Design School

School staff

Dr Andrew May

Photo of Dr Andrew May

Research Fellow

Director of Research Degrees Programme

I am a Research Fellow in the Design School and also the Director of the PhD/MPhil programme.

My background is engineering. After working at Jaguar Cars I did an MSc in Human Factors at University College London, and then a PhD at Loughborough. This focused on the concept of ‘added value’ for users of mobile location services. I am motivated by the challenge of applying and adapting scientific principles to user centred design of new technology and services. I have worked in many different domains, including automotive, construction, manufacturing, mobile (consumer and work), and emergency response.

I am responsible for the PhD and MPhil programme in the Design School and try to ensure that our students are happy while they are here, and successful in their outcomes.

My main teaching role is in relation to the PhD students. I do a range of seminars with them, including topics such as ‘what is a PhD?’, ‘working with your supervisors’, ‘what to expect during your viva’, and ‘how to get your work published’.

My main current research activities are (1) a project funded by the Rail Safety and Standards Board looking at how data integration can improve the customer experience, and (2) a project funded by Innovate UK which is developing accurate localized rainfall forecasts. Due to start in September is a project funded by EPSRC looking at improving the customer experience during mobility, whilst ensuring data privacy, information here.

Research which has recently been completed includes the use of smart home technologies for reducing energy demand, user adoption of mobile IT within the construction industry (commercial),user innovation within transport and the opportunities for wireless sensor networks within emergency response 

Please get in touch if you are interested in any of the above work.

I am currently supervising (with colleagues) the following PhD students:

Avinoam Baruch (Crowdsourcing for geographic flood risk management)

Suzanne O'Connor (A toolkit for safe design for children)

Stuart Cockbill (The role of co design in enhancing decisions surrounding retrofitting UK housing stock for improved energy efficiency)

Liliana Rodriguez (User involvement and appropriation in the development of digital services in start-up companies)


PhD students I have helped supervise, who have recently completed are:

Sumath Awsakulsutthi (A study of the importance of cultural factors in the user interaction with, and the design of, interactive science and technology exhibits in museums)

Kevin Mercer (Improving video consumption experiences across contexts. A user centred approach to the modelling of contextualised experience adaptation in relation to video consumption)

Carlos Aceves González (The application and development of inclusive service design in the context of a bus service)

Luis Carlos Rubino de Oliveira (Designing and evaluating a behaviour change intervention that introduces modification of time perceptions as a solution to promote sustainable behaviours)

James Elton (A novel platform incorporating multiple forms of communication to support applications in a mobile environment)

Lucy Rackliff (Deriving and validating performance indicators for safety mobility for older road users in urban areas)

Edward Elton (Generating and translating context capability data to support the implementation of inclusive design within industry)

Chris Parker (A human factors perspective on volunteered geographic information)

Xu Sun (Using mobile personalisation to enhance the user experience at large sporting events)

  • Christopher J. Parker, Andrew May & Val Mitchell (2014): User-centred design of neogeography: the impact of volunteered geographic information on users' perceptions of online map ‘mashups’, Ergonomics, 2014, 57(7), 987-997,

  • Andrew May, Val Mitchell, John Piper (2014). A user centred design evaluation of the potential benefits of advanced wireless sensor networks for fire-in-tunnel emergency response, Fire Safety Journal, 2014, 63, 79-88,

  • Kevin Mercer, Andrew May, Val Mitchell (2014). Designing for video: investigating the contextual cues within viewing situations. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 2014, 18(3), 723-735,

  • Andrew May (2013). Using a ‘value-added’ approach for contextual design of geographic information, Applied Ergonomics, 44(6), 895-908,

  • Chris Parker, Andrew May, Val Mitchell (2013). The role of VGI and PGI in supporting outdoor activities. Applied Ergonomics, 2013, 44(6), 886–94.

  • Chris Parker, Andrew May, Val Mitchell., Alison Burrows (2013). Capturing Volunteered Information for Inclusive Service Design: Potential Benefits and Challenges. The Design Journal, 2013, 16(2), 197–218.