PhD student profile: Rayoung Yang

Rayoung Yang

Rayoung Yang

Rayoung Yang is a PhD student at the School of Information and a member of Michigan Interactive and Social Computing. She received her MSI from the University of Michigan in 2010 and her BA from Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea, with a double major in library and information science and English language and literature.

Rayoung’s research interests lie in designing applications which use context to better meet users’ interests, needs, and goals and improve the interaction between information systems and their users. Specifically, she investigates the use of emerging technology to enhance people’s capabilities to perform their everyday activities and tasks through ethnographic studies of their daily life context.

In her research, she’s found that comprehensive understanding of user behaviors is the most effective way to discover gaps between widely available technologies and the potential need of the users. It is only when unsatisfied needs are identified that technologies can attempt to become the solution for improvement.

In terms of advancing ubiquitous computing, Rayoung is interested in broadening the research horizon to support people with disabilities by applying sensing technologies and mobile computing, and bringing a human-centered design approach that fits various applications that improves everyday routines in domestic environments.

People’s daily activities govern their energy consumption pattern and it is often difficult for them to change their behavior drastically to reduce their energy use. Rayoung’s current research project, Eco-Configuration: Enabling Technology for Efficient Energy Consumption, aims to find a way to make it easier for an individual to manage home energy consumption for conservation. This research seeks to understand residential thermal comfort and how people think about managing the temperature in their homes, as well as the variability in people’s household routines in order to investigate how routines can be understood and utilized by people to strike a balance between conscious conservation effort, energy efficiency, and physical comfort. This research will inform future efforts to design more effective heating and cooling control systems for the home.

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