This article provides an overview of diverse Chinese HCI activities. This may appear to be a description of an elephant by a blind person, but nevertheless, pao zhuan yin yu (throw brick attract jade)—I toss something out there to entice others to contribute.
Some speculate the 21st century will be the Chinese Century—not only because China is the world’s most populous country and hence has a competitive advantage in terms of market size, but also because Chinese educational practices and ways of thinking will be influential on a global scale.
Here, Chinese is defined as something of, from, or related to China. This includes issues related to shared social and cultural experiences or related to ethnicity, history, geography, ritual, language, or style. Human-computer interaction (whether HCI or CHI) includes broad areas of information systems and interaction design, as well as user experience and human factors in computing. In this overview, I briefly describe ICACHI and Chinese CHI, HCI in China, HCI in Taiwan, and HCI in Singapore.
ICACHI and Chinese CHI
The International Chinese Association of Computer-Human Interaction (ICACHI) was founded on May 10, 2012, in Austin, Texas, during the CHI 2012 conference with a committee composed of 27 Chinese (both living in the U.S. and overseas) who are active in human-computer interaction. The goal of ICACHI is to be an academic and professional organization that facilitates communication and information exchange among Chinese HCI researchers. The association hosts an annual symposium called Chinese CHI that collocates with the ACM CHI conference. The ICACHI mailing list includes information such as campaign statements from aspiring board members up for election and discussions and debates on whether the official language should be Chinese or English, and whether Chinese CHI should always be collocated with the CHI conference.
Chinese CHI aims to be the leading Chinese forum for research in all areas of human-computer interaction. It aims to attract an international community of practitioners, researchers, academics, and students from a wide range of disciplines including user experience, design, software engineering, human factors, information systems, social science, and creative industries. The topics addressed may be issues or concerns specific to China and the Chinese region, issues concerning Chinese language and culture, as well as broad topics of interest to global citizens.
The First International Symposium of Chinese CHI (Chinese CHI 2013) was held April 27–29 in Paris, jointly with CHI 2013. Both English and Chinese were used in the oral presentations and the proceedings. The Second International Symposium (Chinese CHI 2014) received ACM SIGCHI in-cooperation status and was held April 26–27 in Toronto, Canada, immediately preceding CHI 2014. Seventeen blind-reviewed papers in English were accepted from 55 submissions, an acceptance rate of 30.9 percent; the proceedings were archived in the ACM Digital Library. All presentations were conducted in English for the international CHI audience. Each symposium attracted about 100 Chinese and non-Chinese attendees.
Some speculate the 21st century will be the Chinese Century—not only because China is the world’s most populous country but also because Chinese educational practices and ways of thinking will be influential on a global scale.
After Chinese CHI 2014, a Facebook group for Chinese CHI was created that currently has 244 members. The Facebook group is open, public, and unmoderated. The stated goals are for Chinese people who are interested in HCI to stay connected online and to form a community to help each other and promote HCI among greater Chinese society. Posts include conference announcements, positions for academic and industry jobs, and Ph.D. fellowships.
HCI in China
A wide variety of HCI-related symposia, speaker series, and gatherings have been organized in China with high attendance. For example, Microsoft Research sponsored the China Distinguished Human Computer Interaction Speaker Series (with a dozen international speakers during the 2009–2010 academic year) and the China Human Computer Interaction Symposium (2010, 2011, 2012) to bring together the HCI research community in China; expose community members, especially students, to leading research both inside and outside of China; and to catalyze new research connections and exchanges between community members. The China Computer Federation (CCF) has compiled a list of recommended journals and conferences for human-computer interaction (http://bit.ly/1AnhRSp).
The International eXperience Design Committee (IXDC) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2010 with the support of more than 20 well-known companies and universities in China. IXDC is the first interaction design organization approved by the government in China: the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Economic and Information Commission of Guangdong Province. It accepts the guidance of the China Industrial Design Association and the Guangdong Industrial Design Association. Its primary responsibility is to promote the value of user experience innovation to society, and its main task is to construct an international platform for exhibition and communication. The International Conference of eXperience Design (IxD) is held by IXDC, which is the most influential user experience event in Asia. IxD was held in Guangzhou in 2010, and in Beijing in 2011 and 2012, hosting more than 3,000 attendees and over 600 industry companies. IxD 2014 was held July 17–20 in Beijing with 150 speakers, 78 workshops, a four-day thematic exhibition, 40 expert forums, 3,000 participants, and 10 social gatherings. The 2012 China Interaction Design Experience Day in Beijing, which was also organized by IXDC, was attended by more than 1,200 people, and it was extended to the 2013 China Interaction Design Experience Week in Hangzhou. The first China Internet Products Conference was held in Beijing in 2013. The first User Experience Conference of Game was held in Shenzhen in April 2014.
