Student Projects

This page lists student projects that are available to students. These can be completed as part of a summer experience, a final year undergraduate project, or an MSc project.

To find out more about how the lab operates student projects, see Working in the UX'd Lab.

Accessible Escape Rooms

Escape Rooms are a recent phenomenon across the world, whereby a group of people are “locked” in a room for 60 minutes. Inside the room, there are clues to help them escape. Typically, there is a series of logic-based puzzles, and these are increasingly moving towards using technology in these puzzles. Given the wide range of visitors to Escape Rooms, care must be taken to ensure that the physical and tangible interface is designed to allow for a wider range of abilities. For example, a child and an elderly grandparent may use the room, as well as visitors with disabilities such as physical impairments. The purpose of this project is to investigate different options for technology-based puzzles, turn these into escape room artefacts and then evaluate your room in terms of usability and engagement of users.

The student will be expected to:

  • Conduct a literature review into accessibility, escape rooms and related gaming literature
  • Design and develop escape room artefacts that are accessible to users with different disabilities
  • Conduct an evaluation of the generated artefact(s)

This project is very open in terms of what can be created. For example, you may decide to focus on one particular artefact or puzzle, or you might focus on one particular disability in a case study method. In addition, you may consider a more abstract view by looking into the role of the game-master within the room.

Skills: Research Methods, Qualitative Analysis, Design and Prototyping

Related Papers:

Augmented Reality: Viewing Complex Protein Structures in Augmented Reality

The Jalview Desktop (http://www.jalview.org/About) is an application that is designed for use by students and scientists in order to explore complex proteins or RNA sequence families to understand how their sequence relates to structure and function. Currently, a 3D model can be seen within a desktop window. The aim of this project is to create an Augmented Reality application that can be used to display these protein models within an education or public science engagement setting.

In this project the student will be expected to create a method of viewing complex protien structures within a browser based AR application. It should be possible to highlight different parts of the protein structure and then navigate around the protein in order to understand structural elements

The student will be expected to:

  • Carry out a literature review into the usage of AR within education settings and come up with a resultant research question
  • Design an experiment (and any associated software artefacts) that will be capable of answering the previously created research question
  • Obtain ethical approval for the experiment to take place
  • Carry out the experiment in a controlled lab setting, gathering all data required to answer the reserach question
  • Analyse the collected data and create a discussion of the subsequent results

Skills: Software Development, Mobile App Development, Design and Prototyping

Related Papers:

Emoji Accessibilty

Emoji are graphical symbols that appear in many aspects of our lives. Worldwide, around 36 million people are blind and 217 million have a moderate to severe visual impairment. This portion of the population may use and encounter emoji, and many experience issues that lead to social exclusion. These issues are related to, e.g. searching for appropriate emoji, cultural use of emoji, platform differences. The aim of this project is to design and evaluate novel solutions to one or more of these issues.

The student will be expected to:

  • Conduct a literature review into accessibility and emoji usage
  • Create different solutions to a known problem (from your literature review), e.g. searching for emoji without visual representations
  • Create prototypes of your different solutions
  • Conduct an evaluation that compares your different solutions

In terms of the technology being used, this will be focussed the front-end development of high-fidelity prototypes.

Skills: Design and Prototyping,Research Methods, Qualitative Analysis

Related Papers:

Emotion in Subtitling

Approximately 10% of the television audience use subtitles (captions) to support their viewing experience. Subtitles enable viewers to participate in an experience that is often taken for granted by the general audience. Subtitles are generally displayed at the bottom of the video media being presented and little research has examined alternatives to this. The purpose of this project is to investigate an alternative presentation of subtitled video content – Changing subtitle font in order to convey emotion. This project is largely research based and consists of the following steps:

  • Conduct a literature review into models of emotion and how emotion is currently presented to viewers within subtitled systems
  • Create a research study that allows users to match a predetermined set of fonts into different emotive categories
  • Obtain ethics for this research study and then run it within a controlled lab setting
  • Create a tool that allows an emotive category to be attached to a piece of text within a media broadcast and subsequent fonts loaded into this
  • Test out this final system

In terms of the front and backend web programming languages that will be used, this can be decided upon by the student but web based delivery would be preferred. The end result must be cross-platform compatible, not require any additional plug-ins (i.e. Java) and should be easy for a non-computer expert to use. Data collected in the system should be easily exported into a .csv file (or similar).

