Laying the Foundation for the Information Super Highway: Human-Computer Interaction Research

Jim Durbin, Robert Jacob, Ken Hinckley

ACM SIGCHI Bulletin | , Vol 26: pp. 56-58

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On June 13th, the University of Maryland’s Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory held its 1 lth Annual Symposium and Open House, attended by 100-200 visitors. This article reviews the day for those who were unable to attend.

The HCIL, headed by Ben Shneiderman, is one of the oldest laboratories devoted to human-computer interaction, and it continues to be one of the most productive and interesting to visit. The HCIL is a part of the University of Maryland’s Center for Automation Research, directed by Azriel Rosenfeld. The HCIL includes labs in the Computer Science Department, Psychology Department, and the College of Library and Information Services. The open house gave us the opportunity to hear about their current progress, to try out their new interfaces and devices, and to meet the researchers that make up the lab.

The Open House began with a series of talks in the morning, followed by demonstrations in the afternoon. Several talks and demos described ongoing areas of study in the HCIL—such as dynamic queries, treemaps, pixel programming, electronic classrooms–while others discussed new areas of research–role manager, network management, video on demand. The talks were presented in three sections:

  1. Information Seeking, hosted by Gary Marchionini from the College of Library and Information Services,
  2. Future Graphic Interfaces, Catherine Plaisant of the Center for Automation Research, and
  3. Interface Design Issues, Kent Norman from the Psychology Department. Many of the speakers were graduate students working on the projects, and they did an excellent job presenting their work. The talks were brief, interesting, well presented, and clearly very well rehearsed.

We will describe some of the highlights of the talks we heard. More detailed technical reports on all of these projects are available from the HCIL (contact information appears at the end of this article).