Table of Contents

VOLUME XII.6 November + December 2005

  • In this issue
    • In this issue

      Jonathan Arnowitz, Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson

      As the end of the year approaches we reflect back on our past issues and future concepts. In place of a special section for this issue, we’re pleased to offer a year-end assortment of feature articles along with our regular columnists and departments. Antti Oulasvirta illustrates some of the salient…

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  • Fresh: rant
    • The misapplication of professional opinion

      Jonathan Arnowitz, Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson

      "This design isn’t simple." "This design isn’t consistent." How many times have we heard these design complaints? Engineers and marketing managers have heard us squawking about heuristics and they’ve finally found their dictionaries and are squawking back! Resist being bound to oversimplified rules! They are not just parroting our beloved…

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  • Fresh: ok/cancel
    • Web services panacea

      Tom Chi, Kevin Cheng

      "This design isn’t simple." "This design isn’t consistent." How many times have we heard these design complaints? Engineers and marketing managers have heard us squawking about heuristics and they’ve finally found their dictionaries and are squawking back! Resist being bound to oversimplified rules! They are not just parroting our beloved…

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  • Fresh: ask Doctor Usability
    • Is the there there?

      Dr. Usability

      Dear Dr. Usability, I am looking for some further training. I have been practicing HCI for over five years now and I would like to do something to keep up in my field. I am at a loss what to do. There seem to be a lot of conferences, and…

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  • Fresh: pushing the envelope
    • Taking UX offshore

      Fred Sampson

      When I first took notice of the noise around offshoring (offshore outsourcing), I wasn’t certain what to make of it. As an officer in a local chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC), I knew the topic was gaining traction among members of my profession, and that some folks…

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  • Fresh: mailbag
    • Letters to the editor

      Jonathan Arnowitz, Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson

      Avoiding the Next Schism The September/October issue carried a letter from Bill Buxton criticizing our Business column "Avoiding the Next Schism" (March/April). Bill said he did "not recognize anything in the article that reflects any design process" that he had ever encountered. He acknowledged that this was "not surprising because…

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  • Practice: connections
    • Designers and the age of fear

      John Thackara

      Outside Baghdad, and almost everywhere one might travel in the world, the risk of being killed in a road accident greatly exceeds the risk of being killed by a terrorist. John Adams, a leading academic expert on risk, points out that the death toll from the London bombings represents six…

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  • Fresh
    • Piloting through the maze

      William Buxton

      It always drives me nuts when ideas are rejected for reasons other than their merit. One common example is when an idea is skewered because someone pipes up and says, "That’s already been done." For me, this "argument" holds no water at all. In fact, I take it for granted…

    • CHI 2006

      Gary Olson, Dennis Wixon

      Many things about the CHI conference work very well, e.g., about 90 percent of attendees report that CHI was worth the time and money. Over the years the papers program has served the research community very well. Attendance took a drop in 2002 after 9/11 and the dot-com meltdown. However…

    • Policy at the interface

      Jonathan Lazar, Jeff Johnson, Harry Hochheiser

      Designing user interfaces to technology is a political act. It is political because it influences—sometimes even determines—what people can and cannot do. For example, since the days of Mosaic, Web browsers have included an option for viewing the HTML source for a Web page. Including this feature was arguably a…

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  • Practice: whiteboard
    • Small world, water coolers, and the challenge of remote collaboration

      Lada Gorlenko

      Face it: The world shrinks a little every day. Once, we chose our friends among the folks living next door and our business partners from places within a driving—or even walking—distance. Now, we measure distances in time zones, and we may never meet many of our close allies in person.…

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  • Practice: business
    • Minding your user’s business

      Peter Jones

      The user experience (UX) field has evolved into numerous distinctive niches and disciplines: user researcher, ethnographer, usability analyst, interface designer, interaction designer, information architect. There are real differences among the skills needed for these different UX approaches, which I refer to as "skill disciplines." Clearly, the jobs of UX and…

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  • People: the way I see it
    • There’s an automobile in HCI’s future

      Donald Norman

      Consider this scenario: You are driving along, about to change lanes, when your car suddenly tenses up. The seatbelts tighten. The seat straightens up, the headrest moves forward. As you turn the wheel to the right, the car starts quivering, buzzing from the right side. "Calm down," you say, "I…

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  • People: fast forward
    • When in Rome, do as the Romans do

      Aaron Marcus

      What’s Up with HCI International? What a vibrant, slightly chaotic venue, but interesting, Human-Computer Interaction International (HCII) conference. The latest incarnation took place in Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace during a heat wave. Fortunately, many attendees did not even have to venture outside with the thousands of slot machines, the…

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  • People: on the enterprise
    • Embrace the confusion

      Dustin Beltramo

      Enterprise software, like the world around us, always seems to be getting more complicated, not less. Of course this trajectory is true of most software; when was the last time you installed a new version of your favorite application and found that features had been removed? But in the realm…

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  • Rewind
    • Distributed display environments

      Dugald Hutchings, John Stasko, Mary Czerwinski

      The term Distributed Display Environment (DDE) compactly describes computer systems that present output to more than one physical display. Often DDEs allow attached input devices to treat the displays as a contiguous surface but this is not necessarily a requirement. Examples include multiple-monitor desktop systems, rooms with networked projectors and…

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  • Event planner
    • Event planner

      interactions Staff

      November 6-9 Group 2005 International Conference on Supporting Group Work Sanibel Island, FL, USA www.acm.org/sigs/siggroup/conferences/group05 November 6-12 ACM Multimedia 2005 Covering All Aspects of Multimedia Computing Singapore http://acmmm05.comp.nus.edu.sg November 7-9 VRST `05 ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology Monterey, CA, USA www.vrst.org/vrst2005/vrst2005.html November 8-9 GDTW 2005 The Third…

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  • People: on the edge
    • Computers?

      Lars Holmquist

      The introduction of the desktop computer and the graphical user interface was the single most important contribution to the field we now call interaction design in the 20th century. It was created at the Xerox PARC research lab in the mid-‘70s, and had a clear mission: to make interaction with…

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  • Rave
    • The voice of the people

      Jonathan Arnowitz, Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson

      There is little in our profession that gives the HCI designer greater pleasure than seeing their designs used by the actual end-user. We don’t thrive on their validating our pre-conceived notions; we thrive on them challenging us to raise the bar higher. "This is good stuff," the user says as…

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  • Postcards from the edge
    • Cutting edge today, kitsch tomorrow

      Atticus Wolrab

      There is little in our profession that gives the HCI designer greater pleasure than seeing their designs used by the actual end-user. We don’t thrive on their validating our pre-conceived notions; we thrive on them challenging us to raise the bar higher. "This is good stuff," the user says as…

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