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Interested in doing a PhD in Wearable Computing 4 Health?

You will join the ongoing Carnegie Mellon Portugal funded project. You will work closely with me, two other PhD students as well as the project partners, Prof. Jodi Forlizzi from Carnegie Mellon University, and Prof. Marc Hassenzahl, from Folkwang University of Arts in Germany. You have:

  • First class (8.5/10) Masters degree in Computer Science, or closely related field (exceptions may occur given a strong motivation letter)
  • Background in Human-Computer Interaction and/or Ubiquitous Computing
  • Strong oral and written English communication skills, people skills, the ability to work independently as well as a team member and taking the initiative and being proactive
  • Experience (or interest in learning) in conducting user studies of innovative prototypes, and/or designing novel solutions
You will enroll in one of our three PhD programs: Netsys, Digital Media or Computer Science.

At this moment the following funding opportunities exist: Interested students should contact me for more information.

CHI'13 Paper - Supporting Diary Studies with Lifelogging

As HCI shifts “to the wild”, in-situ methods such as Diary Methods and the Experience Sampling Method are gaining momentum. However, researchers have acknowledged the intrusiveness and lack of realism in these methods and have proposed solutions, notably through lightweight and rich media capture. In this paper we explore the concept of lifelogging as an alternative solution to these two challenges. We describe Footprint Tracker, a tool that allows the review of lifelogs with the aim to support recall and reflection over daily activities and experiences. In a field trial, we study how four different types of cues, namely visual, location, temporal and social context, trigger memories of recent events and associated emotions. We conclude with a number of implications for the design of lifelogging systems that support recall and reflection upon recent events as well as ones lying further in our past.

Lifelogging tools for patients suffering episodic memory impairment

Ruben Gouveia did just great. He was a awarded a national PhD scholarship to work on lifelogging tools for patients of episodic memory impairment over the next three years. Congrats Ruben!

Human memory is a powerful tool, allowing us to remember past incidents, such as where we left our keys, or where we parked our car. It can also lead us to forget things that we have to do, or specific details of past events. This is emphasized in people that suffer from clinically diagnosed memory disorders such as Alzheimer disease, which impair episodic memories, drawing them away from their natural ability of recalling past experiences. Lifelogging systems have proven to support memory recollection of significant experiences, leading EMI patients to regain a sense of normality in their lives. With this project, we intend to extend existing knowledge through studying how Footprint Tracker, a life logging system that captures visual, location and social context logs can impact the life of patients suffering from episodic memory impairment.

The book is out!

About a year ago I was invited to submit my PhD work to Springer. The book is finally out, it contains an iterated version of the work I did during my PhD studies along with two great contributions from my advisor, Jean-Bernard Martens (foreword), and my colleague and mentor, Marc Hassenzahl (closing note).

Reconstructing experiences with iScale

It took almost three years since the original submission in Arxiv, but it was worth it. In my humble opinion, the work from my PhD project that makes me most proud. Let’s see if I just took the wrong path. None would be possible without Jean-Bernard and Marc, but also without the professionalism of the editor, Kasper Hornbaek, and the reviewers. 

Abstract: We present iScale, a survey tool for the retrospective elicitation of longitudinal user experience data. iScale aims to minimize retrospection bias and employs graphing to impose a process during the reconstruction of one’s experiences. Two versions, the constructive and the value-account iScale, were motivated by two distinct theories on how people reconstruct emotional experiences from memory. These two versions were tested in two separate studies. Study 1 aimed at providing qualitative insight into the use of iScale and compared its performance to that of free-hand graphing. Study 2 compared the two versions of iScale to free recall, a control condition that does not impose structure on the reconstruction process. Overall, iScale resulted in an increase in the amount, the richness, and the test–retest consistency of recalled information as compared to free recall. These results provide support for the viability of retrospective techniques as a cost-effective alternative to longitudinal studies.


Does locality make a difference? Assessing the effectiveness of location-aware narratives

With the increasing sophistication of mobile computing, a growing interest has been paid to locative media that aim at providing immersive experiences. Location aware narratives are a particular kind of locative media that aim at ‘‘telling stories that unfold in real space’’. This paper presents a study that aimed at assessing an underlying hypothesis of location-aware narratives: that the coupling between the physical space and the narrative will result in increased levels of immersion in the narrative. Forty-five individuals experienced a location-aware video narrative in three locations: (a) the original location that contains physical cues from the narrative world, (b) a different location that yet portrays a similar atmosphere, and (c) a location that contains neither physical cues nor a similar atmosphere. Sig- nificant differences were found in users’ experiences with the narrative in terms of immersion in the story and mental imagery, but not with regard to feelings of presence, emotional involvement or the memorability of story elements. We reflect on these findings and the implications for the design of location-aware narratives and highlight questions for further research.

