Jonna Hakkila (Nokia), Jani Mantyjarvi (Nokia & VTT), and I discussed last year how we can improve the doctoral studies of our students and we decided to organize a small workshop to discuss PhD topics.

As Jonna is currently on maternity leave and officially not working we ran the workshop at VTT in Oulu.

The topics varied widely from basic user experience to user interface related security. There was very interesting work the participants did and published. I have selected the following 2 as reading suggestions: [1] by Elina Vartiainen and [2] by Anne Kaikkonen.

We hope we gave some advise – can resist to repeat the most important thing to remember:

  • a PhD thesis is not require to solve all problems in a domain
  • doing a PhD is yet another exam – not more and not less
  • finding/inventing/unterstanding something that makes a real difference to even a small part of the world is a great achievement (an not common in most PhD research)
  • do not start with thinking hard – start with doing your research

A good discussion on doing a PhD in computer science by Jakob Bardram can be found at [3].

[1] Roto, V., Popescu, A., Koivisto, A., and Vartiainen, E. 2006. Minimap: a web page visualization method for mobile phones. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Montréal, Québec, Canada, April 22 – 27, 2006). CHI ’06. ACM, New York, NY, 35-44. DOI=

[2] Lehikoinen, J. T. and Kaikkonen, A. 2006. PePe field study: constructing meanings for locations in the context of mobile presence. In Proceedings of the 8th Conference on Human-Computer interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (Helsinki, Finland, September 12 – 15, 2006). MobileHCI ’06, vol. 159. ACM, New York, NY, 53-60. DOI=