Reporting back on the BayCHI Rich Internet Applications Panel

The panel yesterday went very well. It was a full house, there were many first time BayCHI visitors in the audience. And I never had so many people come upto me at the end of the evening and said that they had enjoyed the evening. Someone asked me if I was writing a book on the topic, and if so they would read it. Thats a little premature, but you can expect a white paper sometime in the near future!

We will be posting slides, links to demos and meeting notes soon to the BayCHI website. Stay tuned for that.

DIS 2004 and the universe of HCI conferences

Last week I was in Boston for the DIS 2004 . Apart from bouts of East Coast nostalgia (I went to grad school on the East Coast), I had a great time. DIS is a small conference with some interesting sessions. ONe thing I noticed immediately was the number of people sporting the nerdy artisty chic look. Another was that one could not walk a few steps without bumping into a CMU (Carneige Mellon University) student/alumni/faculty. Another trend was the proliferation of Mac’s. The few PC’s I saw apart from mine, were the IBM’s owned by IBM employees.

DIS stands for Designing Interactive Systems and has been around since 1995 (held alternate years). This was my first visit to the conference. Although the focus was interactive systems, there was very little about web-based interactions.

From the beginning of the conference, I had a feeling of deja-vu at every paper session. Finally I realized that I recognized many of the research projects – the same groups also present their work at CHI. It all made sense when at the end of DIS, Terry Swack explained that the purpose of DIS was for researchers to disseminate their findings to designers (as compared to the goal of DUX – let designers present their work to researchers/designers).

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New ideas from psychology are hardly reaching HCI

A few decades ago, there was a rapid influx of new ideas from psychology into HCI. There was Don Norman, Stuart Card, Kent Norman and many others who brought in new ideas and theories which were adopted and prospered in the field. Since then there has been few new, signifcant ideas brought in from psychology into HCI. Moreover, much of the impact of psychology has been on evaluation, rather than on the design process.

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What every designer should know about “situational control”

For a long time, I have been fascinated by Zimbardo’s work. Not just the famous (or infamous) Prison Experiments, but his other work. A common thread running through his work is the concept of “situational control” or the idea that individual agency plays a lesser role, and the structure of the situation plays a greates role in determining human behavior. What does situational control mean for design and designers?

Read an article I just posted on Roller Coasters vs. Driver’s Seats: Design and the Concept of Situational Control

Some rules for the MS Office vs. StarOffice contest

Since this is a contest (StarOffice has to compete against 8 years hegemony of MS Office), so we need some ground rules.

Tutorials: I Will not use any tutorials. I never use any tutorials anyway, so this rule is born out of conveniece.
Help: I will look for help within the StarOffice application. I will not look on newsgroups etc.
Usage of MS Products: I will use MS Office only if I absolutely have to during this period (I do have MS Office on an old desktop for dire situations.)