Adam Fourney

Adam Fourney
Microsoft · Microsoft Research

Doctor of Philosophy

About

52
Publications
10,517
Reads
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1,106
Citations
Additional affiliations
May 2014 - August 2014
Microsoft
Position
  • Intern
Description
  • Mentors: Ryen White & Eric Horvitz
June 2012 - August 2012
Microsoft
Position
  • Intern
Description
  • Mentors: Meredith Ringel Morris
January 2010 - August 2015
University of Waterloo
Position
  • PhD Student
Education
January 2010 - April 2015
University of Waterloo
Field of study
  • Computer Science
September 2007 - December 2009
University of Waterloo
Field of study
  • Computer Science
September 2002 - May 2007
University of Ottawa
Field of study
  • Computer Science

Publications

Publications (52)
Preprint
While digital assistants are increasingly used to help with various productivity tasks, less attention has been paid to employing them in the domain of business documents. To build an agent that can handle users' information needs in this domain, we must first understand the types of assistance that users desire when working on their documents. In...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Prototyping AI user experiences is challenging due in part to probabilistic AI models making it difficult to anticipate, test, and mitigate AI failures before deployment. In this work, we set out to support practitioners with early AI prototyping, with a focus on natural language (NL)-based technologies. Our interviews with 12 NL practitioners from...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Web search is a key digital literacy skill that can be particularly challenging for people with dyslexia, a common learning disability that afects reading and spelling skills in about 15% of the English- speaking population. In this paper, we collected and analyzed eye- tracking, search log, and self-report data from 27 participants (14 with dyslex...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) carried out a broad information campaign in the U.S. before and after the 2016 presidential election. The organization created an expansive set of internet properties: web domains, Facebook pages, and Twitter bots, which received traffic via purchased Facebook ads, tweets, and search engines indexing...
Preprint
The role of conversational assistants has become more prevalent in helping people increase their productivity. Document-centered assistance, for example to help an individual quickly review a document, has seen less significant progress, even though it has the potential to tremendously increase a user's productivity. This type of document-centered...
Conference Paper
People with visual impairments often rely on screen readers when interacting with computer systems. Increasingly, these individuals also make extensive use of voice-based virtual assistants (VAs). We conducted a survey of 53 people who are legally blind to identify the strengths and weaknesses of both technologies, and the unmet opportunities at th...
Conference Paper
There has been considerable research on how software can enhance programmers' productivity within their workspace. In this paper, we instead explore how software might help programmers make productive use of their time while away from their workspace. We interviewed 10 software engineers and surveyed 78 others and found that while programmers often...
Article
Increased availability of cloud services and ownership of multiple digital devices create unique opportunities for digital assistants to provide guidance across a range of tasks and scenarios.
Conference Paper
People receive dozens, or hundreds, of notifications per day and each notification poses some risk of accidental information disclosure in the presence of others; onlookers may see notifications on a mobile phone lock screen, on the periphery of a desktop or laptop display. We quantify the prevalence of these accidental disclosures in the context o...
Conference Paper
People with visual impairments often rely on screen readers when interacting with computer systems. Increasingly, these individuals also make extensive use of voice-based virtual assistants (VAs). We conducted a survey of 53 people who are legally blind to identify the strengths and weaknesses of both technologies, as well as the unmet opportunitie...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) frame opportunities and challenges for user interface design. Principles for human-AI interaction have been discussed in the human-computer interaction community for over two decades, but more study and innovation are needed in light of advances in AI and the growing uses of AI technologies in human-facing a...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
As reading increasingly shifts from paper to online media, many web browsers now provide a "Reader View,'' which modifies web page layout and design for better readability. However, research has yet to establish whether Reader Views are effective in improving readability and how they might change the user experience. We characterize how Mozilla Fir...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) carried out a broad information campaign in the U.S. before and after the 2016 presidential election. The organization created an expansive set of internet properties: web domains, Facebook pages, and Twitter bots, which received traffic via purchased Facebook ads, tweets, and search engines indexing...
Preprint
Full-text available
Converging investigations on the part of multiple agencies/agents have provided overwhelming evidence for Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As a part (and consequence) of recent reports, multiple datasets that capture actions taken by actors of the Internet Research Agency (IRA), have been released to the public. In the c...
