Candidate Ahmed Sabbir Arif

Faculty Candidate Seminar: Smart and Efficient Input and Interaction Techniques

January 30, 2017

Ahmed Sabbir Arif, RTA School of Media, Faculty of Communication & Design, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON Canada

January 30, 2017 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm, 145/149 EE Building

Refreshments starting at 2:15pm



My talk will cover two spectrums of data: entry and manipulation. I will start with  a brief overview of my work involving text entry and error correction. Since text entry involves both cognitive and motor skills, and a close cooperation between  the system and the user, it is vital that novel techniques be developed with due consideration of both human and system factors. I will discuss how subtle changes  in the input process could make a significant difference on the user experience, and how my research has influenced practices. I will then discuss my ongoing work on alterative input modalities, particularly touch force and gestures, input with  unconventional devices, mainly smartwatches, and non-traditional users, primarily  young children. I will then shift my focus to data visualization and manipulation. A key thread of my work combines visuospatial skills with computational methods to  facilitate understanding in the manipulation of big/biomedical data. Taking  inspiration from the common coding theory that describes how perceptual representations  and motor representations are linked, I designed and developed tangible user  interfaces to facilitate exploration and discovery in various big/biomedical networks, including gene expressions and metabolic pathways. I will discuss how tangible  interfaces could aid in collaborative learning, conceptual understanding, and support  non-experts who are coming into an expert domain. Finally, I will conclude reflecting  on future directions of my research.


Ahmed Sabbir Arif is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the RTA School of Media, Ryerson University. As a researcher, his goal is to make computer technologies accessible to everyone by developing natural and intuitive input and interaction techniques and technologies. Towards that, he studies the existing systems, identifies issues with them, and then targets those issues from theoretical, behavioral, and practical standpoints. A major thread of his work focuses on smarter solutions for text entry, error correction, and editing on various devices. His other interests include mobile interaction, tangible user interfaces, child-computer interaction, usable security, and biological/big data visualization.

He has received many awards, including the Michael A. J. Sweeney Award for the best student HCI paper in 2014 and the CHISIG Gitte Lindgaard Award for the best paper in 2013. He has also been on the Program Committee of many premier conferences, including the ACM CHI LBW/Workshop and the ACM MobileHCI. Before joining Ryerson University, he was an NSERC ENGAGE funded Postdoctoral Fellow at Flowton Tech, Inc. He has also worked for Microsoft Research, Redmond as a Research Intern. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from York University in 2013. He obtained his M.Sc. in Computer Science from Lakehead University and B.Sc. in Computer Science from Trent University.