I explore the Future of Work at Microsoft Research Cambridge (UK). I am a human-computer interaction researcher interested in how the affordances of communication technologies interact with language, social action, and culture. I am currently focused on Socially Intelligent Meetings.
I am interested in video-mediated collaboration, enterprise social media platforms, cross-device interaction and device ecologies, engineering culture, tangible data visualisation of cloud data, and research-product group alignment. Most of my publications cover technologized interaction across a range of contexts, such as enterprise and personal video-mediated communication in various forms, online freelancing, ambient audio technologies to support independent living, IRC openings and non-responses, social media in the workplace, crisis memes, error mascots, Internet culture, and cross-device interaction in video-mediated collaboration and slideware. I have also explored membership categorisation analysis and omnirelevance.
My approach is ethnomethodological, drawing on ethnographic data and analysing that data using qualitative methods such as conversation analysis and membership categorisation analysis.
I have been a member of four global first-place winning projects in Microsoft OneWeek Hackathons. You can read about the first of these in our Garage Wall of Fame post Mobile Sharing and Companion Experiences for Microsoft Teams Meetings. One day I might even be able to say what the other ones were! 😉
I received my Ph.D. in 2010 in the field of Sociology specialising in Communication, from the University at Albany, State University of New York. My dissertation was chaired by Professor Emerita Anita Pomerantz with committee members Professor Teresa Harrison, Professor Glenna Spitze, and Professor Ronald Jacobs.
Prior to working at Microsoft I was a Lecturer in Strategic Communication at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
I have been a PC member of CHI several times and reviewed for many major communication and technology journals and conferences. I was the Senior Editor of the Communication Technology section of the online Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Communication. I have edited special issues of the Electronic Journal of Communication and the Australian Journal of Communication. I co-chaired the Microsoft 2020 New Future of Work Symposium (with Gloria Mark) and the 2012 conference of the Australasian Institute of Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis (with Richard Fitzgerald).
I was the former Chair and a former Board Member of Electronic Frontiers Australia, a non-profit group advocating for digital access, freedom, and privacy.
Many organizations are deciding to adopt a hybrid way of working - one that allows employees to work from home or from the office depending on the job function and the needs of the business. As we re-enter the workplace, Microsoft research insights illustrate the need to learn new hybrid workplace skills and habits around core areas of work such as meetings and productivity.
Despite sophisticated technologies for representational fidelity in hybrid meetings, in which co-located and remote participants collaborate via video or audio, meetings are still often disrupted by practical problems with trying to include remote participants. In this paper, we use micro-analysis of three disruptive moments in a hybrid meeting from a global software company to unpack blended technological and conversational practices of inclusion and exclusion. We argue that designing truly valuable experiences for hybrid meetings requires moving from the traditional, essentialist, and perception-obsessed user-centered design approach to a phenomenological approach to the needs of meetings themselves. We employ the metaphor of ‘configuring the meeting’ to propose that complex ecologies of people, technology, spatial, and institutional organization must be made relevant in the process of design.
Via audiovisual communications and a controllable physical embodiment, Mobile Robotic telePresence (MRP) systems aim to support enhanced collaboration between remote and local members of a given setting. But MRP systems also put the remote user in positions where they frequently rely on the help of local partners. Getting or ‘recruiting’ such help can be done with various verbal and embodied actions ranging in explicitness. In this paper, we look at how such recruitment occurs in video data drawn from an experiment where pairs of participants (one local, one remote) performed a timed searching task. We find a prevalence of implicit recruitment methods and outline obstacles to effective recruitment that emerge due to communicative asymmetries that are built into MRP design. In a future where remote work becomes widespread, assistance through remote work technology like MRPs needs close examination at a fundamental interactional level, taking into account how communicative asymmetries are at play in everyday use of such technologies.
Due to recent events, millions of office workers have needed to rapidly adjust to working from home—learning new collaboration tools and best practices, re-thinking how to stay connected with colleagues outside the office, and adapting to new social norms around meetings. Working remotely presents both technical and social challenges, and researchers at Microsoft have been working across disciplines to understand and support both aspects of this challenge for decades.
Video meeting research has long reported that technological constraints can lead to low engagement levels of remote participants. Under-reported, however, are the ways in which remote participants can choose their level of engagement, with the technology framing but not determining…
Mobile Sharing and Companion Experiences Video meetings traditionally limit each person to one device, hindering the ways that people can participate, share, and interact. Microsoft Teams empowers users to achieve more by using their computer and phone together as companions…