Top 5 HCI or Usability Research Labs in the Country 1. Human Computer Interaction Lab, University of Maryland URL: http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/ Project: Mobile Collaboration for Young Children Social interaction and collaboration are essential to the emotional and cognitive development of young children. Constructionism is a learning theory where children learn as they build or construct a public artifact. Creative activities that promote collaboration, especially those based on principles of constructionism, provide enhanced learning opportunities for young children. Mobile devices can support the learning experience as children can create artifacts in various contexts. The proposed research incorporates collaboration, constructionism, children, stories and mobile technologies; specifically investigating developmentally appropriate interfaces to support mobile collaboration for young children. Faculty: Dr. Allison Druin, Associate Professor, College of Information Studies, Human-Computer Interaction Lab. Paper: Druin, A., Weeks, A., Massey, S., & Bederson, B. B. (2007). Children's interests and concerns when using the International Children's Digital Library: A four country case study. In Proceedings of Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL'2007) Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.167-176. ABSTRACT This paper presents a case study of 12 children who used the International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL) over four years and live in one of four countries: Germany, Honduras, New Zealand, and the United States. By conducting interviews and classroom observations, along with collecting drawings, book reviews, and work samples, this study describes how these children were interested in books, libraries, technology and the world around them. Findings from this study include: these young people increased the variety of books they read online; still preferred physical interactions with books for reading, but appreciated the searching tools online; still valued their physical libraries as spaces for social interaction and reading; showed increased reading motivation; and showed interest in exploring different cultures. 2. Center for Human Computer Interaction, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University URL: http://www.hci.vt.edu/ Project: Digital Government: Modeling Online Participation in Local Government To understand how citizens use information technology with each other to participate in civic life (find information, stay informed, discuss issues, form opinions, deliberate); To understand how online citizen-to-citizen deliberation links back into local government decision making; To improve the capability and functionality of information technology to serve the interests and needs of citizens and local government for deliberative purposes. This project has sought to re-focus the digital government discussion around factors that make for an effective democracy rather than for effective government. Focusses on citizen participation in local governance -- including local voluntary associations -- and on better ways that technology can support and facilitate the involvement of citizens and groups in local governance. Faculty: Principal Investigators: Andrea Kavanaugh, Philip Isenhour, Manuel Perez-Quinones, Daniel Dunlap Outside Consultants: John M. Carroll, Mary Beth Rosson, Joseph Schmitz Paper: Andrea Kavanaugh, Joseph Schmitz, Than Than Zin, John M. Carroll, Manuel PérezQuiñones, Philip Isenhour. When Opinion Leaders Blog: New forms of citizen interaction , Proceedings of the 2006 Digital Government Conference, May 21-24, 2006, San Diego, California ABSTRACT Web logs (i.e., blogs) provide enhanced opportunities to extend capabilities of traditional electronic mail and discussion lists, especially in the hands of opinion leaders; such tools offer greater social interaction and informal discussion, and opportunities for conversational content production. Because blogging tools are simple, available, and free, users can easily communicate with others in their social networks, their geographic communities and the interested public. Blogs represent self-organizing social systems that can help many persons to: 1) interact collaboratively, 2) learn from each other by exchanging ideas and information, and 3) solve collective problems. For opinion leaders – that small percentage of the population that is socially and politically active – blogs represent another channel to disseminate ideas and garner feedback from members of their social network. The present research offers findings from a random household survey of citizens of Blacksburg and Montgomery County, Virginia about citizens’ interests and attitudes towards local government, discussion of political issues, and their Internet use. They find that opinion leaders who engage in some form of blogging (read or write) are more likely to be male, extroverted and educated than bloggers who are not politically active. They score higher than other bloggers on measures of offline and online political interests and activities, community collective efficacy, and the size and heterogeneity of their political discussion networks. As such, their use of blogs may serve as a growing new communication channel to exercise their informal influence. 3. Human Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon URL: http://www.hcii.cmu.edu/ Project: Alice We are developing a tool called Alice that allows novice programmers to author interactive 3D virtual worlds. By identifying the unnecessary challenges of learning to program (such as syntax) and removing these challenges, we hope to make the fundamentals of programming accessible to middle school children. Faculty: Randy Pausch, Professor, Computer Science Department, Carnegie Mellon University Paper: Jeffrey S. Pierce, Randy Pausch, Comparing Voodoo Dolls and HOMER: Exploring the Importance of Feedback in Virtual Environments (PDF) , CHI 2002 ABSTRACT When creating techniques for manipulating objects at a distance in immersive virtual environments, researchers have primarily focused on increasing selection range,placement range, and placement accuracy. This focus has led researchers to create and formally study a series of “armextension” techniques, which dynamically scale the user’s arm to allow him to manipulate distant objects. Researchers have also developed representation-based techniques, which allow users to manipulate a distant object by manipulating a copy of it in a handheld representation. However, researchers have not yet formally established the relative value of these techniques. This paper presents a formal study comparing Voodoo Dolls, a best-practice representation based technique, with HOMER, a best-practice arm extension technique. The results suggest that researchers should focus on improving feedback for 3D manipulation techniques. 