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24th Annual Human-Computer Interaction Lab Symposium

Tutorials / Workshops - May 30, 2008

CSIC Building - Registration starts at 8:30am in the Lobby of CSIC ALL Workshops/Tutorials begin at 9:30am





Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction - Evan Golub
Contact: for more information

User interface design and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) has become increasingly important in recent years, and is the foundation of the activities of the HCIL. We will summarize the design, development, and evaluation of computer user interfaces. The goal is to shift the mindset of developers to thinking that the basic goal of software should be to serve people, and not the other way around.

This tutorial is suitable for people with no background in design or HCI. The following is a preliminary outline for the day:

  • Introduction to some general questions and thoughts (what does the area of HCI include? are all parts important to all developers?)
  • Understanding users and getting to know their tasks (not every user is the same, but how different are they? how do we determine tasks? do all users have the same tasks? how do we get to know how the users perform tasks?)
  • Designing with the user (there are several levels at which we can involve the user - which to use? when? why?)
  • Designing visual interfaces (how to make something interesting yet still usable)
  • Evaluating interfaces (what are some guidelines that are used? how can this be done rapidly? at a low cost?)

There will be one or two hands-on exercises to help us explore these topics. I think this is a great way to find out about the above topics but also a way to get to meet and talk with others who are interested in HCI. The Symposium and Open House on Thursday is also a great way to see a wide variety of ways in which these and other principles can be applied.

An Introduction to Usability Testing - Bill Killam
Contact: for more information

This is an introductory tutorial on the topic of usability testing. This tutorial is intended for usability practitioners looking to expand their skills, other practitioners (designers, developers, testers, etc.) who may have usability testing interests or responsibilities, and management staff that may be considering incorporating usability into their organization. In the tutorial we will cover both management issues and practical issues of usability testing and discuss what usability testing is (and isn't).

In the module on management issues, we will focus on usability as it related to the organization. We will discuss what makes a product usable, the origins of usability testing, and the relationship of usability testing to the broader areas of Human Factors Engineering and other disciplines (e.g., marketing, design, development, and other types of testing). We will discuss product development models that incorporate usability and discuss such topics as the timing of usability testing in the design and development cycle, how to plan for them, and what ROI there is for usability testing.

In the practical module, we will focus the mechanics doing usability testing. We will discuss the different types of testing (formative versus summative) as well as different protocols that can be used for usability tests (both user-based and non-user-based). We will discuss how to develop a test including the test tasks, test length, participant selection and recruiting, data collection, and analysis. We will discuss ethical issues associated with conducting tests with human subjects. We will discuss what empirical data can be derived from usability testing and what cannot. Finally, we will practice the skills and principles involved in facilitating a user-based test.

An Introduction to Spoken Language Technologies - Sarah Wayland
Contact: for more information

People who work with spoken language technologies come from disciplines as varied as audio engineering, psychology, linguistics, physics, speech-language pathology, and computer science. The perspective that comes from working in each of these disciplines contributes to different aspects of a good voice application. This tutorial will give a history of speech technology, where it is used, and the special challenges of designing an auditory user interface. There will be a special emphasis on the similarities and differences between auditory and visual interfaces during the design, prototyping, implementation, and tuning phases.

This tutorial is designed for anyone who wants an introduction to what is involved in creating a good voice user interface, as well as those who want to learn more about the research questions peculiar to designing voice user interfaces. In designing this course, the organizer will draw on her background as a psycholinguist, voice software designer, and language technology researcher.

Using Virtual Worlds - Matt Kirschenbaum, Kari Kraus, Don Heider
Contact: for more information

This tutorial will provide particpants with a practical introduction to persistent, multi-user virtual worlds, the most popular of which, Second Life, currently boasts a population measured in the tens of millions and a virtual economy larger than that of some countries. While our emphasis will be on Second Life, we will also survey other emerging virtual worlds, and offer a brief historical overview of the phenomenon, which has its roots in an earlier electronic culture of MUDs, MOOs, bulletin boards, and interactive fiction. All participants will create an avatar in Second Life, and learn the basics of how to navigate and interact in-world, as well as how to create rudimentary objects and artifacts.

