Today's Reading

Well, as you can see this project worked fine for a while and then not so good. We'll see if i can restart it at some point. 


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2018 Dec 3rd:

"Materializing Technologies -- surfacing focal things and practices with design" by Holly Robbins

I just received the printed dissertation by Holly Robbins who is (was) a PhD student at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. I met Holly a couple of years ago and was intrigued with her research topic. She is applying the work of my favorite philosopher of technology, Alfred Bergmann, to the field of digital technology. She is extraordinarily ambitious in her research and she takes on questions and theories that few want to approach. And she pulls it off! This is exceptional to from a Ph.D. student and anyone who is interested in how people relate to technology should read this dissertation.




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2018 Nov 16th:

"An Empirical Exploration of Mindfulness Design Using Solo Travel Domain" by Chen, Orand, Choi, Choi

The idea to use interactive technology as a way to help people be more mindful is popular. We have recently seen a large number of apps aimed at supporting mindfulness, meditation, reflection, etc. In this paper, the authors took on the task of designing a tool for mindfulness for travelers by using their own photos. The authors developed ColorAway. They tested their tool and came up with some insight related to mindfulness, photos and traveling. The insights show quite well that using people's own things is not easy. They have personal relations with their photos, they don't like others to manipulate them, etc. The overall insight regarding designing for mindfulness is maybe not substantial, but for anyone who is trying to do it, the paper may bring some interesting results.


Reference:

Chen, R. J., Orand, M., Choi, S. Y. L., & Choi, L. (2018, April). An Empirical Exploration of Mindfulness Design Using Solo Travel Domain. In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (p. 97). ACM.



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2018 Nov 15th:

"Explanations as Mechanisms for Supporting Algorithmic Transparency" by Rader, Cotter, Cho

Since my interest nowadays is circling around the relationship between interaction and AI and the notion of "Explainable AI", this was a really interesting paper. The authors have studied how different kinds of explanations of complex systems influence the users understanding of the system. The key notion is 'algorithmic transparency'. The authors do a good job in presenting existing research and also introducing some new concepts. They run a fairly large experiment where they give users different explanations of the 'Facebook News Feed' and how it works. Then they measure what these different explanations have on users awareness and understanding. Interesting work. And to me, this is highly relevant and I would argue that HCI as a research field has to get involved in the issue of transparency of complex systems and how to design interactions that are suitable.


Reference:

Rader, E., Cotter, K., & Cho, J. (2018, April). Explanations as Mechanisms for Supporting Algorithmic Transparency. In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (p. 103). ACM.


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2018 Nov 14th:

"Measuring the “Why” of Interaction: Development and
Validation of the User Motivation Inventory (UMI)" by Bruhlmann, Vollenwyder, Opwis, Mekler

To me this was an interesting paper but for a special reason. The authors are developing a method for measuring users motivation to engage in interaction with an interactive system. This is quite interesting, but when reading the paper, I could not let go of the thought that probably the vast majority of interaction today is not determined by motivation, it is determined by external 'forces', for instance, if you work in a company you have to use whatever systems the company is using. This led to a lot of thoughts and reflection on the status of today's HCI research (working on a blog post on this). For the purpose of this paper, the authors are doing fine. They try to find a way of measuring motivation and the theoretical grounding they have chosen seems fine. However, I think the paper and its contributions and even more important purpose and questions are almost drowning in the empirical data. I am a bit uneasy with treating motivation on such as a detailed level. But overall, the idea of the paper is still valid. Motivation is crucial in how people experience their interactions. One of the best theories related to motivation is in my view is the Theory of Flow by Czicksenmihalyi.


Reference:

Brühlmann, F., Vollenwyder, B., Opwis, K., & Mekler, E. D. (2018, April). Measuring the “Why” of Interaction: Development and Validation of the User Motivation Inventory (UMI). In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (p. 106). ACM.

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2018 Nov 13th:

"Co-performance: Conceptualizing the Role of Artificial Agency in the Design of Everyday Life" by Kuijer & Giaccardi

One of the growing challenges of HCI is the development of artificial intelligence and its deployment in everyday things. We are more and more interacting with things that to some extent has agency and some form of intelligence. How should we think about these things and how should they be designed. In this paper, the authors develop the idea that instead of seeing 'things' as 'smart' and servants to us humans, we should see them as co-performers. They state "In contrast to 'smartness,' which focuses on a supposed autonomy of artifacts, co- performance considers artifacts as capable of learning and performing next to people." The paper goes through this 'shift' in some details with both relevant theories and a number of illustrative examples. The argument the authors make is difficult and complex, and it is, even on a theoretical level possible to understand and agree with the idea, it is quite difficult to see how this 'shift' will lead to real consequences in practice. Anyway, I like the discussion and the overall idea. I look forward to seeing this more developed on a detailed level.


Reference:
Kuijer, L., & Giaccardi, E. (2018, April). Co-performance: Conceptualizing the role of artificial agency in the design of everyday life. In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (p. 125). ACM.



