XV.2 March + April 2008
Page: 4
Digital Citation

Interactions: bridging communities

Richard Anderson, Jon Kolko

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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 audience.

However, an assortment of individual and institutional subscribers outside of SIGCHI also receive interactions. Is interactions no less intended for them and others as well?

In structuring the publication and assembling the new interactions team, we have looked to the definitions and boundaries of the six CHI communities and of SIGCHI as a whole for some degree of guidance. But we have found those definitions and boundaries to be unclear. As such and in multiple ways, this lack of clarity has been both freeing and undesirably limiting. Community boundaries matter and have their value, yet they also restrict and obstruct valuable interaction.

As implied by the name and tagline of this magazine, our focus is on "interactions"—the dialogues and conversations, connections, and relationships that involve experiences, people, and technology. Such interactions often cross design, management, usability, engineering, education, and research-community boundaries and are of no less relevance and importance to multiple communities outside of SIGCHI. Therefore, it is our intent to greatly extend this publication's reach. As we do so, we believe we will greatly increase its value to SIGCHI and to all.

This is our version of inclusive design—addressing the professional community "mess we've gotten ourselves into"—"crossing the threshold of indignation" that community boundaries sometimes impose. In our view, much of the benefit of communities lies not in their exclusiveness but in the muddy grayness between disciplines, such as where design meets education, research informs usability, or engineering collides with management.

For our second issue of interactions, we've selected articles that discuss, embrace, or react to the messiness of inclusive design or the lack thereof. These articles explore the interactions of design and the interactions of importance to design, without positioning design as an exclusive community. (Our particular thanks to Mark Baskinger, who went above and beyond the call of duty in providing two outstanding contributions of this nature.)

Four special individuals are joining us to help ensure we adequately address and bridge the many communities of importance to interactions. These individuals have tremendously diverse backgrounds and interests but all share a professional, and personal, outlook on the world around us. This shared outlook indicates an integrated, holistic, and ultimately, human way of considering issues of experiences, people, and technology.

Katie Minardo Scott works for The MITRE Corporation, a nonprofit research and development center, doing human factors and visualization consulting for government clients. Katie has worn a variety of hats in her career: doing field research on tools for infantry soldiers, using agile development to build an intelligence news aggregator, designing taskflows for logistics and collaboration software, and authoring a case study on enterprise engineering. Katie earned a B.F.A. and a Master of HCI from Carnegie Mellon. She is currently training for her third marathon.

Dave Cronin is the director of interaction design at Cooper, where he's worked since 1999 leading interaction design projects in domains ranging from computer-assisted orthopedic surgery to institutional investment management to museum information systems to online shopping. He also speaks and teaches frequently on the subject of interaction design and is a co-author of About Face 3.

Kerry Bodine is a principal analyst at Forrester Research. Her research explores how user-centered design processes, design-centric corporate cultures, and organizational structure contribute to the creation and sustainability of superior customer experiences. She also covers the interactive-design-agency industry and advises customer-experience professionals about how to get the most out of agency partnerships. Kerry was instrumental in the development of many of Forrester's evaluation methodologies. Her earlier work included an extensive focus on wearable technologies.

Ame Elliott is a senior human factors specialist at IDEO in Palo Alto, CA, where she conducts fieldwork, designs interactions, and facilitates workshops for companies interested in innovating through user-centered design. Prior to joining IDEO, Ame was a research scientist at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and at Ricoh Innovations. Her past projects include leisure guides for Japanese youth, services for managing chronic diseases, a device for sharing media on home A/V networks, and paper interfaces for interacting with collections of digital media. Ame has a Ph.D. in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Environmental Design from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

We are calling Katie, Dave, Kerry, and Ame our four "community editors," and we are delighted to have such an intellectually strong and professionally deep group of people ensuring our continued relevance to the multiple communities for which interactions is intended.

—Richard Anderson and Jon Kolko

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DOI: http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1340961.1340962

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©2008 ACM  1072-5220/08/0300  $5.00

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