Portrait of Siân Lindley

Siân Lindley



I am a social scientist in the Human Experience & Design (HXD) group at Microsoft Research in Cambridge. I research how people manage and interact with their personal digital content, in order to inform the design of new technologies. I work on the Digital Possessions project, which is motivated by the need to reimagine the ‘file’ metaphor. The file was designed before the Internet became ubiquitous, and doesn’t deal well with how digital content gets copied to different places, shared with different people, and saved as different versions over time. By designing new metaphors and interactions, we aim to address these problems and enable people to be more aware and in control of their digital content. You can find out more from our project webpage or by watching my TEDx talk.


I am Co-Chair of the User Experience and Usability Subcommittee for CHI 2017.
I have accepted the role of Vice President at Large on the SIGCHI Executive Committee.
Jayne Wallace and I had our paper on Placing in Age published in ToCHI.
Jane Gruning presented the work we did on joint ownership of digital and physical things at CHI 2016.


Physical Charts

Established: September 23, 2014

The physical charts are an attempt to make data and data visualisations legible to ordinary people in their daily lives. In response to the increasing sophistication of data visualisations and the seemingly unquestioning quest for novelty, the charts make playful use of long established and highly familiar representations like pie charts and bar graphs. Rather than estrange viewers, the objective is to enable them to, at a glance, engage with and comprehend data. The Physical…


Established: July 10, 2014

Climatology gives you climate information for anywhere on Earth: temperature, rain and sunniness. Whether finding where are the warm, dry places to go on holiday in December, or avoiding rain for your wedding, to finding out what the climate is like in Kazakhstan in April, Climatology allows you to discover the information you want. As of June 30th 2016, the Climatology app will be closing due to the completion of our research project and no…

Things We’ve Learnt About…

Established: August 3, 2011

"Things We've Learnt About.." is a regular publication from the Socio-Digital Systems team that summarises our work around a specific theme in a way that we hope is interesting, insightful and inspirational. And most importantly, succinct. The magazine is available as a free PDF, or can be bought in print form. Our Motivation A lot of the written material that we produce in Socio-Digital Systems is directed very much at an academic audience. Through conferences…




Challenges for Designing new Technology for Health and Wellbeing in a Complex Mental Healthcare Context
Anja Thieme, John McCarthy, Paula Johnson, Stephanie Phillips, Jayne Wallace, Siân Lindley, Karim Ladha, Daniel Jackson, Diana Nowacka, Ashur Rafiev, Cassim Ladha, Thomas Nappey, Mathew Kipling, Peter Wright, Thomas D. Meyer, Patrick Olivier, in CHI '16 Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM, April 26, 2016, View abstract, Download PDF, View external link











Invited Talks and Panels

  • Lindley, S. Rethinking ownership in the digital age. TEDxEastEnd 2015. The Oval, Bethnal Green, 24th January 2015.
  • Lindley, S. Data and its street life (keynote). Producing Data: Practices, materialities, values ¦ An interdisciplinary workshop. University of Edinburgh, 3th September 2014.
  • Lindley, S. The timeline as a framework for meaning making (keynote). Temporal Design: An interdisciplinary workshop. University of Edinburgh, 28th May 2014.
  • Lindley, S. The timeline as a framework for meaning making. Time and Design Research Symposium. Royal College of Art, 19th March 2014.
  • Lindley, S. Representing family (keynote). See Talk Think Family. Manchester Metropolitan University, 20th February 2014.
  • Lindley, S., Regan, T. and Saunders, J. Taking data to the street (panel). Computers, Privacy and Data Protection 2014. Brussels, 23rd January 2014.
  • Panelist on ‘Science and Tech’ at the BBC’s 100 Women Conference, hosted by Lucy Hockings and shown on the BBC World Service. BBC Studios, London, 31st October 2013.


  • Cao, X., Helmes, J., Sellen, A. and Lindley, S.E. “Creating Animations”. US Patent Application, filed September 7, 2009. 2012.
  • Frohlich, D., Brown, L., Durrant, A., Lindley, S., Oleksik, G., Robson, D., Rumsey, F., Sellen, A. and Williamson, J. “Communication Devices”. US Patent Application no. 11/972,283, filed January 10, 2008. 2012.
  • Brown, L., Durrant, A., Frohlich, D., Lindley, S., Oleksik, G., Robson, D., Rumsey, F., Sellen, A. and Williamson, J. “Sound Playback and Editing through Physical Interaction”. US Patent Application no. 11/952,820, filed December 7, 2007. 2012.
  • Sellen, A., Brown, L., Durrant, A., Frohlich, D., Lindley, S., Oleksik, G., Robson, D., Rumsey, F. and Williamson, J. “Monitoring and Notification Apparatus”. US Patent Application no. 11/952,773, filed December 7, 2007. Granted March 2, 2010.
  • Lindley, S., Brown, L., Durrant, A., Frohlich, D., Oleksik, G., Robson, D., Rumsey, F., Sellen, A. and Williamson, J. “Sound Display Devices”. US Patent Application no. 11/972,326, filed January 10, 2008. Pending.


  • Lindley, S.E. (2006). The effect of the affordances offered by shared interfaces on the social behaviour of collocated groups. PhD Thesis, University of York.
  • Lindley, S.E. (2001). A study of how the orientation of a shared interactive display affects collaboration in groups. MSc Thesis, University of Sussex.