June-December 2014 Potpourri

I am writing this in the final day of this very hectic year. I am thankful to all of my colleagues for making this such a successful and interesting year. I met new friends as well as colleagues and friends from current, recent and not so recent collaborations. Thanks for the good times!


CATAC 2014 in Oslo (June)

I had the opportunity of meeting my oldest academic tribe who I have seen every other since 1998 at the first Catac Conference in 1998. The last conference took place at The University of Oslo where my friend Charles Ess now works as a Professor at the Department of Informatics and Media studies. Here is a popular boy in the city…

angry boy in Oslo’s Frogner Park

…and this is me with some colleagues at the CATAC dinner. Sitting next to me is Herbert Hracovech , one the founding members of the CATAC community.

August in Alicante

Well not much to add other than having a well deserved sunny break!

In Alicante!

Participatory Design Conference in Namibia

Without a doubt one of the highlights of the year. In early October I had the opportunity of co-chairing the Doctoral Consortium of the PDC conference with my colleagues Andy Dearden from Sheffield Hallam University and David Hakken from Indiana University. The DC was quite successful and we all learned a bit more of what is like to do research in PD!  You can see below some of the DC friends having a dinner:

doctoral consortium crowd pdc2014

… and this is me just before the conference dinner.

Jose in Okapuka Ranch at the PDC conference dinner

NORDICHI 2014 in Helsinki  (October)

In late October I attended the NORDICHI conference where I was able to co-chair the HWID workshop with the usual suspects, i.e.   Torkil, Pedro, Arminda and Barbara. You can see us below having  a drink somewhere in Helsinki:

In Helsinki with IFIP TC 13.6 WG HCI Colleagues and Friends

… my colleague Cecilia Oyugi and I had also a full paper accepted at this conference from our work in usability research in Kenya. Here is me presenting that paper in a pretty crowed room (thanks to Ather Nawaz for the picture!):

Nordichi 2014 Presentation of Harambee

… walking around Helsinki I bumped into this monument to the great  Finnish composer Sibelius:


Last but not least in December: ACM SIGDOC and BCS Sociotechnical

In December I had the opportunity to re-ecnounter my colleague Liza Potts at the offices of the British Computer Society in Covent Garden, London. In this meeting we discussed possibilities for collaboration between the  ACM SIGDOC group and the BCS Sociotechnical Group, which I co-chair. It seems my PhD students Daniel Cabrero, Ali Gheitasy and I will be submitting papers to their conference in Limerick, Ireland in July.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

hectic, hectic: Feb-june 2014

Northern February

February started with a presentation at the HCI research group at the University of York, where I had the opportunitty of meeting Prof. Helen Petrie to discuss common research interests in HCI.

Enterprising March

I led the event between SCIUX and the West London Business Chamber on the 18th of March on User Experience for the West London-based business community.


Canadian April

The highlight of this month was my visit to Toronto where I got involved in several activities:

1- My colleague Ann Austin and myself were invited to the SIGCHI education meeting on “Developing a Living Curriculum to Support Global HCI Education“ because of our research in HCI Education and Culture. In this meeting/workshop we had the opportunity of meeting like minded researchers, like my good friend Ann Bowser, and members of the SIGCHI exec committee such as Jenny Preece, Gerrit van der Veer and Elizabeth Churchill. This meeting took place at the CHI2014 conference in Toronto where I also had the opportunity of attending some of the sessions and meeting some colleagues like Daniel Pargman, Bonnie Nardi, Susan Dray, Effie Law, Ann Light, Margot Brereton, Nic Bidwell, Jennifer Ferreira, Lene Nielsen and many more!!!!

with Shiwei Cheng, Gerrit van der Veer, Ann Austin and John Fass (left to right) at the SIGCHI HCI Education meeting in CHI 2014

...having a Filipino dinner with John Fass, Craig McDonald and Ann Bowser after the workshop

2 – In order to agree a cooperation between University of West London and Humber College in Toronto, I met the Dean of the School of Media Studies and Information Technology, Guillermo Acosta. Guillermo is a fellow Venezuelan and he introduced me to fellow HCI educators. We were able to talk about usability and user experience research and practice for almost three hours! We were able to agree student exchanges with UWL for those interested in pursuing higher qualifications in creative computing and user experience practice. Great Experience!

3- Last but not least, I was invited by Prof. Catherine Burns to offer a lecture based on my research on culture and interaction design at the Advanced Interface Design Lab at the University of Waterloo.

… and I could not not go to Niagara Falls!

