UCLIC Research Seminar Series
Recording of Talk
A recording of this talk is available on the UCLIC Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MH_7qIMCcu4
In this presentation, I'll reflect upon the initial three years of my UKRI Future Leaders fellowship. The core objective was to envision, design, and test new models of 'situated' mental health interventions: i.e., approaches that focus on scaffolding skills development within daily contexts (as opposed to de-contextualised modules or weekly 'sessions').
From the HCI perspective, our main hypothesis is that many core parts of mental health inventions are based on historical assumptions that are often no longer necessary and could be challenged by innovative design. I will demonstrate these arguments by describing the 5+ years long research trajectory around 'Purrble'—which moved from UCLIC-based postdoc fellowship to a functioning product with multiple RCTs, over 100k units sold to date, and early-stage pilots within SLaM NHS—and then show how we are starting to apply these methods to interaction design problems in other mental health contexts and technologies (e.g., also LLMs).
In doing so, I hope to make two points: First, to illustrate how emerging technologies—together with careful socio-technical design—can help re-imagine how mental health interventions are designed, delivered, and evaluated … and how HCI research can challenge clinicians to rethink even the core components of what an intervention might look like. Second, to open a discussion about the design and research methods that can keep the key balance between enabling substantial innovation in technology and/or interaction design, while maintaining the 'active elements' that make mental health interventions effective for those who need it most.
Petr Slovak is a Senior Lecturer in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) at King's College London, affiliated with the Informatics department. Additionally, he holds visiting roles within the Child and Adolescent Psychology at KCL and the Experimental Psychology & Human-centred AI groups at the University of Oxford. His research primarily concerns the design and evaluation of digital mental health interventions. Spanning both preventative and clinical domains, he has contributed insights into how socio-technical design can influence the development of skills in daily life, particularly for parents, children, and youth.