Friday 17 June 2011

Keynote at EICS 2011

 I was invited to present a keynote at EICS 2011 in Pisa. In the talk "Engineering Interactive Ubiquitous Computing Systems" I motivated why user interface engineering approaches are well suited for creating user interfaces in the context of embedded and ubiquitous computing systems. Looking at desktop applications and mobile devices I think the quality and ease of use is high - compared to 20 years back or compared to embedded and ubiquitous computing systems. I think a lot of user interface research, and in particular engineering approaches for interactive systems, could have a great impact on real world systems beyond the desktop or phone.

As one example of an engineering process for embedded user interfaces I shared our experience with developing Gazemarks [1]. Gazemarks is a technology based on eye-gaze tracking that reduced the time required for attention switching. It eases tasks that require the user to move attention repeatedly between 2 or more displays or between the real world and a set of digital displays. Application domains could be looking at the street and at the satnav while driving or switching attention between a screen in an operating theatre and the patient.

When investigating development from an embedded user interface to interactive ubiquitous computing systems further issues come up. As we investigate the PDnet project [2] with public displays we see that the concerns of the stakeholders play a much bigger role than in traditional systems and that finding an appropriate business model is very close to the user interface development process. 

In the final part of the talk I shared a future vision of how technology may change the way we live. In the not so distant future we could imagine that the traditional boundaries of perception (mainly temporal and spatial) will fall [3]. This would create an entirely new experience where "Perception beyond the here a now" change fundamentally the way we see and experience the world. The slides  of the keynote are available in as PDF.

From the research we did over the last 15 years I picked some lessons learned:
  • Novelty may be about the values/ethics
  • Implement it and try it out!
  • 20% who like the UI/system are a large market
  • Humans are smart and adaptive
  • Design for creative users
[1] Dagmar Kern, Paul Marshall, and Albrecht Schmidt. 2010. Gazemarks: gaze-based visual placeholders to ease attention switching. In Proceedings of the 28th international conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI '10). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2093-2102. DOI=10.1145/1753326.1753646

[2] Pdnet project homepage:

[3] Albrecht Schmidt, Marc Langheinrich, and Kritian Kersting. 2011. Perception beyond the Here and Now. Computer 44, 2 (February 2011), 86-88. DOI=10.1109/MC.2011.54