All posts filed under “research

MobileHCI 2016 – My Highlights

MobileHCI is a conference near and dear to my heart and one  I’ve been involved in for almost 10 years. I’ve been publishing and attending the conference yearly since 2007. I’ve also helped organize different tracks over the years — I gave an invited tutorial in 2012 in San Francisco and co-organized the interactive tutorials track in 2014 in Toronto. This year’s conference took place in beautiful Florence, Italy. And I was one of the conference program chairs alongside Prof Antonio Kruger from the German Research Center for AI (DFKI); Prof Jonna Hakkila from the Industrial Design at Faculty of Art and Design, University of Lapland; and Dr Marcos Serrano, from University of Toulouse.

Cheesy smiley photo overlooking the Ponte Vecchio taken by the lovely @aquigley

Cheesy smiley photo overlooking the Ponte Vecchio taken by the lovely @aquigley

I also took part in an invited panel on the Future of Mobile Interaction, Computing and Life. My fellow panelists included Daniel Ashbrook, Associate Professor in Rochester Institute of Technology; Anind Dey, Director of the HCI Institute in Carnegie Mellon University (CMU); Kori Inkpen, Principal Research at Microsoft; Lucia Terrenghi, UX Researcher and Designer at Google; and Kaisa Väänänen, Professor in the Human-Centered Technology Group at Tampere University of Technology. It was an amazing conference and while there is just too much to mention, what follow’s are just a few highlights from this year’s conference.

#1 All about Emoji!

There were 3 emoji related research papers which shed light on how and why people use emoji in their communications. Super interesting and fun! We’re looking into exploring similar patterns of emoji usage in business communication at Intercom so watch this space!

#2 The Future of Communication

Adrian's keynote on Everysense Everywhere Human Communication

Adrian’s keynote on Everysense Everywhere Human Communication

Adrian David Cheok gave a super opening keynote entitled Everysense Everywhere Human Communication. He talked about new types of communication environments which use all the senses, including touch, taste, and smell, to increase support for multi-person multi-modal interaction and remote presence.  Some of his quirky demo’s included:

  • A device that attaches to your mobile phone and enables you to feel (and give) a kiss remotely
  • A device that attaches to your mobile phone and emits a smell/scent instead of audio sounds to act as an alternative alarm clock. He demoed an actual use case — Oscar mayer, the bacon company in the US, have an alarm called called “wake up and smell the bacon”!! 
  • A device that enables taste signals to be transmitted virtually. This prototype “digital taste machine” was featured on BBC One’s Tomorrow’s Food and enables people to taste certain things like sweetness, sourness, etc.

While much of what Adrian presented is pretty out there, it opens up a bunch of questions about the future of personal and digital communication :)

#3 Handling Notifications

Demos, demos, demos!! Photo courtesy of @aquigley

Demos, demos, demos!! Photo courtesy of @aquigley

Notification management was a key theme in many talks. That is, understanding if/how the growing number of mobile notifications impact on people, how people attend to notifications, the cost of interrupting the user and methods for helping them manage inbound notifications they receive on their mobile phones and smartwatches. Research included:

In fact there was an entire workshop dedicated to the topic of notifications and attention management.


Excited to be joining Intercom as Product Analytics Manager

After 2.5 years in Yahoo Labs, I’ve decided to leave the world of industrial research labs and  join an exciting, mature Irish startup called Intercom as Senior Product Analytics Manager. While I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience and journey in Yahoo and have learned a great deal from my colleagues there, it’s time for a new challenge and the next chapter.

At Intercom my task is to help build up and lead a product analytics team who will work closely with product, design and research teams to generate insights and metrics that will inform the design, development and measurement of Intercom products. The role starts here in San Francisco but is based in Dublin so in a few months time my family and I will be moving back home to Ireland after almost 8 long years away!

Overall I’m super excited about this next venture. In particular the opportunity to work at such an exciting company who cares deeply about user experience, the challenge of leading a product analytics team and shaping a culture around data, the potential to have such a positive impact on Intercom’s products and of course the opportunity to return home to Ireland.

Intercom’s mission is to Make Internet Business Personal. And they are achieving this through an integrated platform of products that enable businesses to acquire, engage, learn from and support their customers.

We’re hiring!!! So if you’re interested in data science, quantitative research and analytics with a passion and interest in product, then please get in touch! Here’s to a very exciting 2016 :-)

Honorable Mention Award @ MobileHCI 2015: The Challenges of Mobile Phone Usage Data

A collaborative paper with Denzil Ferreira of University of Oulu, Nikola Banovic of Carnegie Mellon University and Kent Lyons a past colleague from Yahoo, in which we explore the challenges of mobile phone usage data through an analysis of three diverse smartphone application usage datasets, has been given an honorable mention award for the upcoming Mobile HCI 2015 conference in Denmark.

