I am a PhD candidate at the Microsoft Research Centre for Social Natural User Interfaces at the University of Melbourne. My research uses social science methodologies to understand how people experience and make sense of their increasingly virtualised world.
For my PhD, I study how people use voice interfaces to speak to virtual characters, from intelligent assistants such as Siri to game characters such as Lara Croft. With luck, this work will help to make future voice interfaces smoother, simpler and less galling to use. Along the way, there is a lot to learn about people and their sometimes affectionate, sometimes adversarial relationship with technology.
In addition to voice interface design, I have studied player behaviour in online games, and experiences of immersion, embodiment and subjectivity in single-player games.
Outside academia, I have several years of experience as a research consultant and innovation manager at one of Australia's leading market research agencies. As a consultant I managed award-winning, quantitatively-driven research programs spanning multiple countries, and presented recommendations to the executives and boards of several of Australia's most iconic brands. As a manager I oversaw a small team of software developers designing customised in-house information systems for data analysis and automated infographic production.
At other times, I have hosted a radio show on 3RRR, reported on federal politics for Express Media, managed the volunteer team at the Freeplay Independent Games Festival, written for websites including Kotaku and had photographs exhibited at the Melbourne Museum. When not doing any of these things, I am usually found playing tennis, mulling over a board game or catching up on Twitter.
Allison, F., Carter, M. & Gibbs, M. (2017). 'Word Play: A History of Voice Interaction in Digital Games'. Games and Culture. SAGE Publications.
Carter, M. & Allison, F. (2017). 'Fear, Loss and Meaningful Play: Permadeath in DayZ'. Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, 9(2):143-158. Intellect Ltd.
Newn, J., Velloso, E., Allison, F., Abdelrahman, Y. & Vetere, F. (2017). 'Evaluating Real-Time Gaze Representations to Infer Intentions in Competitive Turn-Based Strategy Games'. In CHI PLAY '17: Proceedings of the Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (pp. 541-552). ACM Press.
Allison, F., Luger, E. & Hofmann, K. (2017). 'Spontaneous Interactions with a Virtually Embodied Intelligent Assistant in Minecraft'. In CHI EA '17: Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 2337-2344). ACM Press.
Allison, F. (2016). 'Are You Out of Your Mind? Focalization in Digital Games'. Transactions of the Digital Games Research Association, 2(3):31-60. DiGRA.
Allison, F., Carter, M. & Gibbs, M. (2016). 'A History of Voice Interaction in Games.' In Abstract Proceedings of DiGRA/FDG 2016. DiGRA.
Carter, M., Allison, F., Downs, J., & Gibbs, M. (2015). 'Player Identity Dissonance and Voice Interaction in Games.' In CHI Play '15: Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (pp. 265-269). ACM Press.
Allison, F., Carter, M. & Gibbs, M. (2015). 'Good Frustrations: The Paradoxical Pleasure of Fearing Death in DayZ.' In OzCHI '15: Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Australian Special Interest Group for Computer Human Interaction (pp. 119-123). ACM Press.
Allison, F. (2015). 'Whose Mind is the Signal? Focalization in Video Game Narratives.' In Proceedings of DiGRA 2015. DiGRA.
Allison, F. (Expected 2019). 'Voice Interaction with Virtual Characters.' Doctor of Philosophy. The University of Melbourne. Supervised by Assoc. Prof. Martin Gibbs, Dr Marcus Carter and Dr Wally Smith.
Allison, F. (2010). 'The Prosthetic Imagination: Immersion in Mirror's Edge.' Bachelor of Communication (Professional Communication) (Honours). RMIT University. Supervised by Dr Gaye Swinn, Dr Adrian Miles.
Presentations and Workshops
February 2018. 'Voice Interaction with Videogame Characters.' Invited talk at Chatbots, Messaging & AI Meetup at Symplicit, Melbourne, Australia.
November 2016. 'Abuse of Virtual Characters Comes as No Surprise.' Presented at DiGRA Australia National Conference, Melbourne, Australia.
October 2016. 'Human-AI Interaction in Minecraft.' Seminar at The University of Melbourne Interaction Design Lab, Melbourne, Australia.
December 2015. 'Voice and the Virtual Experience: Voice Interaction Between Users and Characters.' Doctoral Consortium at OzCHI 2015, Melbourne, Australia.
October 2015. 'User Experiences of Voice Interaction in Games: Identity, Power and Control.' Invited talk at UCL Interaction Centre, London, UK.
October 2015. 'The False Dichotomy Between Positive and Negative Affect in Game Play.' Workshop at CHI Play 2015, London, UK.
May 2015. 'Kidnapping in DayZ.' Presentation at University of Tampere Game Research Lab Spring Seminar, Tampere, Finland.
See my LinkedIn profile for a full professional history and references.
Academic Experience and Service
2018. Program Committee Member for CHI Late-Breaking Work.
2015-18. Peer Reviewer for CHI, DIS, CHI PLAY, DiGRA, FDG and OzCHI conferences.
2017-18. Guest Lecturer for undergraduate subject: 'Media and Communications Research Project' (MECM30015), The University of Melbourne.
2015-2018. Tutor (assessment) for postgraduate subject: 'Impact of Digitisation' (ISYS90051), The University of Melbourne.
2017. Tutor (assessment) for postgraduate subject: 'Interaction Design and Usability' (ISYS90085), The University of Melbourne.
2016-2017. Guest Lecturer for undergraduate subject: 'Internet Meets Society' (UNIB10005), The University of Melbourne.
2017. Tutor for undergraduate subject: 'Media and Communications Research Project' (MECM30015), The University of Melbourne.
2016. Research Assistant for project: 'Zoo Visitor Perceptions of Digital Enrichment for Animals', The University of Melbourne.
2016. Interaction Design Lab Manager, The University of Melbourne.
2014. Service Innovation Workshop Designer & Facilitator, Studio Thick.
2013-14. Manager, Technology & Digital Innovation, Forethought Research.
2011-13. Consultant, Forethought Research.
2011. Business Analyst, Forethought Research.
2010-11. Communications Manager & Political Reporter, Express Media.
2007. Radio Presenter & Producer, 3RRR.
2015-2019 (expected). Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in HCI, The University of Melbourne.
2009-2010. Bachelor of Professional Communication (Honours), RMIT University, Melbourne.
2005-2007. Bachelor of Professional Communication, RMIT University.
Scholarships and Awards
2015—2019 (expected). Microsoft Research Centre for Social NUI Top-Up Scholarship, The University of Melbourne.
2017-2019 (expected). Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship
2017-2018. Melbourne Networked Society Institute Doctoral Academy, The University of Melbourne.
2015—2016. Australian Postgraduate Award, The University of Melbourne.
2007. Eastgate Prize for Hypermedia, RMIT University.
2005. Herald & Weekly Times Award for Journalism, RMIT University.