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From driving to trafficking: the developing view of the user in computer systems design

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Fabien Petitcolas.

Abstract: In this talk I shall introduce the role of the user in computer systems design, explore how understanding of who and what the user is has developed over the years with examples, and report on how current research at Microsoft is designing for forms of user behaviours that were not imagined just a few years ago.

Biography: Richard Harper is Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research in Cambridge and co-manages the Socio-Digital Systems group. Richard is concerned with how to design for ‘being human’ in an age when man-as-machine type metaphors, deriving from Turing and others, tend to dominate thinking in the area. Trained as a sociologist and with a strong passion for ordinary language philosophy, he has published over 100 papers and is about to publish his 10th book, Texture: Human expression in the age of communication overload, (MIT Press). Amongst his prior books is the IEEE award winning The Myth of the Paperless Office (MIT Press,2002), co-authored with Abi Sellen. His work is not only theoretical or sociological, but also includes the design of real and functioning systems, for work and for home settings, for mobile devices and for social networking sites. Numerous patents have derived from his work.Prior to joining Microsoft Research, Richard helped lead various technology innovation and knowledge transfer companies, while in 2000 he was appointed the UK’s first Professor of Socio-Digital Systems, at the University of Surrey, England. It was here he also set up the Digital World Research Centre. Prior to this he was a researcher at Xerox PARC ’s fifth lab, EuroPARC, in Cambridge. He completed his Phd at Manchester in 1989.

This talk is part of the Microsoft Research Summer School series.

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