I’m Dr Nicolas (Nick) Hine.
I am an applied technologist and teacher. I have a natural curiosity and enjoy exploring the fit between technology & people. I have been involved in the UX domain since it was known as Ergonomics & Human Factors. I have considered the use of technology in fields as diverse as telecare, interpersonal communication, international collaborative education, rehabilitation and assistive technology and business intelligence applied to exploring changes in the quality of Colombian coffee.
As a user of the Xerox star system and an early adopter of the Macintosh, I recognised the thinking that these systems embodied in the way that they attempted to reduce the visibility of the technology & instead to enable people to be creative.
Taking this essential principle, l set up a training course where people with disabilities could learn vocational skills, using the new information technology tools. This took place within a Europe-wide research study into the impact of becoming disabled on a person’s life. Whilst for some, the training course was life changing, I saw that there were still barriers & difficulties experienced by some people because the technology was unusable. It seemed to me that as technology became more powerful, it should be possible to find ways for people to be creative & to participate in society based on ability rather than disability.
So after 6 years running the vocational training programme, I moved to Belgium to work at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) & to study for an MSc in Biomedical Engineering, with specialisations in AI & Psychology. The purpose was to better understand people, & the potential for technology to fit into people’s lives. My research anticipated many services that became ubiquitous on the Internet, and focussed how to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities could be designed into the emerging digital technologies. In order to ensure that this was not a merely academic exercise l worked with the research offices of the European Commission to ensure that what we now refer to a accessibility was integrated into the various technology research programmes, & with ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) to establish an accessibility agenda within the Human Factors technical committee.
Moving to Dundee in 1992, I focused on the use of telecommunications technology by non-speaking people, and the related issues for motor impaired people and deaf people, including the use of mobile technologies for multimedia-based communication. From this emerged an interest in stories, both as a vehicle for human communication and learning and at a technical level, where data holds stories that have to be extracted and presented.
The reach & influence of an academic is largely based on the extent to which research publications are digested and applied by others. A more effective vehicle for change perhaps is education, so in order to share the insights gained in applied computing I established the Masters of User Experience Engineering at the University of Dundee.
The job of an academic is to explore and find new insights and knowledge, but it the responsibility of those outside academia to apply that knowledge to real contexts. For this reason, in late 2014 I left academic life to take a job where I could do that. For nearly 2 years I was head of Technology at Nash College, part of the Livability family.
in 2016 I returned to academia as a lecturer in Computing at Goldsmiths College, University of London, where I again I established the MSc programme in User Experience Engineering.
Outside work, my passion is travelling in order to discover the world through the lens of a camera, in particular the country of Colombia, the homeland of my wife. I enjoy cooking, particularly exploring the way it represents an artefact of the culture of people. I also collect LEGO, and one day want to find a way to use it as a vehicle for storytelling for young pre-literate children.
To explore further please have a look at the following pages