APEX with Elizabeth Churchill, Director of User Experience at Google

Elizabeth Churchill, Director of User Experience at Google, presented at Southern Utah University’s APEX series on Thursday, March 1.

This school year’s second Eccles Visiting Scholar, Dr. Churchill’s presentation was titled, “Human-Computer Interaction – Charting the Past, Understanding the Present, Predicting the Future.”

Churchill researches how and why people will either engage or disengage with websites and branding concepts with human interaction with computers. She began her presentation with the following explanation:

“Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is a discipline concerned with the design, implementation and evaluation of interactive computing systems for human use and with that study of major phenomena surrounding them.”

Using the inverted pyramid as a visual aide, Churchill explained just how important and prevalent user experiences are, from user experience with government to organizations, people, and what she practices in: Google technology user experiences. She said that our everyday user experiences flow to the tipping point of the devices that we run our lives with.

Churchill explained that each element within each app and on every screen is planned, researched and built to create positive HCI. To prove this, she showed how everything from the layers of maps to the kinds of shadows on our male icons gives us a physical connection with our modern technology actions.

To end her speech, Churchill used a quote by William Gibson, who is a Canadian-American fiction writer known for pioneering the science fiction subgenre of cyberpunk.  His quote was in the context of the privileges some have and others don’t in the global community:

“The future is here – it’s just not evenly distributed.”

APEX events are hosted every Thursday at 11:30 a.m. Most events are located in the Whiting Room on the second floor of the Hunter Conference Center but are subject to change. Seats are available on a first come first serve basis. For more information, visit the SUU APEX webpage.

Story By
Savannah Palmer for SUU News