The goal of this work was to broaden our understanding of smartphone usage by investigating if differences in mobile device usage occurred not only across our three datasets, but also in relation to prior work. We provide an extensive review of prior work on related mobile data sets and mobile studies, present details of our comparative analysis focusing on top apps and micro-usage behaviors but most importantly we discuss the challenges and issues of conducting mobile research of this nature and reflect on caveats related to the replicability and generalizability of such work.

We’re delighted with the award / nomination!

Denzil worked on a beautiful visual table in our review of related work (see below). And you can read a pre-print of the paper here.

literature-final

Frappé: Paper on arXiv & Context-Aware App Usage Dataset Release

During my last few months in Telefonica Research in 2013 I worked with wonderful colleagues and RecSys gurus Linas Baltrunas and Alexandros Karatzoglou along with scientific director Nuria Oliver on a context-aware mobile app recommendation service called Frappé. Frappé was specifically designed to support novel app discovery experiences. In order to assess it’s effectiveness we deployed Frappé in-the-wild on Google Play and ran a smaller-scale user study with 33 users designed to evaluate user perceptions of using and engaging with an app recommendation service.

Yes, it’s been a while since working on this specific project, however, I have 2 very exciting announcements to share about Frappé.

  • Firstly, a paper describing the Frappé application, our large-scale Google Play deployment and insights from our smaller scale user study has been published on arXiv. In particular we describe actionable lessons learned related to designing, deploying and evaluating mobile context-aware recommender systems in-the-wild with real users. Details and PDF are available here.
  • Secondly, we have released the anonymized Frappé data set!! It can be downloaded from Linas’s website HERE. The dataset contains 96,202 records by 957 users for 4,082 apps. We’re very excited to see what the RecSys and Mobile HCI communities end up doing with this rich dataset, in particular in terms of pushing the envelop in the context-aware recommender systems domain.

If you end up using the data, we ask that you please cite the following paper:

@Article{frappe15,
title={Frappe: Understanding the Usage and Perception of Mobile App Recommendations In-The-Wild},
author = {Linas Baltrunas, Karen Church, Alexandros Karatzoglou, Nuria Oliver},
date={2015},
urldate={2015-05-12},
eprinttype={arxiv},
eprint={arXiv:1505.03014}
}

Happy researching folks!!!

TVX 2015 Paper on Quantifying Mobile Device Use While Watching TV Accepted!

 
We recently found out that a paper focused on understanding more about how and why people use their mobile devices at home and while watching TV has been accepted for publication at TvX 2015 :-) In Winter 2014, my Yahoo Labs colleagues Christian Holz, Frank Bentley, Mitesh Patel and I conducted a mixed-method study conducted involving 7 participants in 7 diverse households. We set out to understand more about mobile device use in and around the home and in particular, in conjunction with watching TV.

In order to understand this use we equipped a primary participants mobile phone and tablet with Android logging software which tracked all the apps the participant used and when. We tracked indoor location using 4 BLE beacons around participants’ homes, primarily in the living area, kitchen, and bedroom. Finally, we placed a dedicated phone that ran sound-printing software by participants’ main television sets to detect and log which TV programs our participants watched. Read More

New Focus, New Role – Leading Native & Mobile Ad Analytics Group

As of this quarter in Yahoo Labs, I’m leading a small team of Research Scientists in a new group focused on Native & Mobile Ad Analytics. Native Advertising has become a hot topic in the Web and advertising spaces in recent years. Given it involves creating and placing engaging, relevant content that matches the underlying intent and context of the end-user, there are lots and lots of open research questions in this space. In particular when we think about native advertising in the mobile world!

The ultimate goal of this new group is to conduct research that will enrich our understanding of native and mobile ad experiences and will improve these experiences. We’ll be focusing on large-scale mobile user behavior modeling; understanding and mining mobile-specific signals like mobile device and app use to help enhance mobile ad engagement and conversion; as well as methods and novel studies exploring offline conversion in mobile, i.e. if I show a person an engaging, relevant ad on their device, do they ever act upon that ad in the physical world, e.g. visiting a store, eating at a restaurant, etc. To this end we’ll be analyzing very, very large datasets across a range of Yahoo properties as well as conducting large-scale in-the-wild mobile experiments / studies. Some of the open research questions / challenges in this domain include: Read More