Human-Computer Interaction: Ergonomics and User Interfaces - Vol. 1

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview

Small interfaces -- a blind spot of the
academical HCI community?
Kari Kuutti
University of Oulu, Finland
1
Small interfaces everywhere
Small interfaces are ubiquituous: for example, there are 11 in my own household: a PDA, 2 CD-players, a videorecorder, a television set, a calculator, a microwawe oven, 2 mobile phones, a clock and a radio in the car. In an informal poll among my university colleagues there was a range from 6 to 20, and my count was clearly lower than the median... We are practically immersed in small interfaces, and if we take the whole population it is not a bold guess to say that they are used more than those in "real" computers.
2
But where is the academical research?
Surprisingly enough, for the academical HCI-community these small interfaces do not exist, or at least the community has not published practically anything about them in CHI-conferences or in major HCI journals. This is surprising, to say the least, when compared against their penetration in our lives, and the nonstandard nature of them -- each of them different. One can imagine several potential reasons for this glaring omission:
a. the problems related to small interfaces are so trivial that they are not worth of mentioning,
b. there are no reasons to talk separately about small interfaces because the problems are so similar with those in the PC realm,
c. the problems related to small interfaces are transitory and will rapidly vanish when technology developes,
d. in general, there is no interest and pressure to develope small interfaces further, and thus there is no market for research either,
e. for some other reason researchers simply do not think small interfaces worth of any effort.

-710-

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