XVIII.6 November + December 2011
Page: 5
Digital Citation

WELCOME Taking stock while looking forward

Ron Wakkary, Erik Stolterman

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The end of the year is fast approaching. Winter will be settling in, so it's time to take stock of the summer and the year past—what did we set out to do, and what have we done? I know we don't want to think too hard about it, but such reflection is necessary (or at least unavoidable)! This time of year is also about what is coming up—looking toward the potential of what we do not know yet. For those of us in academia, with the end of one school year is the beginning of another. In this issue we both take stock—critically examining electronic medical records and the essential role of HCI in developing them—and look forward, trying to understand what holds the potential to be new and, in the profound sense of joy, "cool."

We begin with looking forward. Our cover story by Karen Holtzblatt asks what makes things cool. She introduces readers to the results of the Cool Project, aimed at uncovering what it means to design for transformative experiences and what drives the experience that we can only describe as cool. Holtzblatt describes key constructs behind the user experience of cool in order to guide design teams. In the uncovering of cool, she finds joy, and then explains how design can produce joy by making accessible those things that motivate us the most.

In this issue we include a special-topic section made up of three related articles brought together by Harry Hochheiser and Ben Shneiderman. The section focuses on the challenges and opportunities for HCI in electronic medical records (EMR); its collection of articles reflects on our role in this important area through snapshots of current issues facing developers and designers across the globe. The widespread adoption of EMRs in complex settings and in vastly different contexts deserves our attention, especially given the role of usability in the safety, efficiency, and success of EMRs.

Also in this issue you will find our new regular feature, the Visual Thinking Backpage Gallery, which was introduced in the September + October issue by editor Eli Blevis. These compelling images will force the left and right sides of our brains into action as we close out each issue!

On October 5, 2011, as this issue was well into production, we sadly witnessed the passing of a genius who was a constant and positive force on HCI and interaction design. We are proud to have in this issue a memoriam for Steve Jobs written by Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson, a former Apple designer and interactions Editor-in-Chief (2005–2007), Peter Hoddie, a pioneer and veteran of Apple's QuickTime technology, and Tim Wasko, a 15-year veteran of NeXT and Apple. We will miss you, Steve!

We invite your comments and ideas for new articles and features to help us take stock and cast forward into the unknown potentials of HCI and interaction design.

—Ron Wakkary and Erik Stolterman
[email protected]

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©2011 ACM  1072-5220/11/11  $10.00

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