Established in 2004, User Experience Professionals of China (UPA China) is the first nonprofit UX organization in mainland China. In 2012, it was formally renamed UXPA China. UXPA is dedicated to promoting UX as a profession in China and forging a solid platform for UX-related professionals to exchange ideas and learn, and with years of efforts has become the most influential UX organization in China. It hosts an annual international UX conference called User Friendly, as well as the user experience design competition awards.
The HCI activities in Taiwan have a more grassroots feel. OpenHCI is an annual six-day workshop initiated and organized by students. The goal is to promote cross-disciplinary collaboration in the field of human-computer interaction. OpenHCI workshops were held in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. IxDA Taiwan, established in 2010, is a branch of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA). Since then, IxDA Taiwan has hosted over 15 events with more than 1,000 participants and 387 researchers and practitioners from both academia and industry.
In January 2012, UiGathering established the Taiwan User Experience Professional Association, a nonprofit organization for user experience knowledge exchange. Its main purpose is to “promote user experience design and research, enhancing the professional knowledge within the industry.” Since the first activity in 2005, the association has organized more than 30 events, with the total number of attendees exceeding 3,000. Participants have come from industries such as software development, computer hardware production, creative design, Internet marketing, and game development. The Association holds regular activities every two months, with guest speakers coming from academia and industry to share their experience and engage in public dialogue.
An invitation-only Facebook group called CHI Taiwan was founded on May 9, 2012. In six hours, the membership grew to 300 and within a day to more than 500. The group kept an address book file updated by members. The posts include introductions from new members, regular job postings (local and international) and conference calls, as well as course curricula, articles, reflections, conference trip reports and reviews, startup weekends, demo parties and workshops, as well as maker meetups. SIGCHI-Taiwan, which was established in September 2013, hosted a CHI Winter Camp in February 2014 and a four-day making workshop in September 2014 at FabCafe in Taipei on the theme “Society of Internet of Things.”
Singapore HCI Group
A Singapore HCI Announce Google forum was established in May 2011. It’s a low-volume group for announcing events and activities related to Singapore-based HCI, human factors, ergonomics, and interactive digital media, art, entertainment, and design. Monthly meetings (usually a seminar-format talk and discussion on the last Wednesday evening of the month) are co-organized by Singapore-based HCI researchers from research institutes and universities and, most recently, hosted by A*Star and the CUTE Center at the National University of Singapore. A Singapore HCI Facebook group was established in November 2013 and currently has 114 members sharing HCI-related information.
The IxDA Singapore group was founded in October 2011. It aims to support interaction design professionals and people in related fields to find opportunities, network and socialize with professional peers, and to foster a community where meaningful ideas and knowledge can be exchanged with the goal of making better products and services for users. The group has held 22 meetups and maintains a list of 516 UX professionals.
User Experience Singapore (UXSG) is a user experience community that brings together UX professionals and enthusiasts in Singapore. Established in 2012, UXSG’s goals are to connect UX practitioners across all industries and design disciplines, to strengthen UX competencies through knowledge sharing, and to promote UX professional development and education in Singapore. UXSG holds bimonthly meetups and organized its first conference in 2013 to a sold-out crowd of 250 participants. The Facebook page currently has 2,167 members. The 2014 UXSG conference in October had more than 300 participants from 16 countries across five continents, and 133 organizations across 16 industry segments (e.g., ICT, financial, health, media, games, automobile).
We are the World
This brief overview of various HCI-related activities in China, Taiwan, and Singapore shows that there are many self-organized communities established to foster idea and knowledge exchange, and to create an impact through design. There are many crouching tigers and hidden dragons in this flourishing field. Now is the time for us to work and learn together to share common aspirations, face common challenges, and solve common problems.
Ellen Yi-Luen Do is a professor in the School of Industrial Design and the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech, conference co-chair of Chinese CHI 2014, co-director of Keio-NUS CUTE Center at National University of Singapore, a regular host of Singapore HCI monthly meetings, and a member of the CHI Taiwan Facebook group. firstname.lastname@example.org
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