ACM Distinguished Speakers Program:  talks by and with technology leaders and innovators

Distinguished ACM Speaker:
Ann Blandford
Based in United Kingdom


Ann Blandford is Professor of Human Computer Interaction in the Department of Computer Science at University College London. She led the development of the UCL Interaction Centre (UCLIC) (2004-2011), which is now a leading research centred in Human Computer Interaction (HCI). She has a first degree in Maths (from Cambridge) and a PhD in Artificial Intelligence (from the Open University). She started her career in industry, as a software engineer, but soon moved back into academia, where she developed a focus on the use and usability of computer systems.

Professor Blandford’s principal interest is in how we can design technologies that empower people, taking into account the situations in which people find themselves, what motivates them, and how they think. This includes designing systems to support people in making sense of complex information, developing strategies to work more effectively (e.g., minimising errors), and changing their behaviour. Having worked in a variety of domains in the past, including law, journalism, humanities and healthcare, she is now focusing attention on healthcare technologies, to improve patient safety and to empower people managing their own health and wellbeing.

Ann leads research projects on safety-critical systems and on interacting with information, with a focus on modelling situated interactions, and on the design and use of interactive devices and systems in healthcare. She leads an EPSRC Programme Grant, CHI+MED, on Human Computer Interaction for Medical Devices and an NIHR project, ECLIPSE, on the design and use of infusion devices for medication administration. She has over 180 publications in international, peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings. Other recent publications include a Synthesis lecture on Interacting with Information and an encyclopaedia chapter on Semi-Structured Qualitative Studies.

Professor Blandford has served as an Associate Chair for the ACM CHI conference three times, on the steering committee of the ACM EICS conference (2009-2011), and as a Senior Programme Committee Member for ACM International Health Informatics Symposium (2012). She has chaired workshops and presented tutorials at CHI. She has been Chair of the BCS/CPHC Distinguished Dissertations Committee (2010 & 2011) and technical programme chair for IHM-HCI 2001, HCI 2006, DSVIS 2006 and NordiCHI2010. She chaired AISB (1997-1999), and was a member of the EPSRC ICT Strategic Advisory Team (2004-2008). She is a Fellow of the BCS, a Member of ACM, and a Chartered Engineer.


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Available Lectures:

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  • An introduction to Human Factors for Health Technologies: This session introduces approaches to designing interactive healthcare technologies that are fit for purpose: that maximise efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction for staff, and give the best possible patient experience. This extends from underst...
  • Designing for system utility and conceptual fit: People using computer systems are required to work with the concepts implemented by system developers. If there is a poor fit between system concepts and users pre-existing conceptualisation of domain and task, this places a high workload on the user...
  • DiCoT: a systematic approach to understanding complex socio-technical systems in terms of Distributed Cognition: Distributed Cognition (DCog) is a widely used approach to reasoning about group working and the design of artefacts within work systems. It has been applied particularly in safety-critical contexts such as transport, control rooms and healthcare. How...
  • Interacting with Information: Most studies of information seeking put the seeking activity at the centre. In this talk, I will present an alternative perspective: that of the person, who may be actively seeking, or may simply be encountering information on their travels through t...
  • Semi-Structured Qualitative Studies in HCI: HCI addresses problems of interaction design: delivering novel designs, evaluating existing designs, and understanding user needs for future designs. Qualitative methods have an essential role to play in this enterprise, particularly in understanding...

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