No prior experience with Second Life is expected or assumed, though we intend the discussion to be balanced and wide ranging enough to also nbe of interest to longer-term "residents." To that end we will discuss the broader culture of Second Life: what goes on there, what kind of virtual lives people like to lead, what are this world's major cultures and sub-cultures. Given the interests of the instructors, there will be a particular emphasis on preservation, intellectual property, educational and classroom use, libraries in Second Life, and questions of identity (to paraphrase a famous New Yorker cartoon, in Second Life you *are* a dog--or an anthropomorphized human-canine hybrid--*if* you so choose). Please note that the tutorial will *not* emphasize commercial or entrepreneurial activity with Second Life.

An Introduction to Cloud Computing: Web-Scale Information Processing with MapReduce - Jimmy Lin
Contact: for more information

Due to the explosion of information available on the Web and in
electronic formats, we are entering an era where traditional paradigms
of computing are becoming obsolete.  Cloud computing is an emerging,
disruptive technology for utilizing large computer clusters to tackle
"Web-Scale" problems.  Such large-scale distributed processing is of
course fraught with challenges: How does one write programs that run
on potentially hundreds or even thousands of processors?  How can one
handle issues such as reliability, scalability, data distribution,
etc.?  Google's MapReduce programming paradigm represents one solution
to these challenges.

This tutorial will provide an introduction to cloud computing concepts
and the MapReduce framework.  Here are a sample of the topics that
will be covered:

  • overview of parallel and distributed processing
  • refresher on functional programming
  • MapReduce and GFS (Google File System)
  • graph algorithms with MapReduce
  • information retrieval algorithms with MapReduce

The participant is assumed to have basic knowledge of algorithms, data
structures, and programming languages.  Previous knowledge of
networks, parallel/distributed programming, and operating systems is
not required, but may be helpful.




Consumer Health Informatics - Bo Xie
Contact: for more information (Schedule pdf)

This workshop will examine the use of novel information and communication technologies (ICTs) in healthcare from the perspective of health consumers. Potential topics to be investigated may include (but are not limited to):

  • Health 2.0 applications
  • Information seeking behavior of health consumers
  • Provider-patient communication and relationship
  • Consumer empowerment movement
  • Consumer use of personal medical records
  • Virtual support groups Use of social media by patients and support groups
  • Location-based technologies for consumers (e.g., GIS)
  • Social networking applications for health consumers
  • Patient created content (e.g., wikis, blogs)
  • Personalized medicine
  • Medical librarianship in the Internet age
  • Public health informatics
  • Health data mashups
  • Privacy, confidentiality, and related ethical issues
  • Education and training for health information consumers
  • Promotion of health literacy
  • Narrowing health disparities among underprivileged social groups and individuals
  • International comparisons of consumer health informatics practice and progress
  • Emergency response systems
  • Search and recommender system technologies for consumers
  • Clinical trail recruitment and retention via the Internet

Value Sensitive Design and Digital Libraries - Kenneth Fleischmann
Contact: for more information

This workshop focuses on the intersection of value sensitive design and digital libraries, including research on both value sensitive design and digital libraries, with a special emphasis on work on the value sensitive design of digital libraries. Value sensitive design examines the role of human values in the design of technologies, including how values shape the design of specific technologies, and is exemplified by research programs such as the Value Sensitive Design Research Lab at the University of Washington directed by Dr. Batya Friedman. Digital libraries take the notion of libraries to the digital domain. This workshop will be highly multidisciplinary, and presentations are encouraged from technically-oriented researchers and practitioners on the societal implications of the digital libraries that they design and build, from social scientists and humanists on the theoretical and/or empirical impacts of digital libraries on society and/or of society on digital libraries, and from interdisciplinary researchers adopting either or both these perspectives. Potential topics for presentation include, but are not limited to, the following:

Usability studies of digital library interfaces Survey studies of digital library users Ethnographic studies of digital library design and/or use First-hand accounts from digital library designers of interactions with users First-hand accounts from digital library designers about the role of values in their work Theoretical analyses of the implications of value sensitive design for digital libraries Policy implications of digital library design and use Ethical implications of digital library design and use

This workshop will be held on Friday, May 30, 2008 at the University of Maryland, College Park, as part of the 25th Annual Symposium of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. Participants in the workshop are encouraged, although not required, to also attend the first day of the symposium, on May 29. To register for this workshop and for additional information about the HCIL and the 25th Annual HCIL Symposium, please visit the following website:

The format of this workshop will be a series of presentations from workshop participants including interactive discussions following each presentation. Presentations may report formal research findings, works-in-progress, or planned studies. Workshop attendees who would like to make formal presentations should submit, by May 1, an abstract of approximately 250 words describing their planned presentation to the workshop organizer, Dr. Ken Fleischmann ( Notifications of decisions will be provided by May 5, and participants whose abstracts are accepted for presentation must register for the workshop by May 15. Abstract submission is not a requirement for attending this workshop, as all interested researchers, practitioners, educators, and students are invited to register to attend the workshop. Breakfast and lunch will be provided to all attendees as part of this all-day workshop.

