The role of HCI in advancing a Science of a Smarter Planet
'Smarter Planet' is a generic term referring to intelligent distributed computing environments that leverage information technology and networks to create new capabilities and provide more intelligent ways to perform common functions in human society. Examples of such smarter planet systems include systems that create smarter water management, intelligent utilities, smarter buildings and transportation, and intelligent resource sharing across different groups and organizations. In general, smarter planet systems are built using instrumentation data collected from ubiquitous sensor deployments, retrieving sensor data using intelligent techniques for data collection and then applying data analytics and artificial intelligence to create an intelligent end-to-end system. Over the last couple of years, a number of systems exhibiting these characteristics have been built and deployed at locations around the world.
The overall architecture of any smarter planet system can be divided into three broad areas of instrumentation, interconnection, and intelligence. Instrumentation consists of deploying sensors and collecting information efficiently from them. Interconnection consists of designing different types of networks that can obtain information rapidly and efficiently under resource constrained conditions. Intelligence refers to algorithms andprocesses for control, analysis and guidance to be provided from the collectedinformation. The common underlying principles behind interconnection, instrumentation and intelligence can be said to constitute the science for smarter planet systems. We see the science of smarter planet as a multi-disciplinary research area that spans fields such as sampling theory, sensor management, communications networks, network sciences, data mining, artificial intelligence, human factors, and control theory. In this talk, I will outline how and why I think that HCI is an important field in the onsideration of smarter planet systems, and describe how HCI research agendas might address important topics in the area.
John Karat is a cognitive psychologist whose career with IBM Research started in 1982 in the early days of the HCI field. Since then he has worked on the development of uidelines and principles for user interface design (including the chairing committees for the development of ANSI and ISO standards), researched and advised on design collaboration, researched and developed speech and language-based systems (including the design of IBM’s large vocabulary desktop speech recognition system), researched and designed electronic medical record systems for Kaiser Colorado Region and Barnes ospital in St Louis). His research also includes publications in information search and unstructured knowledge management, entertainment applications, personalization, and privacy. As a researcher in HCI, John has published over 100 articles in professional and technical journals, delivered keynote addresses at numerous international conferences, taught courses, and has authored and edited books and numerous book chapters. John helped establish the successful ACM conference Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) in 1995 and chaired the conference in 2000. In 2008, John received the Lifetime Service Award from ACM SIGCHI, and was named an ACM Distinguished Scientist in 2009.
Gaming and Culture
I will discuss methodological conundrums of studying culture. We all know it's there, but it's very hard to pin down analytically. How do we deal with culture intelligently and sensitively in our research? I will discuss culture in the context of my research on World of Warcraft, a large multiplayer online video game. I have conducted ethnographic research on "WoW" in North America and China and will use my experiences to talk about the analytics of culture.
Bonnie Nardi is an anthropologist in the School of Information and Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine. She has conducted field research in offices, homes, hospitals, libraries, laboratories, and virtual communities. She is the author of many scientific articles and books. Her most recent book is My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft (University of Michigan Press, 2010). Bonnie's current research concerns online computer games, ethnographic methods, activity theory, and comparative informatics.
Technology for Development: Explorations and Experiences from India
The last decade has been a period of extensive economic growth in India. It has also been a period of optimism about using interactive technologies for socio-economic development of people at the bottom of the pyramid. Throughout our history, new technologies have always had disruptive effects on societies. New technologies again hold a promise to cut across existing socio-economic barriers and to create capacities that were not there earlier. Except that the scale this time is unprecedented. The sweep of the mobile phone has surprised everyone as it swept across the barriers of language, culture, literacy, and poverty. It has been both a symbol of this recent growth and a partial cause. It has given us a foot in the door that could open new vistas for tomorrow. To realise this potential fully, we will need to think differently than we had earlier. We will need to support the high-tech with a high-touch to overcome problems of infrastructure, education and usability, and to rethink products and services ground up to meet the real needs of the new users in emerging economies. I will present some of our explorations and experiences in design of products and systems for sustainable socio-economic development that are being done in the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay.
