Defence of dissertation in the field of design: MSc Baris Serim

Thesis title: Adapting Interaction Based on Users' Visual Attention

Opponent: Prof. Stephan Wensveen, Eindhoven Univeristy of Technology, The Netherlands

Custos: Prof. Turkka Keinonen, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Design
cover for Baris Serim's doctoral dissertation

Adapting Interaction Based on Users' Visual Attention

The digital interfaces we use in our daily lives generally assume that they have our full visual attention during interaction. This thesis asks a question: What if interfaces we use are able distinguish whether we are looking at them or not, and change their behavior accordingly?

Our visual attention is a limited resource and there can be instances where we fail to continuously attend to our displays. Apart from cognitive constraints, we are limited by the physiology of our eyes. The resolution of our eyes is highest in the foveal region and decreases towards visual periphery. New sensing methods such as eye tracking allow us to detect eye movements and better model users’ visual attention. During lack of visual attention, the system can adapt the interaction through a number of methods such as handling input more flexibly or remediating the lack of visual attention through novel visual feedback techniques. These interaction methods have been formulated as part of a constructive research program and applied to single-user applications that require users to split their visual attention between multiple interface regions during pointing and also to collocated and synchronous multi-user applications. Various user studies have been conducted to gather further design considerations and identify the situations in which these interaction techniques can be useful.

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