Skip to main content

HCIL Service Grants


The HCIL is not actively taking proposals at this time.

Imagine a group of 20-30 dedicated individuals with extensive computer knowledge who want to make your life easier by working with you for one day to find a solution to a technology-related problem..............

The University of Maryland's Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL), a leader in the field of HCI is currently reviewing proposals for small service grants. We are offering our expertise for free on a project that would help improve an organization's day-to-day functioning by taking advantage of our strengths which include expert review, task analysis, contextual inquiry, software development and more. Our goal is to help make the world a better place with the use of HCIL methods, skills, and techniques. The HCIL will be available for one day in April 2007 for this project.

The Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) at the University of Maryland conducts research on advanced user interfaces and their development processes. Interdisciplinary research teams study the entire technology development life-cycle which includes the initial technology design, implementation issues, and evaluation of user performance. Through this work we have developed new theories, methodologies, and technologies.

Our current work includes new approaches to: information visualization, interfaces for digital libraries, multimedia resources for learning communities, zooming user interfaces (ZUIs), technology design methods with and for children, and instruments for evaluating user interface technologies.

The HCIL will accept proposals from non-profit organizations, schools, libraries, community centers or other organizations that demonstrate financial or personnel need and do not have the resources to pursue computer related help on their own. The HCIL will not accept proposals from political, religious or for profit organizations.

Projects should be concise enough to be completed in one day and will take place at our site or the awardees. We will get together a large group of 20-30 HCIL members with expertise in computing technology, interaction and design, usability studies, digital libraries, children, etc. We expect to follow up with a short report afterwards of how the project worked for the awardee. Project examples include usability support, website critiques, technology consultation, design session, improving information access for seniors and/or minorities, improving computer usability in schools, libraries and retirement communities.

Deadline will be announced when the call for proposals goes out.

Proposals should consist of a one page description of the project stating the preferred project location, who will benefit from it and the feasibility of completing the project in one day keeping in mind the wide range of expertise at the HCIL. A modest follow-up session to answer questions about the project is also a possibility. In addition, feel free to include relevant brochures, news articles, links to web pages, etc. Proposals should be sent to the HCIL at the address below either by paper or email.

If it was your content before this project, it remains yours at the end. The HCIL does not ask for any rights to intellectual property that you bring to the project. As for the software, designs and/or study results that we create, that is typically owned by the HCIL who give the client a royalty-free license to use their work. The effect of this arrangement is that your organization is free, without payment, to use the work created by us. At the same time, we are able to reuse whatever we've built (i.e., not content that you've provided) in subsequent projects should we so wish. We do not have the ability to treat any of your IP as confidential.


During 2009-2010 the HCIL completed the following service projects:

WAMU 88.5 FM American University Radio: The HCIL led a volunteer day in which it helped WAMU redesign their Kojo Nnamdi Show archives interface. WAMU is the leading public radio station for NPR news and information in the greater Washington area. It is member-supported, professionally-staffed, and licensed to American University. Their station covers local, national and international news, public affairs talk programming, and traditional American music. / Federal Citizen Information Center: The HCIL led a volunteer day in which it helped redesign their website for kids. They want to make it more interactive, fun, and easy for kids to use. is the official U.S. government’s website for kids. It provides information and services to three groups, kindergarten through 5th graders, 6th through 8th graders, and educators. The site provides age appropriate information, organized by subject areas, ranging from science and math to history and much more.

The Nonprofit Village: The HCIL led a volunteer day in which it helped The Nonprofit Village think of new ways to use technology to connect nonprofits with their growing services. The Nonprofit Village offers shared office space accompanied by management and operational services to Montgomery County nonprofits. In addition to the spaces they offer, they also provide shared meeting rooms and business machines, such as copier, fax, and postage machines. This helps the small and often non-technologically sophisticated, nonprofits they serve lower their space costs, so they can focus on expanding their services.