Madeira May

The TC 13.6 Working Group in Human Work Analysis Interaction Design, for which I am Vice-Chair,  met at the Madeira Institute for Interactive Technologies in Funchal. During this meeting we also had guest researchers Effie Law and Barbara Barricelli to discuss the group’s new vision and strategy for 2015 onwards.

with Torkil, Pedro, Barbara, Arminda and Effie at Madeira Institute for Interactive Technologies

..my friend Pedro Campos and me

with Pedro Campos from M-ITI

Participatory June

And to close this very hectic period I had the honour of hosting the programme committee meeting (5-6 June) for  the Participatory Design Conference for which I am Doctoral Consortium Chair.  PD researchers from all around the world convened at the University of West London Brentford Site to decide an exciting program for the conference to be held in Namibia in October.

In the picture below you can see Heike Winschiers and David Hakken!

Programme Committee Meeting at the Participatory Design Conference @ the University of West London


Just before the meeting (4th of June) Heike offered a Public Lecture on Designing IT for Rural Communities to the University and wider community. I was the compere for this event. Below you can see Heike and myself after the event.

UWL- 'Designing IT with rural communities in Namibia Southern africa' lecture with PROFESSOR: HEIKE WINSCHIERS-THEOPHILUS

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer 2013

Viva Las Vegas!

In July I attended for the first the time the HCI International Conference in Las Vegas.  While in there I presented two research papers related to research conducted in SCIUX.  It was good opportunity to meet new colleagues and catch up with good friends looking at this issue of culture and HCI.


Welcome to Las Vegas

This is me in taking a picture of The Strip

Having a meal at The Mirage with world class HCI researchers!!! Emily Gould, Christian Sturm, Rudiger Heimgartner, Connie Kampf  and me!

I bumped into Zoltar!!! Do you remember the 80s Tom Hanks film ‘BIG’? Well here he is! I asked for a wish…

And more of  Las Vegas… Exciting place (if you do not have money to gamble then maybe after a few days not so much…)

Interact -ing in Cape Town

After a well deserved home summer break, I flew to Cape Town to the IFIP Conference in Human Computer Interaction INTERACT 2013. On this occasion I had the opportunity of  co-chairing the HWID 2013 pre-conference workshop as well as being a presenting panellist and chair of a session in Cross-cutural HCI design.  As usual at Interact, I was able to catch up with good friends such as Heiek Winschiers, Jan Gulikssen, Aniruda Joshi, Torkil Clemmensen, Zhengjie Liu and more. And I also made new friends such as Lene Nielsen from ITU Copenhagen and Julio Abascal from the Basque Country.

The people and scenery of Cape Town are just breathless. Here is a sample:

Cable car view toward Table Mountain

Cape Town viewed from Table Mountain:

Some Seals in Seal Island:

More fauna!





An ostrich in Cape of Good Hope










Penguins in False Bay













Above you can see myself at the Water Front in Cape Town.

A view from Cape Point Light House cliff

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What a wonderful Spring 2013!


Standing in front of Cristo Redentor in Corcovado mountain, Rio

While still waiting for Spring to arrive in the UK, I was able to escape the cold weather in northern hemisphere  in March to visit Rio de Janeiro. I went there to promote the University of West London in a couple of university fairs as well having research presentations at the HCI research groups of two universities in this beautiful city: PUC Rio, where I met my colleague Simone Barboza, and UFF , where I met Daniela Trevisan and her group. I hope we will be able to work together in the near future after outlining common areas of interest.

Mila and I walking in Ipanema

On our way back to London, we did a stopover in Venezuela to visit our homeland and the warm waters of the Caribbean!  While in Caracas I was interviewed in national radio about our work in the University of West London as well as our course offering.

Morrocoy Natonal Park, Venezuela

Between 29th April and 2nd of May I attended the Chi2013 conference in Paris where I was a presenter for the Special Interest Group in Human-Work Interaction Design with Torkil Clemmensen, Pedro Campos et al. I was also invited by Jenny Preece, Liz Churchill and Anne Bowser to the HCI Education Luncheon, which also took place in the Chi2013 conference.  The keynote was delivered by Bruno Latour where he spoke about monads and why this concept is so important for interaction designers.  Here is a quick picture I took from my iphone:

Bruno Latour at CHI 2013

One morning in Paris I managed to escape to the Catacombs to face the death…

Arrête! C'est ici l'empire de la Mort

Going back north to Scandinavia….

Between the 15th and 17th of May, Torkil Clemmensen, Morten Hertzum and I facilitated a PhD course in Human Work Interaction Design at Roskiled University in Denmark.  They offered theoretical frameworks relevant to HWID and looked at and discussed different PhD projects. An interesting learning experience to all of us.

