I am a researcher at the University of Melbourne in the Interaction Design Lab

My main research interest concerns the design of technologies for animals, and for people to use with animals. We are witnessing a rapid expansion in the use of digital devices  for pets, livestock and wildlife, but the animal tech sector is still in its infancy. My research aim is to build knowledge which will lead to the design of better technologies for animals; technologies which are informed by science, and which are relevant and beneficial to animals.  

Most of my research is conducted in the zoo setting, where I work with specialists in animal welfare, animal behaviour and human-animal interaction. My PhD thesis examined the design of an interactive installation for orangutans, and its effects on zoo visitors' perceptions of the animals 

I employ interaction design techniques, including Research through Design (RtD), co-design and iterative prototyping. These methods allow me to draw on different sources of expertise and explore a problem space in depth. My research rests primarily on qualitative techniques to develop rich understandings of how people experience interactive technologies. I also employ quantitative methods for measuring the effects of digital interventions.

To include animals as participants in the design process, I make use of methods and knowledge from the animal welfare and behavioural sciences. These provide us with a range of techniques to interrogate animals' needs, make inferences about their preferences and motivations, and evaluate the effectiveness of our interventions.

In recent years I have contributed to a number of research projects investigating the role and impact of interactive digital technologies in sensitive contexts and for wellbeing. These have included interventions for older people in residential aged care, for young people in out of home care, and for people quitting smoking. 

I hold a MSc in Information Systems, and have a professional IT background. I have worked across a range of corporate, government, academic and non-profit organisations, in business analysis, project management, user research and UX evaluation.

Tech at the Zoo