Table of Contents

VOLUME XX.1 January + February 2013

  • Demo Hour
    • Demo hour

      Anke Brock, Philippe Truillet, Bernard Oriola, Delphine Picard, Christophe Jouffrais, Götz Wintergerst, Ron Jagodzinski, Peter Giles, Sangwon Choi, Jiseong Gu, Jaehyun Han, Seongkook Heo, Sunjun Kim, Geehyuk Lee, Gloria Ronchi, Claudio Benghi

      Kintouch How do visually impaired people explore tactile images? Little is known about this. Yet, understanding this question would help us design interactive interfaces for visually impaired users that better satisfy their needs. The study of haptic exploration strategies in psychology usually relies on video observations, which are difficult…

  • Blogpost
    • Targeting the Fitts Law

      Harold Thimbleby

      Targeting the Fitts Law

      Paul Fitts wrote the classic paper in 1954 that laid the foundations for one of the most successful laws in human-computer interaction [1]. The Fitts Law tells us how long it takes to hit something, like tapping a screen button. People take longer to hit something farther away, but…

  • Departments
    • Feedback

      INTR Staff

      Tech for Good and Evil "HCI for Peace: Beyond Tie Dye" (September + October 2012, p.40) expresses an admirable sentiment and sets an equally admirable goal. I also believe the article is predicated on a naïve assumption: that the espoused technology will be used for good and not evil.…

    • Teaching HCI in China

      Gerrit van der Veer

      The population of China is larger than any other country in the world. China also has the world's largest user population of mobile phones and the Internet, as well as the largest production of mobile phones and PCs. The Chinese ICT industry shows a growing interest in usability, and…

    • Community calendar 2013

      CACM Staff

      January 2013 Interaction 13 (Toronto, Canada) Conference Dates: January 27-31, 2013 AUIC 2013 – Australasian User Interface Conference 2013 (Adelaide, Australia) Conference Dates: January 29-February 1, 2013 APCCM 2013 – 9th Asian-Pacific Conference on Conceptual Modeling (Adelaide, Australia) Conference Dates: January 29-February 1, 2013 February…

  • Columns
    • A matter of taste

      Elizabeth Churchill

      A matter of taste

      Kantos Kan led me to one of these gorgeous eating places where we were served entirely by mechanical apparatus. No hand touched the food from the time it entered the building in its raw state until it emerged hot and delicious upon the tables before the guests, in response…

    • Taking the new neologisms offline

      Jonathan Bean, Daniela Rosner

      Taking the new neologisms offline

      There are so many new words for what seems, on the face of it, to be a new phenomenon [1]. Images and widgets are sliding off the screen and ending up in what geographers call the cultural landscape—and what the rest of us call the real world. Facebook "Like"…

  • Day in the Lab
    • Instructables

      Eric Wilhelm


      How do you describe your lab to visitors? The Instructables lab is an open-plan, multipurpose workspace located in downtown San Francisco. We have exposed brick walls, wood floors, gorgeous natural light from skylights and windows overlooking Second Street, and a ridiculous number of tiny halogen lights in the ceiling,…

  • Forums
    • Participatory sensing

      Scott Heggen

      Participatory sensing

      Picture yourself at 13 years old, being handed a mobile phone and told, "You're going to learn the scientific method." And when you're done, there will be no test. Your success will be measured in the change you create in your community and your environment. This is the next…

    • Family health heritage

      Sarah Reeder, Jodi Forlizzi, Steven Dow

      Family health heritage

      Healthcare is moving beyond a focus on curing the sick patient toward taking a more proactive role in keeping healthy patients healthy [1]. Today patients are more aware of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle and are more likely to take notice and act when health issues arise. This shift…