Memory & experience – TwinTide talk

Slides from my talk at the Twintide meeting. Abstract attached below.


Users’ experiences are increasingly becoming central to design activity. Designers and engineers strive for experiential design goals such as enhancing feelings of connectedness across family members, and consequently use experiential metrics in the evaluation of products and services. But can we measure experience in a valid and reliable manner? Research in Psychology suggests that experiences can only be measured at the time of their occurrence. Once they have ended, experiential information does not exist; it can only be reconstructed from contextual cues found in episodic memory. In this talk I will highlight the relation between memory and experience and its implications for the evaluation of products and services, in particular mobile and pervasive ones. I will describe techniques aimed for measuring experiences in a valid and reliable way such as the Experience Sampling Method (ESM) and the Day Reconstruction Method (DRM). I will take the view that memories of experiences are sometimes more interesting and relevant that the actual experiences, and I will illustrate a new methodological approach I call technology assisted reconstruction as explicated through my PhD work on the measurement of user experience over time and iScale, a tool that uses sketching to assist users in reconstructing their experiences with a product and thus uses human memory as a source of longitudinal HCI data, as well as more recent work on using visual and location data to support reconstruction processes.

Wii do abs! student exhibition

Do you also struggle with abs? Come this Thursday May 31st, from 14h00 to 16h00, at the main hall of the university building to see what students of Interaction Design have to propose, using just a Wii mote and a display. Have a look at their communication videos below:

Visit to Newcastle’s Culture Lab

I just came back from Newcastle and the Culture Lab. I was impressed with the intedisciplinarity of the work, the strong emphasis on prototyping, how people and expertise could mobilize across projects, and how the space really afforded that. I also gave a talk (attached slides below) and had some cool discussions with Marianna and Daniela on possible future joint work. Many thanks to Marianna Obrist and Pete Wright for the invitation.

Apply to our Professional Masters in HCI

Deadline: Jan 31

Research assistant positions (full-time & part-time) – apply by Jan 6

Deadline for application: 6 January 2012

We have one full-time and one part-time research assistant position to work with our team on mobile applications that motivate use of public transit services. Excellent candidates are welcome to discuss their own proposals. Contracts may extend up to Dec 2012. Assistance will be provided to applicants that wish to submit an application to FCT PhD scholarships or the CMU | Portugal dual degree PhD scholarships.

Feel free to contact Prof. Evangelos Karapanos ( for further details. For details about how to apply:

3 research assistant positions (Design, Psychology, Computer Science) at the Logica Service Design Lab and Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute

Deadline for applications: August 1st

We are hiring 3 researchers (with BSc or MSc degrees in one of these areas: design, psychology or computer science) to form an inter-disciplinary team. The candidates are required to collaborate with team members and staff effectively in several small projects. Candidates are also expected to initiate long-term projects along the research lines described below. Read more »

3-month research internship on the design and deployment of mobile bus scheduling services

Deadline for applications: 29 July 2011

More information on the call here.

More information on the Tiramisu platform here.

Madeira… for business and pleasure

Madeira is an attractive location for business with some good international companies being around. Here you may find some introductory information on what Madeira has to offer. Here you can have a look on what Madeira looks like.

Interact 2011

Three papers accepted to Interact 2011. Congratulations Mary, Olga and Jayant!

Barreto, M., Karapanos, E., Nunes, N. Social Translucence as a theoretical framework for sustainable HCI. In proceedings of INTERACT 2011.

Motivating sustainable behaviors is increasingly becoming an important topic in the HCI community. While a substantial body of work has focused on the role of peer-pressure through social networks, we argue that the community has largely overlooked the importance of strong social ties and specifically those of family members. Read more »

TU/e doctoral awards 2011

My PhD thesis was nominated for the TU/e Doctoral award 2011. The award was won by Wiebe Wagemans (fascinating work on the magnetic properties of organic materials), but it was a nice excuse for a short trip to Eindhoven. Here is the proof that the trip wasn’t all about beer drinking. Ah, not to forget, you can also have a look on my thesis below.

