What's happening

XI.4 July + August 2004
Page: 7
Digital Citation

What’s happening


Authors:
Marisa Campbell

Workshop: Coping with Complexity Sharing New Approaches for the Design of Human-Computer Systems in Complex Settings University of Bath September 16-17, 2004

The use of interactive information and communication technologies is now thoroughly ingrained in society, but the complexity of their role is constantly changing and deepening. The complexity of the interplay between such technologies, people, and society needs to be better understood to give design a better foundation. Capability to support settings such as collaborative work, mobile work, knowledge-sharing communities, as well as the operation of dynamic, high-consequence, and safety-critical systems, requires new approaches. Equipping computer systems with new capabilities is often approached through increased automation, adaptivity, context sensitivity, and artificial intelligence techniques. Such advances, however, create new types of interaction, and therefore new problems including new types of error, often with higher consequences. However, the aim of any such design should be to make human-computer interaction simpler, not more complex and difficult.

While theory and practice of HCI has made tremendous progress in many areas, identifying suitable approaches to dealing with complexity remains a major challenge. Neither just modelling the complexity of the technical artifacts we operate, nor does modelling the activities we engage in give us all the insights we need for design. We need to study the interplay of both. Moreover, we are increasingly faced with having to understand what is often termed "context"—the settings, resources and constraints, within which tasks are carried out by individuals and groups. Lastly, when modelling interaction for design, we are faced with change and uncertainty. How can we envisage future interaction? What aspects of current activities, knowledge and skills should be preserved? Which aspects need to be improved?

When faced with the design of effective and seamless human-computer systems in complex settings, we face the classical dilemma. We need to create a suitable understanding to reduce complex phenomena. We cannot reason about complexity without suitable abstractions that take account of the features of reality that matter for the specific design task we are faced with. However, solutions for simplified systems often do not scale to complex systems. Understanding and shaping complexity requires identifying essential structures and central aspects (which may differ for specific domains and design problems). Do we need to study organizational structures and rules to deal with the problem of managing interdependencies between activities? Do we benefit from viewing interactive systems as distributed cognition by shifting traditional system boundaries between computer system and users? Should we design computer systems as collaborators, by drawing suitable analogies to collaboration as can be observed between humans? Should we focus on studying meta-cognitive processes? Can biological systems inform the design of interactive systems?

This workshop aims to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas on new approaches to support the development of new generations of interactive systems—and to establish a network of researchers working with these problems. The workshop is open to contributors from any discipline (e.g., computer scientists, designers, sociologists, biologists, architects, environmental scientists)—including both practitioners and academics.

CONTEST

bullet.gif HCI Community Service Design Contest

Addison Wesley Publishers is sponsoring a User Interface Design Contest in connection with the publication of Designing the User Interface, 4th edition by Ben Shneiderman & Catherine Plaisant

bullet.gif The Challenge

Students are asked to create a Web site to help a campus, community, neighborhood, healthcare, philanthropic, museum, or educational organization.

bullet.gif The Goal

By engaging students in the challenges and rewards of community service, students gain a valuable real-world experience and make a difference in their communities.

bullet.gif Enter the Contest

Instructors of Fall 2004 courses in Human-Computer Interaction, user interface design, Web usability, and related courses in the U.S. and Canada are invited to participate. Students can compete individually, in teams, or as a class to work with non-profit organizations in building and improving their Web sites.

Each instructor will select a winning entry for each course section and submit a 500-word description containing the URL of the student work during November 5-15, 2004. Each submitting team will get their choice of three books from the Addison-Wesley book list.

The five-member review panel will then select the best of the group for review by Ben Shneiderman and Catherine Plaisant. They will choose the winner and arrange to appear for a guest lecture in the class of the winning team during the first two weeks of December 2004.

For more information, visit: www.aw-bc.com/dtuicontest/ or send inquiries to Michelle.d.brown@aw.com

Seminars

bullet.gif Seminar Program in Usability (UK)

The Usability Training Centre (Userfocus Ltd) offers public usability seminars. These will be of interest to usability professionals, Web & interface designers, and project managers with responsibility for user interfaces. The seminars contain activities and practical exercises that allow you to practice usability techniques. The series comprises:

bullet.gif Usability Lifecycle

Learn about the user-centered design process described in ISO 13407 and in the book E-commerce Usability.

September 15-16, 2004 (London)
November 9-10, 2004 (Bristol)

bullet.gif A Practical Guide to Usability Testing

Confidently carry out a usability test of your company’s product or Web site.

July 15, 2004 (London)
December 16, 2004 (Bristol)

bullet.gif Cost Justifying Usability

Articulate the costs and benefits of usability interventions and judge if your intervention is worthwhile.

October 13, 2004 (Manchester)

For more information, visit www.userfocus.co.uk/training/publiccourse.html

Call for participation

bullet.gif HCI International 2005 July 22-27, 2005 Las Vegas, NV, USA

bullet.gif Proposals for Participation

The conference objective is to provide an international forum for the dissemination and exchange of scientific information on theoretical, generic, and applied areas of HCI, usability, internationalization, virtual reality, universal access, and cognitive ergonomics. All submitted abstracts will be peer-reviewed by three independent referees from the international program boards. Papers in the theoretical category should deal with models, concepts, and structures; papers in the generic category should present research results of broad applicability; and in the applied category should show how the demands of particular application areas shape the way generic research is translated into practical innovation. These lists are not intended to limit the range of submissions since broad coverage of the entire field is of interest.

bullet.gif Parallel Presentations

An abstract of 800 words should be submitted through the Web and should include a statement of the objective and significance of the proposed presentation, a description of methods, and a discussion of results. Please indicate to which Board your submission should be sent for review.

bullet.gif Special Interest Groups

The objective of these sessions is to bring together conference participants to discuss a topic of common interest. An 800 word abstract should be submitted through the Web, and state the objective and significance of the session, potential participants (or how participants will be selected), format of session, and anticipated duration.

bullet.gif Tutorials

An abstract of 300 words should state the objective, content, target audience, a biosketch about the presenter(s) and A/V requirements. Please, indicate whether the proposed tutorial is for a half-day or full-day. Please submit your abstracts through the Web.

For more information, visit www.hci-international.org/index.asp

©2004 ACM  1072-5220/04/0700  $5.00

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