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Accessible & Pervasive User EXperience (APEX) Group

Make Computing More Accessible and Usable to Everyone

Computing empowers people, ONLY when it is accessible and usable to them. Otherwise, the advancement of computing continues to benefit those who are priviliged to have access to it and lead to increased digital inequality. Thus, one fundemental challenge we are confronting now is: How To Make Computing More Accessible and Usable To Everyone?

Welcome to APEX group! Leading by Prof. Mingming Fan, we approach this fundemental challenge from three aspects:

  • Understanding Accessibility Challenges and Creating novel Assistive Technology, especially for Older Adults and People with Disabilities;
  • Exploring Novel Computational User Experience (UX) Methods to better Detect, Understand and Resolve UX Problems by Augmenting Human Intelligence with Computation;
  • Making VR/AR/Metaverse More Accessible by Creating Multi-Sensory Experiences and Novel Interaction Techniques.

APEX group's research won Best Paper Award, Best Paper Honorable Mention Award, and Best Artifact Award from top-tier venues in the fields of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Accessibility, such as ACM CHI, ACM UbiComp, and ACM ASSETS.

Next, we present example projects to illustrate our research under each theme:

  • Understanding Accessibility Challenges and Creating novel Assistive Technology
    • Understand Accessibility Challenges for Older Adults
      e.g., Language reflects thought. Can we identify problems that older adults encounter when using technology through what they say and how they say it? (CHI 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 Novel Assistive Technologies for Older Adults
      e.g., Trial-and-error is a common and effective way to learn new technology but older adults often face challenges using it. How do we design interactive guidance to help older adults learn digital technology with trial-and-error support? (IMWUT(UbiComp 2022))
      e.g., Older adults often face memory issues. Can we leverage mobile and sensing technology to help older adults remember better? (IMWUT (UbiComp 2019))
    • Understand Accessibility Challenges for People with Disabilities
      e.g., Like sighted people, people with vision impairments (PVI) also need to fetch packages for items they shop online. What challenges do PVI experience?(CHI 2022)
      e.g., How do people with disabiities perceive about accessibility and assistive technology use in China? (CHI 2021)
    • Design Novel Assistive Technologies for People with Disabilities
      e.g., People with motor impairments have difficulty using touch screens. What gestures do they want to create that involve above-the-neck body parts to interact with touchscreen devices? (CHI 2022)
      e.g., How to enable people with motor impairments interact with touchscreen devices with eyelid gestures? (CACM 2022, ASSETS 2020)
      e.g., How to design an easy-to-learn gesture-based text-entry method for people with visual impairments? (ASSETS 2017)
  • Exploring Novel Computational User Experience (UX) Methods to Better Detect, Understand, and Resolve User Experience (UX) Problems
    • Design Human-AI Collaborative UX Analysis Tools and Methods
      e.g., How do different ways of collaboration between AI and UX evaluators affect their performance and perception of AI? (CSCW 2022)
      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))
    • Build AI models to Detect UX Problems Automatically
      e.g., How to build AI models to identify UX problems automatically? (TiiS 2020)
    • Understand How Humans Collaborate to Draw Inspirations For Human-AI Collaboration
      e.g., How do UX practitioners collaborate in industry? (CHI 2022)
    • Understand UX Problems Via People' 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))
  • Making VR/AR/Metaverse More Accessible by Creating Multi-Sensory Experiences and Novel Interaction Techniques.
    • Create Multi-Sensory 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)
    • Design Novel Interaction Techniques
      e.g., How to help VR users select occluded and distant objects more easily with intuitive interaction? (CHI 2021)
    • 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 is part of the Computational Media and Arts (CMA) Thrust at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Guangzhou) and the Division of Integrative Systems and Design (ISD) at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. APEX group members work closely with faculty and students in CMA, VisLab and ISD. APEX group also collaborates with other universities and companies, such as Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), University of Waterloo, Chinese Academy of Sciences, CMU, and Microsoft Research.

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