Table of Contents

VOLUME XIV.5 September + October 2007

  • In this issue
    • In this issue

      Jonathan Arnowitz, Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson

      We are proud to introduce this special issue on societal challenges guest edited by Manfred Tscheligi, a regular contributor and previous guest editor of last year's Gadgets issue. Software that promotes social behavior has a significant impact and is interesting in itself—think YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, and the many other…

  • Fresh: rant
    • Don’t just stand there, do something! But don’t panic.

      Jonathan Arnowitz

      In one of our first special issues, guest edited by Pabini Gabriel-Petit, we asked, "Who owns the user experience?" The answer that came back was startling: not us. While we have been positioning HCI practitioners as owners of the user experience and responsible for it, that answer relegated us…

  • Fresh: ask Doctor Usability
    • Chain of command

      Dr. Usability

      Dear Dr. Usability, I recently interviewed at a company with a small design team, and they asked me where I thought user-interface work should report in the company. I have about five years of experience, and my team has mostly reported through the engineering management chain. Whenever there was…

  • Fresh: Nuts and bolts
    • What does AJAX mean for you?

      Daniel Zucker

      We have all heard a lot about AJAX. But aside from being a four-letter acronym, what is AJAX, and what does AJAX mean to you, the UI designer? This article is intended to shed some light on AJAX at an introductory level. AJAX stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML,…

  • Forum: connections
    • SwissCHI’s HCI education

      Lothar Mueller

      How It Started. In some Swiss universities, courses related to HCI are offered as part of a specific curriculum, e.g., design, computer science, or psychology. While it is good for students to come into contact with HCI themes, these courses have some inherent drawbacks: First, they usually look at…

  • Forum: under development
    • Turning the Rift Valley into Silicon Valley

      Nathan Eagle

      Graduating from Stanford University at the edge of Silicon Valley during the height of the dot-com bubble in 1999 leaves an indelible mark. As an increasing number of my classmates became overnight millionaires, virtually the entire student body was in a start-up frenzy—at local bars it was more common…

  • Forum: here's entertainment
    • The design of emotionally engaging products

      Dennis Wixon, August de los Reyes

      In the last column, I gave an overview of the visionary company Harmonics and the inspirational game they created—Guitar Hero. This time August de los Reyes and I explore a revolutionary approach to the design of emotionally engaging products and the research tools needed to create them. Interestingly, this…

  • Forum: timelines
    • Meeting in the ether

      Bruce Damer

      If telephone, radio, film, and TV defined life in the 20th century, the virtual world is the one true new medium of the 21st. The virtual world combines aspects of all these earlier technologies creating something novel in human experience. This column is dedicated to a brief exploration of…

  • Societal interfaces
    • The importance of HCI for solving societal challenges

      Manfred Tscheligi

      Society is always facing challenges. Among these (to name a few) are issues like quality of life, health, security and other forms of protection, independent living, aging, working conditions, employment, environmental issues, education, closing the digital divide, and information access for all. All of these concerns influence people and…

    • Ambient and pervasive technology

      Anne Clarke

      The development of ambient and pervasive devices and systems is gathering momentum—recent examples include the Whereabouts Clock [8] and digital jewelry [10]. These types of technologies provide new contexts for communication between users. The eSense project [3] is developing a systems approach for large-scale deployment of ambient technologies, based…

    • Information and social support for semi-literate people living with HIV

      Edwin Blake

      Our team has been investigating how to use Virtual Environments (VEs) to support people living with HIV and AIDS since 2001 [3][4][5]. South Africa and other developing countries have an enormous shortage of trained professional people, and information and communications technology (ICT) can in some cases distribute scarce knowledge…

    • Making public transport information accessible through ICT

      Peter Raemy, Robert Ruprecht

      Mass transportation has grown over the past few decades. Commuting by public transport is a phenomenon that seems to be spreading daily. In this context of travel, information has improved a lot. While there are fewer people physically present to produce information for lost travelers, there is much more…

    • User experience design guidelines for telecare (e-health) services

      Bruno Niman, Alejandro Rodríguez-Ascaso, Steve Brown, Torbjørn Sund

      Telecare can be defined as the use of ICT to support the delivery of care directly to people outside of conventional care centers, such as hospitals or residential homes. A telecare system can be as simple as providing a person with the means to alert a remote care provider…

    • Persuasion as an ingredient of societal interfaces

      Manfred Tscheligi, Wolfgang Reitberger

      The use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to solve societal problems goes back to the pioneers of HCI. In his groundbreaking 1962 article "Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework," Douglas Engelbart states that his reason for bootstrapping human intelligence is the growing complexity and urgency of the problems…

  • People: fast forward
    • Am I pushing your buttons?

      Aaron Marcus

      Why does the one-button solution to life's challenges seem so appealing? Such simple, clear, consistent solutions appeal, perhaps, to the child in each one of us. More on that later—let's first take a look at single-touch solutions in the marketplace. Recent advertisements for Staples, a U.S. office-supplies chain, emphasize…

  • People: the well-tempered practitioner
    • The problem with usability problems

      Chauncey Wilson

      A major goal for usability practitioners is to discover and eliminate usability problems from a product or service (without introducing new problems) within budget, time, and quality constraints. Making products more usable is laudable, but as a field, we have many rancorous debates about the definition of "usability problem."…

  • Bridge the gap
    • I see evidence of research…what about design?

      Lynn Cherny

      After holding many design and design-management jobs, I was taken aback at a recent interview when asked if I had more examples of design work in my portfolio. Never mind that I thought I had examples there—it wasn't enough. Yet I identify as an interaction designer, and I thought…

  • Books
  • Event planner
    • Event planner

      interactions Staff

      September 3-4 COGAIN 2007 The Third COGAIN Annual Conference on Communication by Gaze Interaction Leicester, United Kingdom September 3-7 HCI 2007 21st Annual Conference of the British Human Computer Interaction Group Lancaster, United Kingdom September 9-14 Mobicom/Mobihoc07 The 13th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing…

  • Rave
    • Masters of our process

      Jonathan Arnowitz, Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson

      Simply following a user-centered design process does not assure good design. Delivering a quality experience means understanding and articulating a good design practice. That means not just slavishly applying a process but critically engaging with the process, from problem articulation to designing, innovating, prototyping, and usability testing. Problem…