HCI International 2015
Los Angeles, CA, USA
2-7 August 2015

Navigation Menu

T16: Communication Skills for HCI: Listening Effectively to Users of Assistive Technology

Tuesday, 4 August 2015, 09:00 - 12:30

Lillian Blume (short bio)

University of Toronto, Canada
Ryerson University, Canada



By the end of this workshop, participants will

  • understand their current listening behaviour and its impact on their work
  • be able to use active listening skills with research subjects and technology users
  • know how to communicate helpfully with vulnerable or troubled people

Content and Benefits:

In the field of assistive technology, listening skills are crucial. You might be developing technologies that reduce suffering and improve the experience of being alive. Your work may involve talking to vulnerable people and their caregivers. You might be working with people who have debilitating emotions. At times, users or research subjects may feel afraid, embarrassed, disconnected, cold, distant, sad, tense, agitated, angry, and confused.

If they experience any of these emotions during your research, it will affect their participation. To be most open and responsive, people need to feel safe, accepted, and understood.

In this workshop, we will explore empathic listening techniques and skills for thinking on our feet when we hear sensitive information. We will focus on listening when we want to connect, reduce tension, or empower others to solve problems. We will

  • analyze our listening behaviours
  • learn interpersonal factors that make a response accepting or rejecting of other people’s experience and feelings
  • learn how and when to give advice
  • roleplay paraphrasing and empathic listening in participant-relevant situations
  • transform lives with the power of listening

Target Audience:

Anyone in an HCI field working with vulnerable populations (deaf, blind, mobility or cognitively impaired, individuals in chronic pain, children, the elderly, and the rest of humanity).

Anyone wanting to improve their communication skills and effectiveness.

Bio Sketch of Presenter:

Since 2005, Lil Blume has been working in the Computer Science Department at the University of Toronto teaching communication skills to computer scientists. She also teaches in the Master of Digital Media Program at Ryerson University.

At the HCI-I 2007 in Beijing, Blume demonstrated classroom technology for improving public speaking skills. At ITiCSE 2009 in Paris, she presented a curriculum and techniques for teaching communication skills to CS students.

Blume has presented workshops in communication, teamwork, conflict resolution, and other personal growth areas in academic and industry settings across Canada.

follow us Icon Link: Follow us on Facebook Icon Link: Follow us on Twitter