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2018 Nov 12th:


"Towards Design Principles for Visual Analytics in Operations Contexts" by Conlen, Stalla, Jin, Hendrie, Mushkin, Lombeyda, Davidoff

This is an unusual and interesting example of HCI research. The authors (quite many) have been engaged in developing a visual analytics tool for the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. The challenge was to design a tool that could manage a large number of tasks and a complex informational environment. The too is made for "analyzing predictions about the amount of data Opportunity can transmit to overpassing satellites under changing conditions".  However, the tool itself is not mentioned much in the paper, instead, the authors decided to based on their design experience extract a number of design principles that are aimed to "inform the design of visual analytics systems in operations contexts. We offer these principles as a step towards understanding the complex task of designing these systems." The authors make the case that these principles are applicable to a wide range of design tasks of complex operations challenges. I find this decision to be an unusual but highly interesting way of presenting this kind of research. Usually, we are presented with the final design and maybe some tests that will measure how well the tool works. In this case, the extracted principles are the contribution. This is definitely a way towards more theory building research instead of presenting interesting but highly individual and particular aspects of one specific case. I wish we could see more of this kind of research.


Reference:
Conlen, M., Stalla, S., Jin, C., Hendrie, M., Mushkin, H., Lombeyda, S., & Davidoff, S. (2018, April). Towards Design Principles for Visual Analytics in Operations Contexts. In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (p. 138). ACM.

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2018 Nov 9th:

"Evaluation Strategies for HCI Toolkit Research" by David Ledo, Steven Houben, Jo VermeulenNicolai Marquardt, Lora Oehlberg and Saul Greenberg  

A large part of HCI research is devoted to the development of methods and tools for design. Often this work leads to more complex tools, sometimes in the form of toolkits, that is, a set of complementary tools aimed to support design with a particular purpose. In many cases, the creators of toolkits also try to evaluate their creations. This is obviously a seriously difficult task. In this paper, the authors examine how HCI researchers go about doing toolkit evaluations (analyzed 68 papers). Based on this, they present a categorization of evaluation approaches. They discuss the pros and cons of each. This is a quite simple and straightforward paper. Even though it does not really add any deeper theoretical knowledge about the evaluation of tools in general, it is highly valuable as an empirical study of how HCI researchers approach this topic and it gives real insights to anyone who is about to embark on tool evaluation.

Reference:
Ledo, D., Houben, S., Vermeulen, J., Marquardt, N., Oehlberg, L., & Greenberg, S. (2018, April). Evaluation Strategies for HCI Toolkit Research. In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (p. 36). ACM.
Reference:


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2018 Nov 8th:
"Interactive Guidance Techniques for Improving Creative Feedback" Ngoon, Fraser, Weingarten, Dontecheva, Klemmer 

It is widely recognized that feedback and critique is crutical to establish well functioning design processes. The traditional studio teaching approach has critique as one of its core pedagogical activitites. In this paper the authors address this activity and has developed a system, CritiqueKit, that is aimed at supporting feedback and critique. The systems is interesting even though it is not easy to see how exactly it works just by reading about it. I do agree that there are ways of increasing the quality of critique, if a system like this can actually do it, I am not sure. One question that the authors do not discuss is to what extent any system narrows the form of critique that will or can be given. What forms of critique is not possible to capture in a system, and could that lead to less creative feedback. Anyway, interesting...



Reference:
Ngoon, T. J., Fraser, C. A., Weingarten, A. S., Dontcheva, M., & Klemmer, S. (2018, April). Interactive Guidance Techniques for Improving Creative Feedback. In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (p. 55). ACM.

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2018 Nov 7th:
"Customizing Hybrid Products" by Benford, Koleva, Preston, Angus, Thorn and Glover
One of the existing aspects of the ongoing digital transformation is the growth of hybrid things, that is, things that are not only physical or digital but has distinct qualities related to both. Of course, most digital things have physical aspects but in most cases, they are only as containers of whatever technology is inside. Hybrid things are those where both the physical and digital qualities are crucial to the functionality and use of the thing.

In HCI education, we have seen a drastic growth of including physical design into the courses. In the CHI paper, "Customizing Hybrid Products", the authors experiment with design and use and appropriation of hybrid things. They build a hybrid advent calendar, deploy it, and investigate its use. As a result, they propose some concepts that could support the design of hybrid products, especially related to customization.  Anyone working with hybridity, customization, appropriation might find the paper useful.

Reference:
Steve Benford, Boriana Koleva , William Westwood Preston, Alice Angus, Emily-Clare Thorn, Kevin Glover. (2018) "Customizing Hybrid Products", CHI 2018, April 21–26, 2018, Montreal, QC, Canada


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2018 Nov 6th:  
"Impact of Interaction Paradigms on Full-Body Interaction Collocated Experiences for Promoting Social Initiation and Collaboration" by Ciera Crowell, Joan Mora-Guiard & Narcis Pares (ref below)

I picked this article based on the notion of "interaction paradigm" in the title. Since I am working on interactivity and interaction it seemed interesting. The authors are presenting "first-person and third-person interaction paradigms, and the corresponding theoretical approaches when designing and developing collocated experiences for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)." (from Abstract).

The notion of the two paradigms is not new, it is commonly used when it comes to games, but to apply it in this field is quite interesting. The author does a good job in presenting the basic ideas and the consequences it has on design.

I would recommend this article to anyone who is involved in designing collaboration in VR.

Reference:
Ciera Crowell, Joan Mora-Guiard & Narcis Pares (2018) Impact of Interaction Paradigms on Full-Body Interaction Collocated Experiences for Promoting Social Initiation and Collaboration, Human–Computer Interaction, 33:5-6, 422-454, DOI: 10.1080/07370024.2017.1374185 
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/07370024.2017.1374185 

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