Royal Academy of Engineering Industrial Secondment: supporting cutting-edge research and teaching
Nick Bryan-Kinns, Senior Lecturer in EECS, has been awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Industrial Secondment to work with Togeva to develop lightweight methods and tools to evaluate mobile and social user interfaces.
From April 2013 onwards he will be working for 8 months alongside Togeva’s mobile computing and user experience experts who are developing next generation mobile user experiences. The will enable him to continue his investigations into mobile collaboration, engagement and creativity.
Nick has identified that methods for evaluating user experience are often costly and time consuming, especially when they involve large numbers of end users, for example, in the social networking domain. This is particularly problematic for Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which cannot afford the financial or time commitments involved in extensive user experience testing. By working with Togeva, Nick will develop lightweight techniques for user experience evaluation in mobile and social interaction with SMEs: “Whilst Discount Usability techniques have been developed and widely accepted for evaluating desktop web based designs (Web 1.0), there are no lightweight methods and tools available to evaluate user interfaces in the rapidly expanding markets of mobile and social user interface design (Web 2.0) - for example, evaluating how people use new services such as Facebook and Twitter on their smartphones over extended periods of time. The secondment will give me the opportunity to work with SMEs to develop cutting edge, practical, and useful techniques for improving mobile social user interface design.”
Importantly, Nick intends to use his research to improve the employability of graduates in the Creative Industries: “The secondment will provide me with opportunities to strengthen Queen Mary’s collaborative work with SMEs in the Creative Industries, and will help to improve the practice and academic skills of students on placements with SMEs, for example, through our Media and Arts Technology undergraduate and PhD programmes. Working with Togeva on commercial projects will help inform redevelopment of my teaching materials to make them more relevant to today’s students.”
On working with Togeva, Nick says, “At Queen Mary we work with many Tech City SMEs on research and commercial collaborations. Togeva provided the best match for the work in this secondment as their award-winning work is targeted at shared mobile experiences, and their ground breaking entrepreneurial work is backed up by significant research. This combination of app development, entrepreneurship, and research focus provides the ideal environment in which to explore design and evaluation of new forms of social interaction, and to inform more contemporary teaching practice at Queen Mary.”