Table of Contents

VOLUME XXVII.4 July - August 2020

    • Design in the pandemic

      Alex Taylor, Daniela Rosner, Mikael Wiberg

      The impact of Covid-19, worldwide, is still hard to absorb. We have no doubt that our contributors and readers are feeling, like us, overwhelmed. Many are likely to have been significantly affected—by furloughs and layoffs, or experiencing friends, loved ones, and family fall ill or pass away. At the…

  • An unusual business
    • SECTION: An Unusual Business: Introductory remarks

      INTR Staff

      When Covid-19 began to spread in late 2019 and into early 2020, a common refrain was that we wouldn't allow ourselves to be defeated. That we might persist, carry on, conduct, in some way, business as usual. A rhetoric of war was heard from many of our leaders and…

    • A crash course in online learning

      David Youngmeyer

      A crash course in online learning

      As in many countries, when New Zealand went into lockdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in late March, tertiary education providers had to suddenly move from face-to-face teaching to online learning. Although providers already offered some online courses and had considered the need to expand online learning, the…

    • Insights from videochat research in the context of Covid-19

      Danielle Lottridge

      Insights from videochat research in the context of Covid-19

      Covid-19 has made videochat even more important than ever, with usage of Zoom and apps like Houseparty soaring. While at Yahoo Inc., my colleagues and I spent a few years studying how teenagers interact online. In this short piece, I'll share insights from our research that are relevant to…

    • Design thinking around Covid-19: Focusing on the garment workers of Bangladesh

      Nova Ahmed, Rahat Rony, Kimia Zaman

      Design thinking around Covid-19: Focusing on the garment workers of Bangladesh

      What's going to happen to these garment workers? It was a question from my young colleagues Rahat and Kimia. We were working with garment workers in Bangladesh, where the garment industry is one of the leading economic sectors, with around 4 million workers involved in over 5,800 factories [1].…

    • This is not the new normal: Studying during a pandemic

      Ana-Catalina Sabie, Katharina Brunnmayr, Kristina Weinberger, Renée Singer, Rafael Vrecar, Katta Spiel

      Austria began its lockdown on March 10, 2020. Just three days later, the government issued stay-at-home orders, quarantined entire villages, restricted non-emergency medical procedures, and closed all but essential shops, as well as retirement homes, schools, and day-care facilities. University classes had started the week before, so lecturers and…

    • Notes on running an online academic conference, or how we got zoombombed and lived to tell the tale

      Barry Brown

      Notes on running an online academic conference, or how we got zoombombed and lived to tell the tale

      Due to the coronavirus, the biggest conference in our research field, the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, was canceled in April, just a few weeks before it was scheduled to be held in Hawaii. As there is a significant HCI research community in the Nordic…

    • Reflections on planning and running a virtual doctoral consortium at CHI 2020

      Duncan Brumby, Koji Yatani, Leah Findlater

      This article describes what was done to run a virtual Doctoral Consortium at CHI 2020. The event was originally planned as an in-person, two-day event to take place in Honolulu, Hawaii, on April 25–26, 2020. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the decision was taken in March that the CHI…

  • What we knew then...
    • SECTION: What We Knew Then: Introductory remarks

      INTR Staff

      We have struggled to understand, formulate, and adapt to a new normal as we are moving through the current pandemic. In one sense, this is a new and challenging situation for us all. Although some of us have experienced previous pandemics, those happened at different phases of our lives,…

    • Reflecting on collaborations with charities in the time of Covid-19

      Angelika Strohmayer

      Reflecting on collaborations with charities in the time of Covid-19

      I have had many conversations with friends and colleagues who work with charities, libraries, and other organizations that support some of the most vulnerable people in society since the pandemic hit the U.K. a few months ago. As you might well be aware, these organizations are grappling with appropriate…

    • After the iron horse: Covid-19 responses in education

      Jonathan Grudin

      After the iron horse: Covid-19 responses in education

      Research from the distant past regains relevance! From 1998 to 2000 and 2017 to 2020, I focused on higher education. Suddenly, some of the early work is again relevant. I'll describe it here, along with some thoughts arising from conversations with educators, administrators, and my daughters. Forced by Covid-19…

    • Coronavirus and the carnivalesque: What speculative methods can tell us about Covid-19

