Sven Laqua

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Sven Laqua PortraitPhD Student & Research Associate

Office: 6.07, Malet Place Engineering
Tel: +44 020 3108 1068
Fax: +44 020 7387 1397
Email: s.laqua [at]
Personal Homepage

Research Interests

My research interests are interdisciplinary, ranging from user interface design, usability and evaluation over elearning, cscl, online collaboration and social networks to user modelling.

I strive to conceptualize and design human-centric interfaces for the Web - to enable people to access, share and collaborate on information in more naturally, meaningful and effective way.


The World Wide Web is increasingly about social interaction and collaboration. Blogging is a key activity in this Social Web enabling collective contributions of any type of information. Blogs have empowered millions of users to share their knowledge and experiences. But meaningful blogging experiences are as much about accessing information (reading) as they are about contributing information (writing).

We argue that the blogosphere faces a general problem of imbalance between ease of information contribution and meaningful information seeking.

Intelligent User Interfaces

fmiThe blogosphere could be regarded as one huge information space. It represents a separate eco-system on the World Wide Web with advanced techniques for information management and retrieval (through quasi-standardized database schemes and RSS). But, the main problem with information spaces as dynamic as the blogosphere is meaningful information discovery. Finding useful information can be hard and time-consuming, with a negative impact on the interaction experience. Much of existing research has focused on “search-based interaction”. In contrast, we focus on redesigning the user interface to provide a seamless and contextual information experience.

[presented at Interact 2005, Mensch & Computer 2006, HCI 2007 and HCI 2009]


I have conducted a multitude of eye-tracking experiments working with various systems. After using SMI's iViewX and the Eyegaze System from LC Technologies the current system in our usability lab it a Tobii X50. I have co-supervised a number of student projects involving eye-tracking. A number of them led to peer-reviewed publications (see below).

Besides conducting traditional eye-tracking experiments evaluating the usability of of various UI alternatives through standard measures like fixation counts, gaze time and average fixation durations, I also work on novel strategies to analyse users' gaze "behaviour" through novel measures.

gazespaceGazeSpace - Eye Gaze-Controlled Content Spaces

GazeSpace is a novel system utilizing eye gaze to browse content spaces. While most existing eye gaze systems are designed for medical contexts, GazeSpace is aimed at able-bodied audiences.

As this target group has much higher expectations for quality of interaction and general usability, GazeSpace integrates a contextual user interface, and rich continuous feedback to the user. To cope with real-world information tasks, GazeSpace incorporates novel algorithms using a more dynamic gaze-interest threshold instead of static dwell-times.

We have conducted an experiment to evaluate user satisfaction and results show that GazeSpace is easy to use and a “fun experience”.
[presented at HCI 2007]

KnowDis - Pervasive Knowledge Dissemination in Organizations

Within corporations, opportunities are missed and efforts can be duplicated due to the relevant information not being known by the appropriate individuals. Often, an employee does not even know that relevant information might be uncovered by searching the corporate intranet.

In this collaborative project with CA Labs, we develop a context-sensitive aid to sensemaking by providing relevant information to an individual in an unobtrusive form, allowing the user to maintain focus on their current task, but to still be aware of related documents.  We gather the relevant information based on keywords extracted from the user’s currently-displayed email message and filter the results using the user’s history and profile information. The information is displayed in the periphery of the user interface.
[presented at CHI 2009 and at CA World 2008]

Publications & Talks

Invited Talks

19 Nov 2008


Unobtrusive Knowledge Dissemination. CA World, 2008, Las Vegas, NV. [link]

Peer reviewed papers
2011 gazespace

Laqua, S., Sasse, M.A., Gates, C., and Greenspan, S. (2011). Do you KnowDis? A User Study of a Knowledge Discovery Tool for Organizations. To be presented at CHI 2011, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

gazespace Beeharee, A.K., Laqua, S., and Sasse, M.A. (2011). Navigating Haystacks at 70mph: Intelligent Search for Intelligent In-Car Services. To be presented at MIAA workshop at IUI 2011, Palo Alto, California, US.



