>Do tangible user interface make sense? Yes they are a great design tool.

>The question “Do tangible user interface make sense?” is a question that probably everyone who seriously works in this field has asked themselves once in a while.

Seeing the iPhone and iPod app of the people doing the reactable made me think about this question again! What is really – in the use case of the reactbale the value of the physical over the touch screen? Or is it just sentimental and old school to believe in the physical? Not sure … needs probably some more thinking and research ;-)

One other points which this example underlines is that tangible interaction is a great design tool (still in the process of writing a paper about this – but here the basic idea for discussion). And I strongly believe that this is a great value for user interface design in general. I suggest the following approach:

  1. Analyze your task
  2. Find data elements that can be made tangible
  3. Find operators/manipulators on the data elements that can be made tangible
  4. Create a tangible user interface to realize all the interaction required
  5. Port it to a touch screen or conventional user interface

The steps 1-4 will ensure simplicity and in step 5 you may lose some of the “ah” and “wow” but it is very likely that you have created a usable and simple interface!

Do tangible user interface make sense? Yes they are a great design tool.

The question “Do tangible user interface make sense?” is a question that probably everyone who seriously works in this field has asked themselves once in a while.

Seeing the iPhone and iPod app of the people doing the reactable made me think about this question again! What is really – in the use case of the reactbale the value of the physical over the touch screen? Or is it just sentimental and old school to believe in the physical? Not sure … needs probably some more thinking and research ;-)

One other points which this example underlines is that tangible interaction is a great design tool (still in the process of writing a paper about this – but here the basic idea for discussion). And I strongly believe that this is a great value for user interface design in general. I suggest the following approach:

  1. Analyze your task
  2. Find data elements that can be made tangible
  3. Find operators/manipulators on the data elements that can be made tangible
  4. Create a tangible user interface to realize all the interaction required
  5. Port it to a touch screen or conventional user interface

The steps 1-4 will ensure simplicity and in step 5 you may lose some of the “ah” and “wow” but it is very likely that you have created a usable and simple interface!

Do tangible user interface make sense? Yes they are a great design tool.

The question “Do tangible user interface make sense?” is a question that probably everyone who seriously works in this field has asked themselves once in a while.

Seeing the iPhone and iPod app of the people doing the reactable made me think about this question again! What is really – in the use case of the reactbale the value of the physical over the touch screen? Or is it just sentimental and old school to believe in the physical? Not sure … needs probably some more thinking and research ;-)

One other points which this example underlines is that tangible interaction is a great design tool (still in the process of writing a paper about this – but here the basic idea for discussion). And I strongly believe that this is a great value for user interface design in general. I suggest the following approach:

  1. Analyze your task
  2. Find data elements that can be made tangible
  3. Find operators/manipulators on the data elements that can be made tangible
  4. Create a tangible user interface to realize all the interaction required
  5. Port it to a touch screen or conventional user interface

The steps 1-4 will ensure simplicity and in step 5 you may lose some of the “ah” and “wow” but it is very likely that you have created a usable and simple interface!

Comprehensive and modern German book on HCI by Bernhard Preim and Raimund Dachselt

After having read an electronics preprint some weeks ago Bernhard and Raimund showed me the first printed version of their book “Interaktive Systeme 1: Grundlagen, Graphical User Interfaces, Informationsvisualisierung, Mobile Interaktion” (amazon, springer). The new edition brings a comprehensive overview of human computer interaction with many illustrations and examples. It is perfectly suited for teaching.

Congratulation to finishing it! I am always amazed how people manage to create these books without locking themselves away from the world for a year…

>Comprehensive and modern German book on HCI by Bernhard Preim and Raimund Dachselt

>After having read an electronics preprint some weeks ago Bernhard and Raimund showed me the first printed version of their book “Interaktive Systeme 1: Grundlagen, Graphical User Interfaces, Informationsvisualisierung, Mobile Interaktion” (amazon, springer). The new edition brings a comprehensive overview of human computer interaction with many illustrations and examples. It is perfectly suited for teaching.

Congratulation to finishing it! I am always amazed how people manage to create these books without locking themselves away from the world for a year…

Comprehensive and modern German book on HCI by Bernhard Preim and Raimund Dachselt

After having read an electronics preprint some weeks ago Bernhard and Raimund showed me the first printed version of their book “Interaktive Systeme 1: Grundlagen, Graphical User Interfaces, Informationsvisualisierung, Mobile Interaktion” (amazon, springer). The new edition brings a comprehensive overview of human computer interaction with many illustrations and examples. It is perfectly suited for teaching.

