system and the user trials, with a focus on the role direct interaction and peripheral awareness have in the shaping of the visitor experience. The paper concludes with reflections on the use of the system and future plans.

Information Awareness and Representation
Draft/old version of a paper that appears in J. CSCW vol. 11, 2003, pp. 389-409, called Awareness, Representation and Interpretation.
Information access/CSCW theory paper. This paper discusses how information representation affects the degree and character of awareness afforded by computer systems: awareness of people and of information artifacts. We take a general look at collaborative filtering, and compare it with two other approaches to engendering awareness of useful information, information retrieval and software patterns. We discuss how each implicitly or explicitly involves collaboration, formalisation and subjectivity in its core representations. We use this comparison in discussing in more theoretical terms how representation and formalisation of information affects awareness, interpretation and use.

Seamful ubiquity: Beyond seamless integration
Ian MacColl, Matthew Chalmers, Yvonne Rogers and Hilary Smith
Proc. Ubicomp 2002 Workshop on Models and Concepts for Ubiquitous Computing, Gothenburg, September 2002.
In this paper we question the orthodoxy that ubiquitous computing systems should be seamless. We briefly explore some notions of seamlessness and suggest, by example, why alternative approaches that explore and exploit ‘seamfulness’ may be required. Rather than a fully-formed model, this is an initial step towards a new conceptual framework for understanding and designing interaction in ubiquitous computing. It is based on our development of a number of systems in the Equator Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration.

Hermeneutics and Representation
A short paper from a workshop on Information Systems held at Brunel a while back on Interpretive Approaches to Information Systems and Computing. Isn’t the field of Information Systems really odd, by the way? And, ultimately, insignificant or ineffectual?

A Hybrid Layout Algorithm for Sub-Quadratic Multidimensional Scaling
Alistair Morrison, Greg Ross and Matthew Chalmers
A modified version appeared in pp. 152-160, Proc. IEEE Information Visualisation 2002, Boston.
Many clustering and layout techniques have been used for structuring and visualising complex data. This paper is inspired by a number of such contemporary techniques and presents a novel hybrid approach based upon stochastic sampling, clustering and 2D layout. We use my 1996 O(N^2) spring model as a benchmark when evaluating our technique, comparing layout quality and run times using data sets of synthetic and real data. Our model runs in O(N root(N)) while producing superior quality representations in its low dimensional layout. Our results indicate that it is pretty good, but also that we can probably do better through a number of techniques… a few of which we outline near the end of the paper. You can find a version of the code for our FSMvis tool here or on Alistair Morrison’s page.

Shared Visiting in Equator City
Ian MacColl, Barry Brown, Steve Benford, Matthew Chalmers et al.
Proc. ACM Collaborative Virtual Environments (CVE 2002), Bonn, September 2002, 88-94.
In this paper we describe a system and infrastructure for sharing of visiting experiences across multiple media. The prototype system supports synchronous visiting by both physical and digital visitors, with digital access via either the World Wide Web or 3-dimensional graphics, and we are extending it to support asynchronous visiting in the form of annotations and recommendations.

Can You See Me?: Exploring co-visiting between physical and virtual visitors
Areti Galani & Matthew Chalmers
Proc. Museums and the Web 2002, Archives & Museum Informatics. Boston, April 2002. pp. 31-40.
We explore issues of social context and interaction between digital and physical museum visitors, using as a focus of discussion the City project, itself set within a larger interdisciplinary project called Equator. We look at collaborative environments that span different media, in particular handheld mobile devices, Web-based hypermedia and 3D virtual environments. We discuss two main strands in our research: the methods and results of two pilot visitor studies in two cultural institutions in Glasgow — the Lighthouse and the House for an Art Lover — and the development of our prototype system which establishes three-sided collaboration between physical, Web and virtual environment visitors. We then present preliminary results and issues arising from our on-going system development and user trials. We conclude with future plans for further system evaluation and deployment.

