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Associate Professor Thea Blackler

Creative Industries Faculty,
School of Design Office,
Industrial Design

Personal

Name
Associate Professor Thea Blackler
Position(s)
Head of Discipline
Creative Industries Faculty,
School of Design Office,
Industrial Design
Associate Professor
Creative Industries Faculty,
School of Design Office,
Industrial Design
Discipline *
Design Practice and Management
Phone
+61 7 3138 7030
Email
Location
View location details (QUT staff and student access only)
Identifiers and profiles
ORCID iD
Qualifications

PhD (Queensland University of Technology)

Professional memberships
and associations
Keywords

Intuitive interaction, Intutive use, Observational analysis, Product design, Usability, design education, design methodology, human factors, industrial design, interface design

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008

Biography

Dr Thea Blackler joined QUT’s School of Design as Lecturer in 2005 and has been a Senior Lecturer in the School since 2008.

Research interests

  • the intuitive usability of products
  • design history and criticism education.

She is currently working on:

  • intuitive interaction for older people
  • design methodologies for intuitive interaction.

Dr Thea Blackler has received:

  • various grants and awards for her research and teaching
  • over $285,000 in research funding since 2007.

Grants

  • 2008 – 2010: $280,000 – ARC Discovery Grant: Facilitating intuitive interaction with complex devices for older users. Thea Blacker, Vesna Popovic, Doug Mahar.

Older people have difficulties using complex electronic devices, and our research has shown that they use them less intuitively than younger people do. Older people are often not experiencing the benefits of new developments and technologies, and so can feel isolated from modern workplaces and society generally. This project aims to investigate, and build a clear picture of, the relationship between age and intuitive interaction with complex devices, particularly healthcare devices. This picture will inform the development of a tool to guide designers in making complex devices more intuitive for older people to use.

  • 2007: $5,000 – BEE (Design Theme) seed grant: Grant to seed the research into intuitive interaction and older people. Thea Blackler.
  • 2007: $1,200 – BEE small research grant: Grant for assistance in prototyping interfaces in preparation for testing. Thea Blackler.

Awards and recognition

  • 2007Vice Chancellor’s Performance Award
  • 2007Faculty Commendation for Teaching and Research
  • 2006Faculty Teaching Award

Research theme: Design

Dr Blackler pioneered the work on intuitive interaction, an area which had never been formally investigated before and which is now gaining international interest and attention.

She was the first to:

  • address intuitive interaction in any depth
  • publish any empirical research in this area.

She has:

  • published peer-reviewed in journals and conference proceedings
  • made media appearances and had articles published in the media about intuitive interaction
  • been an invited speaker at an international event about intuitive interaction
  • applied her research to commercial projects.

Dr Blackler is also working on projects to do with other aspects of human centred design, such as design and emotion and usability. She also researches the teaching of design history and criticism. She has won various research awards, honours and grants

Intuitive interaction with complex devices

Dr Blackler primarily researches the role of intuition in product use; her research has revealed that prior exposure to products employing similar features helped participants to complete tasks more quickly and intuitively, and to use the product features correctly and intuitively the first time they encountered them. Principles and tools have been developed to help designers make interfaces intuitive to use. She pioneered the work on intuitive interaction, an area which had never been formally investigated before and which is now gaining international interest and attention.

Intuitive interaction for older people

Older people have difficulties using complex electronic devices, and Dr Blackler’s research has shown that they use them less intuitively than younger people. The ARC funded Discovery project aims to investigate, and build a clear picture of, the relationship between age and intuitive interaction with complex devices, particularly healthcare devices. This picture will inform the development of a tool to guide designers in making complex devices more intuitive for older people to use.

Visual literacy for design history

Dr Blackler is involved in an international collaboration researching ways to improve design history students’ visual literacy. The project is investigating strategies to increase students’ visual literacy with regard to design history and recognising design styles and movements. She has run experiments with students using teaching materials developed to assist with visual literacy.

 

This information has been contributed by Associate Professor Thea Blackler.

Teaching

  • Design History, Theory and Criticism
  • Applied Design Research
  • Ergonomics and Usability
This information has been contributed by Associate Professor Thea Blackler.

Experience

External collaborators

  • SADI/Samsung, Korea
  • College of Fine Arts, UNSW
  • Skills Development Centre, Queensland Health
  • Technische Universität Berlin, Germany

Interests and community service

  • Reviewer – high impact journals Design Studies and Applied Ergonomics
  • Reviewer – international conferences: CHI, OzCHI and Design Research Society.
  • Session chair – Design Research Society 2008 conference.
  • Involved in media activities in relation to both research and teaching. For example, interviewed on By Design (Radio National), Channel 9’s Extra and Channel 10 News.
  • Invited presenter – Intuitive Interaction workshop, TU Berlin.
  • Invited presenter – Probus Club: to present on her research, especially relating to intuitive interaction for older people.
  • Plenary Speaker – Design Research Society 2006 International conference
This information has been contributed by Associate Professor Thea Blackler.

Publications


For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.

Awards

Awards and recognition

Type
International Collaboration
Reference year
2016
Details
I have been collaborating with the researchers in Germany and elsewhere in developing a unified view of intuitive use. Collaboration began via a workshop in Berlin in November 2006, which was been followed by the joint production of a journal paper (Blackler and Hurtienne, 2007) which compares and contrasts the Australian and German research. This has led to a clearer understanding of our respective positions for both us and for other researchers. Since then QUT researchers have attended two more workshops on intuitive interaction in Europe and I edited a special issue of a top journal on the topic. Currently I am in contact with researchers in Intuitive Interaction in Australia, the UK, the US, Canada, Japan and Germany and our latest project is a chapter book which Taylor and Francis are interested in publishing. This is part of my campaign, as the pioneer researcher in the area of intuitive use, to remain at the cutting edge and position myself and QUT as the leader in this field.
Type
Editorial Role for an Academic Journal
Reference year
2016
Details
I put in a proposal for a special issue of the journal on Intuitive Interaction. This was accepted and I (and my colleague as second editor) undertook the editing and also authoring the editorial. The special issue was published in May 2015.
Type
Committee Role/Editor or Chair of an Academic Conference
Reference year
2015
Details
QUT hosted this conference here in Brisbane. I was an active member of the organising committee and served as Long Papers Chair, organising reviewing, selection and editing for all 275 long papers submitted.
Type
Editor/Contributor of a Prestigious Work of Reference
Reference year
2015
Details
As long paper chair for this conference I was the second editor for the proceedings: Popovic, Vesna, Blackler, Alethea L., Luh, Ding-Bang, Nimkulrat, Nithikul, Kraal, Ben, & Yukari, Nagai (Eds.) (2015) Proceedings of the IASDR Conference 2015: Interplay, 2¿5 November. International Association of Societies of Design Research, Brisbane , QLD.

Research projects

Grants and projects (Category 1: Australian Competitive Grants only)

Title
Monitoring intuitive expertise in the context of airport security screening
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
LP140100221
Start year
2015
Keywords
Intuitive Expertise; Airport Security; Automated Monitoring
Title
Facilitating Intuitive Interaction with Complex Devices for Older Users
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
DP0877964
Start year
2008
Keywords
Design; Design Innovation; Intuitive Interaction; Usability; Intutive Use

Supervision