I consider myself an interaction design researcher: by background, by current occupation, and by preferred way of working. I thoroughly enjoy exploring the world around me and creating interventions in the form of interactive prototypes or conceptual designs, in order to learn more about the world. Separating information 'about me' and about my 'research interests' seems slightly artificial as these areas overlap strongly. I can honestly, and probably stereotypically, say that designing and 'inventing' are part of a way of life for me. As a young design researcher I am always aware of interesting design opportunities around me, and although I often do not have the time or resources to work on every opportunity that comes along, I love playing around with ideas in my head or on paper. However, I enjoy it even more if I get the chance to actually develop my ideas and go talk to people, show them, and let them experience my ideas.
I am currently working as a research associate at University College London, within the Intel Collaborative Research Institute on Sustainable and Connected Cities (ICRI-Cities). Before joining UCL in April 2014, I completed my PhD in Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Surrey in Guildford, within the Digital World Research Centre. Prior to coming to England, I studied at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, my motherland. I did a BSc and an MSc (graduated in 2010) at the Department of Industrial Design, which has allowed me to explore my design and research interests, and do a variety of individual and team- projects. Some examples of these projects can be found in the Portfolio section of this website.
My personal interests and activities include: exploring and taking long walks (sometimes purposely getting lost); going on long cycle rides (not infrequently at night); running; reading books; drawing, and all sorts of recreational 'tinkering'; DIY, building and fixing things; playing my guitar (much less than I would like); trying new whiskeys (and old favourites); creating with Lego; going to the cinema; and spending time with my friends.
As an interaction design researcher I am interested in coming up with creative new concepts for everyday situations and environments, through a user-centred approach. During my under- and postgraduate studies at the Industrial Design department of the Eindhoven University of Technology I developed an interest in studying and designing the home environment and family life through qualitative user involvement, which I still thoroughly enjoy. I consider myself mostly an 'inventor' and the conceptual phase is my favourite part of a design process. Specific activities within a design process I enjoy doing are: user research and talking to potential audiences, preferably through interviews or concept consultations; generating ideas; programming; and reflecting on findings to derive interesting insights, new design opportunities, or design guidelines.
During my Master and PhD studies I have become interested in materiality; in the characteristics of physical and digital things, and in the design opportunities for combining these realms into 'hybrid' creations. My PhD research explored this further in the area of craft, an interest that had always been lying dormant in me. In an interview study, I delved deep into the world of physical and digital craft practices, in other words the ways in which people make things with digital and physical processes, tools, and materials. I further explored how these practices could be combined in hybrid forms of crafting through the design of novel tools that could support such practices. In the portfolio section you can find information about 'Materialise', a building set I developed that allows for the creation of physical compositions with the inclusion of digital images and audio files. My PhD was a collaboration of the Digital World Research Centre (DWRC) at the University of Surrey with the Department of Industrial Design at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and was sponsored by Microsoft Research Cambridge.
In my current position as a research associate within the Intel Collaborative Research Institute on Sustainable and Connected Cities (ICRI-Cities) at University College London, I have the opportunity to think about how technology can help to make future cities more sustainable and connected. Since joining UCL in April 2014 my focus has been mainly on the social side and on engaging people. Working closely together with the UCL Interaction Centre and director Yvonne Rogers, my work has also taken an interesting spin towards 'in the wild' studies that aim to evaluate design in contexts that mirror their intended purpose as closely as possible, with all their quirks and insecurities. At the same time I still get to do what I like best: design, prototype, and evaluate. As an example of design for engagement, below you can see a photo of VoxBox: an interactive physical questionnaire that was designed to gather the opinions of crowds at events in a playful way. More information about this project can be found in the portfolio section of this website.