Place, Media and Activity
Proc. ECSCW 2001 ‘Work/Place’ Workshop, Bonn, September 2001.
A modified version of this paper appeared in ACM SIGCHI Bulletin, 22(3), December 2001, pp. 38-43.
The traditional notion of workplace is challenged by the convergence and intercommunication of technological devices, as are our approaches to design and theory. I’d like to argue that this is only problematic because the traditional view is rather reductionist and simplistic. Building on and extending the discussion of space and place of Harrison and Dourish, I take an approach based on post-structuralist semiology that takes fuller account of the interdependence of media in human activity than older HCI and CSCW. This stance is now being explored in the City project, which focuses on a treatment of the city that deliberately blurs the boundaries between physical and digital spaces.

Theory and Practice in the City Project
Proc. Conference for Content Integrated Research in Creative User Systems (CIRCUS 2001), Glasgow, September 2001
Summarises first stages of the City project: effectively this paper collects some of our earlier design documents and early prototype work combining mobile computers, hypermedia and virtual environments in one system, and allowing each person to interact with others even if they are using quite different media or combinations of media. This paper describes some of the theoretical issues and directions we are exploring, and our ongoing system development. One of our long term aims is consistency between theory and design practice as we work in multiple media, support synchronous and asynchronous communication, and balance subjective and objective interpretations.

Paths and Contextually Specific Recommendations
Proc. DELOS/NSF Workshop on Personalisation and Recommender Systems in Digital Libraries, Dublin, June 2001.
Discusses the use of paths as compared to most recommenders, in particular the way that path systems can offer contextually specific recommendations. Discusses how we plan to use paths and recommendations in the City project.

Comparing Information Access Approaches
J. American Society for Information Science (JASIS) 50th Anniversary Issue, 50(12), 1999, pp. 1108-1118.
Mostly a theory paper, discussing information retrieval, workflow, collaborative filtering and the path model as members of a more general family of approaches to information access. I use a framework drawn from philosophy and semiology to examine these four, looking at the phenomena included and excluded, the sharing of information amongst the community of use, interaction in terms of models of user activity and presentation of results, adaptation of system behaviour, and inter-relationships of representational components.

When Cookies Aren’t Enough: Tracking and Enriching Web Activity with Recer
Jan van Eyck Academy Design Symposium: Preferred Placement: The Hit Economy, Hyperlink Diplomacy and Web Epistemology , Amsterdam, October 1999. Published as Preferred Placement: Knowledge Politics on the Web, Jan van Eyck Academie Editions, 2000, pp. 99-102.
Mostly a system paper, describing the Recer recommender system and (very) briefly discussing the issues surrounding the value or economics of information.

Informatics, Architecture and Language
in Social Navigation in Information Space, A. Munro, K. Hook & D. Benyon (eds.), Springer, 1999.
Theory paper, mostly. Reviews historical work on the models of knowledge underlying informatics and mathematics, and discusses the underlying semiological nature of informatics, architecture and language. Presents an informational analogy with Hillier’s ‘Space Syntax’ theory of urban structure, the path model, and describes an early system built using it to index and recommend heterogeneous data.

Structuralist Informatics: Challenging Positivism in Information Systems
Proc. Conf. UK Academy for Information Systems, pp. 13-22, April 1999.
Theory paper. Examines the models of knowledge underlying informatics and mathematics, and discusses the effects these have on mainstream information systems design, as represented by information retrieval. This paper was later revised to form a section of ‘Informatics, Architecture and Language,’ above.

The Order of Things: Activity-Centred Information Access
M. Chalmers, K. Rodden & D. Brodbeck.
Proc. WWW7, Brisbane, April 1998, pp. 359-367.
`Path model’ paper, describing the first path system prototype for indexing, accessing and visualising heterogeneous data, and application to URLs.

