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The study, planning, design and uses of the interfaces between people (users) and computers. (source: Wikipedia)

Does HCI scale? Scale hacking and the relevance of HCI

If you can scale, you can deliver at any level of abstraction.

“HCI has had a massive impact on the world through streamlining and enabling millions of interfaces on billions of devices. As we face the potential of a tenfold increase in the number of devices and their complexity, it is worth asking about the relationship between HCI and scale. Do the tools and research methods we currently deploy scale to the millions of future interfaces and systems, used by billions of people, across multiple contexts? In this article we outline how we see the challenge of scale. By scale we mean how technology is used in large networks of interconnected systems, with billions of users, across diverse contexts. How can we understand and design for this complex of interconnected uses? Put simply, does HCI scale?”

Barry Brown, Susanne Bødker, and Kristina Höök ~ Interactions XXIV.5

Usability testing of spoken conversational systems

Good old usability testing for brand new technologies.

“The philosophy behind usability testing for speech-enabled systems is shared with general usability practices, but many usability practitioners have little or no experience testing speech interfaces, and the specific techniques required for collecting valid and reliable data are not widely understood. Spoken language and conversation have a number of properties that should influence the methods used to test speech user interfaces.”

Susan L. Hura a.k.a. /susan-hura | @SpeechUsability ~ Journal of Usability Studies 12.4

Chatbots and the new world of HCI

HCI as an academic field is waking up, too.

“A potential revolution is happening in front of our eyes. For decades, researchers and practitioners in human-computer interaction (HCI) have been improving their skills in designing for graphical user interfaces. Now things may take an unexpected turn—toward natural language user interfaces, in which interaction with digital systems happens not through scrolling, swiping, or button clicks, but rather through strings of text in natural language. This is particularly visible in recent developments in chatbots, that is, machine agents serving as natural language user interfaces to data and service providers [1], typically in the context of messaging applications.”

Asbjørn Følstad and Petter Bae Brandtzæg ~ Interactions XXIV.4

A history of Human-Computer Interaction

Know thy history.

“However, there was steady progress. It took longer than many expected, but we collectively built the world imagined by Vannevar Bush, J. C. R. Licklider, Douglas Engelbart, Ivan Sutherland, Ted Nelson, Alan Kay, and others. In the 1960s, a few engineers and computer scientists used computers. Yet a common thread in their writing was of a time when people in diverse occupations would use computers routinely. We’re there.”

Jonathan Grudin a.k.a. /jonathan-grudin ~ ACM Interactions XXIV.2

A visual vocabulary for concept models

Concept models reflect the target cognitive frames of a system or idea.

“Let’s start by agreeing that a concept model is a visual explanation. I want you to see things the way I do, so I draw a model made of words and pictures so you share the picture in my mind. What if I want you to understand that design tends to wander around exploring options, but don’t worry because eventually we’ll pick something.”

Christina Wodtke a.k.a. /christinawodtke | @cwodtke

From interactables to architectonic interaction

Architecture and interaction. And where is information?

“The fields of interaction design (IxD) and architecture are increasingly intertwined [1]. Architecture is to a large extent produced through the use of digital tools, and digital technologies are increasingly integrated with our built environment. However, these integrations themselves certainly have transformative effects. For example, as the drawing of buildings is primarily done with CAD technologies, the practice of sketching and drawing is also changed. The same can be said about computer-enhanced buildings. Through the integration of digital technologies into our built environment, one physical space can be designed to allow for easy reconfigurations of that space so as to serve many different purposes and activities. As such, digital technologies challenge a core idea in architecture—that the physical environment is hard to reconfigure—and further, that since the physical space both allows for and restricts the social space, it is important that architecture consider the design of the physical environment in relation to the social activity it is intended to support.”

Mikael Wiberg a.k.a. /mikael-wiberg ~ ACM Interactions XXXIV.2

The interface of Kai Krause’s software

Know your classics. Skeumorphism avant-la-lettre.