Skills:

Related Papers:

Fitts' Law and Head Pointing in VR

Fitts's law is a predictive model of human movement primarily used in human–computer interaction and ergonomics. This scientific law predicts that the time required to rapidly move to a target area is a function of the ratio between the distance to the target and the width of the target. Fitts's law is used to model the act of pointing, either by physically touching an object with a hand or finger, or virtually, by pointing to an object on a computer monitor using a pointing device. The aim of this project is to explore Fitts's Law within the contenxt of Virtual Reality.

In this project the student will be expected to:

  • Carry out a literature review that justifies why this research area deserves to be examined and develop a research question(s) that can be answered
  • Design an experiment (and any associated software artefacts) that will be capable of answering the previously created research question
  • Obtain ethical approval for the experiment to take place
  • Carry out the experiment in a controlled lab setting, gathering all data required to answer the reserach question
  • Analyse the collected data and create a discussion of the subsequent results

Skills: Research Methods, Quantitative Analysis, VR Software Development

Related Papers:

Gamification of Colour Contrast Perception

As mobile devices are becoming more popular, there is an increasing need to ensure that the content provided on screen is perceivable by the user. This includes ensuring that colour is of a sufficient contrast. However, existing colour contrast guidelines are out-dated and do not consider the context of use. To address this we developed ‘BrightLights’: an android application that collects information about on-screen colour contrast. A pilot project has shown that the application is viable for research purposes. This project is to develop a new Android application with a new game mechanic. This can then be compared to the existing BrightLights application in a quantitative experiment.

The student will be expected to:

  • Conduct a literature review into colour perception and situational visual impairements (SVIs)
  • Generate software engineering documentation for a new Android application based on existing designs and prototype
  • Develop an Android application based on your specification
  • Complete a user evaluation of your application

For this project you should have a reasonable background in development. You will be required to create a native Android application that can access various sensors in the phone, as well as a data storage facility in the cloud. A project extension could be to analyse the data generated, with the potential to get involved in writing research papers.

Skills: Research Methods, Qualitative Analysis, Quantitative Analysis, Design and Prototyping

Related Papers:

Gestures on the Move

Design is not constrained to physical objects and increasingly the digital can be a source of inspiration for new modalities and techniques that can be used to enhance our perceptions of the world. We interact with technology (e.g. smartphones) on a daily basis whilst traversing the physical environment, but little work has been carried out to examine how the physical world that we live in and the digital world that we inhabit interact with each other. This project will explore the use of established and novel gesture patterns while on the move, using established quantitative methodologies. This can be explored in terms of physical exploration of the environment or the accessibility profiles involved.

The student will be expected to:

  • Conduct a literature review into mobile HCI
  • Design a quantitative research study that allows users to complete gesture-based tasks while walking
  • Develop a app-based research environment that allows you to complete the research study
  • Conduct an evaluation that compares gesture-based input

Skills: Research Methods, Quantitative Analysis, Design and Prototyping

Related Papers:

Graphic Novel Subtitles

Approximately 10% of the television audience use subtitles (captions) to support their viewing experience. Subtitles enable viewers to participate in an experience that is often taken for granted by the general audience. Subtitles are generally displayed at the bottom of the video media being presented and little research has examined alternatives to this. The purpose of this project is to investigate an alternative presentation of subtitled video content – Graphic Novel Subtitles.

In this project, you will be expected to create a system capable of creating a graphic novel comic from a video file and accompanying subtitle file. Initially you will develop this system to automatically select appropriate image frames that correspond to the subtitle text being displayed. This may then be advanced by allowing a user to move the position of this text, place it in speech bubbles, and change the font size/colour. You will then be expected to test this system with participants analyse the results from this experiment.

