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Doctor Madeline Balaam

Interaction Design for healthcare, education and wellbeing

A little about me


I'm a lecturer in the School of Computing Science within Newcastle University. Specifically, my research is concerned with Interaction Design for public health and learning. I am driven by a desire to design technologies which better meet the needs and practices of people in their everyday lives and in doing so I apply participatory and user-centred design methods. While I've worked with a wide range of age-groups and participants, I have a real interest in working with children and particularly teenagers and particularly enjoy developing new methods of engagement and design to use with these younger age groups. 

I'm involved in a number of research projects, but my favourites at the moment include the design and development of a user-generated android app called FeedFinder that supports breastfeeding mothers in finding, reviewing and adding locations for public breastfeeding. This has led to the development of AppMovement, a platform which enables communities to commission and design their own location-based apps (on iOS and Android) for free. I am also really enjoying the challenges involved in designing a mobile-based system to support the self management of chronic conditions (diabetes and depression in the case of this project) in rural India. Our response so far is an IVR system that enables community chat between individuals with a condition, supporting the community in sharing their knowledge and experience. We're just coming up to a trial of the system in India next month and so hopefully we'll be publishing this work shortly. 

Prior to joining the Open Lab I was a research fellow in the Interact lab within the University of Sussex, working on projects like the shyness in pervasive computing project and the motivating mobility project.

I completed my DPhil in the IDEAs lab. My work investigated how the learning context influences the emotions experienced by students. This work was aided through the Subtle Stone, a novel technology that I designed and developed to support students in their private communication of emotional experience to their class teacher (and a researcher).