I was very pleased to be part of the committee for Dhaval Vyas‘ PhD defense last Friday.
Dhaval’s thesis “Designing for Awareness: An Experience-focused HCI Perspective”1 is well worth a read with ethnographic studies of academics (!) and designers at work; and also technical interventions in both situations: Panorama a public screen photo-montage-style display and CAM a way to tag and discuss physical objects.
While reading the thesis I also realised that ‘awareness’ is one of those slippery words, that has a slightly technical meaning in CSCW, and one you sort of understand by example and diffusion, but is surprisingly hard to pin down. Dhaval does not have a precise definition and neither do I: the HCI textbook says “generally having some feeling for what other people are doing or have been doing” – hardly precise! I have some half-formed thoughts on this, but will leave them for another post.
I first knew Dhaval when he was doing his MSc at Lancaster in 2001/2002. He has always been dedicated to pursuing an academic career and it is wonderful 10 years on to see this come to fruition. There have been a lot of barriers on the way and so this is a testament to Dhaval’s strength of character as well as intellectual attainment.