Research

Research Projects

A Data-Driven Look at Student Attrition in Higher Education

Student attrition in academic institutions accounts for a lost investment on multiple fronts, with students spending both time and money on their failed educational pursuits and institutions investing scarce resources towards classes and services for the students. This study sought to determine...

A User-Centered Approach in Creating Metadata Schema for Video Games and Interactive Media

Video games and interactive media are increasingly becoming an important part of our culture and everyday life, and subsequently, of archival and digital library collections. However, current descriptive practices are not sufficiently robust to support searching, browsing, and other access...

Ability-Based Design

We are developing principles, methods, models, and technologies to exploit the full range of human abilities to achieve accessible design. A design-oriented expansion of the "ability-based user interfaces" concept pioneered by Krzysztof Gajos et al. (2008).

Augmented Reality: A Technology and Policy Primer

Augmented Reality (“AR”) is the enhancement of human perception through overlaying technologies that can expand, annotate and even record the user's moment-to-moment experience. Though still in its relative infancy, augmented reality promises systems that can aid people with mobility or other...

Automatically Detecting the Quality of Collaboration on an Interactive Tabletop in a Classroom Setting

Software that can adapt to the needs of learners is an oft-cited goal of researchers and designers of educational technology. Collaborative learning environments represent a particular challenge in personalization as they need to take into account multiple learners and the interactions between...

Babel: A Platform for Scholarly Article Recommendation

Researchers developing new recommendation algorithms for scholarly articles face two substantial hurdles: datasets are very difficult to acquire and there is no standardized mechanism for evaluation of these algorithms. To address these issues we have created Babel, a research platform providing...

Badges and Badging Systems for Lifelong Learning

With iSchool PhD student Sean Fullerton, Katie is examining how students and educators engage with and experience badges, looking in particular at motivation levels, learning pathways, the availability of novice to expert trajectories, and any implementation challenges faced. They are also...

Beating the Bubble: Using Kinematic Triggering in the Bubble Lens for Acquiring Small, Dense Targets

The Bubble Lens is a new target acquisition technique that remedies the limitations of the Bubble Cursor to increase the speed and accuracy of acquiring small, dense targets – precisely those targets for which the Bubble Cursor degenerates to a point cursor. When targets are large and sparse, the...

Beyond Information Determinism to Information Orders: A New Framework for Policy

The mythology of information determinism – that access to the “right” information will precipitate desired actions – is common in policy arenas and develop. We identify information determinism in three programs in international development, education, and disaster response, describing their...

Co-therapy Tools for Peer Psychological Support

Online and mobile tools that support mental health have the potential to make the benefits of psychotherapies more widely available and affordable than traditional mental health care. Unfortunately, most current tools are not designed for peers to help each other, or for peers to benefit from...

Connected Learning at the Library: Developing Librarians' Capacity to Support Today's Digital Youth

Project ConnectedLib aims to build public librarians’ capacity to incorporate digital media into their work with youth to promote connections across their learning contexts. Over the next three years, we will develop, implement, and evaluate customizable professional development resources that...

Culture and Classification: An Introduction to Thinking about Ethical Issues of Adopting Global Classification Standards to Local Environments

This project looks at ethical issues that arise from adopting standardized classification schemes to local environments. Research affirms mutual influences between culture and classification schemes, however, there are various conceptions of culture. Before diving deeper into discussions on...

Data Curation Research @ the iSchool: Data Sharing and Meaningful Reuse

Data curation is concerned with the management, enhancement, and preservation of data for current and future purposes. This poster presents findings from three projects that address different aspects of curating data for meaningful reuse. The first project, Site-Base Data Curation (SBDC) has...

Design for Use and Acceptance of Tracking Tools in Healthcare

Tracking tools aid communication and management of symptoms, but are rarely used in clinical care. What influences patient and clinician use and acceptance of tracking tools? In this poster, we explore a conceptual model, advantages, implications for both patients and clinicians, and suggestions...

