- Associate Professor Thea Blackler
- Associate Professor
Creative Industries Faculty,
School of Design Office,
- Discipline *
- Design Practice and Management
- +61 7 3138 7030
- View location details (QUT staff and student access only)
PhD (Queensland University of Technology)
- Professional memberships
Intuitive interaction, Intutive use, Observational analysis, Product design, Usability, design education, design methodology, human factors, industrial design, interface design
Dr Thea Blackler joined QUT’s School of Design as Lecturer in 2005 and has been a Senior Lecturer in the School since 2008.
- 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.
- 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
- 2007: Vice Chancellor’s Performance Award
- 2007: Faculty Commendation for Teaching and Research
- 2006: Faculty 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.
- 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.
- Design History, Theory and Criticism
- Applied Design Research
- Ergonomics and Usability
- 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
- Blackler AL, Popovic V, Mahar DP, (2009) Concepts of intuitive interaction, Workshop Proceedings der Tgung Mensch & Computer 2009 p76-79
- Blackler AL, Mahar DP, Popovic V, (2009) Intuitive interaction, prior experience and aging: An empirical study, Proceedings of the 23rd British Computer Society Conference on Human Computer Interaction p1-4
- Blackler AL, Popovic V, Mahar DP, (2010) Investigating users' intuitive interaction with complex artefacts, Applied Ergonomics p72-92
- Blackler AL, (2008) Intuitive Interaction with Complex Artefacts: Empirically-Based Research p1-310
- Blackler AL, (2008) Applications of high and low fidelity prototypes in researching intuitive interaction, Proceedings of DRS2008, Design Research Society Biennial Conference p1-17
- Blackler AL, Popovic V, Mahar DP, (2007) Developing and Testing a Methodology for Designing for Intuitive Interaction, Proceedings of the International Association for Societies of Design Research 2007: Emerging Trends in Design Research p1-24
- Blackler AL, Hurtienne J, (2007) Towards a Unified View of Intuitive Interaction: Definitions, Models and Tools Across the World, MMI-Interaktiv p36-54
- Blackler AL, Popovic V, Mahar DP, (2007) Empirical Investigations into Intuitive Interaction: A Summary, MMI-Interaktiv p4-24
- Blackler AL, Popovic V, Mahar DP, (2006) Towards a Design Methodology for Applying Intuitive Interaction, WonderGround: Proceedings of the 2006 Design Research Society International Conference p1-17
- Blackler AL, Popovic V, Mahar D, (2003) The Nature of Intuitive Use of Products: An Experimental Approach, Design Studies p491-506
For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.
Grants and projects (Category 1: Australian Competitive Grants only)
- Facilitating Intuitive Interaction with Complex Devices for Older Users
- Primary fund type
- CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
- Project ID
- Start year
- Design, Design Innovation, Intuitive Interaction, Usability, Intutive Use
Completed supervisions (Doctorate)
- Consumers' concepts of materials (2010)
- User-Designer Collaboration During The Early Stage Of The Product Development Process (2008)