Table of Contents

VOLUME XIII.2 March + April 2006

  • In this issue
    • In this issue

      Jonathan Arnowitz, Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson

      This issue will coincide with the annual SIGCHI conference in April. If you're reading this in Montreal, welcome! And if not, you're missing a great event—Be sure to watch for reports from the field in our next issue. We're excited to offer you a special section on HCI and…

  • Fresh: rant
    • Pay attention!

      Jonathan Arnowitz, Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson

      Fact: Silicon Valley is a rather special sort of place for software professionals, including engineers and HCI practitioners. Fact: There's more postings now for senior job openings in design/HCI-related positions in the Valley than there have been since the Internet bubble burst. Fact: Most software development companies are engineering-driven,…

  • Fresh: ok/cancel
    • Outsourceful

      Tom Chi, Kevin Cheng

      ©2006 ACM1072-5220/06/0300$5.00 Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation…

  • Fresh: ask Doctor Usability
    • What’s the right thing?

      Dr. Usability

      Dear Dr. Usability, I am currently working on performing some user research for my company's flagship product. My company is planning a new version of it with some new additional features (of course), as well as a new innovative user interface. We actually did some user research with some…

  • Fresh: pushing the envelope
    • Gadgets and the consequences of their design

      Fred Sampson

      Gadgets: We love them, we hate them, we can't live without them. They come in a dizzying variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and utility. Some gadgets just occupy space, fulfilling our need to have more stuff. Some, like cellular phones, have become indispensable. Some gadgets are fashion accessories or…

  • Fresh: mailbag
    • Letters to the editor

      Jonathan Arnowitz, Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson

      Thanks, and arrivederci! Friends and colleagues, the last Whiteboard was published in the January-February issue. I'd like to express my great appreciation for, and indebtedness to, all the writers who have made it such an enjoyable and informative column over the years, and to thank all the readers who've…

  • Forum: open for business
    • The business of betas

      Brian Frank

      Launch any software product these days, and you can easily find a whole host of issues you wish the developer or designer would have better anticipated—whether it is to optimize the interaction, organization of information, or further develop tools before releasing the product to the marketplace. I can't go…

  • Offshoring usability
    • Offshore usability

      Eric Schaffer

      Usability has become mainstream, and we are undergoing a radical transformation in how we perform usability work. We are shifting from usability as ad hoc craftsmanship to usability as a mature, efficient, and reliable process. This is very much the same as the way IT shifted from an activity…

    • Usability professionals: you’ve come a long way, baby!

      Vikram Chauhan

      The number of usability professionals in India has grown considerably these last few years. The demand in Asia has exceeded supply, and the future looks even more user-friendly. Even as I write this article on the growth of usability professionals in India, somewhere in the US, Microsoft is transferring…

    • Working with a global lab team in China

      Tom Plocher

      "Offshoring" has such negative connotations in the US that I prefer to describe what we do here at Honeywell Labs as "working with global laboratory teams." There are three reasons for a technology company to start a global lab in a particular location. First, it might want to position…

    • IBM research in China

      Chen Zhao

      IBM China Research Laboratory (CRL) celebrated its tenth anniversary on August 30, 2005. As part of IBM China's development strategy, CRL was the first research lab that multinational companies set up in China ten years ago as a part of a commitment to the Chinese government. Now there are…

    • A new destination for offshore usability

      Ivan Burmistrov

      This article has been prepared by interviewing the representatives of the leading Russian companies completely specialized on the provision of usability services—Usethics and UIDesign Group (Moscow)—and also one of the offshore software developers providing a full development cycle including usability activities—eVelopers (St. Petersburg). Russia is the third-largest market player…

    • Working as a designer in a global team

      Janaki Kumar

      Does globalization increase productivity? Does it make companies more profitable? There are obvious cost savings due to salary differences across the world, but when we go beyond this obvious point, we find both benefits and deficits. In this note, I explore the more intangible benefits and drawbacks of globalization…

    • Communication across cultures

      Roman Longoria

      While it has been difficult to start, staff, and operate a UCD team in India, I wouldn't attribute any of the difficulties to culture. Maybe I've been lucky, but I have not seen any dramatic levels of cultural differences. Most of the difficulties are common to UCD groups in…

    • The moment of truth

      Lada Gorlenko

      The Big Question. Whether we like it or not, offshoring is here to stay. "If" or "when" to offshore is no longer an issue. The heart of the discussion is "how much"-how much we can afford to offshore or, more precisely, how much we can afford to keep. The…

    • A decision table: offshore or not?