Digital Badges for Learning: Investigating the Experiences and Perspectives of Diverse Stakeholders

Our research looks at the potential of digital badges as micro-credentials to show what individuals know and are able to do. Specifically, we report on two ongoing complementary studies. The first is a content analysis of more than 500 Google Group discussion threads in which more than 200...

Digital Badges for STEM Education

This poster presents techniques of Participatory Design (PD) sessions for the implementation of a digital badge system to promote the skills and achievements of students who participate in an out-of-school science education program. The documentation of the digital badge design sessions displays...

Digital Information Literacy for Mobile-First Users

The next billion people who come online are mostly expected to have their first digital experience through a mobile device or smartphone. How does this experience shape their understanding of the Internet, their role in consuming and generating information, and thus their overall online...

Disciplinary Content and Technology: Training Librarians as Collaborators in Humanities Scholarship

Digital humanities scholarship requires collaboration between disciplinary scholars and librarians. Training the next generation of library and information professionals to be adept both in technology and content areas is vital for these collaborations to be productive and sustainable. A hands-on...

Distributed Mentoring in Online Fan Fiction Communities

The millions of fan fiction stories found on archives like FanFiction.net illustrate the popularity of fan fiction among today’s youth. On these websites informal learning is taking place in novel ways. To understand this learning, we conducted an in-depth ethnographic investigation of online fan...

Diversity Panels: An exploratory method for including diverse voices in policy development for emerging technologies

The process of developing information technology policies is intricate, involving not only complex, rapidly evolving technologies but also diverse stakeholders. All too often, initial policy development occurs without explicit consideration of the views of and impacts on non-mainstream and...

Edifice Complex: Conceptualizing Classification in 1890 and Now

Schemes change over time. Work In subject ontogeny and scheme versioning has begun to uncover the myriad ways this change occurs. The next phase of research questions examine the nature of the classification process, and by extension the nature of classification schemes. Are they built like...

Envisioning Across Generations: A Multi-lifespan Information System for International Justice in Rwanda

With this research we investigate how to account for multi-generational perspectives in the design of information systems, particularly in support of long term peace-building and international justice. We do our work in the context of the Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal testbed, a historically...

Ethnic Minority Immigrant Youth as Information Mediaries

InfoMe is an innovative research program that explores and facilitates how ethnic minority youth help members of their social networks, especially elders, with everyday life situations through information and technology.

Experiences of Recently Hired Neurodiverse Software Engineers and their Managers

We are researching the experiences of autistic engineers recently hired by Microsoft. In partnership with an organization that specializes in job placement for autistic people, Microsoft adapted their recruiting, hiring, and onboarding practices. We are researching how well these adaptations...

Fotohistorias: Participatory Photography and the Experience of Migration

Fotohistorias is a Participatory Photography project that documents the life stories of migrants. As an example of what de Souza Santos calls Sociology of Emergence, this project offers a counter-narrative that demonstrates the power of their determination, re-valorizes their human dignity and...

Gaming Steam: Analyzing user-generated tags in the Steam video game database

Starting in the early 2000s, a number of websites in a variety of domains started to offer social tagging features enabling users to describe and annotate different information objects or resources using free-form tags. On example is Steam, which offers over 4,500 computer games serving over 100...

Giving First Responders an Information Edge: The Urgent Need for Improving Situational Awareness in Disasters

This study addresses the problems of information scarcity and information distortion in the first stage of government and community disaster response. Due to a lack of actionable information, incomplete situational awareness following a disaster results in a distorted common operating picture and...

Impact Survey: Advancing Libraries Through Community Insight

The Impact Survey is an online survey tool designed specifically for public libraries that want to better understand their communities and how people use their public technology resources and services. A project of the U.S. Impact Study, the tool helps public libraries by supporting smarter...

Informal Online Communication During Natural Hazard Events

Informal exchange of information occurs continually throughout daily life. These pre-existing communication patterns are vital during non-routine circumstances such as emergencies and disasters. In recent years, informal communication channels have been transformed by the widespread adoption of...