      Cally Gatehouse

      Like many HCI researchers, I've found that the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences have made it almost impossible to continue doing research as normal. Not only am I suddenly remote from the resources and communities that I work within, but I find myself newly cautious about the speculative methods…

    • The pandemic, war, and sanctions: Building resilience for the digital divide in education

      Rojin Vishkaie

      The pandemic, war, and sanctions: Building resilience for the digital divide in education

      Globally, education is feeling the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many countries have closed schools—some for the entire year—to prevent the introduction and spread of the virus into their communities. In response to the rapidly changing educational climate, the development of distance-learning programs, in which students and instructors connect…

    • On physical and social distancing: Reflections on moving just about everything online amid Covid-19

      Mikael Wiberg

      On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the spread of Covid-19 constituted a pandemic. It stated that that the virus was not just a threat to public health but also a crisis that would affect every sector of public life: "All countries must strike a fine…

    • Is remote the new normal? Reflections on Covid-19, technology, and humankind

      Yvonne Rogers

      Covid-19 forced governments to urge full or partial lockdown measures to slow the progression of the pandemic. By the end of March, more than 100 countries had "locked down " billions of people. During that time, Yvonne Rogers wrote a series of blog posts on the topic of "remote,"…

  • A responsive kind of design
    • SECTION: A Responsive Kind of Design: Introductory remarks

      INTR Staff

      Throughout the design community, we have been seeing creative and thoughtful ways of responding to these difficult times. Groups large and small have come together to help one another, whether through mask making, housing aid, or meal delivery. Celebrating these efforts, this next set of authors looks to important…

    • Mobile tracking and privacy in the coronavirus pandemic

      Montathar Faraon

      The worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is testing societies, companies, and citizens. Life, health, and jobs are at stake. In this critical moment, the HCI community is working together to design, test, and execute ideas, prototypes, and solutions. HCI is working to strengthen our resistance with abilities, expertise,…

    • The emerging need for touchless interaction technologies

      Muhammad Iqbal, Abraham Campbell

      The emerging need for touchless interaction technologies

      The Covid-19 pandemic has created a demand for technologies that allow us to avoid touching devices. Before the pandemic, the world had a difficult time understanding the importance of touchless technology, and even then, it was not imagined in this context. The gesture-based technologies that have been adopted in…

    • Workshops are now required to be conducted remotely—Is this a bad thing?

      Vikram Singh

      There's a palpable sense of anxiety in the recent global shift to home working. Both managers and workers are feeling the loss of the benefits of in-person gatherings, such as meetings, workshops, and casual chats. In the user experience (UX) industry, the loss seems all the more urgent. Some…

    • What is the future of data sharing for research?

      Giovanna Vilaza

      Digital data collection for health research usually follows well-established methods. In many of the labs that work with mobile sensing, research subjects are provided with consent forms, task instructions, and sensor devices or apps. Once the research subjects agree to participate, the expectation is that they will comply with…

    • How can designers fight the coronavirus?

      Nikhil Welankar

      How can designers fight the coronavirus?

      Most of us had never imagined that countries would have to declare lockdowns to protect their citizens from the coronavirus outbreak. In its wake, government authorities, health departments, doctors, nurses, security services, police, scientists, food suppliers, medical suppliers, nonprofit organizations, and industry leaders across the world are uniting and…

    • HCI and interaction design versus Covid-19

      Peter Dalsgaard

      HCI and interaction design versus Covid-19

      The Covid-19 pandemic has spread across the globe at lightning speed, with massive consequences. Our lives and societies have been suddenly transformed. Many of us have a sense that when the first wave of the pandemic has passed, so much will be different. As my country, Denmark, was going…

    • Comics as Covid-19 response: Visualizing the experience of videoconferencing with aging relatives

      Ernesto Priego, Peter Wilkins

      Comics as Covid-19 response: Visualizing the experience of videoconferencing with aging relatives

      In the period between March and May 2020, we have been working on simultaneous projects employing qualitative methods to create comics in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. We have been motivated and inspired by disability and feminist scholarship, taking on board evidence-based warnings about the dangers of well-meaning but…

    • Evaluating immersive experiences during Covid-19 and beyond

      Anthony Steed, Francisco Ortega, Adam Williams, Ernst Kruijff, Wolfgang Stuerzlinger, Anil Batmaz, Andrea Won, Evan Rosenberg, Adalberto Simeone, Aleshia Hayes

