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Dr Min Zhang

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am an HCI researcher at the Open University. I am passionate about exploring how digital technology could facilitate individuals and society to flourish. My cross-disciplinary collaboration experience enhances my teamwork skills with people from different backgrounds and professionals such as psychology, policing, education, computing, management, and social workers. My expertise includes using human-centric approaches (qualitative and quantitative methods) to understand the problem space and user requirements and feed these to the design, development, and evaluation of socially responsible technology. Before I joined OU, I worked as a Research Associate at Lancaster University and Newcastle University. 


PhD, MEng, BSc, Dipol. Psychology

I got my PhD in Computer Science at the University of Nottingham, MEng in Software Engineering, and BSc in Computer Science. I'm currently pursuing a BSc in Psychology and an MBA at the Open University as part of my academic journey.

Research interests

My research interests are shaped and evolving with my experience and passions: 

  • Social computing (e.g., policing, personal safety, gender inequality, domestic violence) 
  • Socio-technical infrastructure/systems
  • Human-computer interaction (HCI), HCI4D (development)
  • Positive technology/psychology, post-traumatic growth
  • Citizen-led science/initiatives/activism
  • Responsible design

Teaching interests

I am involved in teaching the module TM356 Interaction Design and User Experience at the Open University. 

I was an Associate Lecturer at University College London to teach and supervise master students in MSc HCI and digital health. I also marked students' essays for Module PSYC0098 Human Factors for Digital Health, PSYC007 final year project, and HCI MSc Projects.

Current research projects

1) Trust in forensic science evidence in the criminal justice system: The experience of marginalised groups

I am working as a PDRA in Design for this ESRC-funded project led by Prof. Lara Frumkin. My roles involve exploring the indicators of trust in Forensic Science by using both qualitative and quantitative methods, and how to use participatory design methods to better design the tools (e.g., digital, policy, practice) to mitigate the distrust and foster healthy trust among the public, especially marginalised groups.    

2) Supporting Diverse New Motherhoods for Work Inclusion

With my passion for empowering women from minority ethnic groups, I am also working with colleagues from Open University Business School on this Open Socital Challenge project to explore how mothers of preschool children from minority groups could be supported in the workplace. My roles include conducting systematic reviews of literature and interviewing HR/Managers and policymakers to understand current gaps in policy and practice in supporting the employment of new mothers from minority groups.     

3) Can Coercive Control Behaviour be Identified through Machine Learning?

Coercive and Controlling behaviour (CCB) is treated as a criminal offence in Section 76 of Serious Crime Act 2015. In this project, we work closely with Avon and Somerset police to explore the potential opportunities for machine learning to detect CCB based on accumulated records. However, policing involves complex practices and diverse stakeholders. My roles include designing a survey to understand the current practices in safeguarding and police investigating CCB, especially focusing on the data inventory that contains traces of potential CCB offences.  

Past projects

1) Gratitude Tree

Initiated during the COVID-19 lockdown, this project aims to promote people's mental well-being and resilience with social gratitude intervention. Based on psychological theories, we designed and built an online platform called Gratitude Tree, and it has proliferated since its launch in Dec 2020.    

2) Safe Walking Practice 

I am leading this Knowledge Transfer project intending to understand pedestrians' perceptions of safety, safe mobility practices, and safety technology. We have collected 665 survey responses from the UK representative sample and our results highlighted the intersectionality of identity and walking situations on people's safety concerns. The initial data analysis will be published as a CHI2024 paper.   

3) Citizen Forensics

This multi-disciplinary project looked at the possibility for citizens to self-investigate the incidents and crime. My roles include working closely with forensic psychologists, social psychologists, local communities (including parish council), police forces (Merseyside, Thames Valley Police), and OU CPRL to explore the citizen-police interaction. I also led the 12-week workshop and focus group study to examine the 'extreme' citizen-led investigation of their local community issues.

4) Digital Thread: Towards personalised craft production in Malay cottage industries

Before I joined the OU, I worked on the Digital Threads project funded by AHRC in the School of Computing and Communications at Lancaster University. I visited Malaysian villages to observe, interview, and run workshops with Songket weavers (most of them are women) and 'middlemen' who pay weavers low wages. We explored how digital technology (e.g., co-design app, blockchain) could help exploited woman weavers become more visible on the supply chain. We reflected on the 'mutually beneficial exploitative relationships' in our CHI paper.        

