Table of Contents

VOLUME XIV.6 November + December 2007

  • In this issue
    • In this issue

      Jonathan Arnowitz, Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson

      Free at last! We finally reach the end of our term as EICs. It has been three rewarding years. We are confident that <interactions> will ascend to new heights under the guidance of Richard Anderson and Jon Kolko. We cannot imagine two better successors; we pass the baton to…

  • Passing the baton
    • <interactions> 2005—-2007

      Jonathan Arnowitz

      We have found over the past three years that articles in <interactions> are frequently cited in academic courses or used to make a point in a practitioner setting. During our tenure as editors-in-chief we've put together a special section in almost every issue. This is a look back at…

    • Signing on/signing off

      Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson, Jonathan Arnowitz, Jon Kolko, Richard Anderson

      Signing OFF As we look back on the past three years, we have to say we've learned a lot: the trials and tribulations of depending on volunteer efforts like our own to write, submit, and engage with the magazine; structuring, versioning and tracking, and managing contributions; and communicating with…

  • Fresh: rant
    • Consultants as heroes and hucksters

      Jonathan Arnowitz

      Consultants are, in our esteem, mostly well-intentioned. But often they aren't around long enough to see the effects of their work, and aren't keen on investigating whether any harm was done before offering the same (apparently successful) method to the next client. As practitioners who have been on both…

  • Fresh: ask Doctor Usability
    • In Memoriam

      Jonathan Arnowitz

      It is with deep sadness that we acknowledge the untimely passing of Dr. Usability. We feared something was wrong when the Doctor missed his last deadline. This was very unusual behavior, as he never passed up an opportunity to be read. Doctor Usability went on a trip to Japan…

  • Fresh: pushing the envelope
    • Sealing the envelope

      Fred Sampson

      When a man comes to you and tells you your own story, you know that your sins are forgiven. And when you are forgiven, you are healed. —Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham, The Spirituality of Imperfection Let me tell you a story. Long ago, as a college student studying…

  • Fresh: Nuts and bolts
    • A “Survivor”-like designer reality show?

      Luke Kowalski

      With every CHI, and with every issue of <interactions>, our profession is maturing and reaching a better understanding of what it means to be a successful practitioner. The days of the rebel artiste are mostly gone. Yes I still have to put up with one when it comes to…

  • Fresh: mailbag
    • Coming clean with AJAX

      Jonathan Arnowitz, Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson

      I enjoyed reading Daniel F. Zucker's article "What Does Ajax mean for You?" ("Nuts and Bolts," September-October 2007). I thought it gave a nice introduction to the AJAX topic from a designer's perspective. As a person with an interest in design as well as in technologies, I want to…

  • Forum: under development
    • What is the mobile internet?

      Gary Marsden

      I have been asking myself this a lot lately. Like most of the online world, I am slowly becoming sucked into Facebook. But what is Facebook? On one level, it is no more than an aggregation of technologies that have been around before: email, IRC, interactive whiteboards—pah! For the…

  • Forum: timelines
    • Five perspectives on computer game history

      Daniel Pargman, Peter Jakobsson

      Several histories of computer games have been written, including a coffee-table book with glossy pictures, interviews with more than 500 (!) industry luminaries, and, perhaps best from an academic perspective, using a theoretical model to map developments over time as an interplay of technology, marketing, and culture. Supplementing these…

  • Open source
    • An open source primer

      Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson, Yann Cheri

      Why Open Source? Why is open source the choice? For some, there is a financial incentive; for others, the philosophy of open contribution is attractive. Using open source software leverages the thinking of many others and takes advantage of a well-organized distribution channel. Fixes, enhancements, discussion, and proposals come…

    • Managing a project with open source components

      Mitch Bayersdorfer

      Managing large software projects is daunting. The demands of changing technology, customer requirements, schedules, and business competition can drive you to the breaking point. Depending on your needs, there is immeasurable value in open source code. Although it takes oversight, legal work, training, and additional management to accomplish, use…

