about Linda Macaulay

Linda A Macaulay
Professor of System Design / Manchester Business School
The University of Manchester, Booth Street East, M15 6PB

Research Interests

Professor Macaulay’s research interests are concerned with how technical system design can be informed by the needs of users and groups of users and fall into the five main areas: Human Computer Interaction; Requirements Engineering; e-Commerce and e-Business; Facilitated Collaboration and SSME (Services Science, Management and Engineering)

Human Computer Interaction
Early experiences of working as a System Designer and Programmer within the National Health Service designing systems for use by nurses, doctors and pathologists taught me that designing and building software was relatively easy when compared with the difficulties of getting the systems to fit well with the people who had to use them. Understanding what users really needed for their job, reconciling the differing views between different user groups and between management and workers, and different reactions to the same user interface led to a life long interest in the interaction between the design of the system and the perceptions and practices of users. 

Early research projects in Human Computer Interaction addressed issues of designing adaptive user interfaces to meet the needs of differing user groups (Evaluation of Adaptive Dialogues at the Man-Machine Interface,1998, and Matching OPAC User Interfaces to User Needs, 1986). Later with the advent of the internet the problem changed but still persists and the project Internet Usability Project, 1996, explored how a newspaper would change when it went online and the User Interface Re-design for Internet Point-of-Sale , 1997, explored how different designs would impact customer operator interaction. The project on Human Factors in the Design of Electronic Service Delivery Systems (1998-2001) explored a wider range of human interaction issues. 

Professor Macaulay's book ‘ Human Computer Interaction for Software Designers’ (ISBN 1-850-32177-9) presents a number of techniques for use by System Designers to help them take account of user needs within the design process, this is primarily a book for undergraduate teaching.

See: list of publications in Human Computer Interaction

Requirements Engineering
The problem of understanding users and reconciling diverse needs led to early work with ICL (now Fujitsu) within a project called User Skills and Task Match through which designers, marketeers, technical authors, user support and other stakehoders of propsed new products were brought together in a series of workshops. With Dr. Andrew Hutt and Professor Chris Fowler, Professor Macaulay developed a technique that caused the stakeholders to focus on the needs of their target users, how the proposed product would change the users job, the acceptability of that change and to identify key user oriented design considerations. 

The project Co-operative Requirements Capture further developed the technique and Control Room 2000; New Opportunities Analysis and Marketing to Design applied the technique within various organisations. 

Her books ‘Requirements Engineering’ (ISBN 3-540-76006-7) and ‘Human Computer Interaction for Software Designers’ (ISBN 1-850-32177-9) describe techniques she has developed.

See: list of publications in Requirements Engineering

e-Commerce and e-Business
The applied nature of Professor Macaulay's research has led her to work closely with business and the advent of the internet and its potential to change business was, and is, a source of great fascination. In 1999 she founded the Centre of Expertise in e-Commerce to bring together academics and business partners to explore the potential of the internet for business. 

Questions related to how business models would change and how the relationship between business and customers would change. In this context it became no longer sufficient to think of users simply as 'users' because they are at the same time customers. Hence an understanding of both Human Computer Interaction and Consumer Behaviour literature became necessary and hence Professor Macaulay formed a key collaboration with Professor Peter McGoldrick and Dr. Kathy Keeling experts in Retail Marketing at Manchester Business School.

The Centre of Expertise in e-Commerce led to Knowledge Transfer Projects with small local business one called Creating a Virtual Enterprise (2000-2002) and the second called e-Commerce and Online Communities (2002-2004) and to a relationship with Tameside Council through the e-Business Portal for SME networks (2002-2006). The e-Factors project (2002-2003) explored emerging e-business models.

See: list of publications in e-Commerce and e-Business

Facilitated Collaboration
 ‘Co-operative requirements Capture’ is aimed at multi-stakeholder teams engaged in agreeing requirements in the early stage of a project. The method consists of a series of facilitated workshops and led to further interest in the role of the facilitator is group decision making and in particular how the role can be supported by technology. Professor Macaulay is concerned with computer support for facilitation of geographically or temporally dispersed teams; the research falls generally within the Collaboration Engineering domain. She is working closely with IBM to develop new e-business patterns for facilitated collaboration and to examine the role of e-business patterns in the emerging discipline of Services Science (http://www.research.ibm.com/ssme/workuniv.shtml). 

See: list of publications in Facilitated Collaboration and Virtual Teams

SSME (Services Science Management and Engineering)

Professor Macaulay is working with other researchers across the UK to help develop the SSME research.  We recognize that dealing with service complexity is the ultimate challenge of the SSME agenda based on the following facts: (a) Many of today’s services require the cooperation of people, business and technologies in many different disciplines. Delivering and innovating services will involve understanding people’s behaviour, the way they conduct businesses and the role of technologies in businesses; (c) Services have become increasingly complex and dynamic owing to the cross-industry, cross-market, and cross-country business activities and collaborations and (c)The Internet and IT technology have made it possible for companies to work together intensively and in new ways, to form complex supply chains and service networks. Technologies have become a crucial part of services and service innovation. It can be argued that technologies are the defining characteristic of modern services and the challenge of SSME is the complexity of designing and innovating services around technologies. Researchers working with Professor Macaulay are from leading Business Schools and Computer Science Departments.

See: list of publications in Service Science

Manchester Business School | email: info@lindamacaulay.com