Research

Gary Hsieh's Research Group Archive

The following research group descriptions are archived because they are no longer offered, the faculty member is on sabbatical, or the group is taking a break. Please contact the faculty member or an advisor to learn more about these groups.


Implementing Mental Health Strategies in Everyday Life

Spring 2019

In this DRG we seek to understand how people develop and use strategies to manage their mental health in their everyday life. We will conduct a qualitative study to understand how people work individually, and with their therapists, to develop strategies that help people with their everyday life to cope with mental health issues.

As part of the DRG we will finalize interview protocols (that we already have a draft of), analyze therapy sessions between clients and therapists, conduct interviews with therapists and clients, and analyze qualitative data.

Many people cope with mental health challenges. People develop strategies to cope with stressful situations and to improve outcomes for supporting mental health. In this DRG we seek to understand how people implement strategies to support mental health in their everyday life. Through a qualitative study we will understand how people work with health providers to decide on goals to support mental health, how individuals implement solutions towards mental health goals, and how people update their goals and strategies as they try to implement them everyday. We will be working in the context of depression and older adults.

Requirements: Students are expected to have taken HCDE 313/418/518.

Activities: During the DRG we will conduct an interview and diary study to understand how people implement mental health strategies in their everyday life. We will also analyze interactions between clients and therapists to understand their practices in setting goals and planning actions during the therapy session.

Students will be expected to participate in recruiting participants, conducting interviews, analyzing qualitative data, and writing up results.

We will meet for 90 minutes weekly. The time and day of the DRG will be decided to accommodate the schedule of accepted students and research team. You can register for 1–3 credit hours in HCDE 496/596; for each credit you should expect to spend about three hours of work per week outside of meeting times.


Design and Development for Crowdsourcing Physical Activity Advice

Spring 2018

In this DRG, we are looking for a few designers and developers to work on the design of CrowdFit. CrowdFit is a tool that leverages the potential of people who are remote from each other to provide help for physical activity. CrowdFit enables an online helper, such as a worker from a task marketplace like Mechanical Turk, to create an actionable plan that follows expert techniques and fits the needs of the person they are helping.  CrowdFit has a client interface for the person who receives the physical activity plan and a helper interface for the people who provide the help and support.

The students will work as a team on the website redesign. Students can choose to participate in one of the two roles below, or to work on both aspects.

(1) Design roles: As part of the website redesign, students will perform usability testing, design the brand for this application, create wireframes and assets for the visual and interaction design of the website. Students should have taken HCDE 308 or HCDE 508

(2) Developer roles: Students will develop new features into an existing tool. Students should have taken HCDE 310 or equivalent. Experience is desirable with back end: Python, or Django, and front-end: Javascript, JQuery.

To apply, submit a statement stating why you are interested in participating in this DRG, and your resume. Include a link to your portfolio if you are applying for a design position. Include a link to your github or share example of your development if you are applying for a developer position.  


Conversational Agent for Collecting Patient Information in Hospital Waiting Rooms

Spring 2018

More data from patients are needed to understand low-income patients’ needs and offer tailored services to address these needs. For example, discovering that a patient lacks transportation and thus cannot get to the pharmacy to fill their prescription is an important need that should be addressed. Otherwise, the doctor’s visit and prescription from that visit is wasted. Currently, this type of information is often gathered with paper and pen surveys as patients wait in waiting rooms. However, response rates are low. In this DRG, we will explore the use of conversational agents to facilitate this data collection. Can such an agent increase survey participation and improve the quality of responses? What are the tradeoffs between voice- and text-based interactions in this context?

In this project, we will be working on prototyping the user interaction, visual interface and the conversation dialogs. While we are generally looking for motivated students who are interested in exploring conversational agent designs, students with strong prototyping, design, and technical communication backgrounds are a plus, as we will be preparing for a deployable prototype. 


Supporting Designers of Behavior Change Technologies

Designers use a variety of software (Adobe Suite, prototyping tools, whiteboards, etc); information resources (forums, search-engines, blogs, peer discussions) and patterns (icon sets, templates, libraries) to assist their projects.

