Tao Long (he/him)

Hi, I'm a first-year Computer Science PhD student at Columbia University, focusing on human-computer interaction (HCI). I'm fortunate to be advised by Dr. Lydia Chilton and part of the Computational Design Lab.

My current work focuses on designing, building, and evaluating AI-powered productivity and collaboration supports. Specifically, I am researching the design of human-AI interactions with large language models (LLMs) and with voice user interfaces (VUIs).

Before Columbia, I earned my two Bachelor's with Summa Cum Laude from Cornell University, where I had the privilege of conducting research with Dr. Andrea Stevenson Won, Dr. Natalie Bazarova, and Dr. Susan Fussell. I also worked closely in teaching with Dr. Gilly Leshed and Dr. Kyle Harms.

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📨  long [at] cs.columbia.edu

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My Info/Sci and Communication background made me understand that technology has both communicative capacity and responsibility. Therefore, as designers and developers, we should speak, design, and build for those who can't. As a PhD newbie, I am also more than eager to learn and grow by joining exciting HCI/AI projects. Don't hesitate to reach out for collaboration ;)

three table presenting our findings about AI writing tool users' desires, perception, and values. Each code listed underneath its category, where each category has a color and each code has an associated icon.
Social Dynamics of AI Support in Creative Writing
Katy Ilonka Gero, Tao Long, and Lydia B. Chilton.
ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI 2023 (To Appear)

Large language models (LLMs) have proven able to follow complicated instructions and generate coherent text, while less work considers the social-technical gap that this technology poses. We discover three elements that govern a writer’s interaction with support actors: 1) what writers desire help with, 2) how writers perceive potential support actors, and 3) the values writers hold. We align our results with existing frameworks of writing cognition and creativity support, uncovering the social dynamics which modulate user responses to generative AI.

a table presenting a synthesis on existing VUI design guidelines, there are three layers: theme, subtheme, and example quotes from the existing literature.
Challenges and Opportunities for the Design of Smart Speakers
Tao Long and Lydia B. Chilton.
Under Review

Voice User Interfaces (VUIs) have opened up many new types of interaction, while they are still underused. We synthesize existing VUI design guidelines and distill four design challenges that contribute the most to users' non-use and technology abandonment. Then, we identify opportunity spaces for designers and developers to explore such as focusing on 1) information support while multitasking (cooking, driving, childcare, etc), 2) incorporating users’ mental models, and 3) integrating calm design principles.

Also Presented as: AI and Design Opportunities for Smart Speakers [pdf] [poster]
Workshop on User-Centric Artificial Intelligence for Assistance in At-Home Tasks at AAAI 2023

a paper-folded bird is flying. along with the texts: TechTweets: The art of explaining science on social media. Having expertise is one thing. Explaining it is another. At TechTweets, we’re developing online learning tools to help you share your expertise in explanatory Twitter threads, or Tweetorials.
Motivating Science: Generative AI Tools to Make Science Engaging and Relatable
Tao Long, Dorothy Zhang, Grace Li, Batool Taraif, Samia Menon, Kynnedy Simone Smith, Sitong Wang, Katy Ilonka Gero, and Lydia B. Chilton.
Under Review

Effective communication of STEM is crucial in a rapidly changing world. Tweetorials are popular, but experts struggle to make complex topics engaging. We propose using large language models (LLMs) to help writers create relatable hooks and spark curiosity. Our evaluation shows this reduces cognitive load and motivates readers. LLMs can support contextualizing technical information for public engagement.

a paper-folded bird is flying. along with the texts: TechTweets: The art of explaining science on social media. Having expertise is one thing. Explaining it is another. At TechTweets, we’re developing online learning tools to help you share your expertise in explanatory Twitter threads, or Tweetorials.
Composition Keywords: Establishing Global Aesthetics Through Texts
Yingjie Wang, Sadia Sharif, Vivian Liu, Sitong Wang, Tao Long, and Lydia B. Chilton.
Under Review