In terms of the front and backend web programming languages that will be used, this can be decided upon by the student. The end result, however, must be cross-browser compatible, not require any additional plug-ins (i.e. Java) and should be easy for a non-computer expert to use. Data collected in the system should be easily exported into a .csv file (or similar).

Skills: There is the potential for students to develop skills relating to research methods and accessibility within this project. Additionally, software and design skills will be developed based on the direction that the student chooses to take when developing the application.

Related Papers:

Interaction and Movement for Augmented Reality

Design is not constrained to physical objects and increasingly the digital can be a source of inspiration for new modalities and techniques that can be used to enhance our perceptions of the world. We interact with technology (e.g. smartphones) on a daily basis whilst traversing the physical environment, but little work has been carried out to examine how the physical world that we live in and the digital world that we inhabit interact with each other. This project will explore how people make use of Augmented Reality (AR) systems while on the move, using qualitative methodologies. This can be explored in terms of physical exploration of the environment or the accessibility profiles involved.

The student will be expected to:

  • Conduct a literature review into Augmented Reality
  • Design a qualitative research study that allows users to cmake use of AR while walking
  • Develop a AR-based research environment that allows you to complete the research study
  • Conduct a user-evaluation

Skills: Research Methods, Qualitative Analysis, Design and Prototyping

Related Papers:

Online Text Entry Comparison System

A common challenge in human-computer interaction is to develop new text entry methods that will allow users to type text more efficiently (faster, fewer errors, less frustration). This project is to develop an online system that will allow researchers to compare different text entry methods in an empirical research study to evaluate new methods. This should allow a researcher to import different keyboards and input methods that can be directly compared using the system. The development of additional text entry methods is a possible extension to the project.

The student will be expected to:

  • Conduct a literature review into text entry
  • Design a quantitative research study that allows users to compare at least two text entry methods
  • Develop a web-based research environment for the research study
  • Conduct a user-evaluation to test the system

It is intended that this web-based system will be used in teaching and so it is important that it can work consistently and robustly. In tems of the technologies used for both front-end and back-end development, this is open for discussion and can be based on your own preferences.

Skills: Research Methods, Quantitative Analysis, Software Development

Qualitative Coding: Real-time Analysis for Multiple Users

Qualitative research methods such as thematic analysis and grounded theory typically required the use of computer applications to review and analyse complex sources of information (e.g. interview transcripts, observation notes). However, these software packages are typically used for one individual and not within a group setting. The aim of this project is to develop a software package that can allow multiple people to analyse qualitative data at one time.

The student will be expected to:

  • Conduct a literature review into current methods of qualitative research methods that are carried out within HCI
  • Carry out an evaluation of expert qualitative coders working together on a shared dataset
  • Develop a system that would allow for increased collaberation between users for qualitative coding
  • Conduct a user-evaluation to test the system

It is intended that this web-based system will be used in teaching and research and so it is important that it can work consistently and robustly. In tems of the technologies used for both front-end and back-end development, this is open for discussion and can be based on your own preferences.

Skills: Research Methods, Qualitative Analysis, Quantitative Analysis, Design and Prototyping

UX Methods Library

When conducting any type of UX work it is important to select the best method of data gathering with this being determined by the project phase, materials present, and number of participants (along with many other factors). The purpose of this project it to create a web-based system that can be used to suggest which UX method is best suited for a situation by collecting a brief amount of information from a user. The system will then present a list of suitable methods, along with relevant documentation and materials so that the method can be carried out. The student will be required to:

  • Conduct research relating to a list of UX methods to determine their suitability for different tasks
  • Create a web platform that hosts this research
  • Create a way for these research methods to be sorted based on user preference
  • Test this system with their peers to determine its overall usability.

Skills: Research Methods, Qualitative Analysis, Quantitative Analysis, Design and Prototyping

Related Papers: