Visitors at the HTO group and IKEA Sightseeing

We have had Leysan Nurgalieva, Marta Larusdottir and Shweta Premadanan visiting the HTO group the last weeks. You find some blog posts about their work here and here.

Apart from excellent work with data collection such as interviews, we also did some planning of studies and funding applications. And we also had time for some social activities. One night we went out for dinner together with the HTO group, and we really had a nice evening. I still remember the mailing about James Bond afterwards that was hilarious.

We also did some brief sightseeing to get the cultural experience of Sweden. And what can be more Swedish than IKEA in combination with the traditional Swedish Christmas table?  After the full tour of IKEA, our guests had the opportunity to try the different herrings, sausages and other things they served at the IKEA Christmas table. And of course, some Swedish meatballs!

Visiting period at Uppsala University – Shweta Premanandan


Its great to be back again at Uppsala! I had a very productive time here in 2015. That visit including the formal meetings, the informal discussions with my co-scholars, feedback from presentations at two research groups made a lot of difference and helped shape my PhD work to a great extent.

I am Shweta Premanandan and I am employed with Amrita School of Business, Amrita University as an Assistant Professor in the area of Information Systems and Analytics. I am a PhD scholar registered at Amrita University. Åsa Cajander is my co-supervisor. The formal and informal discussions with her has been instrumental in the progress of my PhD journey. I am doing my research in the area of technology adoption and national culture. My research aims to understand the effect of national culture on the adoption of e-government systems. It is a cross-cultural work and I collect data from two culturally distinct countries – India and Sweden. Due to the multi-dimensionality of the construct – culture; a mixed method approach is planned. I plan to conduct surveys and in-depth interviews from users of e-government services. I am here for a month to collect data from Sweden. I am presenting my work in the seminar series on the 20th of November. I eagerly look forward to interact with this group of researchers.

“The digital development has changed the core of working life” according to professor Bengt Sandblad

Our work environment is more and more digitalized. Many of us use a large number of IT systems in our work every day. Dysfunctional computer system becomes a work environment problem.

Professor Bengt Sandblad from the HTO group has done a report for the work environment authority in Sweden, He is also working on a book and he is also working on a book on the digital work environment. The book will appear around Christmas.

This week Bengt Sandblad is interviewed in Universen and some of the key ideas in the article are:

  • The potential benefits of IT systems is often lost due to usability problems.
  • The digital development will not to slow down. On the contrary:  it will move faster and faster.
  • Often IT systems are not adapted to the needs of people, or the organization.
  • Information overload is a crucial problem.
  • We need to design systems that are made for human cognition.
  • We have a tendency to build systems based on what computers are good at. Not what people are good at.
  • There is a risk that work is what is left when the computers have done what they aren’t good at doing.

For more information read the full article 🙂 



“For a Healthy Digital Work Environment”

NIVA provides “Advanced Education in Occupational Health” and Gerolf Nauwerck and Åsa Cajander from the HTO group were lecturers in one of their courses last week.

Digitization and the transformation of society and work

Many of the problems related to digitalization and work were discussed during the first day of the NIVA course. We will only present some of the highlights of the course in this short blog post.

Jan Gulliksen presented how society has transformed by digitalization, and he gave examples from different areas such as school and health care. The school setting with a teacher standing in front of a class that listens has not changed in many years, Jan Gulliksen described, and perhaps it about time it changed?

There was a vivid discussion related to what jobs will disappear due to digitalization. According to a study the most likely job what will disappear in the future is being a model. In fact we already improve photos so much that soon we will not need the human model any more in the future. One of the jobs that will not disappear is being a “Beach Body Coach”, so if you are thinking of a possible future career that is a good option 😉

Cognition in the digital environment

Day two started with Sara Thomé who presented the area cognition in the digital work environment. Some of the problems areas that follow with digitalization are:

  • Information overflow
  • Communication overload
  • Flexible and boundless work
  • Usability problems
  • Technostress  

Flexible work

Christin Mellner was invited to the NIVA course to talk about the challenge of flexible work and boundary management. She gave an interesting talk on the perception of people’s different behaviour when it comes to setting boundaries between work and private life. If you choose to not answer emails out of work hours, or participate in social media outside of work you are seen as a professional and reliable person. However, some would also see you as rigid and non-flexible. If you choose to answer emails etc outside of working hours you are seen as very flexible and adaptable, but at the same time you risk being exhausted and being perceived as always being in a hurry.  

By the end of day two Åsa Cajander gave a lecture presenting our work with creating a good work environment in the collaboration programme with Region Uppsala and also with the university administration.

Gerolf Nauwerck gave a lecture presenting the different charting tools available on the market today. We were allowed to try a few questions in one of the tools, and also discuss the problems with the questions asked. This was a very appreciated lecture, and we all learned a lot.  

Visit to the DISA Project

Vivian Vimarlund who is a full professor in Informatics at Linköping University is one of the senior research advisors of the DISA project. Last week she visited us, and we went through the plans ahead for the DISA project. She asked many good questions related to for example publication strategy and theoretical framework. Based on her long experience as a researcher in informatics she also gave us advice on how to proceed with our work, and some ideas on follow up projects for this work.

We are really grateful for this outsider’s perspective on our work in DISA and we got good input for our current and planned activities as well as inspiration to continue the work ahead.

We will have a DISA conference again this fall, and then we’ll have a chance to discuss things with Vivian Vimarlund and the other members of our reference group.

INTERACT 2017 in Mumbai – Part 2

As I wrote in the previous post, I recently had the opportunity to attend and present at INTERACT which took place in Mumbai, India. In this post, I write about two posters & demos. The Poster and demos sessions took place in every coffee / tea break during the whole conference, giving the attendees plenty of opportunitities to visit the individiual demo booths.


Supraja Sankaram presenting her HeartHab application

Supraja Sankaran (Hasselt University, Belgium) demonstrated a tool to personalize e-coaching based on individual patient risk factors, adherence rates and personal preferences of patients using a tele-rehabilitation solution. In their abstract, she and her co-authors Mieke Haesen, Paul Dendale, Kris Luyten and Karin Coninx describe, that they

developed the tool after conducting a workshop and multiple brainstorms with various caregivers involved in coaching cardiac patients to connect their perspectives with patient needs. It was integrated into a comprehensive tele-rehabilitation application.

Supraja was one of the participants in our EIT Health / ACM SIGCHI eHealth summer school (see here, or here), so it was really nice meeting her again at the conference. Supraja was born in India, and she went out of her way helping us Non-Indians, for instance explaining the food or local practices to me. It was really fun!

Mind the Gap

Another extremely interesting demo was the game “Mind the Gap – A Playful Take on Gender Imbalance in ICT” by Max Willis and Antonella De Angeli (University of Trento). I had met Antonella already on Monday during the field trip and she introduced me to Max (her PhD student) during lunch. Thus, we already talked briefly about the game and I couldn’t wait to play it. They outlined the aim on their poster:

Mind the Gap is a provocative, playful intervention and a research tool that illuminates players’ attitudes and experiences concerning gender privilege and discrimination in ICT. It initiates a structured social interaction around gender issues driven by role-play and participant authored texts.

The gameboard charts a typical technology carreer path. Female Player Characters (PC’s) roll a 4-sided die, male PC’s roll a 6-sided die. Players advance and draw a ‘privilege’ card describing a scenario which is scored to reflect a penalty or an advanage according to the gender of the PC.

During the game, players an author their own privilege cards, add decisions, or create new rules and add them to the game.

Playing this game was really fascinating, but also reading the cards authored by previous players. It didn’t take long for me to pick the card which you see in the picture below: “Congrats! You will have a baby!” As my character was female like me (the character is drawn at the beginning of the game), I had to leave the career path and go on the family path.

“Mind the Gap”  by Max Willis and Antonella De Angeli

Later I drew the card “Change gender to female, if you are men”. Too bad – I might have wanted my character to change to male in that case 🙂 The game drew a lot of attention and it was really interesting. I am really looking forward to reading more about their findings in the future. For more information, visit their project website.

At the end of the conference, the organisers showed us the following clip they put together, which I think is really nice:

INTERACT 2017 in Mumbai – Part 1

This year’s INTERACT conference took place in Mumbai, India. It started off with field trips and workshops on Monday and Tuesday. The main conference was held from 27-29. September. The conference was extremely well organised and I am very glad that I could attend, listen to interesting talks, present our own paper, and meet so many kind and open people who do extremely interesting research.


INTERACT is a biennial conference and is organised by the Technical Committee on Human–Computer Interaction (IFIP TC13) of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP). IFIP is a non-governmental umbrella organisation of national societies working in the field of Information technology. IFIP is organised through technical commitees; TC13 is the committee on Human-Computer Interaction and consists of serveral working groups. This year’s INTERACT conference was the 16th conference; the previous one took place 2015 in Bamberg (Germany). INTERACT in Bamberg was my first international conference, where I  presented a paper on the use of online reviews in the design process and how they can help designers to take the perspective of the people they are designing for.

Field Trip

This year was the first time, that researchers could propose field trips. As the deadline for registrating one’s interest was before I was notified that our short paper was accepted, I thought that participation was not possible any more. However, Arne Berger, the organiser of one field trip saw on Twitter, that I was attending the conference and asked whether I was interested in joining one day, as there was still a free spot. Excellent opportunity indeed! The field trip Understanding The Informal Support Networks Of Older Adults in India aimed to get a nuanced view on older adults’ practices of receiving from and providing support to peers, family, friends, and neighbors. It was a two-day fieldtrip, however, I only attended on Monday. Here we were split into two groups and I was forming a group together with Dhaval Vyas (Queensland University of Technology) and Antonella De Angeli (University of Trento). We conducted two interviews during the day. The couple we interviewed first felt more comfortable speaking in Hindi, so Dhaval interviewed them, and every now and then translated his question and/or their answers in English. That was a really interesting experience and Dhaval did a great job also including us, when he translated every now and then, what was said. Of course, this was not always possible, as this would have disturbed the flow of the conversation. Something I noticed was that the idea of “older people receiving support” was challenged: This couple was not receiving support from their family in that sense. Instead, they were providing tremendous support for their children, because they took care of the grandkids.

The second interview took place in the afternoon, where we met a 85 year old woman, who had worked as a teacher until she was 80 years old. She felt comfortable speaking English, so all of us could ask her questions. I found her to be very inspiring and positive; it was a great pleasure talking to her and learning how she goes about her day. For example, she likes playing chess on the iPad and, according to her son, her memory improved since she does this. Every evening, she meets a couple of her female friends outside the house, where they all sit on the bench, enjoy each other’s company, and watch the grandkids play. We were invited to join her when she was meeting her friends right after the interview, which was really nice, too.

Indian women on the bench in front of their house with Arne Berger (TU Chemnitz)

Presenting our Paper on “Critical Incidents as Workshop Format”

I also was able to present our short paper on “Using Critical Incidents in Workshops to Inform eHealth Design”. This paper is based on the workshop we organised at NordiCHI 2016 and was written together with some of the organisers and participants. Practitioners, researchers and patients were invited to contribute with a critical incident related to eHealth services for patients and relatives. We accepted five critical incidents, of which three focussed on the patient perspective and two on the developer’s perspective. You can find the critical incidents submitted and analysed in the workshop here.

Christiane Grünloh presenting at INTERACT 2017

In the paper, we reflect on Critical Incidents as a format, which we made use of in our workshop. In sum, the participants and we as organisers found it very helpful to reflect together in a group on eHealth projects. Even though the format was quite unusual and some participants reported, that they struggled to follow our instructions related to the critical incidents, it also helped to re-examine and re-frame their particular project. I really enjoyed presenting this at INTERACT on behalf of my co-authors. I have to admit, that the time constraint of 8 minutes was quite tough. But our session chair Jacki O’Neill did a wonderful job creating a positive atmosphere while keeping the time.

In part 2, I will write about the poster & demo session.