More details and materials here


Torkil Clemmensen talking to my PhD student Ali Gheitasy at Roskilde Uni

the complete PhD course @ Roskilde

…being to Roskilde and not being in a Viking Ship is a no no so here it is:

Viking ship in Roskilde

And finally on the 27th of May I went to Trondheim, Norway, where I was the First Opponent of Bijan Aryana’s PhD thesis at NTNU . This was such a great honour and a great day! In the picture below you can see (from left to right) me, Jóhannes B. Sigurjónsson (NTNU), Bijan Aryana and Anna Valtonen (Umeå Institute of Design)

The main building of NTNU where the exam was held

Trondheim while walking by the old town…


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fall-ing into winter

On a road trip….to San Sebastian via Paris via Toulouse and back to London via Bordeaux…

Officially the Fall season started with the HCSE conference in Toulouse where I presented some our findings from looking at UCD practices in offshoring teams in India.  The conference is made of  an interesting community of academics and practitioners. As it says on the website HCSE “is a working conference that brings together researchers and practitioners interested in strengthening the scientific foundations of user interface design, examining the relationship between software engineering and human-computer interaction and on how to strengthen user-centred design as an essential part of software engineering process”.

I decided to take my family with me on road trip so we drove off from Milton Keynes and stopped over in Paris as you can see in one of my photos while being on a boat in the Seine.

Tour Eiffel

..while driving from Paris to Toulouse we decided to visit Oradour-sur-Glane: a ghost town attacked by the Nazis in 1944 where innocent women, men and children were murdered. This is a reminder of the horrors of war, stupidity and lack of human spirit. Here is a couple of photos I took but there are many more in the link above. Entering this silent, empty town, frozen in time in a reddish autumnal afternoon filled my body with immense sense of hopelessness and sadness.

Oradour-sur-Glane: remais of a car burnt by the Nazis

Oradour-sur-Glane: Remember


…while at the conference in Toulouse my family was doing some sightseeing in this beautiful French city!

Toulouse main square and town council


After Toulouse we went to San Sebastian where we spent three days eating pintxos! The following picture was taken from Monte Igueldo. This touristic complex  was opened in 1911 and hosts a number of attractions for children.  We rode on a roller coaster fully operated by inertia and gravity forces! The funicular to reach the top of this mountain also operates with gravity. Quite ecological!

Playa de La Concha – San Sebastian


We also visited the Seaaquarium!

Starfish at San Sebastian Seaquarium

On our way back from San Sebastian we visited Bordeaux, an impressive French city with impressive architecture. Its Cathedral is unique in the world!

Bordeaux Cathedral




World Usability Day 8th of November 2012…

Canary Wharf

I attended the World Usability Day event organised by UK UXPA.  The Sociotechnical Centre for Internationalisation and User Experience (SCIUX), which I lead, had a UX booth in this event.  The event was held in Canary Wharf and was focused on the usability and user experience of Financial Systems. Data visualisation was a key theme across all the very interesting talks that night. I particularly liked the one from Andrew Merryweather – F&R Design Team at Thomson Reuters – explaining the design rationale of oil vessel maritime traffic visualisations and its impact on the price of oil!

Human Work Interaction Design Conference 2012

Before bringing this very interesting year to a close, I attended the HWID conference in Copenhagen with Alison Wiles, one of my PhD students. Alison and I had the opportunity of presenting our research into the inclusion of user experience in the library policy of UK universities and how that can inform the sociotechnical design of these information spaces. I also chaired a panel in human-work interaction design.  As usual, I had the opportunity to exchange ideas with my good friends Torkil Clemmensen (CBS), Pedro Campos (University of Madeira) and Paola Amaldi (University of Hetfordshire). My co-editor in chief for IJSKD, Connie Kampf (University of Aarhus), also happened to be in Copenhagen on her way to Indonesia so we had a quick dinner. You can see her below!

Connie Kampf at the San Marcos Restaurant in Copenhagen

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off


Venezuelan Consulate in London during Presidential Elections Day

Venezuelan National Elections 7/10/2012

Mr. Chavez won again. It would be interesting to fast-forward to 2019 and assess the legacy of 20 years of Chavez. By looking at the past 13 years failures overcome successes. I did not vote for him in the Venezuelan Consulate in London but he is clearly supported by a majority of citizens (55%), which in perspective from previous presidential elections has been steadily declining despite receiving more oil income than any other democratically elected president since 1958; despite using moneys, channels and other resources from the state to support his campaign; despite using fear and coercion to convert votes from public sector employees and would-be beneficiaries of his social missions, many of them still waiting for the unfulfilled promise of a house.

