Ben Lafreniere of the University of Saskatchewan visits DGP

Ben Lafreniere of the University of Saskatchewan visited the DGP to talk about rehearsal-based interfaces.


Ben Lafreniere is a Human-Computer Interaction researcher who specializes in the areas of learning and skill development with interactive systems, and the usability of feature-rich software. In 2014 he received a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo for his work on developing task-centric user interfaces. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Interaction lab at the University of Saskatchewan.


Rehearsal-based interfaces are designed to enable a smooth transition from novice to expert performance by making the novice user’s visually-guided actions a physical rehearsal of the expert’s feedback-free actions. While a number of examples of these interfaces have been developed, including Marking Menus and FastTap menus, there is little published data on how skill development happens in real use of these interfaces. In this talk I will describe two studies we conducted on skill development in rehearsal-based interfaces: one in a game that directly rewards rapid menu selections, and another in a drawing application that has no particular need for urgency. Our results show very different patterns of adoption in these two applications, and suggest that rehearsal of physical actions alone does not guarantee that users will adopt expert methods. I will also discuss insights into what affects use of expert methods by users, and the implications of our findings for how rehearsal-based techniques should be employed in practice. Finally, I will discuss ongoing research that builds on this work.

Prof. Sid Fels of UBC visits DGP

Professor Sid Fels from the ECE department at UBC, a DCS PhD alumnus, visited the DGP to talk about his work on the intersections between HCI, human anatomy, and forms of expression.


Sid has been in the department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of British Columbia since 1998. Sidney received his Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Computer Science at the University of Toronto in 1994 and 1990 respectively. He received his B.A.Sc. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Waterloo in 1988. He was recognized as a Distinguished University Scholar at UBC from 2004. He was a visiting researcher at ATR Media Integration & Communications Research Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan from 1996 to 1997. He also worked at Virtual Technologies Inc. in Palo Alto, CA. He is internationally known for his work in human-computer interaction, biomechanical modeling of human anatomy, and new interfaces for musical expression and interactive arts. He was a principal investigator on the Canadian Networks Centre of Excellence on Graphics, Animation and New Media (GRAND) from 2010-2014. He was the Director of the Media and Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre (MAGIC) from 2001-2012.


Design for Human Experience and Expression: Research at MAGIC and the HCT Laboratory


Research at the Media and Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre (MAGIC; and the Human Communications Technology (HCT) laboratory ( has been targeting design for human experience and expression. In this presentation, I’€™ll start with a discussion of gesture-to-speech and voice explorations, including Glove-TalkII and the Digital Ventriloquized Actors (DIVAs). I’€™ll connect these to other explorations of the new interfaces for musical and visual expression that we have created.  I’€™ll then show some more work on new forms of personalized video viewing that we call the MyView system. MyView creates a new viewing experience though integrating human memory patterns into the navigation, browsing, annotation, authoring and sharing mechanisms. I will briefly discuss our work on modelling human anatomy ( and function, such as speaking, chewing, swallowing and breathing ( with biomechanical models using our toolkit Artisynth ( This work is motivated by our quest to make a new vocal instrument that can be controlled by gesture. I’ll discuss some of the activities we have been doing on some new 3D displays: pCubee and Spheree. Finally, these investigations will be used to support a theory of designing for intimacy and discussions of perspectives on human computer interaction for new experiences and forms of expression.