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home · events · colloquia · 2003-2004 · 

Colloquium - Shneiderman

DLC 1B70

Creativity Support Tools: A Grand Challenge for Interface Designers
University of Maryland

The challenge of supporting creative work is pushing user interface designers and human-computer interaction researchers to develop improved models of creative processes. This talk begins with a comparison of creativity models and focuses on Czikszentmihalyi's domain, field, and individual, as a basis for software requirements. These requirements lead to eight creative activities that could be facilitated by improved interfaces:

  • searching and browsing digital libraries

  • visualizing data and processes,

  • consulting with peers and mentors,

  • thinking by free associations,

  • exploring solutions, what-if tools,

  • composing artifacts and performances,

  • reviewing and replaying session histories, and

  • disseminating results.

These activities can be supported in existing software applications, built into web services, or inspire novel tools. However, rapid performance, minimal interface distraction, and scalable solutions are necessary for success. Smoother coordination across multiple windows and better integration of tools is vital. A second facilitating goal is compatible actions with consistent terminology, such as the widely used cut-copy-paste or open-save-close. Higher levels of actions that are closer to the task domain are candidates, such as annotate-consult-revise, initiate-compose-evaluate, or collect-explore-visualize. Adding to the challenge of doing research in this area is the difficulty of doing evaluation. Benchmark tasks can hardly reveal the efficacy for creative work and discovery. While case studies or ethnographic observations are useful as formative design studies, they are weak in their capacity to provide rigorous validation.

Ben Shneiderman photo

Ben Shneiderman is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, and Member of the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies and the Institute for Systems Research, all at the University of Maryland at College Park. He was elected as a Fellow of the Association for Computing (ACM) in 1997 and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2001.

Ben is the author of Software Psychology: Human Factors in Computer and Information Systems (1980) and Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (3rd ed. 1998). He pioneered the highlighted textual link in 1983, and it became part of Hyperties, a precursor to the web. With S. Card and J. Mackinlay, he co-authored Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think (1999). His new book Leonardo's Laptop appeared in October 2002 (MIT Press).

Jointly sponsored with the Center for Lifelong Learning & Design and the Institute of Cognitive Science.

The Department holds colloquia throughout the Fall and Spring semesters. These colloquia, open to the public, are typically held on Thursday afternoons, but sometimes occur at other times as well. If you would like to receive email notification of upcoming colloquia, subscribe to our Colloquia Mailing List. If you would like to schedule a colloquium, see Colloquium Scheduling.

Sign language interpreters are available upon request. Please contact Stephanie Morris at least five days prior to the colloquium.

See also:
Department of Computer Science
College of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
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May 5, 2012 (13:29)