Monday, May 16, 2011

CHI 2011 top N, where N > 10

Of course there were more than 10 great papers. I'll give short reactions to papers that I haven't already mentioned. Also, sorry the links are mostly ACM; if you're interested, try a scholar search, maybe the author has put the paper up since then?

Calmness/Emotional States (these are not necessarily related, but I'm lumping them together anyway as I could see some of this research being used in multiple ways)

I Lie to Myself That I Have Freedom in My Own Schedule: Productivity Tools and Experiences of Busyness- busyness is an ethic, a virtue, these days. People like to feel busy. Could we turn "doing nothing" into something? Should we? How can we design tools that address these issues?
GoSlow: Designing for Slowness, Reflection, and Solitude- they made an iphone app to help you chill out, maybe take a nap or something. The audience (and I) are not sold that this is the best way to go, but I'm glad they're working on it anyway!
Affective Computational Priming and Creativity- when you're primed with positive emotions, you're more creative.
Identifying Emotional States using Keystroke Dynamics- they can tell some emotions (whether you're feeling them or not) at mid-70% to mid-80% accuracy, just by the timing of your keystrokes.

Info Visualization and Searching
ChronoViz: A System for Supporting Navigation of Time-coded Data
Evaluating Video Visualizations of Human Behavior- you can parse a video a lot faster (say, to extract data for a study) with an "interaction cube" visualization rather than just watching the whole thing.
Playable Data: Characterizing the Design Space of Game-y Infographics- these are new upcoming and powerful tools to visualize data, but be careful: you can really skew an interpretation of some data with a game.
The Information Flaneur: a Fresh Look at Information Seeking- we should support browsing, and curiously, critically, and creatively exploring data, in addition to Google-like searches. Help people have positive experiences with learning, not just find a quick answer.

MicroMandarin: Mobile Language Learning in Context- vocab flashcards app that brings up airport words when you're in an airport. Advanced-beginner participants say it helps (while beginners need more super-basic words first), and it does lead to more frequent (although shorter) bursts of practicing.

Games and Mastery (not necessarily related, but usually)
Placing a Value on Aesthetics in Online Casual Games- take out sound/music: no effect. Take out animations: people play 20% less. Add extra sub-goals: people play 50% less (yes, less). Also, sweet research method: just post it on Kongregate and thousands of people play it! (if it's any good.)

Persuasive Technology

Mining Behavioral Economics to Design Persuasive Technology for Healthy Choices- Behavioral economics works, even with computers. Simple apple vs. cookie experiments.

Okay there is still some grab bag
This is your Brain on Interfaces: Enhancing Usability Testing with Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy- fNIRS is super-easy to set up and can measure cerebral cortex activity pretty well. Can't get deep-brain stuff though.
Web Workers Unite! Addressing Challenges of Online Laborers- Mechanical Turk: is it dollar-a-day slave labor? Signs point to "maybe so". What can we do about it?

Augmented Reality Flavors: Gustatory Display Based on Edible Marker and Cross-Modal Interaction- Okay, they take a generic bland cookie. Then they put scented air towards your nose and make you wear special glasses that have video overlay so it looks like a chocolate (or green tea or etc) cookie. And it works pretty well. If I were in charge of awards, this would get the "Haha" award, the "WTF" award, and the "Okay but actually that is great" award.
Antiquarian Answers: Book Restoration as a Resource for Design- more questions than answers, but someone's thinking about "When our ipods and kindles get old, can we save them somehow and value their aging instead of throwing them away?"

Really, these feel like they're blurring together a little bit into: "Learning things in procedural memory is fun. It can be even more fun with games. It can also be fun if you gather data about yourself. Maybe one of those can help with behavior change too. Maybe those behavior changes can be to chill out a bit." Hmm hmm hmm.

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