Bruce N. Walker

Bruce N. Walker

Professor of Psychology and Interactive Computing


Ph.D. at Rice University (2001) in Human Factors and Human-Computer Interaction


My overarching goal is to ensure that technology is developed with the end user in mind. All aspects of design, implementation, adoption, and use of a system or device can be enhanced by considering the perceptual, cognitive, and social needs and abilities of those who will use it. Research in my Sonification Lab focuses on three main areas:

1. Sonification and auditory displays. 
Determining which type of display is appropriate for a system, and then how best to implement it, is a growing challenge, especially as devices continue to shrink in size. The use of sound to communicate information has become more common, but there is little theory to guide auditory display designers. Therefore, we study the perception and understanding of auditory displays, and helping to build up both the theoretical and practical foundations. In particular, our lab studies sonification, the use of sound to display and analyze scientific data. Our findings about how listeners interpret these auditory graphs is leading to more effective data exploration tools, for both sighted and visually impaired researchers and students. 

2. Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) in Non-Traditonal Interfaces.
In situations where there is not necessarily a monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc., what are the best ways to create a successful interaction between the user and the system? Designers need to "think outside the box" and utilize novel interaction style, non-traditional interfaces, and make use of all sensory modalities. Certainly auditory displays fit into this category. However, tactile, voice, and vibration interfaces also apply, as do many others we have not even imagined yet! 

3. Psychological and social factors in the adoption and use of technology.
When first introduced, any new technology will raise both fears and excitement. What are the traits that help a new technology to become accepted and adopted by users so much that it becomes part of our daily lives (e.g., telephones, microwaves, electronic mail)? I am beginning to examine the many factors that contribute to the evolution of a device from "new technology" to "household appliance".

Some other areas of my recent research include: HCI in unique task environments such as the International Space Station; delivery of government services through various channels (Web, telephone, and touch-screen kiosks); stimulus-response compatibility in the design of interface controls; and the use of sound in the teaching of statistical concepts.

Selected Publications

  • Jeon, M., Gable, T. M., Davison, B. K., Nees, M. A., Wilson, J., & Walker, B. N. (2015). Menu navigation with in-vehicle technologies: Auditory menu cues improve dual task performance, preference, and workload. International Journal of Human Computer Interaction, 31: 1-16. DOI:
  • Jeon, M., Walker, B. N., & Gable, T. M. (2015). The Effects of Social Interactions with In-vehicle Agents on a DriverÕs Anger Level, Driving Performance, Situation Awareness, and Perceived Workload. Applied Ergonomics, 50 (September). pp.185-199. Final version published online: 11-APR-2015. DOI:
  • Martin, V., Mbari-Kirika, I., Mugo, K., & Walker, B. N. (2015). Web Accessibility in Africa, The InABLE business model for the Blind. Proceedings of the 30th Annual International Technology & Persons With Disabilities Conference (CSUN2015). San Diego (2-7 March).
  • Schuett, J. H., Winton, R. J., Batterman, J. M., & Walker, B. N. (2014). Auditory Weather Reports: Demonstrating Listener Comprehension of Five Concurrent Variables. Proceedings of the 9th Audio Mostly: A Conference on Interaction With Sound (AudioMostly 2014), Aalborg, Denmark (1-3 October). Article 17. DOI: [Awarded Best Paper Award.]
  • Nees, M. A., & Walker, B. N. (2014). Performance of a Sonification Task in the Presence of Verbal, Visuospatial, and Auditory Interference Tasks. In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 58th Annual Meeting (HFES2015). Chicago, USA (27-31 October).

Contact Information

Personal Site
JS Coon 230
(404) 894-8265
Lab Url