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I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Design at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and direct the Responsible Design group. Residing at the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction, Learning Sciences, and Design, my research mainly focuses on studying and designing creative technology-mediated learning experiences for young people, investigating the roles that social context plays in supporting such learning, and innovating design research in educational contexts. Some of my research and design practices also go beyond learning contexts and extend to broader HCI research, such as reflecting on HCI research methodologies and addressing emergent technology-related challenges in people’s everyday lives.

Before joining PolyU Design, I was a Temporary Research Faculty in the Creative Communities research group at the University of Colorado Boulder and once a research intern in the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. I earned my Ph.D. in Information Science from the University of Colorado Boulder, Master's degree in Design from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Bachelor's degree in Industrial Design from Zhejiang University.

PolyU Design Page Google Scholar

Selected Projects


Physical Play as a Medium for Computational Learning

We are systematically investigating how physical play can be leveraged to provide active, social, and playful computational learning experiences for young people, including (1) how physical activities, learning, and technologies can be combined to support learning purposes for young people, (2) how computational thinking concepts and skills can be incorporated into physical play, and (3) designs of educational technologies and curricula that bring young people outdoors for computational learning through physically active ways. Taken together, this work lays a solid foundation for educational research, pedagogical innovations, and learning technology designs that leverage physical play in CS education for young people.


Gender-Inclusive Learning Technologies

Technologies, such as reading apps and STEM toys, have become an essential part of children’s everyday learning activities and can bring valuable learning opportunities for them. However, how learning tools are designed to welcome participation from children of different genders remains unclear. Using computational toys and kits for young children as a case study, we are currently exploring how genders are represented in learning technology designs and aiming to develop a design framework of gender inclusive learning technologies. Ultimately, we hope this work can contribute to practical design guidelines for relevant designers, developers, and companies to design more gender-inclusive learning technologies for children.


Parent-child Joint Media Engagement

Parents play essential roles in children’s engagement with media, especially learning technologies like computational toys and kits. Situated in the context of parent-child co-use of learning technologies, we have done multiple explorations to understand what family joint media engagement looks like and how we can facilitate productive joint media experiences through activity and technology designs, such as investigating how parents perceive their children’s use of coding kits, how parents mediate their children’s interaction with the kits, and how different family members negotiate with each other when co-making using creative computing technologies. Building on these explorations, we are now working on projects to enrich the theoretical understanding and framing of joint media engagement.


Computational Toys & Kits for Young Children

As more education researchers, policymakers, and industry leaders have recognized the importance of helping young people cultivate computational thinking, we explored how computational toys and kits are designed to support young children’s computational learning and how parents support their children’s learning with these kits at home. Our findings reveal the commonalities across existing kits and highlights ways for designers and researchers to expand the possibilities for children to create, explore, and play with computing. We reveal the various roles parents play, their expectations, and concerns in supporting their children's learning with coding kits. Additionally, we are exploring the design of new coding kits to engage young people in creative computing.


[Google Scholar]
Exploring Computational Thinking with Physical Play Through Design [In Press]
Junnan Yu, Ronni Hayden & Ricarose Roque
In Proceedings of the 22nd Annual ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC '23), Chicago, IL, USA.

Examining Gendered Communications of Coding Kits for Young Children [In Press]
Jingyao Cen & Junnan Yu
In Proceedings of the 22nd Annual ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC '23), Chicago, IL, USA.

Technology-Mediated Strategies for Coping with Mental Health Challenges: Insights from People with Bipolar Disorder [In Press]
Tian Xu*, Junnan Yu*, Dylan Doyle & Steve Voida (*: Equal Contribution)
Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact. (CSCW '23)

Examining Gender-oriented Design Features in Computational Toys and Kits for Young Children [LINK]
Jingyao Cen, Tian Xu & Junnan Yu
In Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '23), Hamburg, Germany.

Family Negotiation in Joint Media Engagement with Creative Computing [LINK]
Junnan Yu, Sari Widman & Ricarose Roque
In Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '23), Hamburg, Germany.

Young Children's Perceptions of Coding and Implications [LINK]
Junnan Yu & Ricarose Roque
In Proceedings of the 2022 ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC '22), Braga, Portugal.

Parental Facilitation of Young Children’s Technology-based Learning Experiences from Nondominant Groups During the COVID-19 Pandemic [LINK]
Junnan Yu, Julisa Granados, Ronni Hayden & Ricarose Roque
Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact. 5, CSCW2, Article 307 (October 2021), 27 pages. (CSCW '21)

Parental Mediation for Young Children’s Use of Educational Media: A Case Study with Computational Toys and Kits [LINK]
Junnan Yu, Andrea DeVore & Ricarose Roque
In Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '21), Yokohama, Japan.

Youth Civic Engagement Through Computing: Cases and Implications [LINK]
Junnan Yu, Janet Ruppert, Ricarose Roque & Ben Kirshner
ACM Inroads. 11, 4 (2020), 42–51.

Considering Parents in Coding Kit Design: Understanding Parents’ Perspectives and Roles [LINK]
Junnan Yu, Chenke Bai & Ricarose Roque
In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '20), Honolulu, HI, USA.

CodeAttach: Engaging Young Children in Computational Thinking Through Physical Play Activities [LINK]
Junnan Yu, Clement Zheng, Mariana Aki Tamashiro, Chrisopher Gonzalez-millan & Ricarose Roque
In Proceedings of the 14th ACM Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI '20), Sydney, NSW, Australia.

A Review of Computational Toys and Kits for Young Children [LINK]
Junnan Yu & Ricarose Roque
International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction, (2019) 21: 17–36.

A Survey of Computational Kits for Young Children (Child-Computer Interaction Student Best Paper Award) [LINK]
Junnan Yu & Ricarose Roque
In Proceedings of the 2018 ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC '18), Trondheim, Norway.

Usability Investigation on the Localization of Text CAPTCHAs: Take Chinese Characters as a Case Study
Junnan Yu, Xuna Ma & Han Ting
In Proceedings of the Transdisciplinary Engineering-24th ISPE Inc., International Conference (2017), Singapore.