Sven Laqua, Angela Sasse, Carrie Gates and Steven Greenspan (2009). Making Sense of the Unknown: Knowledge Disseminiation in Organizations. In: Sensemaking Workshop, CHI 2009, Boston, MA.

gazespace Sven Laqua and Angela Sasse (2009). Exploring Blog Spaces: A Study of Blog Reading Experiences using Dynamic Contextual Displays. In Proc. of HCI 2009, 1-5 Sept. 2009, Cambridge, UK.



Sven Laqua, Nnamdi Ogbechie and M. Angela Sasse (2007) Contextualizing the Blogosphere: A Comparison of Traditional and Novel User Interfaces for the Web. In Proc. of HCI 2007, 3-7 Sept. 2007, Lancaster, UK. [bcs]

gazespace Sven Laqua, Shane Udaraka Bandara and M. Angela Sasse (2007) GazeSpace: Eye Gaze Controlled Content Spaces. In Proc. of HCI 2007, 3-7 Sept. 2007, Lancaster, UK. [bcs]



Sven Laqua (2006) Social Construction of Personalisable Content Interfaces. Human-Centred Technology Postgraduate Workshop, 11-12 September, Brighton, UK.

gazespace Sven Laqua, Gemini Patel and Angela M. Sasse (2006) Personalised Focus-Metaphor Interfaces: An Eye Tracking Study on User Confusion. In Proc. of Mensch und Computer 2006 , 3-6 September, Gelsenkirchen, Germany. (German Chapter of ACM)



Sven Laqua and Paul Brna (2005) The Focus-Metaphor Approach: A Novel Concept for the Design of Adaptive and User-Centric Interfaces. In Proc. of Interact 2005, 12-16 September, Rome.




Sven Laqua (2004) Creation of Virtual Social Networks in Distanced Informal Learning Settings through collaborative Story-Writing. Master Thesis at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne. Supervisor: Paul Brna.

gazespace Sven Laqua (2004) The Dimensions of Interfaces for Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Environments. Literature review at Northumbria University.



Sven Laqua (2003) Concept and User Interface Design for a CSCL Environment for Intercultural Communication. Bachelor Thesis at University of Technology Dresden, Germany. -this thesis is only available in German-

Student Projects

MSc projects


Maartje Ament

Project on Community Support for Blogging Environments

BSc projects


Anna Yu

Development and Evaluation of a Bookmarking and Rating Tool for personalised Focus-Metaphor interfaces


Tiina Yu

Development and Evaluation of a Tagging Tool for personalised Focus-Metaphor interfaces


Peter Shin

Contextualizing Financial News Feeds through a Focus-Metaphor Interface - Integration and Testing of RSS feed capabilities


Shane Bandara

Development and Evaluation of an Eye Gaze controlled Focus-Metaphor Interface


Nnamdi Ogbechie

Development and Testing of Scripts to support the Analysis of Eye Tracking data using Tobii Clearview software


Gemini Patel

Development and Testing of a randomization algorithm to work with Focus-Metaphor Interfaces displaying large dynamic Content Spaces


University College London
2006 - 2009

3012 Interaction Design

Lectures on Screen Design, User Involvement, CSCW, Blogging, Navigation on the Web, ...

2006 - now

Communicating Research on the Web

Workshop for the UCL Graduate School


B406 Information Systems

Lectures on Soft Systems Methodology


Introduction to Web Applications

Lectures and tutoring for the UCL Language School

Queen Mary University London


Lectures on Images and Video



Teaching assistence to distance learning students

Dresden University of Technology

Basics of Design

Tutoring of seminars

This page was last modified on 01 Nov 2011.

Latest Paper

 Laqua, S., Sasse, M.A., Gates, C., and Greenspan, S. (2011).
Do you KnowDis? A User Study of a Knowledge Discovery Tool for Organizations.

To be presented at CHI 2011, Vancouver, BC, Canada. 

Research Themes

Research Projects

  • SONATA - Social Construction of Personalised Content Interfaces
  • KnowDis - Pervasive Knowledge Dissemination in Organizations


Research Methods


gaze paths 2


Eyetracking blogs