KidsTeam UW

KidsTeam UW is an intergenerational design team composed of children (ages 7 – 11) and adult researchers. Our research examines the methods, techniques, and designs of co-designing new technologies FOR children, WITH children. Using a method of participatory design called Cooperative Inquiry, we...

Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to our Digital Lives

From email to smart phones, and from social media to Google searches, digital technologies have transformed the way we learn, entertain ourselves, socialize, and work. Despite their usefulness, these technologies have often led to information overload, stress, and distraction. In recent years many...

Mining for Meaning: Capturing social regulation in an interactive tabletop learning environment

Software that can adapt to the needs of learners is an oft-cited goal of researchers and designers of educational technology. Collaborative learning environments represent a particular challenge in personalization as they need to take into account multiple learners and the interactions between...

Mobile Accessibility for People with Disabilities

We are working to make devices more accessible for people who are blind, have low vision, or have motor impairments, and to discover how we can use mobile devices to make the world more accessible.

Mobile/Social Debugging Games for Computing Education (Gidget)

If learning to program is hard, learning to debug is even harder. This research project is investigating how to teach debugging and computing skills in personalized, social, online learning settings. We are creating an interactive website that presents a series of debugging puzzles to learners,...

Moodlight: Personal and Social Implications of Ambient Display of Biosensor Data

MoodLight is an interactive ambient lighting system that responds to biosensor input related to an individual’s current level of arousal. Changes in levels of arousal correspond to fluctuations in the color of light provided by the system, altering the immediate environment in ways intimately...

Motivating Design for Social Acceptance

Our research investigating characteristics of assistive technology use from the perspectives of people with and without disabilities motivates the core principles defining Design for Social Acceptance. This approach aims to create accessible technologies considered socially acceptable by users. We...

Predicting Poverty and Wealth from Mobile Phone Metadata

Accurate and timely estimates of population characteristics are a critical input to social and economic research and policy. In industrialized economies, novel sources of data are enabling new approaches to demographic profiling, but in developing countries, fewer sources of “big data” exist....

Pretty as a pixel: Issues and challenges in developing a controlled vocabulary for video game visual styles

Despite the increase in interest in video games across commercial and academic areas, organizational systems for classifying them remain inadequate, particularly in describing the visual styles of video games. Because video games are by and large a visual medium, the ability to describe their...

Public Libraries Have the Edge: Edge assessment results from a national sample

Edge, a voluntary, aspirational self-assessment tool, enables public libraries to evaluate the quality of their public technology services. Edge coordinated a national, representative sample of libraries and compared the results of the assessments across peer groups of different sizes of libraries....

Redrawing the “Color Line”: Examining Racial Segregation in Associative Networks in Social Media

Online social spaces such as Twitter are becoming increasingly salient social contexts for associative tie formation; however, the racial composition of associative networks within these spaces has yet to be examined. In this paper, we use Twitter data to examine racial segregation patterns in...

Relational Dynamics of Participation: Refugee Education, Informal Learning, and Social Networking Sites

This paper describes findings from an analysis of the social network formed through interactions in a transnational Facebook group. Community members in this group are located in the Dadaab refugee camps, Kenya, and internationally. The research sought to explore patterns of communication and the...

Rumors at the Speed of Light? Modeling the Rate of Rumor Transmission during Crisis

Social media have become an established feature of the dynamic information space that emerges during crisis events. Both emergency responders and the public use these platforms to search for, disseminate, challenge, and make sense of information during crises. In these situations, rumors also...

Savings in Conflict: Mobile Phone-Based Defined-Contribution Plans

We study the extent to which a mobile phone-based defined contribution savings account can improve the financial capabilities and welfare outcomes of salaried employees at a large Afghan firm. Our research design uses a randomized controlled trial to understand whether a defined-contribution...

Science Everywhere: A Seamless Scientizing Ecosystem for Raising Scientifically-Minded Children

Children in the United States, especially those in lower socioeconomic status neighborhoods, face systematic challenges in connecting science learning across school, home, and informal experiences. This disconnect has detrimental consequences in promoting science literacy and science-based careers...