4. DCog-HCI Lab, University of California, San Diego URL: http://hci.ucsd.edu/ Project: A Multiscale Framework for Analyzing Activity Dynamics (NSF Grant) Goals are to (a) accelerate analysis by employing vision-based pattern recognition capabilities to pre-segment and tag data records, (b) increase analysis power by visualizing multimodal activity and macro-micro relationships, and coordinating analysis and annotation across multiple scales, and (3) facilitate shared use of our developing framework with collaborators. The work proposes to build on the long term commitment to understanding cognition “in the wild”, developing multiscale visualizations, and recent experience automatically annotating video of freeway driving. They also propose to extend the theory and methods developed in their earlier work and integrate them with new web-based analysis tools to enable more effective analysis of human activity. As initial test domains they will focus on understanding activity in high-fidelity flight simulators and the activity histories of workstation usage and the process of writing. They also evaluate a novel technique to assist in reinstating the context of earlier activities. Faculty: James D Hollan Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science Department of Cognitive Science, University of California, San Diego Paper: Chunyuan Liao, François Guimbretière, Ken Hinckley, and James D. Hollan. Papiercraft: A Gesture-Based Command System for Interactive Paper , ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction. 14, 4 (Jan. 2008) ABSTRACT: Paper persists as an integral component of active reading and other knowledge-worker tasks because it provides ease of use unmatched by digital alternatives. Paper documents are light to carry,easy to annotate, rapid to navigate, flexible to manipulate, and robust to use in varied environments. Interactions with paper documents create rich webs of annotation, cross reference, and spatial organization. Unfortunately, the resulting webs are confined to the physical world of paper and, as they accumulate, become increasingly difficult to store, search, and access. XLibris [Schilitet al. 1998] and similar systems address these difficulties by simulating paper with tablet PCs. While this approach is promising, it suffers not only from limitations of current tablet computers (e.g., limited screen space) but also from loss of invaluable paper affordances. In this article, we describe PapierCraft, a gesture-based command system that allows users to manipulate digital documents using paper printouts as proxies. Using an Anoto [Anoto 2002] digital pen, users can draw command gestures on paper to tag a paragraph, email a selected area, copy selections to a notepad, or create links to related documents. Upon pen synchronization, PapierCraft executes the commands and presents the results in a digital document viewer. Users can then search the tagged information and navigate the web of annotated digital documents. 5. Stanford HCI Group, Stanford University URL: http://hci.stanford.edu/ Project: Juxtapose: Creating Interface Alternatives through Parallel Authoring and Runtime Tuning Creating multiple prototypes facilitates comparative reasoning, grounds team discussion, and enables situated exploration. However, current interface design tools focus on creating single artifacts. This paper introduces the Juxtapose code editor and runtime environment for designing multiple alternatives of both application logic and interface parameters. For rapidly comparing code alternatives, Juxtapose introduces selectively parallel source editing and execution. To explore parameter variations, Juxtapose automatically creates control interfaces for tuning application variables at runtime. This paper describes techniques to support design exploration for desktop, mobile, and physical interfaces, and situates this work in a larger design space of tools for explorative programming. A summative study of Juxtapose with 18 participants demonstrated that parallel editing and execution are accessible to interaction designers and that designers can leverage these techniques to survey more options, faster. Faculty: Scott R. Klemmer, Professor, Department of Computer Science Paper: Hartmann, Björn,Loren Yu, Abel Allison, Yeonsoo Yang, and Scott Klemmer. Design As Exploration: Creating Interface Alternatives through Parallel Authoring and Runtime Tuning ABSTRACT: Creating multiple prototypes facilitates comparative reasoning, grounds team discussion, and enables situated exploration. However, current interface design tools focus on creating single artifacts. This paper introduces the Juxtapose code editor and runtime environment for designing multiple alternatives of both application logic and interface parameters. For rapidly comparing code alternatives, Juxtapose introduces selectively parallel source editing and execution. To explore parameter variations, Juxtapose automatically creates control interfaces for “tuning” application variables at runtime. This paper describes techniques to support design exploration for desktop, mobile, and physical interfaces, and situates this work in a larger design space of tools for explorative programming. A summative study of Juxtapose with 18 participants demonstrated that parallel editing and execution are accessible to interaction designers and that designers can leverage these techniques to survey more options, faster.