      Evaluating immersive experiences during Covid-19 and beyond

      The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted our daily lives. The safety and well-being of people are paramount, and there is no exception for the human-computer interaction (HCI) field. Most universities and research labs have closed non-critical research labs. With that closure and the student populations having left campus, in-person user…

    • ‘Together, we dance alone’: Building a collective toolkit for creatives in a pandemic

      Kat Braybrooke

      ‘Together, we dance alone’: Building a collective toolkit for creatives in a pandemic

      It seems to me that, if we can talk about such a thing as the tasks of resilience, then today these tasks will share that quality of taking responsibility: not an impossible, meaningless responsibility for the world in general, but one that is specific and practical, and may be…

  • Just futures
    • SECTION: Just Futures: Introductory remarks

      INTR Staff

      Futures are rarely fixed, and this period of upheaval is no exception. We have little idea where the novel coronavirus will take us or how it will proceed, whether or not we accept the uncertainty. Yet some aspects of the current condition remain abundantly clear. The virus has not…

    • Entanglements

      Christopher Frauenberger


      Many are saying that this global pandemic will change us permanently. Indeed, the shifts in the ways that we run our societies are seismic and could hardly be imagined only a few months ago: social distancing, travel restrictions, and the shutdown of large parts of our economy, all implemented…

    • Designs on solidarity

      Nicole Rosner, Daniela Rosner

      Designs on solidarity

      If you have come here to help me you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together. —Lilla Watson These days we find ourselves pausing before signing off on emails. We used to include a…

    • Life less normal

      Alex Taylor

      Is that how we lived then? But we lived as usual. Everyone does, most of the time. Whatever is going on is as usual. Even this is as usual, now. We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn't the same as ignorance, you have to work at it. —Margaret…

    • We need to talk about digital contact tracing

      Ali Alkhatib

      We need to talk about digital contact tracing

      Recently, Apple and Google discussed developing and distributing a digital contact tracing system that will inform people when they've been exposed to someone who's contracted Covid-19, and communicate to people that they've been exposed to you if you later test positive yourself. Apple has since deployed a beta of…

    • The best tech for contact tracing? Systems designed for healthcare workers

      Margaret Bourdeaux, Mary Gray, Barbara Grosz

      Given the ongoing sense of urgency, some, particularly in technology circles, wonder if waiting for a healthcare worker to track down the virus makes sense. In a fight that depends on quickly finding and containing the coronavirus, couldn't we do more with our mobile phones to put our country…

    • For CS

      Loren Britton, Helen Pritchard

      For CS

      In the text that follows, we share our conversations during the early days of the pandemic. In this moment when many things get reduced to usefulness, we propose stories that are positioned to teach us more connection, how to be in contact, and with less certainty. In this conversation,…

  • Other news
    • Sustainable practices for the academic business sector: Publish in journals such as TOCHI

      Kristina Höök, Rob Comber

      Sustainable practices for the academic business sector: Publish in journals such as TOCHI

      ACM Transactions on Computer—Human Interaction (TOCHI) is the premier ACM journal for HCI research. Founded in 1994, the journal has been publishing research at the cutting edge of HCI every second month since 2013. Since taking over the helm at TOCHI in November 2018, we have started to see…

    • Announcing a new CHI subcommittee

      Rob Comber, Shaowen Bardzell, Jeffrey Bardzell, Mike Hazas, Michael Muller

      Reflecting rising interest in sustainability, social justice, aesthetic experiences, and critical computing throughout the HCI community in the past decade, ACM CHI now features a subcommittee devoted to such concerns: the Subcommittee on Critical and Sustainable Computing. Pursuing meaningful alternatives to the status quo, the subcommittee will encourage papers…

  • Community square
    • SIGCHI’s quick response in a time of crisis

      Helena Mentis, David Shamma, Andrew Kun, Neha Kumar, Julie Williamson, Regan Mandryk

      As it became evident at the end of February that Covid-19 was leading to an international crisis, the SIGCHI Executive Committee had to quickly determine how to respond. This entailed multiple decision points, including some immediate calls as well as some longer-term planning. Here we outline some of the…