Describing text-to-image generations is challenging due to the difficulty of summarizing an image's aesthetics. Adding composition keywords can help by providing specificity on color, texture, angle, and lighting. In an annotation study of 9216 images, we found composition keywords helped, but efficacy varied by category. We discuss how composition keywords can be used and integrated with existing practices.

the six screenshots presents the storyboards for each scenes in the cyberball prototype, there are welcome message scene, avatar customization scene, save avatar scene, exclusive game scene, inclusive game scene, and a finish message scene.
Diverging Perspectives from Naive Participants and Experienced Researchers on Designing a Virtual Cyberball Task for Social Science Research
Tao Long, Swati Pandita, and Andrea Stevenson Won.
Under Review

There is a lack of research on the application of user-centered design methodologies in non-HCI fields, particularly for designing social science paradigms. Thus, we identify shared considerations as well as disagreements between the naive participants and experienced researchers for future iterations of our prototype and for designing virtual paradigms for social science research in general. Themes include: 1) Design for intuitive use, 2) Design for inclusivity, and 3) Realism vs minimalism in design. [award 1] [award 2]

a screenshot of a running website prototype for immigrants to find health information online.
Multistakeholder Perspectives on Digital Tools for U.S. Asylum Applicants Seeking Healthcare and Legal Information
Aparajita Bhandari, Diana Freed, Tara Pilato, Faten Taki, Gunisha Kaur, Stephen Yale-Loehr, Jane Powers, Tao Long, and Natalie Bazarova.
Proceedings of ACM Human-Computer Interaction. CSCW 2022

A lack of clear public benefits information for asylum applicants negatively impacts their healthcare engagement, but digital tools offer a promising solution. We identify four challenges for immigrants using current digital tools: lack of information, inaccessibility, emotional barriers, and lack of cultural sensitivity. The study recommends considering multiple perspectives when designing tools for immigration information, and suggests specific design recommendations to improve digital tools for asylum seekers and those who support them. [pdf] [video ] [press 1] [press 2] [press 3] [project site]

Teaching & Outreach

My passion for teaching and socially impactful research significantly contributes to my decision to pursue a PhD and (possibly) an academic career in Computer Science. For the sake of intersectionality, I always remind myself that I am indeed a privileged person along my journey. It helps me rethink myself, my role, and my responsibilities in better helping others with the resources I have and embracing intersectionality. Always happy to contribute to new initiatives ;)

  • COMS 6998: Advanced Web Design Studio, Fall 2022 w/ Dr. Lydia Chilton
  • INFO 4400: Advanced HCI (Qualitative User Research and Design Methods), Spring 2022 w/ Dr. Gilly Leshed
  • INFO 3450: Human-Computer Interaction Design, Fall 2021 w/ Dr. Gilly Leshed
  • INFO 2300: Intermediate Design and Programming for Web, Spring 2021 w/ Dr. Kyle Harms

  • Co-Organizer, qSTEM at Columbia University [info] [linktree]
  • Co-Organizer, Pre-Application Review Program for PhD Applicants [info] [video] [news]
  • Mentor, Women in Science at Columbia (WISC) Undergraduate Mentoring Program [info]
  • Grantee & Recipient (PI, $1500), Social Justice Mini-Grant University Life and Columbia University [info]
  • Kraft Global Fellow, Kraft Family Fund and Columbia University [info] [video]
  • Member, 2023 Grad Cohort for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Leadership Skills (IDEALS) [info]
  • Member, Queer in AI & Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM) [info]
  • Conference Volunteer, HCI & AI Conferences (EMNLP 2022, CSCW 2022, TEI 2022) [info]
  • Undergrad Member, Grad Students for Gender Inclusion in Computing at Cornell University [info]
  • Technical Project Coordinator, Cornell Information Technologies [internship summary]
  • Student Dining Associate, Café Jennie at Cornell University [info]

Last Updated: Feb 28, 2023. Template.