My PhD research focuses on examining the ways in which data-centric and algorithmic systems construct and are in turn constructed by the communities they are designed for. Informed by theories from Community Informatics and Science and Technology Studies, I use participatory design research methods to study how specific communities design, learn and use data centric and algorithmic technologies. For my dissertation, I am studying the socio-technical infrastructures that are involved in bringing a community indicator data dashboard to fruition. The goal is to use the findings that come out of this research to rethink a community data infrastructure that foregrounds the needs of the community and builds thier data literacy.
Previously, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering, after which I built web platforms for Fortune 500 companies. Interacting with the customers got me interested in understanding the human side of how and why people use technology. This is when I read Don Norman’s book on the Design of Everyday Things, which convinced me that Human Computer Interaction was my true calling. I applied and got accepted into Georgia Tech’s HCI program, where I worked with Dr. Ali Mazalek to build tangible and embodied interfaces. For my master’s thesis, I was inspired by Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller’s concept of Exertion Interfaces and prototyped a system that studied the kinds of technologies that would make a throwing game more engaging for children.
After graduation I spent a couple of years as a User Experience Designer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where I designed, researched and prototyped both mobile and web interfaces. This work although fulfilling, didn’t offer the opportunity for me to study the social impact that these technologies were having on people. This is what prompted me to go back to school to get a PhD in Digital Media at Georgia Tech.
O'Connell, Katie, Yeji Lee, Firaz Peer, Shawn M. Staudaher, Alex Godwin, Mackenzie Madden, and Ellen Zegura. Making Public Safety Data Accessible in the Westside Atlanta Data Dashboard . In Proceedings of Bloomberg Data for Good Exchange Conference 2016, New York City, NY, USA, arXiv preprint arXiv:1609.09756 (2016).
Firaz Peer, Michael Nitsche, and Lauren Schaffer. 2014. Power puppet: science and technology education through puppet building . In Proceedings of the 2014 conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC '14, Aarhus, Denmark). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 221-224.
Mazalek, Ali, Michael Nitsche, Claudia Rébola, Paul Clifton, Andy Wu, Nick Poirier, Firaz Peer. Pictures at an Exhibition: Design of a Hybrid Puppetry Performance Piece, In Proceedings of the International Conference on Entertainment Computing (ICEC 2012), Berlin, Heidelberg, 2012, 130–143.
Firaz Peer, Ali Mazalek, Florian 'Floyd' Mueller and Anne Friedlander. 2011. Evaluating technology that makes physical games for children more engaging . In Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC '11, Ann Arbor, USA). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 193-196. (Masters Thesis)
Mazalek, A., Nitsche, M., Chandrasekharan, S., Welsh, T., Clifton, P., Quitmeyer, A., Peer, F., and Kirschner, F. I'm in the Game: Embodied Puppet Interface Improves Avatar Control In Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction 2011, Funchal, Portugal.
Mazalek, A., Nitsche, M., Rebola, C., Wu, A., Clifton, P., Peer, F., Drake, M. Pictures at an Exhibition: A Physical/Digital Puppetry Performance Piece . In proceedings of the 8th ACM Conference on Creativity and Cognition, 2011, ACM, New York, NY.
Mazalek, A., Nitsche, M., Chandrasekharan, S., Welsh, T., Clifton, P., Quitmeyer, A.,Peer, F., and Kirschner, F. Recognizing self in puppet controlled virtual avatars . In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Fun and Games, 2010, Leuven, Belgium.
Ari Happonen, Firaz Peer, Maria Palacin-Silva, Annika Wolff. Workshopping a Data Equity Manifesto . Workshop organized at the iConference, Washington D.C, 2019.
At the iConference, Washington D.C, 2019.
At the ACM FAT (Fairness Accountability and Transparency) Conference, Atlanta, GA, 2019.
Ahmed Elnoshokaty, Yi Wang, Shuyuan Deng, Tom Meservy, Mohamed Elsaied, Firaz Peer, Omar El-Gayar. Recommender Systems in Online Platforms for Social Campaigns In Proceedings of the 39th International Conference on Information Systems – ICIS 2018, San Francisco, USA
Nitsche, Michael, Crystal Eng, Firaz Peer. Ownership in Making Puppets. At the Co-Creation Workshop at International Conference on Computational Creativity (ICCC), Atlanta, GA, 2017.
Firaz Peer, Mueller, F, Agamanolis, S, Sheridan, J, How to facilitate physical skill development in exertion games. In Proceedings of a Workshop on Embodied Interaction, pp. 1-4. Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2011.
Mueller, F, Peer, F, Agamanolis, S, Sheridan, J, Gamification and exertion In Proceedings of the Workshop on Gamification at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 1-4. Association for Computing Machinery, 2011.
Firaz Peer. “Data Dashboards as Infrastructures for Data Literacy” At the iConference, Washington D.C, 2019.
Principles of Visual Design, (Fall '14, Spring '15, Spring '16, Fall '16, Spring '17, Fall '17, Spring '18)
Visual Culture and Design, (Spring '14) - Led by Prof. Nassim JaffariNaimi
Experimental Media, (Spring '11) - Led by Prof. Ali Mazalek
Tangible Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI), 2019
IEEE Teaching, Assessment and Learning for Engineering (TALE), 2019
CHI Play, 2018
Participatory Design Conference, 2018
Design of Interactive Systems, 2018
New Interfaces for Musical Expression, 2011
Presidents Undergraduate Research Awards 2010, Georgia Tech
ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (ACM FAT*), 2019
Human Computer Interaction Student Committee, 2011, Georgia Tech
ACM Conference on Human Computer Interaction (ACM CHI), 2010
I participated in the Stitchfest Hackathon at Upenn in the Spring of 2014, with Andrew Quitmeyer. We had a great time building an Arduino powered stimulating toy, and also managed to get a lot of press for it.
PhD in Digital Media 2013 - Present
Research examines the ways in which interaction design and digital media construct and support civic life. Projects and research in this area include the use of information design for public argument, the development of participatory and co-design methods for community engagement, and new modes of public interaction mediated by technology.
Masters in Human Computer Interaction - Graduated: 2011
Research focused the interaction design of wearable technologies and tangible interfaces that support learning and creativity. Published a paper on "Evaluating technology that makes physical games for children more engaging" as part of my masters project.
Bachelors in Computer Science & Engineering - Graduated: 2005
Research focused understanding the workings of Linux based operating systems. Electives included Linux Internals, Operating Systems, Game Theory and Computer Systems Design and Architecture.
Part prototyper, part design researcher, I bring ideas to life.
Email is the best way to get in touch with me, but if you don't have it, drop a line here and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.