Domesticating Bead: Adapting an Information Visualization System to a Financial Institution
D. Brodbeck, M. Chalmers, A. Lunzer & P. Cotture
Proc. IEEE Symposium on Information Visualization, Phoenix, Oct. 1997,  pp. 73-80.
Data visualisation system paper, on the 2D visualisation tool and on making layouts of any spreadsheet data.

Adding Imageability Features to Information Displays
M. Chalmers,  R. Ingram & C. Pfranger
Proc. ACM UIST 96, Seattle, Nov. 1996, pp. 33-39.
Data visualisation system paper, on the techniques I added to information landscapes in 3D, to help people ‘read’ the landscape: pop-ups, topics, clusters.

A Linear Iteration Time Layout Algorithm for Visualising High-Dimensional Data.
M. Chalmers
Proc. IEEE Visualization 96, San Francisco, Oct.-Nov. 1996, pp. 127-132.
Layout algorithm paper. Describes the spring model algorithm based on sampling and caches, which runs in O(N) iteration time.

Running Out of Space: Models of Information Navigation
P. Dourish and M. Chalmers
Ancillary Proc. BCS HCI’94, short paper, Glasgow, U.K.
Theory paper on different aspects of navigation in information spaces, dividing them into three: spatial, semantic and social navigation. Was this where the term ‘social navigation’ was coined?

Information Environments
Matthew Chalmers
In: Interacting with Virtual Environments, edited by Lindsay MacDonald, and John Vince (New York, USA, 1994), pp. 187-204.

Using A Landscape Metaphor to Represent a Corpus of Documents
M. Chalmers
Proc. European Conference on Spatial Information Theory, Elba, September 1993. Published as Spatial Information Theory, Springer Verlag LNCS 716, A. Frank & I. Campari (eds.), 1993, pp. 377-390.
Visualisation system design paper. Discusses the change from 3D scatterplots to flat ‘landscapes’ and why I thought this was a better design even though mathematically it is worse.

Bead: Explorations in Information Visualisation
M. Chalmers and P. Chitson
Proc. ACM SIGIR’92, Copenhagen, published as a special issue of ACM SIGIR Forum, pp. 330-337, June 1992.

Visualisation system paper. Describes my first system to visualise sets of documents. Presents an O(N logN) per iteration spring model algorithm.

Expectations and Perceptions of Ubiquitous Computing: Experiments with BirdDog, a Prototype Person Locator
O’Shea, T., Lamming, M., Chalmers, M., Graube, N., Wellner, P, Wiginton, G.
Proc. BCS/IEE Conference on Information Technology and People (ITaP), April 1991
Very early ubicomp paper, describing our work on the first active badge system in Xerox EuroPARC. BirdDog used the Khronika and RAVE infrastructure to show, on a video monitor near to the badge wearer, a list of people’s locations… filtered to only show the locations of people who gave the wearer permission to do so. It was also unusual in having a highly distributed architecture, using Cornell’s Isis multicast toolkit so that each badge wearer had a process with his or her name on it. He or she could kill that process, and the rest of the system would carry on just fine. (PDF here is for a draft version, scanned in by Pierre Wellner. Thanks, Pierre!)

An Object Oriented Style for the Computing Surface
Matthew Chalmers
OUG-11: Developing Transputer Applications, J. Wexler (ed.), pp. 150-158, 1989.
During the development of a ray tracer on a Meiko Computing Surface, problems with poor flexibility of configuration and slow software development were encountered. In order to overcome these difficulties, and in order to facilitate experimental programming on the Meiko, a system to support an object-oriented style for Occam programming was developed. The aim was to create a set of library modules that would allow user code to be quickly developed and integrated into existing programs, to support better debugging facilities than were currently available, and to allow program design to be based on a more flexible and dynamic model of concurrency than the process model. This system has been rewritten in order to introduce new features and to take advantage of the availability of C. The new system is described, with the emphasis on how experience with the system influenced its redesign, and on the details of newer elements such as the improved facilities for monitoring and debugging.