Anirudha Joshi teaches HCI and related topics in the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay, India. He was one of the first teachers to introduce usability and ethnographic user studies methods to design education in India. Anirudha is involved in designing interactive products for users in developing economies. He has done user studies, interaction design, and usability evaluations for diverse domains including healthcare, literacy, Indian language text input, banking, education, industrial equipment, and FMCG packaging. His work has been for users in urban and rural India and on a variety of platforms including desktops, the web, mobile phones, ATMs, and custom hardware. Anirudha also works in the area of integrating HCI activities with software engineering processes. He has developed process models, tools, and metrics to help HCI practitioners deliver a better user experience.
Beauty matters: The power of aesthetics
In this talk I present evidence contradicting the currently sexy assumption in the HCI community that even serious tasks should be couched in a colorful, playful gaming model. Although the criteria by which people judge aesthetics depend on the usage context, even a neutral, relative boring gray color may be more appealing and more pleasant to use than a prettier color scheme that would be preferred under different circumstances. The sense of appropriateness thus features very prominently in the decision to like or dislike an application, and that judgment has a significant impact on our performance. For applications supporting mission-, time-, or safety-critical decisions, a return to Mark Weiser’s notion of ‘calm computing’ can do much to enhance both the user experience and user performance. I present empirical findings demonstrating the power of sensory unimodal as well as multimodal aesthetics in such ‘serious’ environments.
Gitte Lindgaard, PhD, is Director of the Human Oriented Technology Lab (HOTLab) and a full professor in the Department of Psychology, Carleton University, Ottawa. She holds one of 11 Canadian Natural Science & Engineering Research Council’s NSERC/Cognos Senior Industry Research Chair in User-Centred Product Design. Previously, she was Principal Scientist and Head of the Human Factors Team at Telstra Research Laboratories, Australia for 15 years. She was Chair of CHISIG of the Ergonomics Society of Australia (ESA) for several years in the 1980 and 1990s. She is a Fellow of the HFESA, the deputy editor of Interacting with Computers, and associate editor of several international HCI journals such as the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies and The International Journal of Mobile HCI. Her research interests include multimedia/multimodal and mobile technologies, aesthetics and emotion in computing, and human decision making, especially in diagnostic medicine. She has published over 150 refereed papers, books, and book chapters.
Multi-tasking in the Information Age
High levels of multitasking is a characteristic of current information work. In this talk I will present empirical results from fieldwork observations and experiments over the last few years which detail the extent to which information workers multitask, not only switching tasks, but also switching workplace contexts. I will discuss how multi-tasking impacts various aspects of collaboration and communication in the workplace. In laboratory experiments we found that people compensate for interruptions by working faster, but this comes at a price of experiencing more stress. I will present a prototype of a technology, the Japanese Garden, that can help support people in their multi-tasking. I will also discuss how sensors can be used to measure micro behaviors involved in multitasking. These results challenge the traditional way that most IT is designed to organize information, i.e. in terms of distinct tasks. Instead, I will discuss how IT should support information organization in a way consistent with how most people were found to organize their work, which is in terms of much larger thematically connected units of work. I will discuss how the results present opportunities for new social and technical solutions to support multi-tasking in the workplace.
Gloria Mark is Professor in the Department of Informatics, University of California, Irvine. Dr. Mark received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University. Prior to joining UCI, she was a Research Scientist at the GMD (German National Research Center for Information Technology), in Bonn, Germany, a visiting research scientist at the Boeing Company, and a research scientist at the Electronic Data Systems Center for Advanced Research. Dr. Mark's research focuses on the design and evaluation of collaborative systems. Her current projects include studying multi-tasking of information workers, technology use in disrupted environments and the use of virtual worlds for work collaboration. In 2006, she received a Fulbright scholarship to conduct research at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Dr. Mark has published in numerous conferences and journals including the ACM CSCW, CHI, ECSCW, DIS, Group, and IEEE RE conferences and CSCW, CACM, and ISR journals. She was program chair for the ACM CSCW'06 and ACM Group'05 conferences, is the program chair for ACM CSCW'12 and is on the editorial board of ACM Transactions on Computer Human Interaction, the CSCW journal and e-commerce Quarterly. Her work has appeared in the popular press including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.