UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

human
computer
interaction

Welcome to Penn HCI! Located in the University of Pennsylvania’s Computer and Information Science Department, our group studies a range of topics in Human-Computer Interaction with the goal of understanding, designing, engineering, and improving technologies to make a positive impact on individuals and communities.

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Penn HCI is founded and led by Assistant Professors Andrew Head and Danaë Metaxa.

Andrew Head

Andrew Head

Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Danaë Metaxa

Danaë Metaxa

Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Luis Morales-Navarro

PhD Student, University of Pennsylvania (GSE)

Jiening Li

Jiening Li

Master’s Student, University of Pennsylvania

Ro Encarnacion

Ro Encarnacion

PhD Student, University of Pennsylvania

Princess Sampson

Princess Sampson

PhD Student, University of Pennsylvania

Litao Yan

Litao Yan

PhD Student, University of Pennsylvania

Jessica Shi

Jessica Shi

PhD Student, University of Pennsylvania

Michelle Lam

Michelle Lam

PhD Student, Stanford University

Stephen MacNeil

Assistant Professor, Temple University (Computer and Information Sciences)

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publications

View recent publications and filter by topic, author, year, and more.

Paper Plain: Making Medical Research Papers Approachable to Healthcare Consumers with Natural Language Processing

Tal August, Lucy Lu Wang, Jonathan Bragg, Marti A. Hearst, Andrew Head, and Kyle Lo
TOCHI 2023

When seeking information not covered in patient-friendly documents, healthcare consumers may turn to the research literature. Reading medical papers, however, can be a challenging experience. To improve access to medical papers, we explore four features enabled by natural language processing: definitions of unfamiliar terms, in-situ plain language section summaries, a collection of key questions that guides readers to answering passages, and plain language summaries of those passages. We embody these features into a prototype system, Paper Plain. We evaluate Paper Plain, finding that participants who used the prototype system had an easier time reading research papers without a loss in paper comprehension compared to those who used a typical PDF reader. Altogether, the study results suggest that guiding readers to relevant passages and providing plain language summaries alongside the original paper content can make reading medical papers easier and give readers more confidence to approach these papers.


Scim: Intelligent Skimming Support for Scientific Papers

Raymond Fok, Hita Kambhamettu, Luca Soldaini, Jonathan Bragg, Kyle Lo, Marti Hearst, Andrew Head, and Daniel S Weld
IUI 2023

Scholars need to keep up with an exponentially increasing flood of scientific papers. To aid this challenge, we introduce Scim, a novel intelligent interface that helps experienced researchers skim – or rapidly review – a paper to attain a cursory understanding of its contents. Scim supports the skimming process by highlighting salient paper contents in order to direct a reader’s attention. The system’s highlights are faceted by content type, evenly distributed across a paper, and have a density configurable by readers at both the global and local level. We evaluate Scim with both an in-lab usability study and a longitudinal diary study, revealing how its highlights facilitate the more efficient construction of a conceptualization of a paper. We conclude by discussing design considerations and tensions for the design of future intelligent skimming tools.


Representation, Self-Determination, and Refusal: Queer People’s Experiences with Targeted Advertising

Princess Sampson, Ro Encarnación, and Danaë Metaxa
FAccT 2023

Targeted online advertising systems increasingly draw scrutiny for the surveillance underpinning their collection of people’s private data, and subsequent automated categorization and inference. The experiences of LGBTQ+ people, whose identities call into question dominant assumptions about who is seen as “normal,” and deserving of privacy, autonomy, and the right to self-determination, are a fruitful site for exploring the impacts of ad targeting. We conducted semi-structured interviews with LGBTQ+ individuals (N=18) to understand their experiences with online advertising, their perceptions of ad targeting, and the interplay of these systems with their queerness and other identities. Our results reflect participants’ overall negative experiences with online ad content—they described it as stereotypical and tokenizing in its lack of diversity and nuance. But their desires for better ad content also clashed with their more fundamental distrust and rejection of the non-consensual and extractive nature of ad targeting. They voiced privacy concerns about continuous data aggregation and behavior tracking, a desire for greater control over their data and attention, and even the right to opt-out entirely. Drawing on scholarship from queer and feminist theory, we explore targeted ads’ homonormativity in their failure to represent multiply-marginalized queer people, the harms of automated inference and categorization to identity formation and self-determination, and the theory of refusal underlying participants’ queer visions for a better online experience.


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courses

CIS 4120 5120

Introduction to Human Computer Interaction

In this course, you will learn the essentials of human-computer interaction (HCI). Over the course of a semester, you will learn how to design interactive systems that satisfy and delight users by undertaking the human-centered design process, from ideation to prototyping, implementation, and assessment with human users. You will learn key tools in the HCI toolkit, including need-finding, user studies, visual design, cognitive models, demo’ing, ethical considerations, and writing about your designs. This course also provides a primer on several areas of emerging technology in HCI, such as human-AI interaction and education technology. We will also cover ethics in HCI, including topics like inclusive design and dark patterns. To hone your craft as an HCI practitioner, during this course you will undertake a group project to design an innovative user interface. The final submission will include a working interactive prototype, demonstrations of the interface at a public departmental design showcase, and a written reflection on your design findings. Prerequisite: prior programming experience.

DETAILS:

Fall 2023
Tuesdays/Thursdays
Danaë Metaxa


CIS 7000

Algorithmic Justice

In this graduate seminar, we will explore a growing body of work at the intersection of technology and social justice. A range of areas are included under this umbrella including tech ethics, design justice, algorithmic fairness, as well as work on equity, bias, diversity, and representation in computer science and other related disciplines. In this course, students will read and discuss a wide range of this work, through both critical and generative lenses.

DETAILS:

Spring 2023
Wednesdays
Danaë Metaxa


CIS 7000

Designing Programming Environments: Live and Literate Programming

In this course, we explore the design of beautiful programs, and tools that can help people construct them. We study tools and guidelines for making programs literate—where code is interleaved with thoughtful explanations—and live—where the behavior of code is exposed. The foundation of the course is a history of live and literate programs, from visionary beginnings to contemporary, beautiful programs and tools for constructing them. We discuss what is known about the design of readable programs based on empirical evidence. We then critique the elements of live and literate programming tools, including: incrementality, reactivity, support for branching, program organization, collaboration, code generation, and the design of programming environments that edit themselves. As case studies, we consider the design of mathematical proofs in proof assistants, computational narratives in notebooks, interactive tutorials, and visionary program editors like Lightable and Eve.

DETAILS:

Fall 2022
Mondays
Andrew Head