Tal August

Hello! I am a current 2nd year PhD student at the UW Allen School for Computer Science and Engineering, advised by Katharina Reinecke and Noah Smith. I examine language style (e.g., formality vs. informality, types of framing) as a dimension of design used in interfaces to encourage or discourage users from diverse cultures and demographic backgrounds to use technology effectively. I often explore this design space of language styles through online studies on LabintheWild.

Originally intending a Cognitive Science major, but finding myself in a different 'CS' discipline, I've been drawn to my current work through a mixture of Psychology, Design and HCI research at Tufts University, where I worked with Professors Rob Jacob, Remco Chang, Ayanna Thomas, and Ron Lasser.

For more information check out my CV.


My LinkedIn profile

email: taugust@uw.edu

office: Paul Allen building 362

Adaptive Websites

We are expanding Prof. Reinecke's work on modeling website visual aesthetics by retraining the models to predict colorfulness and visual complexity on larger and more diverse website samples. We are also aiming to introduce new methods for online user modeling and adaptation

Check out the prior work on visual complexty and colorfulness models here

Effects of language style on online usability

I am fascinated by how one's personal background influences writing style and am curios what consequences these stylisitc differences lead to when we design systems to communicate with an increasingly diverse internet audience. How does one's style of writing relate to one's preference for writing, and do these preferences differ based on culture or demographics, similar to aesthetic preferences, leading to usability issues online?

  • Tal August, Nigini Oliveira, Chenhao Tan, Noah Smith, and Katharina Reinecke, “Slogan Preferences and Sample Bias in Volunteer-Based Online Studies”, Proceedings of ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW), 2018.
  • Manuel Nordhoff, Tal August, Nigini Oliveira and Katharina Reinecke, “A Case for Design Localization: Diversity of Website Aesthetics in 44 Countries”, Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), 2018.

Past Projects
  • Found in Translation : A visualization tool for exploring the similarities and differences between languages across the world