Re-shaping the Expected Future: Novel Interactions for Emergent Users

Re-shaping the Expected Future: Novel Interactions for Emergent Users

Project Supervisors:

Closing date for applications:  applications accepted all year round

Project description:

The concern in this project is for Base of the Pyramid (BoP) users, that is, those who are the most socio-economically disadvantaged. These BoP or Emergent users are the hundreds of millions of people from the poorest regions of the world. Challenges in these areas range from low technological and textual literacy, a paucity of relevant, appropriate content, to a lack of affordable, high-bandwidth data connections. 

The most likely future in the next 5–10 years is that emergent users will have access to handsets that “developed” world users are now taking for granted — devices that are equipped with rich sets of sensors, connectivity facilities and output channels.

While there is plentiful research on how to use and extend these platforms for more “natural” interaction, the work has largely been from a “first world” perspective; designed to fit a future, in terms of resource availability, cultural practice and literacy, that is out of joint with that lying ahead for emergent users. 

The aim of this project is to work with emergent end-users to radically innovate for key information interaction needs. The aspiration is to uncover fundamental, generally applicable interaction and transaction techniques for these sorts of users. In the developed world there are key base interfaces and interactions, such as textually-rich query-result search, drag and drop, document cutting and pasting, and persistent network-dependent content. A driving question in this work is, “what are the equivalents of these sorts of enabling interfaces for emergent users?”

This is a non-funded PhD opportunity available at Swansea University College of Science and based in the Department of Computer Science.


Candidates must have a first, upper second class honours or a Masters degree (with Merit), in a relevant discipline.   Informal enquiries are welcome by emailing Matt Jones (, Jennifer Pearson ( or Simon Robinson (

How to apply:

Please send the following to :

A comprehensive CV to include:

  • Details of qualifications, including grades
  • Details of any current and relevant employment or work experience
  • A covering letter stating why the project you are applying for particularly matches your skills and experience and how you would choose to develop the project