John Vines | Visiting Researcher

John Vines

T: +44 (0) 191 208 4602


I'm a Lecturer in Interaction Design Methods within Open Lab. I teach and supervise as part of our Centre for Doctoral Training in Digital Civics, and lead and contribute to a number of projects exploring novel design methods for performing participatory work with members of the public in the context of developing new community and user-driven public and private services. My research focuses on studying the methods, techniques and approaches researchers and designers use to engage people in thinking about the implications future technologies on themselves and society more broadly. I also work with colleagues on deploying new technologies for people to play with and explore (such as the Google Glass) before reflecting with them the ways in which future technology might enhance their lives.

I also have ongoing research into design theory, methods for participatory and co-design, technology to support and question ageing, and inter- and transdisciplinary perspectives on design. This includes exploring what the term 'participation' means in the context of digital interaction and HCI, questioning why and how we include people in the design process, and what all this might mean in a period where boundaries between disciplines are increasingly blurred.

Before joining Newcastle University I was a Senior Research Assistant at Northumbria University’s School of Design where I was the lead RA on the ‘New Approaches to Banking for the Older Old’ project. On this project - a collaboration between York, Northumbria and Newcastle (Culture Lab and Business School) Universities - I worked with computer scientists, financial experts, ethnographers, psychologists, designers and, most importantly, our ‘eighty somethings’, in a participatory and experience-centred approach to design. As a result we developed a number of novel technologies and services along with guidance on future policy to enable the needs and desires of our eighty-something-year-old collaborators be better supported by the UK banking industry. Prior to this project I completed my PhD with Transtechnology Research at the University of Plymouth. During my doctoral research I spent time working within gerontology, social science, cognitive science and neuroscience to better understand notions of cognition and embodiment as they relate to ageing and the design theory and practice surrounding inclusive design and HCI.

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Associated Projects

  • Metadating: Exploring the Romance of Personal Data
    'Metadating’ was a future-focused speed dating event where single participants were invited to 'explore the romance of personal data'. Participants engaged in reflection and self-tracking prior to the workshop, and created ‘data profiles’  whic...
    August 30, 2011
  • CuRAtOR: Challenging online feaR And OtheRing
    Cultures of fear can be spread, either deliberately or otherwise, by a wide range of agents including the media, government, science, the arts, industry and politics. The ease of which fear can be generated means that today's society remains inordi...
    August 30, 2011
  • The Trust Map
    Digital resources are powerful tools that can aid in the process of community building. In this project, we are exploring the ways in which trust (and legacies of mistrust) can lead to social exclusion and power imbalances within minority communities ...
    August 30, 2011
  • Loneliness in the Digital Age
    Loneliness is one of the most significant challenges facing Western society in the 21st century. Not only does research suggest that 1 in 10 people are lonely, our radically transforming society threatens to make the situation significantly worse. ...
    August 30, 2011
  • MyPlace: Mobility and PLace for the Age-friendly City Environment
    The aim of MyPlace is to develop and test through real-world research a digital platform and toolkit that will enable members of the public to engage with local councils and other organisations more effectively in the research, planning and design of t...
    August 30, 2011
  • Google Glass for people with Parkinson's
    Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurological condition affecting up to 10 million people worldwide. It manifests itself in motor symptoms including rigidity, tremor and bradykinesia, or slowness of movement. These affect an individuals bala...
    August 30, 2011
  • Department of Hidden Stories
    Department of Hidden Stories is a card-based and mobile phone app-based alternative reality game designed to transform the Library into a gaming space where children can use books as a resource for creating their own stories, narratives and sharing...
    August 30, 2011
  • React!
    React! is a web app designed and developed to support teenagers who are at risk of anaphylaxis (severe food allergies) and their friends in learning about the signs of different types of reactions and what to do in such circumstances. The app itsel...
    August 30, 2011
  • Invisible Design
    Invisible Design is a technique for generating insights and ideas with workshop participants in the early stages of concept development. It involves the creation of ambiguous films in which characters discuss a technology that is not directly shown. Th...
    August 30, 2011
  • Guardian Angel
    A concern raised by the older people interviewed during the New Approaches to Banking for the Older Old project was that reduced mobility would lead to difficulty with accessing their money. This led in some cases to people divulging security detai...
    August 30, 2011
  • The Creative Exchange
    The Creative Exchange (CX) is a Knowledge Exchange Hub for the Creative Economy. We aim to develop strategic partnerships with creative businesses and cultural organisations, strengthening and diversifying their collaborative research activities an...
    August 30, 2011
  • Balance Ticker
    Keeping detailed records of how much money is in an individual bank account and tracking receipts of transactions are highly valued by many older people who carefully manage their finances. However, Modern payment technologies and bank accounts have...
    August 30, 2011
  • Digital Cheque Book
    In the research stage of the “New Approaches to Banking for the Older Old” project, we conducted interviews with people aged eighty and upwards to understand the ways they managed their finances and any struggles they had with aspects of the curre...
    August 30, 2011
  • Secure PIN Reminder
    While meant to increase security, complex PIN and password systems routinely force people to compromise sensitive information. While conducting research for the New Approaches to Banking for the Older Old project, many interviewees said that, though t...
    August 30, 2011
  • Cheque Scanner-Shredder
    Although many older people – and particularly the 'eighty somethings' that took part in the New Approaches to Banking for the Older Old project – rely on the traditional cheque as a means for making payments, they are equally aware that cheques a...
    August 30, 2011
  • Community Cheque Clearing
    Cheques are important as a means of payment for many people, particularly the older old, as they allow them to track their expenditure, to send payments over distances without using digital technologies, and are often more safe and secure by older peo...
    August 30, 2011
  • Questionable Concepts
    We gave postcards to the people involved in the participatory design aspect of “New Approaches to Banking for the Older Old”. These cards posed a question about a specific scenario relating to banking, inspired by some of the points raised dur...
    August 30, 2011
  • SALT: Designing Scalable Assistive Technologies and Services
    Currently, health and social care institutions struggle to meet the demands of the ageing population due to insufficient capacity and resources. The potential of new technology to assist older people and promote independent healthy living is huge. Howe...
    August 30, 2011
  • New Approaches to Banking for the Older Old
    Although there are more people aged eighty and over in the UK than ever before, current banking systems fail to cater to them. It is now almost impossible to opt out of having a bank account, using a chip and pin, and transferring money digitally—thi...
    August 30, 2011
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