About Me | Research | Projects | Past Projects | Publications | Teaching | Links | Contact Me

An old home page for Andy Dearden

 Photo of Andy
Hi, I'm Andy

When I wrote this page, I was Reader in e-SocialAction.

I am now Professor of Interactive Systems Design in the Cultural, Communication and Computing Research Institute (C3RI) at Sheffield Hallam University

You can look there for a more up to date page

For information on my recent publications, look at the Sheffield Hallam Research Archive (shura):

This page is mostly about my research, but if you are a student or you are interested in my Teaching, details are at the bottom of this page.

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My research interests

Interaction Design and International Development

What can interaction design contribute to global development? What is the proper role of technology designers and researchers based in 'developed' countries in supporting development efforts. What kinds of technology can contribute to people's efforts to improve their lives and extend their capabilities. I was a co-investigator for the network 'Bridging the Global Digital Divide' http://www.bgdd.org (though I prefer the idea of 'Bridging some Global Divides Digitally'). I am leading a special interest group of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) on Interaction Design for International Development. Our next meeting will be at Interact 2009, where we are examining Ethics, Roles & Relationships in Interaction Design in Developing Regions

Some previous projects

Technology and social action

How is technology applied by individuals and organisations in civil society to campaign and effect social change? How can we design technologies to support such action? How do debates in civil society impact on designing practice? The 'Technology and Social Action' project aims to tackle these questions and find ways in which research can make a positive impact on social development.

Representations and design models in the development of interactive systems

Designing all but the simplest computer based system involves multiple actors working together, exchanging ideas and making decisions. To co-ordinate their work to create systems that are useful to users, the users needs, the users work and the proposed design may have to be presented or re-presented multiple times. We use many artefacts to support representation in the design process - videos of users working, paper-prototypes, requirements documents, software specifications, lists of priorities and decision matrices. We develop frameworks to support re-presentation (Rich Pictures, the House of Quality, Z, UML, GUI-builders, ....) But what makes a framework a 'good' way of re-presenting to support design

I am particularly interested in:

See projects below for more information

Design of interactive systems involving priority and decision

Many interactive systems aim to support decision making and involve computation of the relative merits, relative importance, relative similarity, ranking or ordering of possible conclusions. In some cases, the system makes
some decision about the 'most useful' or 'best' thing to do based on the knowledge encoded into the system by its developers (e.g. some Expert Systems). In other cases the system aims to elicit the user's judgements (e.g. multi-criteria decision support systems). Interactive Case Memories involve a mixture of these two.
How can we design interactive systems that involve priorities and decisions that take advantage of the intelligence of the user, and
to give the user control of their work?

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Past Projects and Papers

Rural e-Services:

Rural e-Services: Participatory co-design of sustainable software and business systems in rural co-operatives. This project has been working with a co-operative of farmers in Madhya Pradesh, India to design a new 'Agricultural Information Flow System'. The (socio-technical) system involves local service providers creating multimedia messages about farmers' issues on mobile camera phones and exchanging these with the co-operative's agricultural advisor. The system not only provides for timely advice for the farmer, but contributes to strengthening links within the co-operative. For more information see: http://linux.odi.org.uk/eservblog

Technology and social action

How is technology applied by individuals and organisations in civil society to campaign and effect social change? How can we design technologies to support such action? How do debates in civil society impact on designing practice? The 'Technology and Social Action' project, and its follow on project Practical Design for Social Action tackles these questions and is finding new ways in which research can make a positive impact on social development.

Designing for Civil Society

What kinds of design methods are best suited to the organisations of civil society. These organisations differ from commercial companies in a number of important ways: the importance of volunteers; issues of conflict; different value systems; shortages of resources. How do these differences impact on design methods.

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Using patterns for participatory design

This work is in collaboration with Janet Finlay at Leeds Metropolitan University, and Barbara McManus at the University of Central Lancashire. We are investigating how HCI Patterns can be used to support participatory approaches to interactive systems design.

paperCHASTE: Supporting design conversations by integrating formal and informal representations

This is an EPSRC funded research project to investigate ways of combining informal design representations such as paper prototypes and storyboards with executable, formal modelling techniques. The main work on the project is being conducted by Amir Naghsh.

Decision support for product selection in e-commerce

This is a PhD project being investigated by Chui M. Lo (Esther). We are exploring different ways to support users in making informed decisions between products when making purchases on the web.

Digital Jewellery

This project is another PhD studentship (supported by the Digital Technology Research Centre at SHU). Jayne Wallace is investigating relationships between modern European jewellery and wearable digital technologies.

The use of knowledge based systems in customer support help desks (June - December 1991)

Explores models of business organisation, and considered KBS technologies that may be appropriate
for interactive systems in a particular environment.

Engineering Interactive Case Memories (DPhil, Jan 1991 - Sept 1994)

Work in, and from, my thesis explores  trade-offs between different languages
for formal (design) models of interactive systems and how to choose the level of abstraction
in developing designmodels of interactive systems.

Concepts of Utility in the design of safety critical interactive systems  (Sept 1994 - June 1997)

This project explored how concepts of risk and the impact of an error
can be measured and used in designing the interfaces for safety critical interactive systems.

Allocation of function (1997 - 1998)

This project (with BAE SYSTEMS) investigated techniques to support the early
definition of automation requirements for large-scale human-machine systems such
as aircraft, ships, sattelite control systems. The outputs include a technique to support
allocation of function decision making, and a representational framework to describe
automation designs at a very high level of abstraction.

Interactive case memories and knowledge mediation (October 1996 - October 1999)

This was work with Michael Harrison and
Tony Griffiths looking into ways of using interactive case memories to provide
knowledge mediation between business planners and engineering staff in
the electricity distribution industry.

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Here is a full(ish) list of my publications up to 2008/9


I teach on the following courses (for 2002 - 2003)

CM3301 Case Studies in Software Design [with Pete Collingwood ]

CM2406 Human Computer Interaction [ with Chris Roast ]

Interaction Design (MSc Multimedia) [ with Chris Roast ]

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There are a few more HCI and decision related links.

Contact Me

You can find me at:


Communication & Computing Research Centre
Sheffield Hallam University
Furnival Building
153 Arundel Street
S1 2RU
Tel: 0114 225 6878
Fax: 0114 225 3161
Email: A.M.Dearden@shu.ac.uk


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