I am a research fellow at Applied
Computing in Dundee. My main area of interest (and the one I am paid to
do) is working on ways to help older adults to use computers to communicate
with their families and friends. The project is called
Keeping in Touch (or KIT for short).
I also work on ways of improving web accessibility for older adults (see
our publications on the Non Browser
My first area of interest in computing was ways of helping people with dyslexia
to personalise their reading environment, the project is called SeeWord and is
ongoing (hampered slightly by a lack of funding).
What connects these things together is the poor design of current computer
systems for people who are inexperienced computer users or who are different to
the (mythical, I suspect) "Typical User".
The first area I worked in (1994-2000) was modern history. I was especially
interested in the way in which ordinary people evade and resist (or fail to)
the demands and expectations of totalitarian states. My PhD was on the Russian
Orthodox Church in Soviet Russia during the Great Patriotic War (like WW2 but
starting in 1941 when Hitler broke the Nazi-Soviet Pact and attacked the Soviet
Studying the recently-opened archival documents was absolutely thrilling, but
winters in Moscow weren't so fun. I have never been so cold.
I have a toddler. There is barely time for sleep, let alone anything else.
Although I do spend a lot more of my time eating cake and reading about ducks than I would ever have imagined possible.