Preprint
The proliferation of network-connected devices and applications has resulted in people receiving dozens, or hundreds, of notifications per day. When people are in the presence of others, each notification poses some risk of accidental information disclosure; onlookers may see notifications appear above the lock screen of a mobile phone, on the peri...
Conference Paper
Standards organizations, (e.g., the World Wide Web Consortium), are placing increased importance on the cognitive accessibility of online systems, including web search. Previous work has shown an association between query-document relevance judgments, and query-independent assessments of document readability. In this paper we study the lexical and...
Conference Paper
In this paper, we study how to leverage calendar information to help with email re-finding using a zero-query prototype, Calendar-Aware Proactive Email Recommender System (CAPERS). CAPERS proactively selects and displays potentially useful emails to users based on their upcoming calendar events with a particular focus on meeting preparation. We app...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Voice-based conversational assistants are growing in popularity on ubiquitous mobile and stationary devices. Cortana, as well as Google Home, Amazon Echo, and others, can provide support for various tasks from managing reminders to booking a hotel. However, with few exceptions, user input is limited to explicit queries or commands. In this work, we...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
As many as 20% of English speakers have dyslexia, a language disability that impacts reading and spelling. Web search is an important modern literacy skill, yet the accessibility of this language-centric endeavor to people with dyslexia is largely unexplored. We interviewed ten adults with dyslexia and conducted an online survey with 81 dyslexic an...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Complex software applications expose hundreds of commands to users through intricate menu hierarchies. One of the most popular productivity software suites, Microsoft Office, has recently developed functionality that allows users to issue free-form text queries to a search system to quickly find commands they want to execute, retrieve help document...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We present an analysis of traffic to websites known for publishing fake news in the months preceding the 2016 US presidential election. The study is based on the combined instrumentation data from two popular desktop web browsers: Internet Explorer 11 and Edge. We find that social media was the primary outlet for the circulation of fake news storie...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
“Remind me to get milk later this afternoon.” In communications and planning, people often express uncertainty about time using imprecise temporal expressions (ITEs). Unfortunately, modern virtual assistants often lack system support to capture the intents behind these expressions. This can result in unnatural interactions and undesirable interrupt...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Many people rely on web search engines to check the spelling or grammatical correctness of input phrases. For example, one might search [recurring or reoccurring] to decide between these similar words. While language-related queries are common, they have low click-through rates, lack a strong intent signal, and are generally challenging to study. P...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Web search functionality is increasingly integrated into operating systems, software applications, and other interactive environments that extend beyond the traditional web browser. In particular, intelligent virtual assistants (e.g., Microsoft Cortana or Apple Siri) often "fall-back" to generic web search in cases where utterances fall outside the...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
" The names, icons, and tooltips of commands in feature-rich software are an important source of guidance when locating and selecting amongst commands. Unfortunately, these cues can mislead users into believing that a command is appropriate for a given task, when another command would be more appropriate, resulting in wasted time and frustration. I...
Thesis
Full-text available
Web search and other online resources serve an integral role in how people learn and use feature-rich software (e.g., Adobe Photoshop) on a daily basis. Users depend on web resources both as a first line of technical support, and as a means for coping with system complexity. For example, people rely on web resources to learn new tasks, to troublesh...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We study time-dependent patterns of information seeking about pregnancy, birth, and the first several weeks of caring for newborns via analyses of queries drawn from anonymized search engine logs. We show how we can detect and align web search behavior for a population of searchers with the natural clock of gestational physiology via proxies for gr...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We present CheatSheet, a novel contextual interactive memory aid that helps users track their learning progress and refind information when working with complex web applications. Unlike most refinding systems that rely on background monitoring of search sessions or browsing histories to automatically suggest content to users, our approach actively...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Users often make continued and sustained use of online resources to complement use of a desktop application. For example, users may reference online tutorials to recall how to perform a particular task. While often used in a coordinated fashion, the browser and desktop application provide separate, independent mechanisms for helping users find and...