Table of Contents

VOLUME XV.2 March + April 2008

  • WELCOME
    • Interactions: bridging communities

      Richard Anderson, Jon Kolko

      Currently, a subscription to interactions is linked to membership within ACM SIGCHI, the Special Interest Group for Computer-Human Interaction. Hence, to some extent, interactions is intended for each of the “CHI communities”—design, management, usability, engineering, education, and research. And to some extent, members of these six communities are our primary…

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  • The mess we've gotten ourselves into
    • FEATUREWhen users “do” the Ubicomp

      Antti Oulasvirta

      Computers have become ubiquitous, but in a different way than envisioned in the 1990s. To master the present-day ubicomp—a multilayered agglomeration of connections and data, distributed physically and digitally, and operating under no recognizable guiding principles—the user must exhibit foresight, cunning, and perseverance. Preoccupation with Weiserian visions of ubicomp may…

    • Ps AND QsDesigning for digital archives

      Elizabeth Churchill, Jeff Ubois

      Have you amassed a collection of photos and other media without quite knowing how to manage it? Have you spent hours trying to locate a precious or extremely important file? Have you ever wished you’d backed up your files after a computer crash? More and more of our work and…

    • THE WAY I SEE ITA fetish for numbers

      Donald Norman

      It’s 6:30 in the morning, and I’m with a group of surprisingly awake, cheery physicians and nurses doing grand rounds on the pediatric-care ward of one of the best hospitals in the United States. I’m part of a study group for the National Academies, looking at the ways in which…

    • SUSTAINABLY OURSSituated sustainability for mobile phones

      Elaine Huang, Khai Truong

      Worldwide sales of mobile phones are expected to exceed one billion by the year 2009 [1]. In 2006, 143 million mobile phones were sold in the United States alone [2], and a 2007 study showed that American consumers use their phones for only an average of 17.5 months before replacing…

    • TRUE TALESEverybody’s talkin’ at me

      Steve Portigal

      In a 2005 New York Times Magazine article, “Watching TV Makes You Smarter,” adapted from his book Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter, Steven Johnson identifies the increasingly complex narrative structures that we’ve become accustomed to in series television. Compare the…

    • TIMELINESThemes in the early history of HCI—-some unanswered questions

      Ronald Baecker

      Ron Baecker’s initial chapter in the 1987 volume of readings that he wrote and edited with Bill Buxton was a very influential reflection on HCI history. It was widely read, reprinted, and served as a model or starting point for subsequent histories. In this review of major themes, Ron poses…

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  • Design: what it is, and how to teach and learn it
    • COVER STORYPencils before pixels

      Mark Baskinger

      Drawings and sketches can be powerful and persuasive representations of ideas, events, sequences, systems, and objects. As part of a larger collaborative design process, hand drawing can serve as a key method for thinking, reasoning, and exploring opportunities, yet it inherently differs from wire frames and conceptual models. Innately, interaction…

    • FEATUREThe future of interaction design as an academic program of study

      Kevin Conlon

      What is required today to understand the notion of interaction design? Looking at most academic programs, it seems that a loose variety of interdisciplinary study opportunities, vaguely related to each of the facets within the overall discipline, can be thought to provide some sort of cohesive body of knowledge. This…

    • THAT’S ENTERTAINMENTPlaycentric design

      Tracy Fullerton

      It’s my pleasure to introduce a guest columnist this month: Professor Tracy Fullerton of the Interactive Media Division of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. The program is one of the first game-design curriculums in the nation and is already producing promising designers and exciting innovations. —Dennis Wixon “Play has…

    • OK/CANCELFailed games

      Tom Chi, Kevin Cheng

      Footnotes DOI: http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1340961.1340972 ©2008 ACM1072-5220/08/0300$5.00 Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full…

    • FEATUREHow I learned to stop worrying and love the hackers

      Carla Diana

      Designers are a unique breed: We take pride in our flexible attitude and ability to be disciplinary ambassadors, but we are often so easily seduced by process that we can get set in our ways. Though having a strong sense of what “designerly” means is an important aspect of creating…

    • FEATUREEmpowering kids to create and share programmable media

      Andrés Monroy-Hernández, Mitchel Resnick

      There are now many websites, such as Flickr and YouTube and blogs, which support user-generated content, enabling people to create and share text, graphics, photos, and videos. But for the most part, Web 2.0 does not include interactive content. People interact with Web-based animations and games all the time, but…

    • (P)REVIEWUIGarden.net

      Neema Moraveji, Zhengjie Liu

      How many mobile phones does the average South Korean have? What is the rage among Chinese websites designed for young people? Do we need to design different products for different cultures, or simply localize our existing line? Everyone in the HCI community faces the barrage of information heralding the implications…

    • On modelingThe analysis-systhesis bridge model

      Hugh Dubberly, Shelley Evenson

      The simplest way to describe the design process is to divide it into two phases: analysis and synthesis. Or preparation and inspiration. But those descriptions miss a crucial element—the connection between the two, the active move from one state to another, the transition or transformation that is at the heart…

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  • Crossing the thresholds of indignation and inclusiveness
    • FEATUREAn ode to TomTom

      Jan Borchers

      A few months ago my sweetheart said one of those things that would make any geek start drooling: “I hate getting lost each time I drive into Cologne. Can’t we get a TomTom?” I love getting a free ticket to spend obscene amounts of cash on a gadget, without all…

    • FEATUREWhat robotics can learn from HCI

      Aaron Powers

      As the robotics field grows and becomes competitive, robotics companies are beginning to inject user-centered design methods into their processes. Applying HRI methods to industrial and commercial products introduces new challenges and a focus on cheap, proven methods. The specialty of human-robot interaction (HRI) is a growing group of roboticists,…

    • (P)REVIEWThe design of future things

      Gerard Torenvliet

      Don Norman Basic Books, 2007 ISBN 978-0-465-00227-6 $27.50 Reviewed by Gerard Torenvliet When I was in university studying human-computer interaction, the first paper that I ever wrote was a review of automation issues in the design of air-craft cockpits. One author cited was Don Norman, then a cognitive psychologist at…

    • LIFELONG INTERACTIONSDesigned to include

      Mark Baskinger

      With the baby-boomer population approaching mature adulthood, there is an increasing buzz about universal design for everyday objects. The year 2014 is very significant, as the last baby boomer will turn 50, with the upper tier of this generation turning 68. So many companies are actively pursuing new product-development initiatives…

    • UNDER DEVELOPMENTRaising a billion voices

      Sheetal Agarwal, Arun Kumar, Sougata Mukherjea, Amit Nanavati, Nitendra Rajput

      Almost a year back, we started working on an exploratory research project Pyr.mea.IT [1]. “The bottom of the pyramid is the largest but poorest socio-economic group. In global terms, this is the four billion people who live on less than $2 per day, typically in developing countries [2]”. Since almost…

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  • Interactions Cafe
    • On logic, research, design synthesis…

      Richard Anderson, Jon Kolko

      Jon: A core theme of this issue of interactions has been the relationship between interaction design and education: how to teach it, how to learn it, and how to live it. As a designer, I’m obviously biased toward design education, as I see design as a core tenet of life,…

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