Congratulation to finishing it! I am always amazed how people manage to create these books without locking themselves away from the world for a year…

PhD Defense of Elina Vartiainen

Finland is one country in Europe were it seems pretty hard to get to in the morning from Germany or Austria. If you have a meeting before 11 am you have to fly the day before.

I was invited to Helsinki to be opponent (together with Kaisa Väänänen-Vainio-Mattila) for the PhD defense of Elina Vartiainen at Helsinki University of Technology. The first time I came across work she was involved in was at CHI 2006 in Montreal. She worked with Virpi Roto on the Minimap web browser [1]. Last year in a doctoral colloquium in Finland we first discussed some of her work and I was excited to read it in more detail for the PhD exam.

Dissertations in practical areas of computer science that are done in company research labs are at the same time limited and exciting. What can be done is often limited by the company needs but on the other hand it offers the great opportunity to get things out large scale and collect experiences from many users (e.g. you may want to check the ImageExchange project, where the studies were also part of Elina’s dissertation).

I like the finnish system of having a long public defense. We discussed about 3 hours with Elina and I enjoyed it :-)

There are two general but important issues I think I take away from our discussion:

  1. do question the research process including the steps (e.g. hardware first or applications first), the approach (e.g. human need centred vs. design driven) and the setup of the teams (who is needed to get a successful product? Business, law, design, hardware?).
  2. innovation for web services on a global scale comes not from a single company or small set of highly skilled developers. Creating opportunities for a larger number developers (with skills limited skills, e.g. like web development) will be the key to create all the applications people need all over the world. Having a single instance controlling what can be developed does scale.

Guess what was the first web browser on a mobile device I used on a mobile device? It was an Apple Messagepad – and the browser was PocketWeb developed at TecO in Karlsruhe (where I worked from 1998-2001), see [2] and http://www.teco.edu/pocketweb/

[1] Roto, V., Popescu, A., Koivisto, A., and Vartiainen, E. 2006. Minimap: a web page visualization method for mobile phones. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Montréal, Québec, Canada, April 22 – 27, 2006). R. Grinter, T. Rodden, P. Aoki, E. Cutrell, R. Jeffries, and G. Olson, Eds. CHI ’06. ACM, New York, NY, 35-44. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1124772.1124779

[2] Stefan Gessler and Andreas Kotulla. PDAs as mobile WWW browsers. Proceedings of the Second World Wide Web Conference ’94: Mosaic and the Web. Chicago, Illinois, USA, 1994.

>PhD Defense of Elina Vartiainen

>Finland is one country in Europe were it seems pretty hard to get to in the morning from Germany or Austria. If you have a meeting before 11 am you have to fly the day before.

I was invited to Helsinki to be opponent (together with Kaisa Väänänen-Vainio-Mattila) for the PhD defense of Elina Vartiainen at Helsinki University of Technology. The first time I came across work she was involved in was at CHI 2006 in Montreal. She worked with Virpi Roto on the Minimap web browser [1]. Last year in a doctoral colloquium in Finland we first discussed some of her work and I was excited to read it in more detail for the PhD exam.

Dissertations in practical areas of computer science that are done in company research labs are at the same time limited and exciting. What can be done is often limited by the company needs but on the other hand it offers the great opportunity to get things out large scale and collect experiences from many users (e.g. you may want to check the ImageExchange project, where the studies were also part of Elina’s dissertation).

I like the finnish system of having a long public defense. We discussed about 3 hours with Elina and I enjoyed it :-)

There are two general but important issues I think I take away from our discussion:

  1. do question the research process including the steps (e.g. hardware first or applications first), the approach (e.g. human need centred vs. design driven) and the setup of the teams (who is needed to get a successful product? Business, law, design, hardware?).
  2. innovation for web services on a global scale comes not from a single company or small set of highly skilled developers. Creating opportunities for a larger number developers (with skills limited skills, e.g. like web development) will be the key to create all the applications people need all over the world. Having a single instance controlling what can be developed does scale.