Read more »

Long Term UX in Tampere

I recently came back from Tampere and the wonderfully organized Long Term User Experience seminar. I keep being amazed with the dynamics of the HCI community of a country of just above 5 million people. Interesting people, interesting discussions. I tried to motivate the importance of Long-term UX and talked about our work on iScale (both presentations below). I further joined the DELUX project meeting. I was positively surprised from the close collaboration with industrial partners, and the diversity and emphasis on quality that these companies have. Warm thanks to Sari Kujala and the DELUX team for inviting me to this great event.


iScale is a survey tool for the retrospective elicitation of longitudinal user experience data. iScale employs sketching in imposing a process in the reconstruction of one’s experiences with the aim to minimize retrospection bias. Two versions, the Constructive and the Value-Account iScale, were motivated by two distinct theories on how people reconstruct emotional experiences from memory. The constructive iScale tool imposes a chronological order in the reconstruction of one’s experiences. It assumes that chronological reconstruction results in recalling more contextual details surrounding the experienced events and that the felt emotion is constructed on the basis of the recalled contextual details. The Value-Account iScale tool explicitly distinguishes the elicitation of the two kinds of information: value-charged (e.g. emotional) and contextual details. It assumes that value-charged information can be recalled without recalling concrete contextual details of an experienced event due to the existence of a specific memory structure that stores the frequency and intensity of one’s responses to stimuli.

In recent experiments it was shown that iScale results in an increase in the amount, the richness, and the test-retest reliability of recalled information. These results provide support for the viability of retrospective techniques as a cost effective alternative to longitudinal studies.

See a video demonstration

Relevant papers:

Karapanos, E., Martens, J.-B., Hassenzahl, M. (2009) Reconstructing Experiences through Sketching. CoRR abs/0912.5343.

Karapanos, E., Martens, J.-B., Hassenzahl, M. (2010) On the Retrospective Assessment of Users’ Experiences Over Time: Memory or Actuality?. CHI’10 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems. Atlanta, ACM Press.



User experience evaluation tools

Evaluation should be integral to any design activity. Evaluation in innovative product development practices however is highly complicated. It often needs to be applied to immature prototypes, while at the same time users’ responses may greatly vary across different individuals and situations. This creates highly complex data which traditional statistical practices often fail to analyze. This section describes a number of tools for the elicitation and analysis of rich subjective data about product experience. Read more »

Research Internship – Software Development for mobile pervasive games

Closing date: 15 Jan 2011

We are looking for an enthusiastic computer science student or recently graduated student to work on this project for 3 months in a paid internship. Duties will involve software development for pervasive games using mobile phones. The work will be performed in the context of the SINAIS project, a collaboration of Madeira-ITI, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Porto and Portuguese Catholic University. Read more »

Dagstuhl seminar “Demarcating User Experience”

I very much enjoyed the recent seminar on Demarcating User Experience that was organized in Dagstuhl, Germany, perhaps the most appropriate place I have encountered so far for these kinds of gatherings. Find below the three points I attempted to raise. Result? Find the UX White paper at where the organizers are also doing an excellent job in creating a pool of UX methods. Read more »

Measuring mobile experiences – or, the memory of them?

I will be giving a talk at SIGCHI Finland – Helsinki (1 Sept 2010) and Nokia Research Center – Tampere (2 Sept 2010) on the links between memory and experience.

User experience is increasingly becoming central to design activity. Designers and engineers strive for experiential design goals, such as enhancing feelings of connectedness across family members, and consequently use experiential metrics in the evaluation of products and services. But can we measure experience in a valid and reliable manner? Read more »

PhD defense

I was awarded my PhD (cum laude) on 23 March 2010. During the past four years I was supervised by Jean-Bernard Martens in the frame of the Soft Reliability project, where we worked in close contact with Philips and Océ . I further had the chance to work with and draw inspiration from people that I admire such as Marc Hassenzahl, John Zimmerman and Jodi Forlizzi. Warm thanks to everyone.

mini-symposium “Diversity in User Experience”

You are warmly invited to the mini-symposium on Diversity in User Experience, preceding my PhD defense on the 23rd of March at 1pm, at zaal 1, Zwarte Doos, Eindhoven University of Technology. Seating is limited, priority will be given to the ones who have registered. More information and registration at:

The riddle of experience vs. memory

I strongly recommend Daniel Kahneman’s TED talk on The riddle of experience vs. memory. See also our work on iScale, the long paper, and a brief summary.