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Understanding and Evaluating Creativity (Full Day)
Linda Candy and Zafer Bilda, UTS Sydney, Australia

Key Questions

How can we contribute to enhancing human creativity? What do we need to know that will help design support tools for creativity? How can the interaction designer assess existing tools and systems to see how they may be used or modified to support the creative process? How can we better understand creativity and evaluate the tools for creativity support by analytical methods? These are the key questions that we aim to address.


You will learn about two areas of knowledge: creativity research and applications to interactive system design. This will provide you with an understanding of the significance of creativity for interaction design and to give guidance about design and evaluation of systems with respect to their role in creativity support.  You will also be provided with tools and methods for analyzing and evaluating situations in which creative engagement and interaction may be taking place.

Key Learning Objectives

  • Provide up to date knowledge about creativity from research and practice
  • Provide an understanding of the significance of creativity for interaction design
  • Provide guidance for the design and evaluation of creativity support tools
  • Provide an overview of methods, tools and techniques for analysing creative activities
  • Describe a video based methodology for demystifying creative processes
  • Engage participants in exercises for studying and analyzing creativity and creativity support


  • Interaction designers who would like to get an insight on creative design activities and better understand their design processes.
  • HCI researchers who would like to go beyond usability studies and learn about evaluating the role of tools in creativity.
  • Creativity enthusiasts who would like to learn ways of demystifying the creative processes, by analyzing idea generation, synthesis and evaluation processes during a creative activity.
  • Design researchers who would like to learn how to monitor and analyze design activities
  • Practitioners creating interactive works who would like to learn how to observe their audience and set up research questions for evaluating audience experience.


Dr. Linda Candy is a researcher in creativity, collaboration and computer support with many years of experience in teaching and research. She is co-author of the book “Explorations in Art and Technology” published by Springer-Verlag. She is a partner associate of the Creativity and Cognition Studios, University of Technology, Sydney and joint founder of the ACM SIGCHI Creativity and Cognition symposia.

Dr. Zafer Bilda is a researcher in design and interaction cognition, and creative collaboration. He received his PhD in Design Computing and Cognition in 2006 and has been working for ACID (Australasian CRC for Interaction Design) at the Creativity and Cognition Studios, University of Technology, Sydney.  He is also an honorary research associate at the University of Sydney.

Supplementary Description Material

Content, Presentation Style and Duration

This full day tutorial relies on demonstrations, exercises and lectures to introduce participants to several cases where creative interaction occurs as well as evaluation and analysis methods for in-depth understanding of these occurrences.

The theoretical, taught part of the tutorial describes significant research about creative processes and demonstration of systems that have claims for creativity support. The teaching style will be interactive, but the key goal will be to deliver information and encourage an understanding of the subject. The practical group work aims to stimulate creativity in the attendees in their drive to support creativity through good research and design.

Materials Covered

In order that tools are designed in such a way as to empower the creative user, interaction designers need an understanding of the nature of creativity and the role and value of tools that are used in the creative process.

The first part of the tutorial will present two areas of knowledge: creativity research and applications to interactive system design. The approach is to distil the results of research about creativity and provide a basic knowledge of the area that can be used to inform design and evaluation of digital tools. Interaction design principles that can be applied to the development of tools are described and illustrated by examples of different kinds of creativity support systems.

The second part of the tutorial presents ways to understand the process elements of creativity by conducting and analysing observational studies of creative engagement/interaction. The participants will be analysing the behavioural video protocols acquired in real situations where creative interactions occurred. Anyone can watch a video but analyzing the content is far more difficult. This tutorial will teach and exercise to systematically categorize and label behavioral and verbal content of the videos of creative activities. INTERACT 8 software will be used to code and analyze the video contents. Mangold International GmbH will provide the participants with temporary licenses of the INTERACT software provided that they bring their own laptops to the tutorial session.

Examples of the specific topics discussed are:

  • Setting up field studies to observe people/tools/activities in situ
  • Data collection: tools and techniques
  • Interpretation of creative processes
  • Decomposing creative activity into observable events and actions
  • Computer aided video analysis
  • Coding and analyzing creative engagements and interactions

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