Guess what was the first web browser on a mobile device I used on a mobile device? It was an Apple Messagepad – and the browser was PocketWeb developed at TecO in Karlsruhe (where I worked from 1998-2001), see [2] and http://www.teco.edu/pocketweb/

[1] Roto, V., Popescu, A., Koivisto, A., and Vartiainen, E. 2006. Minimap: a web page visualization method for mobile phones. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Montréal, Québec, Canada, April 22 – 27, 2006). R. Grinter, T. Rodden, P. Aoki, E. Cutrell, R. Jeffries, and G. Olson, Eds. CHI ’06. ACM, New York, NY, 35-44. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1124772.1124779

[2] Stefan Gessler and Andreas Kotulla. PDAs as mobile WWW browsers. Proceedings of the Second World Wide Web Conference ’94: Mosaic and the Web. Chicago, Illinois, USA, 1994.

PhD Defense of Elina Vartiainen

Finland is one country in Europe were it seems pretty hard to get to in the morning from Germany or Austria. If you have a meeting before 11 am you have to fly the day before.

I was invited to Helsinki to be opponent (together with Kaisa Väänänen-Vainio-Mattila) for the PhD defense of Elina Vartiainen at Helsinki University of Technology. The first time I came across work she was involved in was at CHI 2006 in Montreal. She worked with Virpi Roto on the Minimap web browser [1]. Last year in a doctoral colloquium in Finland we first discussed some of her work and I was excited to read it in more detail for the PhD exam.

Dissertations in practical areas of computer science that are done in company research labs are at the same time limited and exciting. What can be done is often limited by the company needs but on the other hand it offers the great opportunity to get things out large scale and collect experiences from many users (e.g. you may want to check the ImageExchange project, where the studies were also part of Elina’s dissertation).

I like the finnish system of having a long public defense. We discussed about 3 hours with Elina and I enjoyed it :-)

There are two general but important issues I think I take away from our discussion:

  1. do question the research process including the steps (e.g. hardware first or applications first), the approach (e.g. human need centred vs. design driven) and the setup of the teams (who is needed to get a successful product? Business, law, design, hardware?).
  2. innovation for web services on a global scale comes not from a single company or small set of highly skilled developers. Creating opportunities for a larger number developers (with skills limited skills, e.g. like web development) will be the key to create all the applications people need all over the world. Having a single instance controlling what can be developed does scale.

Guess what was the first web browser on a mobile device I used on a mobile device? It was an Apple Messagepad – and the browser was PocketWeb developed at TecO in Karlsruhe (where I worked from 1998-2001), see [2] and http://www.teco.edu/pocketweb/

[1] Roto, V., Popescu, A., Koivisto, A., and Vartiainen, E. 2006. Minimap: a web page visualization method for mobile phones. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Montréal, Québec, Canada, April 22 – 27, 2006). R. Grinter, T. Rodden, P. Aoki, E. Cutrell, R. Jeffries, and G. Olson, Eds. CHI ’06. ACM, New York, NY, 35-44. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1124772.1124779

[2] Stefan Gessler and Andreas Kotulla. PDAs as mobile WWW browsers. Proceedings of the Second World Wide Web Conference ’94: Mosaic and the Web. Chicago, Illinois, USA, 1994.

>Ubicomp Spring School in Nottingham – prototyping user interfaces

>On Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon I ran practical workshops on creating novel user interfaces complementing the tutorial on Wednesday morning. The aim of the practical was to motivate people to more fundamentally question user interface decisions that we make in our research projects.

On a very simple level an input user interface can be seen as a sensor, a transfer function or mapping, and an action in the system that is controlled. To motivate that this I showed two simple javascript programs that allowed to play with the mapping of the mouse to a movement of a button on the screen and with moving through a set of images. If you twist the mapping functions really simple tasks (like moving one button on top of the other) may get complicated. Similarly if you change the way you use the sensor (e.g. instead of moving the mouse on a surface, having several people moving a surface over the mouse) such simple tasks may become really difficult, too.

With this initial experience, a optical mouse, a lot of materials (e.g. fabrics, cardboard boxes, picture frames, toys, etc.), some tools, and 2 hours of time the groups started to create their novel interactive experience. The results created included a string puppet interface, a frog interface, a interface to the (computer) recycling, a scarf, and a close contact dancing interface (the music only plays if bodies touch and move).

The final demos of the workshop were shown before dinner. Seeing the whole set of the new interface ideas one wonders why there is so little of this happening beyond the labs in the real world and why people are happy to live with current efficient but rather boring user interfaces – especially in the home context…