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Colloquium - Shneiderman

Creativity Support Tools: A Grand Challenge for Interface Designers
University of Maryland
3/29/2004
10:00am-11:30am

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:

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 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.

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