UW Today

Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering


April 4, 2016

The Twittersphere does listen to the voice of reason — sometimes

WestJet tweet screenshot

In the maelstrom of information, opinion and conjecture that is Twitter, the voice of truth and reason does occasionally prevail, according to a new study from UW researchers. Tweets from “official accounts” — the government agencies, emergency responders, media or companies at the center of a fast-moving story — can slow the spread of rumors on Twitter and correct misinformation that’s taken on a life of its own.


March 8, 2016

Family technology rules: What kids expect of parents

family photo

A new UW study is among the first to explore children’s expectations for parents’ technology use — revealing kids’ feelings about fairness and “oversharing,” the most effective types of household technology rules and families’ most common approaches.


May 18, 2015

Study: 44 percent of parents struggle to limit cell phone use at playgrounds

Playground phone

A new University of Washington study finds that cell phone use at playgrounds is a significant source of parental guilt, and that caregivers absorbed in their phones were much less attentive to children’s requests.


May 6, 2015

UW mapping app turns art into a sharable walking route

The app allows you to share the walk with a friend.

The Trace app turns a digital sketch that you draw on your smartphone screen — heart, maple leaf, raindrop — into a walking route that you can send to a friend. The recipient of the “gift” receives step-by-step walking directions that eventually reveal the hidden shape on a map.


April 9, 2015

Who’s a CEO? Google image results can shift gender biases

CEO Google image search results (April 2015)

A University of Washington study assesses how accurately gender representations in online image search results for 45 different occupations — from CEO to telemarketer to engineer — match reality. Exposure to skewed image results shifted people’s perceptions about how many women actually hold those jobs.


February 13, 2015

AAAS symposium looks at how to bring big-data skills to academia

word cloud

A session Feb. 15 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting will explore how big data scientists can find careers at universities and within academic settings.


AAAS talk: Some bilinguals use emoticons more when chatting in non-native language

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A research team has found that one group of bilingual speakers used emoticons more often when typing in their second language in casual, online communication than they did when typing in their native tongue.


December 1, 2014

‘What is HCDE?’ New comics class aims to answer the question

Undergraduate students Xiangyi (Anne) Zheng, left, and Daniel Aldridge give feedback on each other's comics at a recent class.

A new class at the University of Washington is using comics to explain what, exactly, the field of human-centered design is all about.


July 8, 2014

Better visualizing of fitness-app data helps discover trends, reach goals

sample visualization on a smartphone

University of Washington researchers have developed visual tools to help self-trackers understand their daily activity patterns over a longer period and in more detail. They found people had an easier time meeting personal fitness and activity goals when they could see their data presented in a broader, more visual way.


March 17, 2014

Hold that RT: Much misinformation tweeted after 2013 Boston Marathon bombing

A graph shows hashtags on Twitter and how they are related to each other.

University of Washington researchers have found that misinformation spread widely on Twitter after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing despite efforts by users to correct rumors that were inaccurate.


March 5, 2014

Reflection makes sense: New initiative prompts engineering students to look back to go forward

University of Washington graduate students talk about their projects in class.

The University of Washington’s Center for Engineering Learning & Teaching has received a $4.4 million grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust to develop and promote teaching practices that help undergraduate engineering students reflect on their experiences. The award establishes the Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering Education that focuses on first- and second-year undergraduates who want to be engineers, especially those from underrepresented populations


October 17, 2013

Yoga accessible for the blind with new Microsoft Kinect-based program

Example of how the Kinect reads incorrect body posture.

A team of University of Washington computer scientists has created a software program that watches a user’s movements and gives spoken feedback using a Microsoft Kinect on what to change to accurately complete a yoga pose.


August 21, 2013

Julie Kientz named one of world’s top innovators under 35

Logo for TR35.

Julie Kientz, a UW assistant professor of human centered design & engineering, has been named one of the world’s top 35 innovators under age 35 by MIT Technology Review magazine.


July 16, 2013

Eye-tracking could outshine passwords if made user-friendly

A human eye.

University of Washington engineers found in a recent study that the user’s experience could be key to creating an authentication system that doesn’t rely on passwords.