National Park Service, Interpretation and Education Program: The HCIL led a volunteer day in which it helped the National Park Service redesign a part of WebRangers, their website for children. The U.S. National Park Service, Interpretation and Education Program provides key strategies for providing experiences, revealing meaning, and establishing relevance to connect people and communities to national parks. The goal of all interpretive services is to increase each visitor's enjoyment and understanding of the parks, and to allow visitors to care about the parks on their own terms. Interpretation programs help visitors establish personal and meaningful connections with the parks in a variety of ways, including discussions with rangers, signs about their geological history, and educational games on the WebRangers website.

CASA de Maryland: The HCIL led a volunteer day in which it helped CASA de Maryland improve their new database interface so it is easier for their staff to use, given the diversity of their computer experience. If there is time, we will brainstorm staff development programs to help train staff to use this database. CASA de Maryland works with the community to improve quality of life and fight for equal treatment and full access to resources and opportunities for low-income Latinos and their families. CASA also works with other low-income immigrant communities and organizations and makes its programs and activities available to them. CASA also advocates for social, political, and economic justice for all low-income communities.

Thrive DC: The HCIL led a volunteer day in which it helped Thrive DC redesign the client area of their website so it is easier for their clients to navigate, given the diversity of their computer experience, reading levels, and language background. Thrive DC works to prevent and end homelessness by providing vulnerable individuals with a comprehensive range of services to help stabilize their lives. They accomplish this by providing the last available safety net for people facing economic crisis and housing instability while also providing the first step towards independence for people experiencing extended periods of homelessness. Their services include educational and therapeutic activities, employment preparation, comprehensive social services, and emergency services.

During 2006-2007 the HCIL completed the following service project:

U.S. Holocaust Museum: On April 26, the lab visited the Museum and helping to refine some on-going digital initiatives.

During 2005-2006 the HCIL completed the following service projects:

Forum One Communications: Backyard Jungle User Experience Review
The HCIL conducted a usability study on the Backyard Jungle website, using two Kids Team research sessions to review and suggest improvements on their design from a child's perspective.

The Institute for End User Computing, Inc: End User Computing Survey
A formal survey and a Wiki on Computer Rage were developed. Interested in what drives people mad and makes them want to do most grievous violence against their computers, The Institute for End User Computing wanted to see how they could get around these problems. Ultimately, they are trying to figure out how to design future systems where these problems won't arise in the first place.

Center for Renaissance & Baroque Studies, University of Maryland: Making Lesson Plans Accessible to Teachers
The Center for Renaissance and Baroque Studies organizes summer workshops for teachers. One of the outcomes of these workshops are lesson plans. CRBS asked HCIL for help in creating a database of these lesson plans for easier accessibility. Once CRBS has the lesson plans in a database there are many ways they may choose to make them available to teachers.

To find out more about what the HCIL is involved in on a daily basis, examples of current and past HCIL research projects can be found at:

Charley Lewittes, HCIL
2117A Hornbake Building, South Wing
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

(301) 405-2769
hcil-info [at]



Tech Reports
Video Reports
Annual Symposium

Seminars + Events
HCIL Seminar Series
Annual Symposium
HCIL Service Grants
Events Archives
HCIL Conference Travel Award
Job Openings
For the Press
HCIL Overview
Become a Member
Collaborating Groups + People
Academic Visitors
Join our Mailing List
Contact Us
Visit Us
HCIL Store
Give the HCIL a Hand
HCIL T-shirts for Sale
Our Lighter Side
HCIL Memories Page
Faculty/ Staff
Ph.D. Alumni
Past Members
Research Areas
Design Process
Digital Libraries
Physical Devices
Public Access
Research Histories
Faculty Listed by Research
Project Highlights
Project Screenshots
Publications and TRs
Studying HCI
Masters in HCI
PhD in HCI
Visiting Scholars
Class Websites
Sponsor our Research
Sponsor our Annual Symposium
Active Sponsorship
Industrial Visitors

Web Accessibility