Toni Robertson

Toni Robertson

Phone +61 2 9514 1966
E-mail: toni dot robertson at uts dot edu dot au

I have been working at UTS since the middle of 1999 when I was appointed as a specialist in Human-Computer Interaction. My work here focuses on building an understanding of human practices, as situated, social activities, into technology design practices.

I am interested in issues surrounding the use of technology in actual work and social settings, including:

  • how an understanding of actual human practices can be developed and then used to design interactive technologies that fit well with their situation of use;
  • participative approaches to, and methodologies for, the design of interactive technologies;
  • human-computer interaction, interaction design and usability issues emerging from the development of new information technologies particularly mobile and ubiquitous computing;
  • the use of computers and communications systems to support cooperative work and other social activities;
  • ethical issues in system design and the representation of work; and
  • how different metaphors for human cognition and work can affect the design of interactive technologies.

I set up the Interaction Design and Work Practice lab (IDWoP) that was the precursor to the Interaction Design and Human Practice Lab. This is where where most of my research students can be found.

I initiated and co-direct the Centre for Human Centred Technology Design Research (HCTD). This UTS Research Strength brings together a broad group of researchers who share a commitment to information and communications technology design that is focused on those who will ultimately use the end product.
IDHuP is one 7 labs/studios/groups contributing to the research activities of HCTD.

I am a member the Computer Human Interaction Special Interest Group (CHISIG) of the Ergonomics Society of Australia. This is the local professional organisation for practitioners and researchers working in Human Computer Interaction and related fields. CHISIG sponsors the annual OzCHI Conference.

My focus on technology design continues an earlier career as an artist, print maker and graphic designer. I taught design and printmaking in universities, art schools and community arts programmes, while maintaining my own design studio and small business. My work is held in the major public collections in Australia and continues to be widely exhibited, reproduced and reviewed both in Australian and overseas.

You can find many of my pictures by searching the Collection of Australian Prints at the Australian National Gallery.


Jesper Simonsen and I edited The Routledge Handbook of Participatory Design that was first published in 2012 with a paperback version in 2013. We wanted there to be an up to date collection of writings about Participatory Design for people who are not familiar with the history, achievements and contributions of the field.

We also edited a special issue of the journal Design Issues on the theme of Challenges and Opportunities in Contemporary Participatory Design. It was also published in 2012.

Current Research projects:

The IDHuP lab  provides a base for several externally funded research projects including:

A R C   D I S C O V E R Y   P R O J E C T   DP110101999
Sociophysical Interactions: Understanding the role of social and tangible technologies in maintaining good habits into old age.
Chief Investigators: Frank Vetere (University of Melbourne), Toni Robertson, Margot Brereton (Queensland University of Technology), Steve Howard (University of Melbourne) and Yvonne Rogers (University College London, PI); PhD Student: Jeannette Durick.

A R C   L I N K A G E   P R O J E C T   LP100200435
Remaking practices: learning to meet the challenge of practice change in primary health care.
Chief Investigators: Nicky Solomon, Alison Lee, Toni Robertson, Jill Thistlewaite. Project Partner: NSW Health.

Completed Research projects:

An empirical framework for designing usable and useful wireless mobile computing applications.
Chief Investigators: Toni Robertson, Christopher Lueg. PhD Student: Kirsten Sadler

The BYSTANDER FIELD: immersive ‘feedback’ environments for exhibiting and dramatically interacting with semiotic, aesthetic and emotional patterns in archived imagery.
Chief Investigators: Ross Gibson, Toni Robertson;
Project participants: Tim Mansfield (DSTC), Lian Loke (FIT), Kate Richards (project manager)

Understanding Quality of Experience in Experience Enriched (Next Generation) NetworksTM
Project leader: Toni Robertson
Project participants: John Leaney, Melanie Kan, Jackie Wooten

For more details on these projects please refer to the IDHuP projects page

All my publications since 2004 are available from the IDHuP Publications page.

For a selection of my pre 2004 publications, including my PhD thesis, please refer to my early publications page

The Interaction Design and Human Practice Lab (IDHuP) is part of the Centre for Human Centred Technology Design Research (HCTD) at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)