I planned, after my parental leave, to return to work at the University of Southampton’s IT Innovation Centre; that was going to happen on 1st August. Instead, on that very day, I flew one-way to Vancouver in Canada. Well, the best-laid plans…!

We’d been pondering leaving the UK for a while. An opportunity for my husband arose in Vancouver, and it was a bit too good to say no to. Besides, Vancouver is beautiful: we rather fell in love with the city upon visiting it back in 2013.

As you might imagine, moving across continents is a pretty big task, and is a substantial part of the reason for my recent silence here!

We arrived and found accommodation in August; our shipment from the UK arrived in September; by the end of October, we were pretty much unpacked. That brings us to, by and large, the present moment.

A few other things have happened recently. Being new to Canada, I am keen to expand my professional networks. I was therefore delighted to accept invitations to give talks at two of the local universities.

The first talk, in October, was for UBC’s HCI@UBC seminar series. I spoke about some of the work that I led in the UK just before my maternity leave: TRIFoRM was a very neat project I led about, well… here’s the abstract of my talk:

Trust in IT: Factors, Metrics and Models

The TRIFoRM project brought together computer science, health science, social science and engineering to explore the trusting beliefs of users of IT systems, looking at factors that influence trust of systems and ways to model those factors and trust levels. The team focused particularly on healthcare technologies for monitoring chronic conditions, and interviewed people who may use or provide healthcare monitoring technology to understand what was important to them as individuals. Analysis of the interviews let the team identify possible threats to trust of technology, and controls to mitigate those threats. In addition, the team identified two key issues. The first issue was that it is clear that people using a monitoring technology to manage pain are more likely to take risks and tolerate faults, making them more vulnerable. The second issue is the importance of relationships: patients were concerned that monitoring technology might change their relationship with healthcare providers, as well as with whether healthcare providers themselves trust the technology.

The second talk, this month, was for SFU’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT). I told those folks about TRIFoRM too, but also about some of my earlier research into User Experience (UX). The abstract about UX is thus:

As digital technology increasingly moves from the domain of work into our social and personal lives, there is a need to better understand and design for user experience (UX) and to make technology accessible and inclusive by rebuilding existing systems in new contexts. But to redesign for new contexts we must understand the deeper abstract and emotional effects, or risk merely copying superficial elements and translating functionality but not the underlying experience. Teasing Apart, Piecing Together (TAPT) is a software engineering design method based on Dix’s notion of experience deconstruction: it enables a deeper understanding of UX and scaffolds the redesign of these for new contexts. The first part of this talk introduces TAPT, giving real-life examples of its use for design, evaluation and analysis.

In both cases, I was made most welcome, enjoyed thoughtful questions and discussion, and met some splendid people.

After two academic-based talks, this week I’m moving closer to industry. I’m looking forward to heading downtown on Wednesday for the Vancouver User Experience Awards 2016.

Needless to say, it’s pleasing to be building my professional network here in Vancouver! If you’re based in the area and would like to say hi, please get in touch: I’m clare@clarehooper.net or ClareJHooper on Twitter.