Projects Alison Lee



Alison Lee

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Multimodal Interaction, Speech, and Accessibility

My most recent work focused on mechanisms and frameworks to enhance user experiences in Eclipse, Eclipse rich clients and Web; specifically in the areas of multimodal interaction, speech, and accessibility. Several projects were conducted as part of this research:

Java + VoiceXML Programming Model

This is an effort to leverage the XHTML + VoiceXML (X+V) programming model for non-Web platforms and to more broadly reuse voice artifacts. As with X+V, J+V enables Java developers to voice-enable GUI applications for multimodal deployment without having to learn a whole new language. Specifically, through the use of prepackaged dialogs and reusable VoiceXML code, the J+V APIs enable Java developers to add voice dialogs to their Java-based GUI widgets. The voice dialogs can be built by designers well-versed in speech interfaces; voice dialogs can be re-used by Java developers whose expertise lies in GUI design. Reuse of voice dialogs extends across different applications as well as different application container types (e.g., Web, Java).

Aspects of Rich Accessibility User Experiences

We developed a broad-based approach to providing accessibility in graphical applications that employs the capabilities of the Eclipse platform and aspect-oriented programming (AOP) in a way that leverages the strengths of each.


  1. A. Lee and T.V. Raman. Aspects of Rich Accessibility Experiences. Demonstration. AOSD'05: International Conference on Aspect-Oriented Software Development, 2005.
  2. T.V. Raman and A. Lee. Speech-Enablement of Eclipse IDE and Eclipse Rich Client Applications Using AspectJ. Gary Poock Best Paper Award. In Proceedings of AVIOS — SpeechTEK, 2005.

Web Accessibility Scaffolding

The following is one prototype accessibility scaffolding from the work on Web Accessibility. The accessibility scaffoldings prototypes exploit our group's Web Adaptation Technology and my novel page segmentation heuristic. The scaffoldings present the elements, pathways, and organization of a Web page to users with minimal Web experience and varying cognitive limitations. Advanced Accessibility Scaffolding


  1. A. Lee (2004). Scaffolding Visually Cluttered Web Pages to Facilitate Accessibility. In Proceedings of 7th International Working Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces (AVI 2004), New York:ACM.
  2. A. Lee and V. Hanson (2003). Enhancing Web Accessibility. In Proceedings of the 11th Annual ACM International Conference on Multimedia, Demonstration, pp. 456-457, 2003.
  3. A. Lee (2003). Social Interaction Web Sites and Web Adaptation. In Proceedings of RDIG Discussion of Making Collaboration Technologies Accessible for Persons with Disabilities, April 28 2003.
  4. A. Lee (2004). Slides from the above talk.

New Paradigms for Web-Based Collaboration

CHIplace People Browser My work on CSCW explored new paradigms for collaboration in the of e-commerce (e.g., electronic marketplaces, collaborative customer care) and ways in which social groups can enrich e-commerce experiences. This research had three foci. The first identified and incorporated into computational environments, the kinds of social information that can foster social interactions and collaboration among participants in online spaces and that can foster the formation of social groups in online spaces. The second developed collaboration tools, techniques, and infrastructures to support such activities in online spaces. The third studied the impact of such computational environments on social interactions in online spaces. Several projects were conducted as part of this research:

Socio-Technical Patterns

In collaboration with Catalina Danis and John C Thomas, we tried to codify and apply knowledge from social sciences and HCI and to use the patterns to help designers and developers to build social-technical applications.

Building Social Interaction Web Sites

I was involved in the development of two social interaction Web sites — CHI 2002 Online Interactions known as CHIplace and Summer 2001 Co-op Program at IBM TJ Watson Research Center known as Portkey. The former is archived and available for public perusal where as the latter is closed to the Summer 2001 Co-op community members of mentors and students.

The CHIplace site was such a success for CHI 2002 that CHI 2003 continued the project under the direction of Kia Hook and Martin Svenson from SICS. Since the end of CHI 2003, Loren Terveen and his group at University of Minnesota are evolving CHIplace to be a portal for professionals involved in human-computer interaction.


  1. A. Girgensohn and A. Lee (2002).. Making Web Sites be Places for Social Interaction. To be published in Proceedings of ACM 2002 Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work.

Online Communities and Design of Social Interaction Environments

In collaboration with Catalina Danis and two summer students, this project focussed on:

  1. the study of online communities for electronic marketplaces and
  2. the design for an electronic place (concept prototypes) where social interactions can be fostered and communities can be formed.
This work explored online communities in electronic martketplace settings like eBay. Motley Fool and Amazon as well as physical martketplace settings like the Chicago Board of Trade. I was interested in non-organizational and competitive sorts of collaboration. I was an observer and participant, in some cases, of these communities. With Catalina Danis, we conducted two days of field work at the Chicago Board of Trade. Some of our reflections of this visit are captured in a paper and talk that we gave to our colleagues.

Much of this work influenced the efforts to create a seed of a socially meaningful online space that can evolve through the social interactions of its participants. We explored a spatially-based social information system that visualizes the people, their activities, and the social interactions at eCommerce web sites. With a CMU interaction design student (Younghee Jung) during summer 1999, we explored the design of an online collaborative environment, known as ePlace, for fostering and sustaining online communities for eCommerce application domain. With a Georgia Tech CS student (Todd Miller) in the summer of 2000, we built a prototype of ePlace for the Shop IBM site.

This work is not only about interaction design but also social visualization. Unlike information visualization which has as its goal of helping users digest information more effectively or data visualization which has as its goal of helping users analyze and see trends in the data, social visualization has as its goal of creating awareness and catalyzing social interactions among its users. It draws on knowledge from fields of architecture, urban design, social psychology/sociology, computer graphics, and interaction design to devise mechanisms to achieve its end goal. With the visualizations, end users can use interaction mechanisms built into the visualization to interact with other end users.


  1. A. Lee, C. Danis, T.Miller and Y. Jung (2001).. Fostering Social Interaction in Online Spaces. In Human-Computer Interaction (INTERACT'01) — Eighth IFIP TC.13 Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, M. Hirose (ed.), IOS Press:Amsterdam, pp. 59-66.
  2. Y. Jung and A. Lee (2000). Design of a Social Interaction Environment for Electronic Marketplaces. In Proceedings of DIS'2000 - Designing Interactive Systems: Processes, Practices, Methods, Techniques, ACM, pp. 129-136.
  3. C. Danis and A. Lee (2000). Alternatives to an Open Outcry Market: An Issue of Supporting Cooperation in a Competitive Situation. Unpublished manuscript.

Collaborative Customer Care

I worked with a real bank to incorporate a novel customer care technology (called CLIVE) developed by my IBM colleagues within the bank's web site. This technology allows a customer connected via a modem to speak and share data with a CSR located behind the bank's electronic firewall. I worked with the bank to identify the applications and uses of this technology as well as gathering requirements and developing the design and scenarios of use. This project reinforced the need to think about how to provide users with a context for and expectation for using collaborative technologies. Clicking on a link, aside from a overloading of semantics, was not the right metaphor for initiating a collaboration with another individual.


  1. C.G. Wolf, A. Lee, M. Touma, and S. Daijavad (1999). A Case Study in the Development of Collaborative Customer Care: Concept and Solution. In Proceedings of INTERACT'99: IFIP TC.13 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction. IOS Press, pp. 54-61, 1999.

Last Modified on July 14, 2005 —   Alison Lee © 1997-2005.