    • Ergonomics and U.S. public policy

      Alan Hedge

      Ergonomics and U.S. public policy

      Ergonomics is a widely misunderstood discipline in the U.S. Businesses treat ergonomics paradoxically, advertising it as a benefit when marketing products, yet decrying it as costly and unnecessary when it comes to designing ergonomic workplaces. Poor ergonomics has become linked to workplace injuries that can arise from frequent repetitive…

    • Journal-conference interaction and the competitive exclusion principle

      Jonathan Grudin

      Journal-conference interaction and the competitive exclusion principle

      Each biological species occupies a unique ecological niche—usually. Occasionally one species invades another's niche, arriving as a stowaway on a boat, in a tourist's luggage, floating on a log, or crawling across a newly formed land bridge. What happens when two species occupy the same niche? Biologists agree: One…

    • The problem with transparency is it’s not conspicuous enough

      Stephen Wilcox

      The problem with transparency is it’s not conspicuous enough

      This article proposes a model of transparency, the idea that a good tool "disappears" in the hands of skilled users. It then proposes a model of design as the management of a dynamic transparency. In use, we often want a tool to be transparent, but other times, in the…

    • Lost icons, Paris 2012

      Eli Blevis

      Lost icons, Paris 2012

      Image Contributors: Eli Blevis Genre: Documentary observation and reflection An icon denoting a long-obsolete circular mechanical phone dial adorns a phone booth replete with push-button pay phones—another obsolete technology. The icon is somehow comforting, nostalgic, and curiously familiar despite its reference to vintage technology. Icons are a large part…

  • Features
    • Building the future with envisioning

      Stuart Reeves

      Building the future with envisioning

      HCI and related interaction design fields often explore the challenges of future technologies. This future orientation is intrinsic to ubiquitous computing. Conceived during the late 1980s and early 1990s, and developed initially through the work of Xerox PARC's Computer Sciences Lab (CSL), ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) set out a compelling…

    • Annotated portfolios and other forms of intermediate-level knowledge

      Jonas Löwgren

      Annotated portfolios and other forms of intermediate-level knowledge

      In a recent issue of this magazine, Bill Gaver and John Bowers address the role of design practice in academic research and provide a concrete suggestion: "We propose the notion of annotated portfolios as a way to communicate design research. In part, we do this to provide an alternative…

    • Food for thought

      Jaz Choi, Rob Comber, Conor Linehan

      Food for thought

      With increasing demands on our time, everyday behaviors such as food purchasing, preparation, and consumption have become habitual and unconscious. Indeed, modern food values are focused on convenience and effortlessness, overshadowing other values such as environmental sustainability, health, and pleasure. The rethinking of how we approach everyday food behaviors…

    • You are what you tweet

      Natalie Dixon

      You are what you tweet

      Every day is a living torment. Nobody understands my suffering. The only thing keeping me going is the pancakes I have for breakfast. —Twitter user Food is a deeply emotional, political, and commercial subject. In recent years its story has been increasingly told, scrutinized, and debated. Arguably we have…

    • Crowd saucing

      Conor Linehan, Tom Leeman, Christopher Borrowdale, Shaun Lawson

      Crowd saucing

      The World Health Organization suggests that worldwide rates of obesity have more than doubled since 1980 [1]. Rising rates of obesity present a massive public health problem, as excess weight can lead to a number of debilitating conditions, including cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. The majority…

    • Ecofriends

      Jakob Tholander, Mattias Jacobsson


      As practitioners and researchers in interaction design, we often find that many of the online practices we design for resemble those that existed several hundred years ago, before industrialization. For instance, the collaborative knowledge gathering we today associate with Wikipedia and the like existed in the more basic form…

  • Cover story
    • Media studies, mobile augmented reality, and interaction design

      Jay Bolter, Maria Engberg, Blair MacIntyre

      You are walking in the Sweetwater Creek State Park near Atlanta and using the Augmented Reality (AR) Trail Guide, a mobile application designed by Isaac Kulka for the Argon Browser (Figure 1). The application offers two views: a now familiar Google-style map, with points of interest marked on its…