Human Centred Computing

Our Human Centred Computing/Human Computer Interaction work includes research in Accessibility, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, and Social Inclusion. It covers our socio-technical expertise in the design, implementation, deployment and evaluation of technology with and for specific groups. This includes the socially disadvantaged, older users, those in long-term or intensive care, and those with disabilities.

Professor Annalu Waller demonstrates an AAC system

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 – the UK-wide scheme to benchmark the strength of the work conducted by the higher education sector – found that our work in this area had created a considerable impact in the world outside of academia, helping a wide range of beneficiaries, including patients, carers, healthcare professionals, judiciary and government.

The research group hosts a number of user groups who meet in our User Centre, allowing students and researchers the unique opportunity to engage with older adults and people with disabilities on a regular basis.

We collaborate with a broad range of groups to ensure that technological systems are built to meet the needs and aspirations of a wide variety people. Such work is very beneficial to society and helps to enhance the lives of many individuals.

Research areas include interaction design, healthcare technology, augmentative and alternative communication, ubiquitous computing; across the board, our work focuses on working closely with users. One of the research group's key successes has been the partnering with University of Newcastle to win one of only three £12m Digital Economy research hubs established by the UK government.

Human Centred Computing at the Computing comprises of the following areas of research (click any theme for more information):

Accessible Computing

Accessible Computing aims to ensure that computer systems can be used by people with diverse abilities. In particular, users may have a range of physical, sensory and cognitive impairments which may restrict the way in which they access technology. Computing@Dundee has a group of dedicated researchers who work directly with users in our unique User Centre and in the community. Through our Human Centred Computing Consultancy, we offer interested parties the opportunity to benefit from the research, knowledge and expertise that we have built up over many years of academic research and working with real people to understand how technology can best be designed to help improve their everyday lives.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication

The School of Computing is the world leader in developing intelligent and multimodal technologies within the field of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), working with the foremost companies in the field to support and enhance interaction for individuals with a variety of communication impairments across the lifespan.


The vision of DAPRlab - the Digitally-Augmented Perception Research lab - is to enhance the day-to-day lives of all people by developing digital technology that increases our ability to perceive the world around us. Our approach looks first to develop technology to help people with sensory impairments, and then to generalize this technology to people with typical abilities. Although our long-term goal is to augment all human sensory abilities, DAPRlab is currently focussed on enhancing visual perception, but in a wide range of circumstances including helping people with impaired colour vision, people who rely on speechreading to communicate, and people experiencing situational visual impairment.

Social Inclusion

Social Inclusion research focuses on developments where digital technologies can deliver major social benefits. An interdisciplinary approach is essential for this work to have a real impact, and so the projects are being investigated from the research perspectives of the user relating to other perspectives of technology, society and business. Each of our three current projects aim to make use of access to digital technologies to tackle social exclusion:

  • SiDE: Social Inclusion through the Digital Economy
  • BESiDE: Built Environment for Social Inclusion through the Digital Economy
  • Portrait: The Portrait System for Care Staff of People with Dementia

Our focus is on the end users of technology and the social and technological barriers to technology adoption, making it easier for people to access the life-changing benefits offered by digital technologies. At the heart of all our endeavours are the people who will be the users of technology. Research is informed through direct interaction with a wide community of older adults with diverse need and abilities helping researchers evaluate usefulness and usability of technologies.

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