More Current Content

So, er, it turns out I have not been great at keeping this site up to date and fresh. While and until I get my act together, please see the web site for the research group I co-direct at the following URL for at least an up-to-date publication list:

World of Warcraft Research Accepted at CSCW 12

In collaboration with local colleagues Shaowen Bardzell and Tyler Pace, and not-so-local colleague Jeffrey Nichols of IBM Research, we have a full paper accepted to CSCW’12, the premier international conference on computer-supported cooperative work. The paper is the result of a study on raiding behavior in the popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game and is entitled, “Come meet me at Ulduar: Progression raiding in World of Warcraft.” The abstract is as follows:

In spite of decades of research on virtual worlds, our understanding of one popular form of virtual world behavior–raiding–remains limited. Raiding is important because it entails intense, high-risk, and complex collaborative behaviors in computer-mediated environments. This paper contributes to CSCW literature by offering a longitudinal analysis of raiding behavior using system data manually collected from the game world itself, comparing two raiding teams as they worked through the same content. Supplemented with interviews and chat transcripts, this research sheds light on what actually happens during raids across four different temporal scales: seconds, hours, days, and months. It also distinguishes between behaviors that are imposed by the system design and those chosen by players. Finally, it derives two viable raiding styles from the data.

The pre-conference (not quite final) version can be downloaded here.

CHI Paper Featured in MIT’s Technology Review

Well this is fun: Shaowen and my CHI 2011 paper, “‘Pleasure is Your Birthright': Digitally Enabled Designer Sex Toys as a Case of Third-Wave HCI,” was featured in MIT’s Technology Review blog. Technology Review claims two million readers around the world, so with any luck, we’ve reached a lot of people.

The paper itself reports on an interview study we did in 2009-10 with a dozen or so CEO-designers of high-end sex toys. Among other things, we stressed that taboos surrounding sex can hurt the HCI (human-computer interaction) community’s research agenda, especially in the areas of embodied interaction and experience design (two trends that bring us products like the iPad, Microsoft Kinect, video games, and so on). Digitally enabled sex toy designers have learned a lot about how to design interactions for tactile pleasure. They’ve also learned some ways to avoid harming consumers, both physically and emotionally. HCI has much to learn from them. Conversely, HCI has much to teach them, in terms of rigorous user studies and interaction design prototyping and evaluation methodologies. We all should be talking!

Special acknowledgement to Cory Silverberg for helping Shaowen and me get connected to the right people, persuading them to talk to us, and for helping us ask these designers the right questions.

Field Visit: National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute

Later this month, thanks to a grant from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, Shaowen and I will spend a week at the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute in NanTou, Taiwan.

Once there, in addition to meet the staff and researchers there (who have already been wonderful hosts to us, even though we haven’t left the US yet), we will also visit several art and craft studios in central Taiwan.

CFP: Culture, Creativity, and Interaction Design

At BCS HCI2011, I am co-organizing a workshop, CCID2: The Second International Symposium on Culture, Creativity, and Interaction Design, along with Shaowen Bardzell, Ann Light, and Mark Blythe. The first one in 2006 was a phenomenal experience for me personally and it helped my career in profound ways. The presentations were provocative and illuminating, the spirit was fun and friendly, and it helped me build a professional network and led to my first HCI-related journal publication!

We hope to recreate that success this year, additionally placing a special emphasis on building infrastructure for HCI’s cultural agenda, which we believe now is more widely legitimized than it was in 2006, but remains somewhat ad hoc in terms of networks, conferences, tracks, and jobs. Here is a blurb from the abstract:

In the past decade, HCI’s cultural research agenda has stabilized as an important sub-domain of the field. Although cultural approaches to interaction take many forms, broadly speaking they share a number of common features. These include disciplinary inputs beyond the social sciences, including literary theory, critical theory, aesthetic philosophy, feminism, performance theory, film studies, hermeneutics, postmodernism, fine arts, queer theory, and post-colonialism. Where they turn to science, it is more often to sciences’ responsive to critical traditions, such as ethnography and sociology, rather than experimental psychology or computer science. Many cultural approaches are also non-reductive; instead of isolating and manipulating independent variables, for example, they are more likely to embrace holistic and interpretative accounts of interaction, with all the benefits and limitations that implies. The focus of inquiry also differs from many traditional psychological and social science accounts of interaction. Cultural HCI research is often more concerned with accounts of the interiority of human experience (i.e., felt life) as it unfolds within—-and is made possible by—-particular social and political situations, of which technology is a part.

Following on the success of 2006’s First International Symposium on Culture, Creativity and Interaction Design (CCID), CCID2 seek to strengthen the connections among the diverse disciplines contributing to culture, creativity, and interaction design research. It will explore critical and reflective approaches to the design and analysis of interactive technology. Additionally, it will also develop strategies to improve its professional network infrastructure and provide educational and professional opportunities for the next generation of design researchers.

The CFP is open, and I really encourage folks to come and participate!

Creativity and iSchools – iConference Roundtable

Next week I will be participating on a roundtable at the iConference, in Seattle, WA, along with fellow panelists Eric Cook (Michigan), Kurt Luther (Georgia Tech), and Dan Perkel (UC Berkeley). The roundtable is at 4:00 pm on Wednesday, February 9. Our main question is what the creativity agenda does, could, or should look like for iSchools. Below is the abstract from our proposal:

Broad shifts are taking place in the way we think about the relationships between ICTs, creativity, and creative expression. Access to low-cost, powerful computational tools of creation and dissemination has engendered new forms of aesthetics and expression, new opportunities for individuals, and new threats to traditional industries. In the iSchool academic community, there is a similar shift in research interests beyond a traditional focus on formal workplace settings and instrumental uses of information technology towards social, expressive, and generative concerns.

In this roundtable proposal, we invite conference participants to engage and discuss these trends, and reflect on what the creativity agenda should mean in the iSchool context.  The roundtable will consider the impact of this agenda along a variety of dimensions, including research, outreach, and curriculum design. We seek to highlight an emerging new direction of intellectual activity within the iSchools, as well as foster an ongoing conversation on how to address and seize the opportunities brought about by these shifts.

We’ve put some planning into this and we’re very excited about it. If you are at the iConference, we’d love to have you join us!

CFP for Feminist HCI Workshop at CHI2011

The call is open for the Feminist HCI workshop at CHI 2011. From the CFP:

Feminist HCI is a cross-disciplinary area of research that combines feminist thinking with the concerns of human computer interaction. At this stage, however, “feminist HCI” remains a promising, yet underdeveloped term. The Feminism and Interaction Design workshop aims at creating actionable opportunities for design using feminist constructs and themes, reflecting on the methodological implications of practicing feminist interaction design, both philosophical and practical, and identifying obstacles that inhibit research and design in this area.

For more information about the workshop, including how to submit a position paper, visit the Feminist HCI Workshop web site.


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