We have been studying how designers create systems to encourage behavior change. As part of this process, we plan to create and evaluate new tools to support their work. To continue our efforts, we are looking for about eight highly motivated students, with a variety of experience, interested in 2-5 credit hours. Weekly meeting days and times are TBD and will be scheduled to accommodate as many interested students as possible.

You will work with the research team to ideate, design, and construct low-fidelity prototypes to evaluate in design workshops. Depending on the results, we will design and develop final designs of the solutions, whatever they may be — software plug-ins, web sites or apps, or design resources (templates, design patterns). During the quarter, we will ideate, sketch, and dive into hands-on design exercises and critiques.


Coming to America: Building An App for International Students

Co-directed by Gary Hsieh, Mia Suh

We are looking for interested, motivated and responsible students to join our research group to build an online community for international students. For the last quarters, we have built a web application to support international students, and it is almost getting there.

In this quarter, we plan to polish the application, and to test its usability. To continue our efforts, we are looking for students who have prior experiences with:

  • Ruby on Rails
  • Relational Database

Coming to America: Building An App for International Students

We are looking for interested and motivated students to build an online community for international students.

Studying abroad is not easy. International students have to deal with the unfamiliar contexts such as new friends, new university, and new country. The process entails rapid changes and adjustments to new environments, which need much time and effort.

This quarter, we aim to build a web application for international students in UW. For the last quarters, we have been studying about the informational needs of international students and designing an online community to support them. To continue our efforts, we are looking for students who have prior experiences with:

- Ruby on Rails
- Front-end programming (e.g., Java Scripts, HTML, CSS)
- Relational Database


Exploring Cues to Action in today’s Health & Wellbeing application market

The Mobile Health Market market is growing rapidly, in the last year it was worth $4 and is expected to reach $26 bln by 2017. Applications such as Google Fit, MyFitnessPal, Fitbit are designed to motivate exercising, healthy diet, or weight loss. Other applications offer motivational reminders about medication taking, or even try to help with breaking undesirable habits, such as smoking. Many of these applications use motivational messages, visual, audio or tactile feedback, or other means of encouraging people to take action, these are so called Cues to Action. Understanding the variety of such cues offers a useful summary of the current state-of-the-art practices in health & wellbeing mobile and online markets.

Our goal in this DRG is to explore the market of existing mobile and online health & wellbeing applications, specifically those that focus on eliciting behavior change. We aim to analyze and systematize the approaches used for motivating people to change their behavior and come up with a taxonomy of available Cues to Action. To scope the DRG for this quarter we will focus mainly on the text-based Cues to Action.

By the end of the quarter we expect to have a full taxonomy of the approaches for motivating action used in mobile health & wellbeing domain. The taxonomy is meant to reveal which strategies are most and least common, which strategies are most popular in which subdomain of the health & wellbeing market, and finally identify a number of possible underexplored design directions for creating new types of Cues to Action. We are looking for a small group of students to participate in the exploration of the current health & wellbeing application market, who are willing to commit up to 9 hours (3 credits) per week to the project. There are no specific skills required for participation in this DRG.


Crowd and Friend-sourced Support for Behavior Change

People use online behavior change programs, such as diets, exercise programs, financial plans to better their behavior. These are often one size fits all programs, not tailored to a person's needs and context. At the same time, many people who have already tried such programs have acquired knowledge on what works or doesn’t for themselves.

Our goal is to leverage the expertise of other people with changing behavior to provide recommendations for improvement based on a person's goals, preferences, and habits. In this DRG we will develop a tool to support social recommendations for the creation of personalized step by step behavior change programs. The tool uses data that people track about their behavior, such as their food or physical activity. The tool facilitates requests and recommendations for daily improvement of behavior between an individual and their friends or strangers who are interested in helping.

By the end of the quarter we expect to have a full design of the system, and an early prototype built. We will draw on interview data from our initial prototype for this design, but may also continue iterative user-testing throughout the design process. We are looking for a small group of students to participate in the design and building of the tool, who are willing to commit at least 9 hours (3 credits) per week to the project. Skills required are: design experience (visual and interaction design) and/or programming experience (front and back end development using web frameworks such as Node.js or Django).


