INIT Lab undergrad alum Julia Woodward leads our most recent CHI publication! #laterpub #latertweet

Former INIT Lab undergraduate research assistant Julia Woodward is first-author on a recent paper on her dissertation work that appeared at the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’2022), held in person in New Orleans in May of 2022. For this paper, Julia brought together several threads from her previous research projects and collaborations, including working with me on natural user interfaces for children and working with Dr. Jason Yip from the University of Washington on participatory design for/with children at UW KidsTeam, as well as her more recent work with her PhD advisor Dr. Jaime Ruiz on augmented reality, to understand children’s needs, expectations, and abilities with respect to the design of AR interfaces for them. We all collaborated on a series of 4 KidsTeam design sessions, which were held remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, and used the children’s design ideas and suggestions to help us understand their mental models of AR technology.

The paper abstract is here:

Children are being presented with augmented reality (AR) in different contexts, such as education and gaming. However, little is known about how children conceptualize AR, especially AR headsets. Prior work has shown that children’s interaction behaviors and expectations of technological devices can be quite different from adults’. It is important to understand children’s mental models of AR headsets to design more effective experiences for them. To elicit children’s perceptions, we conducted four participatory design sessions with ten children on designing content for imaginary AR headsets. We found that children expect AR systems to be highly intelligent and to recognize and virtually transform surroundings to create immersive environments. Also, children are in favor of using these devices for difficult tasks but prefer to work on their own for easy tasks. Our work contributes new understanding on how children comprehend AR headsets and provides recommendations for designing future headsets for children.

The camera-ready PDF of this paper will be available soon on our Publications page. A snapshot of this research was also published on the Sesame Workshop Joan Ganz Cooney Center blog in June. Since graduating from the INIT Lab in 2017, Julia has been a PhD student researcher here at UF in the Ruiz HCI Lab, advised by Dr. Jaime Ruiz. She recently defended her dissertation and will soon join the Department of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Southern Florida (USF) as a tenure-track assistant professor in August of 2022! We wish Julia all the best!