Seminars at the Faculty of Informatics

Designing and evaluating persuasive technologies for and in the real world

The Faculty of Informatics is pleased to announce a seminar given by Evangelos Karapanos

DATE: Thursday, November 27th, 2014
PLACE: USI Lugano Campus, room SI-006, Informatics building (Via G. Buffi 13)
TIME: 09.30

We are currently witnessing a major shift in the role interactive technologies have in our lives: rather than being tools whose goal is merely to support the activities we perform, they become constant partners that influence our behaviors and transform the ways we live our lives. This new landscape of behavior change technologies brings new challenges and questions for interaction design. In this talk I will introduce three contexts of behavior change that my students and I have worked on over the past couple of years - sustainability, health & wellness, and social inclusion in school communities - and I will touch upon two challenges that we have attempted to focus on.

The first is a question of design: how to sustain users' engagement with such technologies over the long term? Our research has shown that users quickly loose interest in such kinds of technologies. For instance, users' interactions with an energy meter reduced considerably after the first four weeks of use, and out of the 200 users that installed a physical activity tracker we deployed on Google Play, less than 10% kept using it for over four weeks. Similarly, a recent survey has found that over a third of owners of activity trackers have discarded them within six months. Through the presentation of a number of prototypes, I will reflect on three design approaches we have taken to sustain users' engagement with behavior change technologies: pushing the responsibility to families, supporting checking habits, and supporting action.

The second is a question of evaluation: how do we inquire into the experiences these technologies enable and the impact they have on individuals' behaviors, in real life? I will motivate some of the challenges this endeavor entails, that are rooted in the intangibility of behavior change and its longitudinal, sporadic and reversible nature. I will talk about the role of in situ evaluation methods such as the Experience Sampling and Day Reconstruction Methods. Through a number of prototypes I will then reflect on a new paradigm I call Technology Assisted Reconstruction that attempts to leverage the role of smartphones' sensor data in cueing the recall of users' daily experiences and behaviors, with the scope of enabling designers to measure the impact of behavior change technologies in real life in a reliable, yet unobtrusive way.

Evangelos Karapanos is an Assistant Professor at Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute where he leads the Experience Design Lab and acts as the head of the Scientific Council. He holds a PhD with honors from Eindhoven University of Technology and has expertise in user experience and longitudinal studies in HCI, most recently with a focus on behavior change support systems. His book on "Modeling users' experiences with interactive technologies" was published by Springer in 2012. His work has been published among others at CHI, TOCHI and IJHCS. He has been a visiting researcher at Philips Research, Philips Consumer Lifestyle and the HCI Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

HOST: Dr. Monica Landoni