Safe Interactions Lab

Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business, University of Waterloo.

How might we create useful, usable, and delightful digital experiences while enabling secure and safe interactions?

Professor Leah Zhang-Kennedy leads the Safe Interactions Lab focusing on understanding and developing digital experiences that improve people's understanding, knowledge, and technology practices through research and design. We use human-centred research methods and tools that span multiple disciplines in human-computer interaction (HCI), user experience (UX), and user interface (UI) design to answer research questions relating to digital literacy, online privacy, and computer security. Our goal is to develop and nurture a collaborative multidisciplinary research team with diverse backgrounds to approach these issues from various perspectives.

Research Projects

Visit our Projects page to learn more about our current and completed research projects.

Research Areas

human-computer interaction (HCI), usable privacy and security, user experience (UX), child-computer interaction, information visualisation, persuasive technology



Over the past six years as a member of the Waterloo Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute (CPI), Leah has been at the forefront of research in privacy conscious design and improving cybersecurity practices. From teaching students to creating novel design solutions to leading events, Leah takes full advantage of opportunities that cross her path in order to create maximum impact. However, her career trajectory was not always so crystal clear. Learn more about Leah and her career path in this article.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Journal paper accepted at CSCW

Our paper, “Navigating the Gray: Design Practitioners’ Mental Processes and Rationalization of Privacy Dark Patterns,” has been accepted for publication in the proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction (CSCW). The manuscript will appear in the ACM Digital Library in April 2024.


Leah Zhang-Kennedy

Assistant Professor, Interaction Design and User Experience Research

Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business 
University of Waterloo
E: lzhangkennedy@uwaterloo.ca