    • Working with open source

      David Schlesinger

      Open source software has become more popular and more widely used every year. It runs most back-office server applications (Google runs its search and index system entirely on open source), is used in projects like the "One Laptop Per Child" initiative, and is making major inroads with cell phones…

    • Usability in open source

      Görkem Çetin, Mehmet Göktürk

      "When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other." :Chinese proverb Desktop-based open source operating systems, particularly Linux, have come a long way since the introduction of Linux 0.10 in 1991 and the first Linux…

    • Open standard and open sourced SMIL for interactivity

      Daniel Zucker, Dick Bulterman

      SMIL, Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language, was the first member in the family of open, XML-based standards developed and supported by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). It is an important resource in the interaction designer's toolbox. It can be used not only to develop time-based multimedia presentations, but also…

    • Community experience at

      Matthias Müller-Prove

      DEVELOPERS ARE USERS TOO. Developers, scratching just their personal itch, are a well-known challenge for open source projects [5]. If the project's target audience is not the typical software engineer and the application's interface becomes too technical, intended users will turn away from the product. As a consequence, more-mature…

  • People: the way I see it
    • There’s an automobile in HCI’s future

      Donald Norman

      I am writing this from Driving Assessment 2007, a conference on automobile safety, held this year on the beautiful shores of the Columbia River in the state of Washington. Members of the HCI community would feel comfortable at this conference: Issues of design, workload, and distraction dominate. Two years…

  • People: fast forward
    • The sun rises in the east

      Aaron Marcus

      When I first visited China and Japan in 1975, I was there to lecture about the coming age of computer graphics to designers in Hong Kong and Tokyo. I gazed at China from a guarded border lookout at the northern edge of Hong Kong, which then still belonged to…

  • People: the well-tempered practitioner
    • Inverse, reverse, and unfocused methods

      Chauncey Wilson

      Most practitioners of user-centered design (UCD) have a repertoire of methods that they apply to the design and evaluation of products, for example, brainstorming, card sorting, storyboards, formative usability testing, and field interviews. While these general methods serve us well, there are lesser-known variations that complement the "standard" methods.…

    • Onshore-offshore

      Liam Friedland

      Offshore outsourcing (offshoring) of software development is a trend that has been on the rise. When the tech bubble burst in 2001, software companies saw their revenue drop while having to compete aggressively to win new business. In this economic climate, companies sought ways to cut costs while still…

  • Books
    • Review of “Designing Interactions by Bill Moggridge,” MIT Press, 2006, ISBN 978-0-262-13474-3, $39.95

      Jeroen Bruin

      If you are an interaction designer and want to make an impression on friends or colleagues, reading Bill Moggridge's new book should be at the top of your to-do list. On seeing it, my colleagues made remarks like, "Wow, that book must be good; it weighs a ton, is…

    • New & upcoming titles

      interactions Staff

      The Second Life Herald: The Virtual Tabloid that Witnessed the Dawn of the Metaverse Peter Ludlow and Mark Wallace The MIT Press, October 2007 ISBN: 0262122944, $29.95 Technology as Experience John McCarthy and Peter Wright The MIT Press, October 2007 ISBN: 0262633558, $18.00 Cognition, Communication and Interaction:…

  • Event planner
    • Event planner

      interactions Staff

      November 4-7 Group 2007 International Conference on Supporting Group Work Sanibel Island, FL November 4-8 ICCAD '07 The International Conference on Computer-Aided Design 2007 San Jose, CA November 5-7 DUX '07 Designing the User Experience Chicago, IL November 5-7 VRST 2007 ACM Symposium…

  • Rave
    • Observation and interaction design

      Jonathan Arnowitz, Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson

      Despite the ever-growing collection of books on interaction design, we have to note an element we want to see further emphasized: the role of observation in designing interactions. Designing interactions, particularly between people and machines, has been around a long time. History reveals designers of interactions prior to the…

  • Postcards from the future
    • Third Life is a charm

      Atticus Wolrab

      ©2007 ACM1072-5220/07/1100$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…