Professional Affiliations

Impact and engagement

Invited talks and public engagement
  • I am one of 10 speakers for the Soapbox Science MK and I will be very delighted to share our Gratitude Tree project on 6th July 2024 and encourage more public engagement with our social gratitude initiative. 
  • Forensic Cognition Research Group 2024 
  • The Love Consortium’s Global Gratitude Summit 2023


Digital detectives: websleuthing reduces eyewitness identification accuracy in police lineups (2021-04)
Elphick, Camilla; Philpot, Richard; Zhang, Min; Stuart, Avelie; Pike, Graham; Strathie, Ailsa; Havard, Catriona; Walkington, Zoe; Frumkin, Lara; Levine, Mark; Price, Blaine; Bandara, Arosha and Nuseibeh, Bashar
Frontiers in Psychology, 12, Article 640513

Building trust in digital policing: a scoping review of community policing apps (2021)
Elphick, Camilla; Philpot, Richard; Zhang, Min; Stuart, Avelie; Walkington, Zoe; Frumkin, Lara; Pike, Graham; Gardner, Kelly; Lacey, Mark; Levine, Mark; Price, Blaine; Bandara, Arosha and Nuseibeh, Bashar
Police Practice and Research, 22(5) (1469 -1491)

Altruism and anxiety: Engagement with online community support initiatives (OCSIs) during Covid-19 lockdown in the UK and Ireland (2020-12-06)
Elphick, Camilla; Stuart, Avelie; Philpot, Richard; Walkington, Zoe; Frumkin, Lara; Zhang, Min; Levine, Mark; Price, Blaine; Pike, Graham; Nuseibeh, Bashar and Bandara, Arosha

Understanding Pedestrians’ Perception of Safety and Safe Mobility Practices (2024)
Zhang, Min and Bandara, Arosha
In : CHI 2024: The ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (11-16 May 2024, Hawaii, USA)

How Do People Use a Public Gratitude Platform in the Wild? (2024)
Zhang, Min; Arce-Plata, Carlos; Price, Blaine; Pike, Graham; Walkington, Zoe; Elphick, Camilla; Frumkin, Lara; Philpot, Richard; Keil, Tina; Levine, Mark; Stuart, Avelie; Nuseibeh, Bashar and Bandara, Arosha
In : Extended Abstracts of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '24) (11-16 May 2024, Honolulu, Hawaii)

Towards a Socio-Technical Understanding of Police-Citizen Interactions (2023-08-25)
Zhang, Min; Bandara, Arosha K.; Philpot, Richard; Stuart, Avelie; Walkington, Zoe; Elphick, Camilla; Frumkin, Lara; Pike, Graham; Price, Blaine; Levine, Mark and Nuseibeh, Bashar
In : 19th IFIP TC13 International Conference INTERACT 2023 (28 Aug - 1 Sep 2023, York, UK) (pp. 324-345)

Attitudes towards Online Community Support Initiatives during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Survey in the UK (2022-05-10)
Zhang, Min; Elphick, Camilla; Philpot, Richard; Walkington, Zoe; Frumkin, Lara; Price, Blaine; Pike, Graham; Levine, Mark; Nuseibeh, Bashar and Bandara, Arosha
In : CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Extended Abstracts (1-7 May 2022)

Finding & Reviewing Community Policing Apps in Asia (2020-04)
Zhang, Min; Bandara, Arosha; Price, Blaine and Nuseibeh, Bashar
In : 2020 Symposium on Emerging Research from Asia and on Asian Contexts and Cultures (25-30 Apr 2020) (pp. 45-48)

Towards Citizen Forensics: Improving Citizen-Police Collaboration (2020)
Bandara, Arosha; Zhang, Min; Price, Blaine; Pike, Graham; Elphick, Camilla; Walkington, Zoe; Frumkin, Lara; Philpot, Richard; Levine, Mark; Stuart, Avelie and Nuseibeh, Bashar
In : Workshop on Crime and/or Punishment: Joining the Dots between Crime, Legality and HCI, Extended Abstracts of ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (25-30 Apr 2020, Honolulu, HI, USA)

Designing Technologies for Community Policing (2020)
Zhang, Min; Bandara, Arosha; Price, Blaine; Pike, Graham; Walkington, Zoe; Elphick, Camilla; Frumkin, Lara; Philpot, Richard; Levine, Mark; Stuart, Avelie and Nuseibeh, Bashar
In : Extended Abstracts of ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Late Breaking Work) (25-30 Apr 2020, Honolulu, HI, USA) (pp. 1-9)