I do believe in many of his ideas and support for the larger sectors of Venezuela society forgotten over 40 years of continuous democracy, which brought prosperity to many but poverty to many more. Venezuela has showed great improvements in literacy and reducing to nearly zero extreme poverty. These successes have been recognised by UNESCO. However, I do not believe in the inefficient, corrupt and inept implementation of his ideas of social justice by his government, which by the way is as corrupt as previous administrations (in some instances worse). I do not believe in the discretionary administration of justice depending on whether people support or are critical of the government. I do not believe in a supposedly ‘fair and equal’ society that has been polarised by the hate created by the President himself. There are many other reasons to wonder why he is still there: Venezuela’s murder rate is above countries in a state of war, e.g. higher than Mexico. Venezuela’s inflation is one of the highest in the world. Venezuela’s middle class cannot find a way to prosper since the professional and commercial sectors are under attack, both of them waiting to surrender or exile.

Maybe the poorer sectors of society  are happier to receive and consume benefits from the country’s oil chequebook, than thinking of how to convert received resources, knowledge and opportunity into prosperity and values for them, their children, and their grandchildren. Maybe they think the oil will be there forever, maybe they think Chavez will be there forever.

An illustrious Venezuelan writer, journalist, and politician, Arturo Uslar Pietri, said:

“Por eso la cuestión primordial, la primera y la básica de todas las cuestiones venezolanas, la que está en la raiz de todas las otras, y la que ha de ser resuelta antes si las otras han de ser resueltas algún día, es la de ir construyendo una nación a salvo de la muerte petrolera. Una nación que haya resuelto victoriosamente su crisis petrolera que es su verdadera crisis nacional”

(This is why the key issue, the foremost and most basic of all Venezuelan issues, which is the root of all other problems, and that needs to be solved before the other issues can be eventually solved, is to develop a nation immune from oil industry death; a nation able to solve victoriously its petroleum crisis, which is its true national crisis.)

In this quote he does not necessarily refer to the day the world runs out of oil, but he refers to the day when the country will not be able to survive, let alone grow, in a political and economical model, socialist or liberal, it does not matter really, totally reliant on oil income. That day is closer unless all sectors of Venezuela society reconcile and recognise the imperious need to steer the nation into a road of peace, prosperity and growth where anyone, regardless of social class, religion or political affiliation will get to have a go to fulfil their dreams and forge their future and that of  their families and their country.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

A summer to remember!

I was actually trying to persuade him that I was not part of the rebellion



The summer started by attending CATAC 12 in Aarhus University, Denmark, where I presented some of our findings of the HCI education and culture project. This is an interesting interdisciplinary conference running on a biennial basis since 1998. I have never missed one. It is the people here that keep me coming back. You can check the proceedings here. Below you can see Charles wrapping-up the conference.

Charles Ess presenting the Second Looks of CATAC 2012


Souleymane Camara, officially my first PhD student, successfully passed his PhD Viva. He was examined by Prof. Ann Light from Northumbria University and Dr. John Moore from University of West London.

A workshop proposal for the CSCW2013 conference on Social Capital and Entrepreneurship in CSCW was accepted! Here is the link to the workshop website.


I went back to Aarhus to examine an PhD proposal for one of the research students of my friend Connie Kampf. After this I visited Brussels where I was an external jury member at the Free University of  Brussels for a PhD thesis on culture and web localisation.

Manneken Pis near Grand Place in Brussels

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Busy, beesy May

Early in May I gave talks at the departments of Computing at Simon Bolivar University and the Central University of Venezuela. Interesting audience of academics and students. Hope they enjoyed it as much as I did!

Chromatic Garden Universidad Simon Bolivar, Caracas, Venezuela

…then in late May I visited the Sino European Usability Centre in Dalian Maritime University in China as part of the HCI Education and culture project and also to give a lecture in cultural aspects of HCI and sociotechnical design.

With graduate students at the Sino European Usability Center in Dalian Maritime University, China

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

New York, New York

Springbreak in NYC. This is one of those cities where you feel truly alive, no matter what people say or regardless of their religious or political views, many succumb to its charm.  Just take stroll in Manhattan and you will agree with me.

TImes Square at Night

Lower Manhattan

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Hello from Teotihuacan!

Last January I visited Mexico as part of the HCI Education and Culture project and had the opportunity of visiting this impressive archaeological site in the outskirts of Mexico City.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off