- Currently Listening to:
- Albert Niland — Wuthering Heights
Say hello to my little friends.
I got word in April that my first paper, the alluringly-titled “Collaborating in Context: Immersive Visualisation Environments” which I submitted in March to the Context in Advanced Interfaces workshop at AVI06, had been accepted. So, Mark, Mike and I headed off to Venice for the week to watch presentations, ride around on boats and eat octopuses.
The paper concerns the design and development of our unique visualization lab here in UCD. My presentation at the workshop went fairly well, considering I had completed a cross-city dash minutes before starting (Venice is a big place!). My slides are available with the others at the workshop’s results page. My paper has been published in the ACM digital library.
AVI 06 proper was an excellent conference, with plenty of interesting work going on, and people to meet. My trip report is available:
Trip Report: AVI 2006 May 23–26, Venice Italy
Our own photos are online, and you can also check out the very lovely Geoffrey Ellis’ AVI photos (spot the goons!).
While looking into the possibilities of the Source SDK, specifically the FacePoser program, I had an idea that may or may not be useful. The SDK contains an assortment of tools for creating realistic human characters; characters that look, move and emote like real people. This goes as far as a very impressive facial expression modeller.
The characters that are created for games like Half Life 2 are very convincing. So, my idea was to create a human character (dressed in a lab coat and carrying a clipboard), who would stand beside the model of whatever autonomic system I was simulating. As the simulation wears on, the character will speak, and emote, various feedback cues to the user, like flailing his arms around when sensors fail. What more intuitive form of feedback than one which everyone is most used to having to interpret?
The trick, of course, is to not let this become a more technologically advanced version of Clippy. The character, who could be thought of as an avatar for the autonomic system’s general health, would generally stay in the background. Much of the feedback he provides could even be picked up subconciously, as he walks around the car performing ‘checks’; all the while providing subtle auditory hints and contorting his face to show his level of contentment.
Of course, there are some faces that no amount of technology could ever emulate.
- Future Perfect » Hand Pause
- John Underkoffler points to the future of UI | Video on TED.com
Minority Report science adviser and inventor John Underkoffler demos g-speak -- the real-life version of the film's eye-popping, tai chi-meets-cyberspace computer interface. Is this how tomorrow's computers will be controlled?
- A Tour through the Visualization Zoo - ACM Queue
This article provides a brief tour through the "visualization zoo," showcasing techniques for visualizing and interacting with diverse data sets. In many situations, simple data graphics will not only suffice, they may also be preferable. Here we focus on a few of the more sophisticated and unusual techniques that deal with complex data sets. Analogously, we cover some of the more exotic (but practically useful!) forms of visual data representation, starting with one of the most common, time-series data; continuing on to statistical data and maps; and then completing the tour with hierarchies and networks. Along the way, bear in mind that all visualizations share a common "DNA"—a set of mappings between data properties and visual attributes such as position, size, shape, and color—and that customized species of visualization might always be constructed by varying these encodings.
- Is Anthropomorphic Design a Viable Way of Enhancing Interface Usability? - Anthropomorphism and Interface Design
Some interface designers believe that giving a computer human characteristics is wrong, as it may confuse or mislead users. However it has been repeatedly proven that many users do interact with their computer socially, as if it were another ‘person’. If anthropomorphism is inevitable – should we embrace it? And if we insist on giving our computer a human personality, which personality is best?
It describes how the results of a web-based questionnaire were used to establish that many users do anthropomorphise their own computers, and to help choose a ‘celebrity personality’, which was then applied in user tests. The tests compared an anthropomorphic interface with a non-anthropomorphic one. Results indicated that most users preferred the anthropomorphic interface, whilst the non-anthropomorphic interface appeared more usable.
- The Anti-Mac User Interface (Don Gentner and Jakob Nielsen)
The target domain has features not in the source domain (e.g., telling the user that "a word processor is like a typewriter" would not lead the user to look for the replace command).
The source domain has features not in the target domain (a typewriter has the ability to mark up any form you receive in the mail, but a user trying to do that on current computer systems will normally fail).
Some features exist in both domains but work very differently (the treatment of white space representing space characters, tabs, and line feeds is very different on typewriters and in word processors). Therefore, users may have trouble seeing beyond the metaphor to use the system in the ways it was intended.
- Rest in Peas: The Unrecognized Death of Speech Recognition - robertfortner's posterous
The accuracy of computer speech recognition flat-lined in 2001, before reaching human levels. The funding plug was pulled, but no funeral, no text-to-speech eulogy followed. Words never meant very much to computers—which made them ten times more error-prone than humans. Humans expected that computer understanding of language would lead to artificially intelligent machines, inevitably and quickly. But the mispredicted words of speech recognition have rewritten that narrative. We just haven’t recognized it yet.
- NLS (computer system) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Overcoming Bias : Engelbart As UberTool?
Douglas Engelbart is the person I know who came closest to enacting such a UberTool plan. His seminal 1962 paper, "Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework" proposed using computers to create such a rapidly improving tool set. He understood not just that computer tools were especially open to mutual improvement, but also a lot about what those tools would look like. Wikipedia:
[Engelbart] is best known for inventing the computer mouse; as a pioneer of human-computer interaction whose team developed hypertext, networked computers, and precursors to graphical user interfaces.
Doug led a team who developed a rich set of tools including a working hypertext publishing system. His 1968 "Mother of all Demos" to 1000 computer professionals in San Francisco
featured the first computer mouse the public had ever seen, as well as introducing interactive text, video conferencing, teleconferencing, email and hypertext [= the web].
- What makes a good HCI systems paper? | blog@CACM | Communications of the ACM
However, I think the first step is to define a set of reviewing criteria for HCI systems papers. If reviewers don't agree on what makes a good systems paper, how can we encourage authors to meet a standard for publication?
Here's my list
- Conference Search: HCI