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Accessible & Pervasive User EXperience (APEX) Group

Welcome to the Accessible & Pervasive User EXperience (APEX) Group! We are at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Guangzhou) within the Computational Media and Arts Thrust and The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology within the Division of Integrative Systems and Design. The group is led by Prof. Mingming Fan.

We conduct research in the fields of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Accessibility. Our overarching goal is to EMPOWER people with technology, design, and humanity. We apply user-centered design (UCD), quantitative and qualitative methods, advanced computational algorithms (e.g., computer vision, natural language processing), interative media (e.g., VR/AR, visualization), and sensing techniques to improve user experience (UX) and to address well-grounded user needs (especially the ones of older adults, people with disabilities, and other marginalized people).

To do so, we design, build, and study interative social computational systems in the following areas: 1)Accessibility and Aging, 2) VR/AR/XR/Metaverse; 3)Human-AI Collaboration, 4)User Experience (UX) Methodology, 5)Social Computing and 6)Sensing Techniques and Applications:

  • Accessibility and Aging
    • Understand Accessibility Challenges in-depth
      e.g., Blind and low vision (BLV) city dwellers often need to fetch packages for items they shop online. Is the process accessible to them?(CHI 2022)
      e.g., How do people with disabiities perceive about accessibility and assistive technology use in China? (CHI 2021)
    • Understand Aging Challenges in-depth
      e.g., Can we identify problems that older adults encounter through what they say and how they say it? (CHI 2021)
      e.g., How do older adults manage their banking needs in light of the increasngly popular mobile and digital banking services? (DIS 2021)
      e.g., Older adults tend to rely on instructions to learn technologies. However, instructions are often difficult to use. How to design senior-friendly instructions? (TACCESS (ASSETS 2018))
    • Design Assistive Technologies to empower Older Adults and People with Disabilities
      e.g., What above-the-neck natural gestures would people with motor impairments want to design for themselves to interact with mobile devices? (CHI 2022)
      e.g., Could eyelid gestures be used by people with motor impairments to interact with mobile devices? (CACM 2022, ASSETS 2020)
      e.g., Older adults often face memory issues. Can we leverage mobile and sensing technology to help older adults remember better? (IMWUT (UbiComp 2019))
      e.g., How to design an easy-to-learn gesture-based text-entry method for people with visual impairments? (ASSETS 2017)
  • VR/AR/XR/Metaverse: Input/Output Techniques, Applications, and Empirical Studies
    • Improve Output User Experience
      e.g., How to create pain sensation to enhance VR users' immersive experiences? (IMWUT (UbiComp 2021))
      e.g., How to create wetness illusion to enhance VR users' immersive experiences? (CHI 2020)
    • Improve Input User Experience
      e.g., How to select occluded and distant objects easily in VR? (CHI 2021)
  • Human-AI collaboration
    • Collaboration between AI and human experts can achieve better performance that neither can if working alone. However, it remains an open question of how best to design an effective Human-AI collaboration.
      e.g., How do different ways of collaboration (e.g., synchronization) and explanations affect UX evaluators' task performance and their perception of AI assistants? (CSCW 2022)
    • Understand how human collaborate to draw inspirations for human-AI collaboration
      e.g., How do UX practitioners collaborate in industry? (CHI 2022)
  • UX Methodology
    • Understand UX Problems through Users' Subtle Behavioral Signals
      e.g., What are subtle verbalization and speech patterns indicating UX problems in think-aloud usability testing? (CHI 2021, TOCHI (CHI 2020))
    • Build Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Detect UX Problems Automatically
      e.g., How to build AI models to identify UX problems automatically? (TiiS 2020)
    • Design AI-Assisted (Human-AI collaboration) UX Analysis Tools and Methods
      e.g., How to design an AI-Assisted interactive system to help UX evaluators analyze usabilty test videos? (TVCG (VIS 2019))
      e.g., How to design an AI-Assisted interactive system to help UX evaluators collaborate during their analysis? (TVCG (VIS 2021))
    • Guidelines for creating better UX
      e.g., How to make the opening of a data video more attractive by learning from cinematic art? (CHI 2022)
  • Social Computing
    • Investigate how people use emerging technologies and how technologies shape people's lives and societies
      e.g., How do new collaborators use non-textual Communication in virtual workspaces? (CHI 2022)
      e.g., How do people with visual impairments use livestreaming platforms? (DIS 2022)
      e.g., How do people use livestreaming platforms as a means to promote and protect intangible cultural heritage? (CHI 2019)
  • Sensing Techniques and Applications
    • Design Novel Sensing Technology (e.g., context-aware sensing and applications)
      e.g., How to unobstrustively monitor the amount of remaining content in a container? (UbiComp 2015)
      e.g., How to make a wearable device smart enough to understand the type of physical space that its wearer is in? (ISWC 2014)

APEX group works closely with faculty and students in the CMA thrust, VisLab and ISD Division at HKUST. APEX group also collaborates with other universities, such as Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Waterloo, Chinese Academy of Sciences, CMU, and Microsoft Research. We always welcome collaboration with like-minded people around the world. Contact Prof. Mingming Fan for potential collaboration.

History: APEX group was founded by Prof. Mingming Fan in 2019 at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in the USA and was previously known as the Triple-"i" (Intelligent & Inclusive Interaction) Group.