CHI 2006: HCI?s Potential for Improving Social Problems

CHI 2006: HCI’s Potential for Improving Social Problems

(PRWEB) April 21, 2006

CHI is the world’s most comprehensive conference for human-computer interaction. CHI is sponsored by ACM’s Special Special interest Group on Human-Computer Interaction. This year’s theme is “interact, inform and inspire” and the conference is shaping up to be an event that should not be missed by any one who works with computers – and nowadays, who doesn’t? In addition to offering a broad perspective on the complete human-computer interaction landscape, CHI 2006 will provide a forum for networking with researchers and practitioners in HCI, thereby enabling attendees to bring new ideas back to their own work and community.

Real HCI

In a highly anticipated panel session at CHI 2006, participants will discuss the question of how interactive technologies tackle the major problems facing today’s society. They will present and contrast four very different, yet topical domains – disaster search and rescue, driver safety, and breakdowns in both distributed and face-to-face communications – describing how HCI R&D is achieving measurable advances in each. The audience will be invited to join with panelists in discussing how best to engineer progress in this exciting field.

The forum will be chaired by Stuart K. Card, Senior Research Fellow at Xerox PARC. Co-author in 1983 of the influential “The Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction,” Card is a recognized pioneer in applying human factors in human-computer interaction. He acknowledges that because today’s HCI practices currently emphasize feature design and evaluation of defect-based usability, they may be adequate for mass-market products but are insufficient to meet the demands of society’s major problems. The panel will address the means by which HCI may be engineered to resolve these larger problems in the future. This will require an organized, step-by-step approach, using metrics to guide and measure progress and task analyses and models to frame the design space and predict results.

Although they have different fields of focus, the panel members all recognize the significant role that interactive technologies can play in resolving the world’s important problems. For example:

 Robin Murphy of the University of Florida will discuss disaster management, specifically the means by which unmanned vehicle systems, sensor webs, camera phones and other technologies can and will be used to enable rescue responses at dangerous or previously inaccessible areas within a disaster site.

 Judith S. Olson of the University of Michigan will discuss how good networking capabilities and a variety of technologies support long-distance communication that enables remote corporations, as well as science and engineering industries to work together. She will focus on her team’s three-pronged approach towards implementing and improving HCI in its support of long-distance communications.

 John D. Lee of the University of Iowa will discuss the issue of how HCI can be engineered to improve driver safety. Each year in North America, automobile accidents claim the lives of tens of thousands of people and are the most common cause of death for those aged four to 34 years. Technology has the ability to both enhance (e.g., GPS systems) and diminish (e.g., the distraction of cell phones) driving safety and HCI can augment both its positive and negative effects.

 William Newman from Microsoft in the UK will address the fact that while interactive computers can and do solve many of the world’s problems, they also create quite a few of their own. For example, in the workplace email appears to have passed the point of increasing business efficiency and is now in danger of eroding it. Newman will use examples to illustrate the problem and suggest ways to overcome it.

The “Real HCI” seminar should spark a lively and compelling discussion and anyone with an interest in the future of HCI is bound to find it of interest.

For additional information about CHI 2006, or to register online, please visit


ACM SIGCHI, ACM’s Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction, brings together people working on the design, evaluation, implementation, and study of interactive computing systems for human use. ACM SIGCHI provides an international, interdisciplinary forum for the exchange of ideas about the field of human-computer interaction (HCI).

About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is an educational and scientific society uniting the world’s computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.


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