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.


Lightening Talks from Intercom’s 1st Analytics Meetup

In April 2016 we held our first analytics meetup in Intercom, San Francisco and had a fantastic lineup of speakers from Twitch, Wish, Keen IO, Google and Bayes Impact, along with panelists from Social Capital, Mode, Zenefits, ClearSlide and Luminant Data!

We recorded all lightening talks from the evening and recently published those recording online. If you’re interested in anything related to analytics I bet there’s something in this list for you! Happy watching!

Our 1st Analytics Meetup in Intercom!

Excited to announce that we’re organizing our first analytics meetup in Intercom, SF on Wednesday 13th April 2016. We have a fantastic line up of leading experts in analytics, data science and quantitative research to speak about ways in which they, alongside their teams, have built, grown, and pivoted a data culture in their companies to drive product impact. These include:

I’ll be MC’ing a panel on Building a world-class analytics team and setting them up for success. The list of panelists include:

If you’re in San Francisco next week that please join us. Tickets are $5 dollar donation and all proceeds go to Bayes Impact, a non-profit that does data science for good 🙂

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 🙂

Crowdsourcing Women in Tech Events in the Bay Area

Over the past few weeks I’ve been working on a pet project in which I aimed to:

  • Compile a diverse list of women in tech events and programs in the Bay Area &
  • Make the resulting list public for all the benefit.

My plan is to avail of these events and programs over the coming months so I can begin to connect with, learn from and exchange experiences with more women working in tech in the valley. I opted to crowdsource the list and managed to get input from almost 60 participants resulting in a list of over 80 programs and events. I wrote up a medium article about the project and resulting list which is linked below!

Crowdsourcing Women In Tech Programs & Events in the Bay Area

2016 Conference Org – Mobile HCI & RecSys

2016 looks set to be a busy year for conference organization with 2 super exciting announcements to make.

(1) I’m serving as paper co-chair for ACM Mobile HCI, a conference very near and dear to my heart. My fellow papers chairs are Jonna Hakkila from University of Lapland (Finland), Antonio Kruger from DFKI (Germany) and Marcos Serrano from University of Toulouse (France). Please check out the Mobile HCI 2016 website and get thinking about your paper submissions! Deadlines for paper submissions are 12th February 2016.

(2) I’m also serving as industry track co-chair for ACM RecSys 2016 alongside. My fellow chairs are Paul Lamere from Spotify and Hrishi Aradhye from Google. Our aim is to devise a super interesting industry line up so if (a) you work in industry and (b) your work involves “recommending things to people” why not consider submitting a proposal to the track?