Smartphones as User Interfaces for Everyday Appliances

Short project description: Conducted research with user experience designers at Microsoft to explore the design space of smartphone UIs for everyday appliances.

My position: Research Intern with the Sensors and Devices group, Computer Mediated Living, Microsoft Research Cambridge (UK)

Primary roles: Project manager, interviewer

Summary of my contributions: Conducted interviews, designed and evaluated sketching tasks, conducted comprehensive literature review, analyzed and reported results via a presentation to the Computer Mediated Living group at MSRC and a paper submitted to an HCI conference.

Lessons learned:

  • There are some points in the design process/development cycle when user research isn’t ideal , depending on who’s involved and who has the say-so.
  • Even minimal quantitative data can compliment and clarify qualitative data —and speak to those less qualitatively inclined.
  • Working demos and prototypes really make concepts real .
  • Multiple methods triangulate findings, yes, but also allow participants to approach problems from multiple angles .
  • Driving a car with the steering wheel on the left really screws your proprioception. RIP, left-side tires .


  • None.