School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

Ms Lida Theodorou


Research Assistant

Room Number: Engineering, Eng G2


Design for Human Interaction (Postgraduate)

Developments in information technology have radically altered the nature of human communication. Spatial and temporal constraints on communication have been weakened or removed and new structures and forms of communication have developed. For some technologies, such as video conferencing, text messaging and online communities, the importance of understanding their effect on human communication is clear. However, even the success of 'individualistic' technologies, such as spreadsheets, can be shown to depend partly on their impact on patterns of interaction between people. Conversely, some technologies, such as videophones, that are specifically designed to enhance communication can sometimes make it worse. Currently, there is no accepted explanation of how technologies alter, and are altered by, the patterns and processes of human communication. Such an explanation is necessary for effective design of new technologies. This research led module explores these issues by introducing psychological theories of the nature of human communication and socio-historical perspectives on the development and impact of communication technologies. These models are applied to the analysis of new communications technologies and the effects of those technologies on communication patterns between individuals, groups and societies. A variety of different technologies are introduced ranging from systems for the support of tightly-coupled synchronous interactions through to large-scale shared workspaces for the support of extended collaborations. Detailed studies of the effects of different technologies on task performance, communication processes and user satisfaction are reviewed. Particular attention is paid to the notion of communicative success and to the development of metrics that can be used in assessing it. Frameworks for analysing the communicative properties of different media will be introduced as well as approaches to the analysis of communication in groups and organisations.

Design for Human Interaction (Undergraduate)

Technology can support new forms of human communication. Embodied robotics, virtual avatars and social software applications (e.g. Twitter, Facebook and Flikr) create new forms of human interaction and new social economies ('crowdsourcing', 'prosumers', 'GPL licensing'). This research-led course introduces psychological theories of human communication that help us to understand how technology can enrich and transform human interaction. It also introduces the tools and techniques necessary for a principled approach to the design and evaluation of such technology.

Graphical User Interfaces (Undergraduate)

Computers are tools that people interact with and through for work and pleasure. Nowadays computers are ubiquitous and are fundamental to all sorts of devices such as washing machines, cars, mobile phones, airplanes, televisions, and musical instruments. However, it is still very difficult to design user interfaces which are simple, intuitive, and easy to use; you only have to look at the number of help books (eg the proliferation of books with titles such as 'the idiots guide to') to realise that designers often simply fail to make interfaces usable. This module introduces you to basic concepts of psychology and communication, which inform the way in which interfaces should be designed. The centre of the module is the hands-on coursework undertaken in small teams where you will design, prototype, and evaluate interactive user interfaces for a specific set of user requirements. The module comprises lectures, problem classes, and lab sessions.

Professional and Research Practice (Undergraduate)

This module provides you with the opportunity to examine the role of engineering in society and the expectations of society for a professional engineer. During the module, you should develop and achieve a level of written and spoken communication expected of a professional engineer. You will also construct a personal development plan (PDP) and an on-going employability skills folder. The assessment of the module is 100 per cent coursework, broken down as follows: oral presentation: 25 per cent; in-class essay: 25 per cent; PDP folder: 25 per cent; employability folder: 25 per cent. Not open to Associate Students or students from other departments.