Beeswax: An App to Support Local Businesses
 
Not only is the local economy an important component of a neighborhood’s health, autonomy and connectivity, local small businesses have also been referred to as the “lifeblood” of United States’ economy, responsible for jobs creation and the stability of our overall economy. Our goal is to explore the use of technologies to support the success of our local businesses to improve economic vitality. 
 
We are looking for interested and motivated students to join our research team. You will be iteratively designing and building an application to help local community members to welcome and support the businesses around them. If you are interested, please send an email to garyhs@uw.edu describing your interest in the project, your level in the program (e.g., BS, MS, PhD), relevant skills and experience, and the number of credits you are seeking. Meetings are mandatory for all registered students.
 

An App to Help Assess and Track Noise Levels at Businesses and Venues 
 
It’s not just Century Link Field that is loud when the Seahawks play, so is your local coffee shop and hair salon. Have you ever wondered how loud is too loud? Our research is directed at designing and developing a smartphone app that allows you to track and document noise levels in your everyday environment.  It will tell you if your listening habits are putting you at risk for hearing loss, or not. Through crowd sourcing and data sharing, this app will also enable us to gather noise levels, in different locations, so people with and without hearing loss can locate social settings (restaurants, fitness centers, coffee shops etc.) where they can hear what is being said. Being able to hear a business client sitting across from you at a restaurant table, and finding the quietist seating section in Century Link Field are only a few examples.
 
Motivation: Approximately 15 percent (26 million) of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have hearing loss because of exposure to loud sounds or noise at work or in leisure activities. Approximately one in three people in the United States between 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing. Hearing loss makes it hard to enjoy talking with family and friends, especially in social settings, and often leads to feelings of isolation as well as social withdrawal.
What You'll Do:  As a team, we will design and prototype a location-review app that can be used by potential users to explore and assess noise information at various social settings.

Coming to America: Designing an Online Community for Immigrants

 
The process of settling into a new country can be extremely challenging and stressful. It entails rapid changes and adjustments to a new environment. Not only do these immigrants need information to meet their immediate needs and solve their daily problems, they also seek social support and desire to be connected to their new environment.
 
We are looking for interested and motivated students to join our research team. You will be iteratively designing and building a website to facilitate the information and social needs of immigrants. If you are interested, please send an email to garyhs@uw.edu and miasuh@uw.edu  describing your interest in the project, your level in the program (e.g., BS, MS, PhD), relevant skills and experience, and the number of credits you are seeking. Meetings are mandatory for all registered students.

Designing Digital Money

From poker chips in an online hold'em game, to copper/silve/gold pieces in World of Warcraft, to tokens in a new iPhone game, to the Bitcoin icon, there are many ways to visually represent digital money to the users. However, can the design of digital money influence how people use the money? Are there designs that are “better” or “worse”? In what ways?  
This research group will:
- Survey existing designs of digital money to determine the design dimensions.
- Review literature on money and the biases in decision making when money is involved.
- Conduct experiments to test how different designs may influence behavior.
- Write and submit a research paper on findings.
 
If you are interested, please email Gary Hsieh (garyhs@uw.edu) with a CV/resume, and a paragraph describing why this project interests you, how your background/experiences fits with the project and the number of credit hours you are seeking (0-3 credit hours).

Developing Motivators to Encourage Neighborhood Activism

Our physical neighborhoods hold tremendous influence over our safety, education, health, and general well-being. However, many studies have shown that civic participation in local communities has been in decline for the past 50 years. How then, can we get more people involved in their neighborhoods? Are some strategies, or motivators, more effective in encouraging certain activities, in certain neighborhoods?
This research group will:
  1. Search and review existing theoretical research on civic participation
  2. Explore and discuss successful real-world strategies to encourage civic participation
  3. Test and compare strategies in controlled and/or real-world settings
  4. Generate a taxonomy of motivators that helps outline the strengths and weaknesses of each individual strategies
We are looking for motivated individuals to join our team. There are no prerequisites; we are looking for a group with a diverse set of skills and experiences at all levels. If you are interested, please email Gary Hsieh (garyhs@uw.edu) with a CV/resume, and a paragraph describing why this project interests you, and how your background/experiences fits with the project.