“Kai Krause was born 1957 in Dortmund. He came to California in 1976 with two friends. He worked as a musician for Disney Sound Effects. In fact Kai won a Clio Award for his sound effects in a Star Wars radio spot. Emerson, Lake & Powell bought sound systems from him and he is still working with Peter Gabriel today in order to fulfill his vision of visualized music as 3D sculptures.”

Matthias Müller-Prove a.k.a. /mprove | @mprove

Thinking beyond the interface

‘Insert crappy content here’. Filling empty boxes and minds with content. The Nurnberg Funnel.

“Designers have largely shifted their skill sets toward interface design, prototyping, and code. Are writing and art direction getting left behind? (…) But with designers increasingly focused on the interface, a fundamental problem has emerged. The emphasis becomes the design of the frame, and the content takes a backseat — an easily exchangeable placeholder that can be replaced with more or less anything. Layouts become filled with gray boxes and fake headlines.”

Paul Woods a.k.a. /paulthedesigner | @paulillustrator ~ FastCoDesign

Designing for disappearing interfaces

However you assemble them, you have to define them.

“The internet becomes something that’s omnipresent, instead of just something you click on. As everything around us becomes inherently more dynamic, user interfaces will become more and more amorphous in their boundaries. And just as the internet will in effect ‘disappear’, so will our interfaces. We’ll still use them, but we won’t perceive them as separate, limited, defined spaces. They’ll be something far more integral to our experience.”

David McGillivray a.k.a. /dmcgillivray | @David_McG

Conversational UI: The slow death of creative interfaces?

Designing for visual pixel to audio prose.

“Conversational UI is any UI that can mimic the communication with a human being. This means that a human being can communicate with a virtual human being.These UIs work on platforms such as iPhone, Android, Windows, etc. These applications work based on the strong and collective cognitive data, with the support of artificial intelligence.”

Sreeraj ~

Grand challenges for HCI researchers

When the context changes, the challenges rise.

“The remarkable impact of human-computer interaction research and user experience design compels researchers, practitioners, and journalists to ask: What is the next big thing? Therefore, it may be useful for our community to lay out grand challenges that steer the direction of future research, design, and commercial development. As HCI researchers, we are profoundly aware of the immense problems of our age: Growing human populations consume natural resources, flourishing cities require housing and transportation, families demand education and safety, and rising expectations from patients put pressure on healthcare and social systems.”

Ben Shneiderman, Catherine Plaisant, Maxine Cohen, Steven Jacobs, Niklas Elmqvist, and Nicholoas Diakopoulos ~ ACM Interactions Magazine

Sensing the future of HCI: Touch, taste, and smell user interfaces

Using all the senses for information processing purposes.

“The senses we call upon when interacting with technology are restricted. We mostly rely on vision and hearing, and increasingly touch, but taste and smell remain largely unused. Although our knowledge about sensory systems and devices has grown rapidly over the past few decades, there is still an unmet challenge in understanding people’s multisensory experiences in HCI. The goal is that by understanding the ways in which our senses process information and how they relate to one another, it will be possible to create richer experiences for human-technology interactions.”

Marianna Obrist, Carlos Velasco, Chi Vi, Nimesha Ranasinghe, Ali Israr, Adrian Cheok, Charles Spence, and Ponnampalam Gopalakrishnakone ~ ACM Interaction XXIII.5

The difference between UI and UX

Apparently, this delta needs to be addressed again, again, and again.

“In today’s creative and technical environment, the terms UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience) are being used more than ever. Overall, these terms are referring to specialties and ideas that have been around for years prior to the introduction of the abbreviated terminology. But the problem with these new abbreviations is more than just nomenclature. Unfortunately, the terms are quickly becoming dangerous buzzwords: using these terms imprecisely and in often completely inappropriate situations is a constant problem for a growing number of professionals, including: designers, job seekers, and product development specialists. Understanding the proper separation, relationship and usage of the terms is essential to both disciplines.”

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