Table of Contents

VOLUME XIX.6 November + December 2012

  • Demo Hour
    • Demo hour

      Monika Hoinkis, Roger Ibars, Hiromi Nakamura, Homei Miyashita, Kurtis Heimerl, Brian Gawalt, Kuang Chen, Tapan Parikh, Björn Hartmann

      Demo hour

      CHI interactivity explorations track Chairs: Danielle Wilde and Eva Hornecker Herzfassen (Take Heart) Herzfassen is a self-contained kinetic object that uses physical computing and biometric data to provide an aesthetic and sensual experience while maintaining an ordinary outer appearance: a metal bowl filled with water. When someone touches the…

  • Blogpost
    • Refuser (centered design)

      Gilbert Cockton

      Refuser (centered design)

      Somewhere around 2.5 million years ago, someone left carefully crafted chippers, scrapers, and pounders in an Ethiopian riverbed. The first ever persona, Yoosa, was a skilled stone-tool maker with a deep understanding of her materials and extensive experience of tool usage. Yoosa took great pride in tool making and…

  • Departments
    • Community calendar 2012

      CACM Staff

      November 2012 ISMAR 2012 – 11th IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (Atlanta, GA) Conference Dates: November 5-8, 2012 UCD 2012 – User-Centered Design Conference (London, UK) Conference Dates: November 9-10, 2012 ITS 2012 – Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces (Cambridge, MA) Conference Dates: November 11-14,…

  • Columns
    • Transformative learning in the design studio

      Jon Kolko

      Transformative learning in the design studio

      A design studio is a unique model of education, and many who have experienced it take it for granted, assuming all advanced learning is done in this style. It isn't, but it should be. The design studio provides an exemplary model for how experiential learning can occur in all…

    • Content, the once and future king

      Steve Portigal

      Content, the once and future king

      Christian Marclay's The Clock is a 24-hour film, in which each minute of the 24 hours is depicted by images of clocks (or other depictions of the time) from other movies. As described in the New Yorker, creating The Clock was an intensive, meticulous process [1]. For at least…

  • Day in the Lab
    • Human media lab, Queens University

      Roel Vertegaal

      Human media lab, Queens University

      How do you describe your lab to visitors? The Human Media Lab is an HCI lab with a unique mix of design, science, and engineering students. It is a media lab in which researchers conceive of, design, and build prototype user-interface technologies projected 10 to 15 years into the…

  • Forums
    • Trajectories in TEI

      Orit Shaer, Amon Millner, Caroline Hummels

      Trajectories in TEI

      The technological advances of the past two decades have given rise to an increasing number of creative practices and research areas that seek to overcome the longstanding separation between the physical and digital worlds. The first conference on Tangible and Embedded Interaction (TEI) took place in 2007 in Louisiana,…

    • Created in China

      Silvia Lindtner, David Li

      Created in China

      Hackerspaces are shared studios that bring together people committed to the free and open sharing of software and hardware, as well as ideas and knowledge. As of April 2012, there are more than 500 active hackerspaces in existence worldwide, making them a global phenomenon [1]. A typical studio will…

    • Walking together to design

      Nicola Bidwell

      Walking together to design

      In isiXhosa, the home language in Eastern Cape, South Africa, "Sihamba sobabini" means, literally, "We are walking together," but figuratively, "Are we still on the same page?" Such translations juxtapose ways in which we make meaning by, as Tim Ingold writes, "going along" through the world or by interacting…

    • Adding reinforced corners

      Meryl Alper, Juan Hourcade, Shuli Gilutz

      Adding reinforced corners

      There is growing global interest in designing technologies for children with disabilities, as evidenced by the recent workshop we organized on this topic at the annual Interaction Design and Children conference [1]. We recognize that in one sense, disability exists at an individual level, be it a temporary, degenerative,…

    • Breaking down barriers

      Laura Dove

      Breaking down barriers

      An unfortunate polarization of research and design is becoming the norm in the practice of user experience (UX). Not too long ago the "us and them" mentality was reserved for interactions among usability, sales, marketing, and software-development colleagues. Somehow this schismatic attitude has also started to appear between UX…

    • Old scaffolds new

      Eli Blevis

      Old scaffolds new

      Image Contributor: Giorgio Maria Di Nunzio Genre: Reflection prompted by opportunistic observation Pointing my digital camera skywards prompted a reflection about how modern digital electronics depend on vintage infrastructure high-voltage electric lines. ©2012 ACM1072-5220/12/11$15.00 Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work…

  • Features
    • Foci and blind spots in user experience research

      Javier Bargas-Avila, Kasper Hornbæk

      In recent years, HCI has been influenced by a movement known as user experience. Take a look at current job postings and you can't help but notice that companies often look for "user experience specialists" (rather than "usability experts") or "user experience designers" (rather than "interaction designers"). At conferences,…

    • Autobiographical design

      Carman Neustaedter, Phoebe Sengers

      Autobiographical design

      Designers, developers, and researchers frequently use their own systems during design in order to test concepts, learn through actual usage, or find and fix software bugs. In fact, many would argue this is an important step before putting a design before other end users; such "eat your own dog…

    • Hey, that’s not who I voted for!

      Juan Gilbert, Aqueasha Martin, Gregory Rogers, Jerome McClendon, Josh Ekandem

      Hey, that’s not who I voted for!

      The "finger roll," a well-known shot in the sports world, was once known (and still is) as one of the most difficult to master in the game of basketball. However, in the world of voting and electronic ballots, the same is not true. During the 2008 presidential election in…

    • What if sustainability doesn’t work out?

      Bill Tomlinson, Donald Patterson, Yue Pan, Eli Blevis, Bonnie Nardi, Six Silberman, Juliet Norton, Joseph LaViola

      What if sustainability doesn’t work out?

      In a recent NSF-funded National Academies symposium on Science, Innovation, and Partnerships for Sustainability Solutions, there was a great deal of discussion about global change. To offer a few concrete examples of the kind of problems that may result from global change: Sea-level rise could displace tens or even…

    • Reflections

      John Hardy


      In 1991, Pierre Wellner introduced the world to the DigitalDesk [1]. This was the first attempt at revolutionizing office work by integrating the best of the tangible and digital realms. Since then, technology has developed: The Internet has connected us, and large interactive screens are fast becoming a fixture…

    • Sketching with Chinese calligraphy

      Frode Sandnes, Hua-Li Jian

      Sketching with Chinese calligraphy

      Sketches and hand-drawn paper prototypes are popular tools—they are quick to make, inexpensive, and cannot be mistaken for the final product. When drawings take little effort, it is easier to discard them and replace them with new and improved versions. Moreover, during ideation it is important to be able…

  • Cover story
    • On attention to surroundings

      Malcolm McCullough

      First, consider attention itself [1]. Bought and sold by websites, hoarded by overlords, and stolen by clever thieves, attention has become the coin of the realm. For attention becomes scarce as information becomes plentiful. Alas, that's a truth that is easy to know but difficult to remember. Everywhere people…