Interactive Visual Exploration of Electronic Health Records
- Ben Shneiderman, Catherine Plaisant, David Wang
Contact David Wang for more information:
See: for more information

As electronic health records (EHR) become more widespread, they enable clinicians and researchers to pose complex queries that could benefit immediate patient care and deepen understanding of medical treatment outcomes. However, the current design of patient databases and query tools makes some queries difficult to pose. This workshop will address efforts to develop visualization tools for physicians, clinical researchers, and medical administrators seeking to improve diagnostic decisions, treatment plan outcomes, and hospital quality assessment. Challenges include design of visual query interface, rapid execution of the queries, and comprehensible exploration of the results.


  • Ben Shneiderman, Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Maryland
  • Catherine Plaisant, Associate Research Scientist, UMIACS, University of Maryland
  • Taowei David Wang, Graduate Student, Department of Computer Science, University of Maryland


  • Silvia Miksch, Professor, Department of Information and Knowledge Engineering (ike), Danube University Krems, Austria
  • Wolfgang Aigner, Associate Researcher, Department of Information and Knowledge Engineering (ike), Danube University Krems, Austria
  • Mark Smith, Chair, Emergency Department, Washington Hospital Center
  • Mike Gillam, MedStar, Washington Hospital Center, Microsoft
  • Shawn Murphy, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital

Social Technology for Biodiversity: Motivation, Credibility & Community - Cynthia Sims Parr, Jennifer Golbeck 
Contact Cyndy Parr for more information:
See also: for more information

There have been many efforts to engage both scientific and citizen communities towards sharing knowledge about biological diversity. The recently launched Encyclopedia of Life is a particularly high-profile example of a web-based project where success (in this case, "creating a website for every species known to science") requires large numbers of individuals to contribute their expertise. Others examples are large collaborative projects to determine the shape of the tree of life. How do we engage a scientific community in online collaboration? Is it just a matter of providing financial incentives (if so, how)? Non-financial reputation or reward systems? More effective technology? Training? Better analysis of audience needs? Assurances of quality? Hiring someone else to do the work of getting knowledge online? Providing fewer large, high-quality options for participation or providing many small, targeted, more personally rewarding sites? Some might suggest that the very nature of scientific practices or personalities in taxonomy or field biology precludes online collaboration. Can we learn from successful citizen science initiatives? The social factors involved in such large-scale collaborative efforts need examination. This workshop aims to bring together researchers in fields of online communities, social networks, and computer-supported collaborative work with biologists and biodiversity informaticists to investigate special problems and their possible solutions.

To apply, send a brief description of your background and reasons for interest in the workshop to Cyndy Parr at Registration will be capped at 20 participants.

Treemaps: From Classroom to Boardroom
Corporate adoption of enterprise treemapping solutions
Carter Wilson, Dan Struebel from The Hive Group

This workshop examines corporate adoption of treemapping, a technology which originated at the University of Maryland HCIL. Attendees will gain insight into the process that transformed treemapping from an innovative interface into a mission important corporate offering. Attendees will learn about the widespread use of treemapping in commercial and government environments. The workshop will showcase several examples of treemap deployments, and will highlight specific methods that lead to successful implementations. The workshop will:

  • Showcase innovative deployments in both private and public sectors
  • Emphasize the importance of action: why treemaps are not just reports anymore
  • Examine the shift from stand-alone treemapping to integration with other enterprise technologies
  • Describe how organizations are building internal networks of related treemaps
  • Explore strategic positioning of treemapping for corporate audiences

This workshop will be led by Carter Wilson and Dan Struebel of The Hive Group. It is suitable for anyone interested in deploying treemaps in an enterprise; and individuals that are interested in technology transfer. 

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