The recipient of the 2014 award for the best doctoral dissertation completed at a Canadian university in the field of Human-Computer Interaction is Dr. Michelle Annett.
In her dissertation, The Fundamental Issues of Pen-Based Interaction with Tablet Devices, she studies, with careful attention to minute details, the lack of responsiveness and accuracy with current pen-based systems for tablets and other similar devices. In her dissertation, she presents results that uncover novel end-user behaviors unique to digital pen-enabled devices and quantifies the significant impact that device latency, unintended touch, and stylus accuracy have on the digital inking experience today. She developed and studied a number of different prototypes that have the potential to make the next generation tablets as easy to use as writing on paper.
Her work is grounded in proper empirical questions and studies, and delivers a measured approach to a longstanding problem: perceived latency in pen input. The thesis presents an unpretentious, scientific view of a simple problem, without overstating its contributions or conclusions.
Michelle Annett earned her MSc and PhD in Computer Science from the University of Alberta, with a specialization in Human-Computer Interaction, under the supervision of Professor Walter F. Bischof. She has generated a large number of journal and conference publications, in well-respected HCI venues directly related to her thesis, as well as in areas outside HCI. During her graduate work, she was a research intern in the User Interface Group at Autodesk Research in Toronto, Ontario, and a visiting researcher at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington. Michelle is currently an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow, holding at joint appointment in the DGP Lab at the University of Toronto with Dr. Daniel Wigdor and in the User Interface Group at Autodesk Research with Dr. Tovi Grossman and Dr. George Fitzmaurice.
Funding from an anonymous donor established this award in 2011 in honour of Bill Buxton, a Canadian researcher, designer, and musician who has done much to promote excellence in the field of Human-Computer Interaction, both within Canada and internationally. Bill challenges how academics and practitioners think, and he inspires them to do things differently. He is a true advocate for HCI.
The award is determined through a juried process by a selection committee consisting of accomplished researchers in Human-Computer Interaction. This year, the jury was Dr. Michael McGuffin (École de technologie supérieure) and Dr. Roel Vertegaal (Queens University). Dr. Pourang Irani (University of Manitoba) facilitated the process.