Jacob O. Wobbrock, University of Washington
The Identity Crisis in Technical HCI Research
Technical research in human-computer interaction (HCI) sits at an important crossroads, with multinational tech giants on one hand, and agile Silicon Valley startups on the other. With these powerful forces so visibly bringing the majority of new technologies into the world, what is the role of the technical HCI researcher, especially in academia? What should be the goal of technical HCI research? Should productization and commercialization be a goal? If so, how does that affect research? If not, do we suffer as a community from a lack of visible impact? For that matter, what constitutes “impact” and what forms of it should we be pursuing? In this reflective keynote, I argue that technical HCI has something of an identity crisis, producing lamentations like, “Why does so little of our research ever make it into the real world?” I will show the folly of this concern, arguing that our problem is not a lack of impact, but how we tend to define it. I will push for the benefits of thinking of ourselves and our work in more scientific, even scholarly, terms, discussing issues like science vs. invention, the discovery of new knowledge, the importance of research questions, and Pasteur’s Quadrant as a model of applied research. I will also address how we assess contributions in technical HCI research. Throughout the talk, I will invoke examples from history, and use my four most impactful projects as both positive and negative examples, including the founding and running of a startup based on my collaborative research. By the end, I aim to have provided a clear portrait of our identity as technical HCI researchers, one that we can embrace and celebrate for its vital role in contributing to human-centered technology.
Jacob O. Wobbrock is a Professor of human-computer interaction (HCI) in the University of Washington’s Information School. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. His work seeks to scientifically understand people’s interactions with computers and information, and to improve those interactions through design and engineering, especially for people with disabilities. His specific research topics include input & interaction techniques, human performance measurement & modeling, HCI research & design methods, mobile computing, and accessible computing. Prof. Wobbrock has co-authored over 140 peer-reviewed publications and received 23 paper awards, including 7 best papers and 8 honorable mentions from ACM CHI, the flagship conference in HCI. For his development of Ability-Based Design, he received the 2017 SIGCHI Social Impact Award. His work has been covered in The New York Times, The Seattle Times, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Huffington Post, M.I.T. Technology Review, and other outlets. He is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award and 7 other National Science Foundation grants. He serves on the editorial board of ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction. His doctoral advisees have been hired at Harvard, Cornell, Colorado, Washington, Brown, Simon Fraser, and elsewhere. Prof. Wobbrock is also an entrepreneur—he was the founding CEO of AnswerDash for nearly three years, during which time he raised over $2.5M in venture capital. Prof. Wobbrock received his B.S. with Honors in Symbolic Systems and his M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University in 1998 and 2000, respectively. He received his Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University in 2006. Upon graduation, he was honored with CMU’s School of Computer Science Distinguished Dissertation Award.
Julio Abascal, University of the Basque Country
Engineering Inaccessible Computing Systems
Accessibility is usually the last feature taken into account when designing interactive systems (in case that it is considered at all). The most important barriers to accessibility are frequently embedded in the own structure of the system and cannot be removed without a painful reengineering process. Too frequently designers decide to skip deep changes arguing that accessibility is expensive, time consuming, and only sporadically necessary.
If the objective is to produce accessible interactive systems, using design methods that take into account the accessibility from the conceptualization of the system can save time and money. In this talk I will present arguments to embrace accessibility as an important feature of the design, illustrated with examples of good and bad practices of the design for accessibility.
Julio Abascal, has a BSc in Physics (Universidad de Navarra, 1978) and a PhD in Informatics (Universidad del País Vasco-Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, 1987). He is a Professor at the Computer Architecture and Technology Department of the University of the Basque Country (Spain) where he works since 1981. In 1985 he co-founded the Egokituz Laboratory of Human-Computer Interaction for Special Needs.
His research activity is focussed on the application of Human-Computer Interaction methods and techniques to the Assistive Technology, including the design of ubiquitous, adaptive and accessible user interfaces. He is interested in Assistive Human-Robot Interaction for Alternative and Augmentative Mobility and Manipulation. He also leads a research group aiming to develop methods and tools to enhance sensory, physical and cognitive accessibility to the web.
Since 1991 he is the Spanish representative in the IFIP Technical Committee 13 on HCI and the former and founder chairman (1993-99) of the IFIP WG 13.3 “HCI and Disability”. He served as a member of the Management Committee of COST 219 ter “Accessibility for All to Services and Terminals for Next Generation Networks” and previously of the COST 219 bis “Telecommunications: Access for Disabled and elderly People”. Since 1990 he has served as an advisor, reviewer and evaluator for diverse EU research frameworks (TIDE, TAP, IST, etc.).
Pedro J. Molina, Metadev
Modeling and producing User Interfaces with Web Components in Quid
In the last 30 years, many tools has been created for building UIs. Desktop, Web, mobile, IoT devices, or Augmented Reality demand different approaches for prototyping & construction. Models are a natural way to describe UIs. On the other hand, many UI architectures has been explored in commercial products. Web Components are an emerging standard for browsers leaded by the W3C.
Device fragmentation is a big problem nowadays forcing extra cost on developement. Multi-channel and onmi-channel experiences allows users to complete their day-to-day task using different devices, also jumping from one to another one till completing their desired tasks. In this context, Quid will be presented as a DSL for prototyping abstract User Interfaces
Pedro J. Molina is the founder of Metadev S.L. a Sevilla based company devoted to create tools for developers using DSLs and code generation techniques. He holds a PhD in Computer Sciences specialized in Conceptual Modeling and Code Generation for User Interfaces (Technical University of Valencia, 2003). Has published more than 20 research publications in the field, 2 books and 3 patents in the USPTO. With 20 years working in software he has experience as CTO, Research & Development, Software Architect, and as a developer working for companies like Icinetic and Capgemini.