      Eric Schaffer

      While offshore usability has great promise, there are circumstances that are clear contraindications for an offshore approach. The following are flags that should keep you considering onshore operations only. Immature Usability. Process-driven usability is systematic, with defined tasks and deliverables. It is relatively easy to do this offshore. But…

  • Forum: under development
    • Designing technology for the developing world

      Gary Marsden

      "Under Development" is a new column that discusses the practice of HCI in developing countries. To contribute, contact Gary Marsden at [email protected]. Governments across the planet are currently taking steps to eradicate poverty in the developing world. Whether spurred by humanitarians such as the musician Bono or their own…

  • Forum: here's entertainment
    • What is a game?

      Dennis Wixon

      In the last column, I gave a quick, and hopefully fun, overview of the history of video games and their importance. I also pointed out that gamers are a diverse, socially engaged, and physically active community. My aim was to contradict the widely held prejudices about gaming and gamers.…

  • Forum: timelines
    • The GUI shock: computer graphics and human-computer interaction

      Jonathan Grudin

      "Everything changed—the computer graphics community got interested in realism, I remained interested in interaction, and I eventually found myself doing HCI." —William Newman Someone recently wrote that SIGCHI was formed by computer scientists. This was an understandable error, but in addition to erasing several years of history, it glided…

  • Forum: the way i see it
    • Trapped in a Lufthansa airline seat

      Donald Norman

      I consider it one of my self-imposed job requirements to purchase and try out every new technology. How else am I to know the pleasure—and trauma—associated with their potential and their realization? My experiences demonstrate the need for the field of HCI to expand its horizons far beyond that…

  • Forum: fast forward
    • Visualizing the future of information visualization

      Aaron Marcus

      It's not just what you know, it's what you know about what you know. "Information visualization" is a special category of user-interface design. Tables, forms, charts, maps, and diagrams also have to solve how best to use metaphors, mental models, navigation, interaction, and appearance to make themselves usable, useful,…

  • Forum: on the edge
    • Inventing the future

      Lars Holmquist

      "We are all interested in the future, because that is where you and I will spend the rest of our lives." This wonderful quote, sage and stupid at the same time, originates from an eccentric 1960s psychic who called himself Criswell. Criswell had a thing for appearing on TV…

  • Books
    • Review of “Knowledge Management in Theory and Practice by Kimiz Dalkir”, Elsevier Butterworth Heinemann, ISBN: 0-7506-7864-X, $49.95

      Karen Quinn

      The discipline of Knowledge Management (KM) has been around for more than a decade. It has reached a state of maturity in which one can identify the principles, practices, and tools that make it unique. KM has encouraged individuals and organizations to examine ways in which knowledge can be…

    • New & upcoming titles

      Gerard Torenvliet

      Understanding New Media Kim H. Veltman University of Calgary Press, February 2006 ISBN: 1552381544 $69.95 Adaptive Perspectives on Human-Technology Interaction: Methods and Models for Cognitive Engineering and Human-Computer Interaction Alex Kirlik, editor Oxford University Press, March 2006 ISBN: 0195171829 $69.95 The Playful World: How Technology…

  • Event planner
    • Event planner

      interactions Staff

      March 25-26 3DUI 2006 The IEEE Symposium on 3D User Interfaces 2006 Alexandria, VA, USA March 27-29 ETRA 2006 Eye Tracking Research & Applications San Diego, CA, USA April 4-6 The Ergonomics Society Annual ConferenceForum for Ergonomists and Human Factors Specialists Cambridge, UK …

  • Rave
    • Volunteers for ACM/SIGCHI

      Jonathan Arnowitz, Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson

      With another CHI conference upon us, the editors would like to pause and salute the people who make the conference possible: volunteers. The necessity of volunteers is true for every ACM conference, whether it is CHI, DUX, CSCW, UIST, or one of the many events that ACM cosponsors with…