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Web-based software tutorials contain a wealth of information describing software tasks and workflows. There is growing interest in mining these resources for task modeling, automation, machine-guided help, interface search, and other applications. As a first step, past work has shown success in extracting individual commands from textual instructio...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Software engineers often use Q&A forums like Stack Overflow and MSDN to ask and answer technical questions. Through a survey study and web browser log analysis, we find that both askers and answerers of technical forum questions typically conduct extensive online research before composing their posts. The inclusion of links to these research materi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper introduces the PICL, the portable in-circuit learner. The PICL explores the possibility of providing standalone, low-cost, programming-by-demonstration machine learning capabilities to circuit prototyping. To train the PICL, users attach a sensor to the PICL, demonstrate example input, then specify the desired output (expressed as a volt...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents a recognizer for identifying references to user interface components in online documentation. The recognizer first extracts phrases matching a list of known components, then employs a classifier to reject coincidental matches. We describe why this seemingly straightforward problem is challenging, then show how informal conventio...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper introduces query-feature graphs, or QF-graphs. QF-graphs encode associations between high-level descriptions of user goals (articulated as natural language search queries) and the specific features of an interactive system relevant to achieving those goals. For example, a QF-graph for the GIMP graphics manipulation software links the que...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
People routinely rely on Internet search engines to support their use of interactive systems: they issue queries to learn how to accomplish tasks, troubleshoot problems, and otherwise educate themselves on products. Given this common behavior, we argue that search query logs can usefully augment traditional usability methods by revealing the primar...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper, we show how Internet search query logs can yield rich, ecologically valid data sets describing the common tasks and issues that people encounter when using software on a day-to-day basis. These data sets can feed directly into standard usability practices. We address challenges in collecting, filtering, and summarizing queries, and s...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Driven by the increasing availability of low-cost sensing hardware, gesture-based input is quickly becoming a viable form of interaction for a variety of applications. Electronic presentations (e.g., PowerPoint, Keynote) have long been seen as a natural fit for this form of interaction. However, despite 20 years of prototyping such systems, little...
Technical Report
Full-text available
As we expand our use of hand gestures for interacting with computational devices, the spatial context in which gestures are performed becomes an increasingly important feature for interpreting user intent. In this paper, we demon-strate how spatial context, and bimanual coordinated hand motion, can be efficiently modeled using a factored hidden Mar...
Conference Paper
Cognitive assistance of a rollator (wheeled walker) user tends to reduce the attentional capacity of the user and may impact her stability. Hence, it is important to understand and track the pose of rollator users before augmenting a rollator with some form of cognitive assistance. While the majority of current markerless vision systems focus on es...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper we argue that gestures based on non-accidental motion features can be reliably detected amongst unconstrained background motion. Specifically, we demonstrate that humans can perform non-accidental motions with high accuracy, and that these trajectories can be extracted from video with sufficient accuracy to reliably distinguish them f...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Understanding the human gait is an important objective towards improving elderly mobility. In turn, gait analyses largely depend on kinematic and dynamic measurements. While the majority of current markerless vision systems focus on estimating 2D and 3D walking motion in the sagittal plane, we wish to estimate the 3D pose of rollator users' lower l...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Past research suggests a number of benefits to using hand-based interaction when interacting with electronic presentations. This pa-per introduces Maestro, a computer-vision based presentation sys-tem that uses hand gestures to allow fine-grained interaction with the contents of a projected slideshow. Maestro employs a single web camera and no othe...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper describes a construct that we call a face image log. Face image logs are collections of time stamped images representing faces detected in surveillance videos. The techniques demonstrated in this paper strive to construct face image logs that are complete and concise in the sense that the logs contain only the best images available for e...

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