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Nicole Meng-Schneider

PHD CANDIDATE

I am in the second year of my four year PhD programme. I am interested in voice assistants like Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Specifically, I look into privacy implications for visitors or cohabitants when those devices are placed in shared spaces. 

I am part of the Technology Usability Lab in Privacy and Security (TULiPS).

Research Interests:

  • Usable Security and Privacy

  • Human-Computer Interaction

  • Smart Voice Assistants

  • googleschoalr
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PUBLICATIONS

 

Owning and Sharing: Privacy Perceptions of Smart Speaker Users

Nicole Meng, Dilara Keküllüoglu, Kami Vaniea

In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing. 2021.

I Don't Need an Expert! Making URL Phishing Features Human Comprehensible

Kholoud Althobaiti, Nicole Meng, Kami Vaniea

In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI21). 2021.

 

PROJECTS

Meet Alex, the Trainee

Meet Alex, the Trainee

This project aims to open up a space for discussion on the future of smart speaker services and critically investigates interactions and services with smart assistance. We created Amazon’s brand-new, fictional service “Alex, the Trainee”, which allows users to teach and shape their personal assistant. We explored the kinds of scenarios this service may produce, how current problems are resolved, and which kinds of new issues are introduced.

SenseBreak

SenseBreak

SenseBreak offers a calming escape from the busy world and noise of the Edinburgh Fringe. Visitors can immersive themselves in the relaxing environment of the tent, where they can interact with modified versions of typical irritating sounds of the festival. Changing projections and a semi-confined space offer for an immersive experience.

Alexa('s) Mirror

Alexa('s) Mirror

Alexa’s Mirror is a smart mirror that encourages self-love through positive reinforcement. In order to turn on the lights around the mirror to see oneself better, one has to compliment themselves. The light will shine brightly only for strong appreciation like ‘I am beautiful’, encouraging self-affirmation.

The Friendship Explorer

The Friendship Explorer

The Friendship Explorer is an educational tablet game for children with Autism. It offers a safe space to practise social interactions and understand social conventions. The design is based on relevant literature, participatory design studies and expert feedback. It was evaluated in three studies and shows that the proof-of-concept project is suitable for autistic children.

Do you trust me now?

Do you trust me now?

Exploring the concept of gender bias in voice assistants, this project collects data on the effect of the pitch of a voice on trust. The technology probe utilises a Wizard of Oz technique to mimic an interaction with an Amazon Echo that has different pitched voices.

Phishing Report

Phishing Report

We created a report, which presents various features of a URL and aids the user in judging the safety of a URL. Features include the domain, search results, unexpected characters and many more. They are presented in way to allow even lay users to understand whether a URL is safe to click on or not.

 

EDUCATION

2019 - 2024 (ongoing)

University of Edinburgh

PhD with Integrated Study

As part of the CDT in Natural Language Processing, I am working on smart speakers and privacy. I am looking at voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Home in shared spaces (e.g. kitchen, living room) and their impact on our privacy and security.

UKRI CDT in NLP Award (Funding until 2024)

Supervisor: Dr Kami Vaniea

2018 - 2019

University of Edinburgh

MSc Design Informatics

Following my Human-Computer Interaction interest, I deepened my knowledge of design and design research by engaging in various projects during the one-year programme. 

with Distinction

Oberlander Prize in Design Informatics (MSc) - Best Dissertation

2018 - 2019

University of Edinburgh

BSc Computer Science

After studing the basics of Computer Science, I discovered my passion for Human-Computer Interaction. My thesis was on educational games for children with Autism.

First Class with Honours

Supervisor: Dr Helen Pain

 

EXPERIENCE

Professional Work Experience

Jun 2018 -

Aug 2018

Research Intern

LFCS, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh

Supervised by Sam Lindley and Daniel Hillerström, I developed an application in the functional research programming language Links. I have shown that React's event handler be recreated with a specific feature in Links.

Jun 2017 -

Aug 2017

Technology Intern

Deutsche Bank, London

I divided my time between two projects. The first one introduced the agile methodology throughout the bank, which included design thinking workshops and branding work. For the second project, I developed components for an internal dashboard application.

Jun 2016 -

Sep 2016

Software Engineering Intern

Testberichte.de (Producto AG), Berlin

I have implemented a filterable keyword search based on Elasticsearch using Java and SQL with a fully functioning Angular JS test client.

Feb 2016 -

ongoing

Personal Tutor via WhatsApp

Duden Learnattack GmbH, Remote

I am offering support for German pupils in English and Maths via WhatsApp, including help with homework and revision.

Teaching Support

Course

Human-Computer Interaction

Position / Year

Marker

since 2019/2020

Tutor

since 2019/2020

Teaching Assistant

since 2020/2021

The Human Factor: Working with Users
Marker

since 2019/2020

Tutor

since 2018/2019

Case Studies in Design Informatics 1
Marker

2020/2021

Tutor

2019-2021

Usable Security and Privacy
Marker

2018 - 2020

Design Informatics Project
Marker

2019 -2021

Mentor

2019-2021

 

SKILLS

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User Studies

Proficient

I have run numerous user studies of which some got published in peer-reviewed conference proceedings. Including Think Alouds, interviews, focus groups, and design thinking workshops.

Prototyping

Proficient

As part of my research and my studies, I gained experience in various ways of protyping, including sketches, human computer, physical protoypes, and mock up software.

Programming

Extended

I am able to program in a wide range of programming languages and to pick up new concepts quickly. While not my main focus, it is a useful tool.

User-Centred Design

Advanced

For all my design work, the user is always the focus. But I not only develop user-centred designs, but also mark student produced designs as teaching support.

Education

Advanced

I have profound experience in tutoring both school and university students through part-time jobs. I gained insight into writing exam questions and coursework as a teaching assistant and developing educational games.

Smart Speaker Skills

Extended

I gained experience through working with smart speakers and am able to develop basic skills/actions.

Design Evaluation

Proficient

My main interest is not only developing designs that support users, but also evaluating them. All of my previous work included a kind of design evaluation.

Data Visualisation

Extended

As I am interested in user-centred development, data presentation and story telling are important to me. I have gained experience during my studies and also whilst writing up my research findings.

Arduino and Sensors

Basic

Mainly in projects during my master studies, I used Arduinos and various sensors for data collection and interaction.

ACHIEVEMENTS

 

Nov 2019

Oberlander Prize

I won the Oberlander Prize in Design Informatics for the best dissertation. The topic was a learning smart speaker.

Jan 2018 -

Apr 2019

Technical Secretary

I have organised bi-weekly tech workshops/talks with companies and academics to give members the opportunity to learn new skills.

Mar 2019

Keynote Speaker at Hoppers International Women's Day

I spoke about the achievements of Ada Lovelace, Grace Murray Hopper, Susan Wojcichi and Marissa Mayer.

Sep 2018 -

Sep 2019

Programme Representative

I representated my class mates in weekly rep meetings, bringing forward issues and working with the management team to solve them.

Feb 2020

Poster Making Workshop

The Hoppers workshop contained not only hands-on advice on designing a poster, but also presenting it in a poster session and giving an elevator pitch. In collaborationw ith Dr Kami Vaniea.

Sep 2019 -

Sep 2020

Programme Representative

As the first rep of this CDT, I represented the interests of my fellow students from the CDT in monthly meetings with the management team.

Apr 2019 -

Oct 2020

Head of Big Events

I was leading the team organising larger events to inspire students and celebrate the achievements of gender minorities in Informatics. It included making contact with speakers and sponsors, managing a team and seeing the event through.