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Accessible & Pervasive User EXperience (APEX) Group

Welcome! The Accessible & Pervasive User EXperience (APEX) Group at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Guangzhou) is housed in the Thrust of Computational Media and Arts within the Information Hub. The group is led by Prof. Mingming Fan.

We conduct research in the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Accessibility. Specifically, we apply user-centered design, artificial intelligence, machine learning, sensing, VR/AR, visualization, and qualitative research methods to empower both UX evaluators and end-users (especially older adults and people with disabilities). Our research 1) innovates UX Methodologies, 2) tackles Aging and Accessibility challenges, and 3) create Novel VR/AR Experience and Sensing Techniques:

  • UX Methodology Innovation (e.g., AI for UX)
    • Understand UX Problems through Users' Subtle Behavioral Signals
      e.g., What are subtle verbalization and speech patterns that indicate UX problems? (CHI'21, TOCHI'19)
    • Build Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Detect UX Problems Automatically
      e.g., How to build AI models to identify UX problems automatically? (TiiS'20)
    • Design AI-Assisted UX Analysis Tools and Methods
      e.g., How to design an AI-Assisted interactive system to help UX evaluators analyze usabilty test videos? (VIS'19 (TVCG))
      e.g., How to design an AI-Assisted interactive system to help UX evaluators collaborate during their analysis? (VIS'21 (TVCG))
  • Aging and Accessibility (e.g., AI, VR/AR, and Sensing to tackle accessibility issues)
    • Understand Aging and Accessibility Challenges
      e.g., What are the practices and challenges of banking among older adults in today's technology landscape? (DIS'21)
      e.g., What are the perceptions of Accessibility and Assistive Technology use in China? (CHI'21)
      e.g., How to design user-friendly instructions for older adults? (TACCESS'18)
      e.g., How to leverage mobile and sensing technology to design a memory-aid for older adults? (IMWUT'19)
    • Design Assistive Technologies to empower Older Adults and People with Disabilities
      e.g., Could eyelid gestures be used by people with motor impairments to interact with mobile devices? (ASSETS'20)
      e.g., How to design an easy-to-learn gesture-based text-entry method for people with visual impairments? (ASSETS'17)
  • VR/AR and Sensing Techniques
    • Create Non-visual/acoustic VR/AR Experience (e.g., various haptic experiences)
      e.g., How to select occluded and distant objects easily in VR? (CHI'21)
      e.g., How to enhance VR users' experiences by providing non-visual and non-auditorial sensations like wetness? (CHI'20)
    • 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'15)
      e.g., How to make a wearable device smart enough to understand the type of physical space that its wearer is in? (ISWC'14)

We work closely with VisLab in HKUST at the Clear Water Bay Campus. We also welcome external collaborators.

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

Prospective Ph.D. Students: We're looking for talented students who want to pursue a Ph.D. in HCI and accessibility. You should have strong skills in at least two of the following: programming (e.g., web, mobile, VR/AR), design (e.g., product, interaction), hardware prototyping, quantitative research methods (e.g., experimental design, statistics), or qualitative research methods (e.g., interview, field study, thematic analysis). If you think you are a good fit, please contact Prof. Fan & apply Ph.D. in Computational media & Arts .

Current HKUST Students: If you're interested in HCI or Accessibility and are eager to tackle human-centered, social and societal challenges (e.g., aging, disabilities, sustainability, UX) through technology (e.g., AI, IoT, Visualization, VR/AR), we should talk. Please contact Prof. Fan to discuss potential projects.