Security & Privacy Threat Discovery Cards

The purpose of the Security and Privacy Threat Discovery Cards is to facilitate the exploration of potential security threats for a particular system: If your system is compromised, what human assets could be impacted? Who might attack your system, and why? What resources might the adversary have?...

Smart Touch

Typically, input on touch screens is reduced from a large contact area to a single point. In the process, rich information is discarded in favor of a more simplistic method of interaction. The generic touch points disregard personal perceptions of where users expect touch points to occur, a problem...

Smart Touch: Improving the Accessibility of Touch Screens for Users with Motor Impairments

We introduce Smart Touch, a novel template-matching technique for touch input that maps any number of arbitrary contact-areas to a user’s intended target location. Smart Touch allows users to touch targets in whichever ways are most comfortable and natural for them, and Smart Touch will resolve...

Social Media Expressions of High-Risk Alcohol Use in Young Adult Peer Networks

In this project, we use social media data as an indicator of alcohol use and drinking in young adults. While many have claimed that digital traces are predictive of offline behavior, we are able to directly explore these claims using a valuable dataset of survey responses of behavior from 215...

Social Media: Learning from the Boston Marathon Bombing

The Boston Marathon Bombing on April 15, 2013, is a fresh reminder that societies can be shocked not only by natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes but also by acts of terrorism. The bombing engaged the public in multiple ways, and social media platforms (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook,...

The Eigenfactor Project

For hundreds of years, scientists have been laying down trails of citations. These trails form a vast network, where papers are nodes and citations are links. This network can tell us a lot about the formation of new ideas, fields, and technology. We can identify salient papers and authors. We...

The Price is Right? Statistical evaluation of a crowd-sourced market information system in Liberia

Many critical policy decisions depend upon reliable and up-to-date information on market prices. Such data are used to construct consumer price indices, measure inflation, detect food insecurity, and influence macroeconomic policy. In developing countries, where many of these problems are most...

Theoretical and Engineering Problems of Conceptual Provenance in Long-Lived Classification Schemes

With the evolving interest in provenance, scheme evolution, and other allied areas of study in the semantic web, we can compare that work with the work of subject ontogeny to identify theoretical and engineering problems that surface when we model systems for long-lived persistent retrieval.

Understanding Failure in Technology Policy

Despite well-intentioned efforts, tech policy often comes up short. The resulting uncertainties and missteps can leave individuals and society exposed to harm and technology developers without guidance or support. In the UW Tech Policy Lab, our current work involves surfacing specific cases of...

Understanding the role of migrants in labor markets through mobile phone data

A central question in the study of migration concerns the role that migrants play in bringing an economy towards a more efficient use of its resources. This project aims to substantially improve our state of knowledge about migration through the use of novel sources of large-scale, behavioral data.

Understanding users of commercial music services through personas: Design implications

Most of the literature on music users’ needs, habits, and interactions with music information retrieval (MIR) systems focuses on particular demographics or testing the usability of specific interfaces/systems. In order to improve our understanding of how users’ personalities and characteristics...

Understanding, Sensing, and Accomodating Situational Impairments

We are working to understand the effects of situational impairments and devising new sensors and interfaces to help users overcome these impairments.

Violence and Precautionary Savings: Mobile Phone-Based Salaries

Private firms in conflict-affected countries face insecurity, corruption, poor infrastructure, and weak property rights. Disbursing employee wages is a challenge as cash-based payment systems are vulnerable to indirect costs in the form of leakage and theft. We implement a randomized field...

Visualizing Scholarly Influence Over Time

We explore new visual and quantitative methods for evaluating the impact of research, using a framework for generating dynamic narrative visualizations of scholars' careers. An animated diagram shows the citation network accumulated around the researcher over the course of the career, with nodes...

Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal

In response to the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the United Nations Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (UN-ICTR). The Security Council's mandate instructed the court to prosecute those accused of responsibility for the genocide and other serious violations of...