HCI for Development (HCI4D) Spotlight

Message from the HCI4D Spotlight Chairs

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are increasingly used and appropriated by communities and other stakeholders in low-resource contexts around the world to improve education, healthcare, and lives. Yet, we lack a sufficiently rigorous evidence base that policymakers, practitioners and researchers can draw on to design and apply ICTs for maximum positive social impact. Most importantly, over the decades, human-computer interaction (HCI) has successfully contributed to our methodological toolkit for user-centered, data-driven design; and how decisions in technology design influence technology usage, adoption and the resulting social consequences. With a HCI orientation that recognizes the power of "design thinking", we advance the discourse about "ICTs in development" by recognizing that technology is neither culturally-neutral, static nor deterministic.

The HCI4D community welcomes everyone who is interested in the role of technology in diverse domains such as, but not limited to: conflict zones; literacy; infant mortality; rural and urban community development; and marginalized populations in both developing countries and industrialized nations. In short, we invite practitioners and researchers who are interested in working at the intersection of HCI and socioeconomic development. We expect members to come from various geographic regions and backgrounds such as anthropology, computer science, economics, education, international development, psychology, and sociology, among others. By being inclusive, we look forward to members engaging with one another in a dialogue that builds on our collective diverse experiences, and in turn strengthening the evidence base for ICTs to impact development in more positive ways.

Melissa Densmore, Microsoft Research India

Matthew Kam, American Institutes for Research

Ban Al-Ani, University of California, Irvine

Introduction to the HCI4D Spotlight

The concept of Spotlight is introduced for the first time at CHI 2014. By placing a spotlight on HCI4D, we aim to support practitioners and researchers interested in HCI4D in incubating their work, as well as identifying the most appropriate venues to present and discuss their work.

HCI4D has an organizational presence at the CHI conferences since 2007. Our community emerges from a need to mobilize more members in the growing HCI4D community through face-to-face interactions. While our name (Human-Computer Interaction for Development) may imply a focus on computer interfaces, we intend for the HCI4D community to refer to and include human-centered design and other work that share a common focus on socio-economic development. Other terms encompassed within this community include Human-Computer Design for Development (HCD4D) and User-Centered Design for Development (UCD4D). While "development" has a controversial history, we take it to mean working with people in any underserved population to empower them, regardless of geography. To join the community, and to learn more about our activities, please visit: http://www.hci4d.net

Our community aims to pursue the following goals:

  1. Strengthen research and the evidence base in HCI4D
  2. Improve capacity of universities in developing countries to engage in HCI research and education
  3. Advocate for HCI research and practice in the global development community (including the domains outlined above), and to promote the increased use of user-centered design in developing regions
  4. Reflect on and advocate for HCI4D as part of the ACM SIGCHI community

To this end, we invite others to join us in developing an interesting, diverse and informative program for HCI4D at the CHI 2014 conference.

Types of Submission for the HCI4D Spotlight

HCI4D topics that are of interest include but are not limited to:

  1. An understanding of HCI4D and why it matters to the larger CHI community. HCI4D has taught us that our methods and their outcomes are, inevitably, shaped by the settings in which we work. For this reason, we underscore the critical role of reflection on the ways we understand context when developing and testing artifacts in under-studied environments.
  2. The extension of traditional HCI tools and methods for use in broader contexts. Methods typically used in HCI have been shown to breakdown in HCI4D settings. We invite work that discusses this outside the HCI4D community and explore the need to adapt our methods.
  3. Documenting lessons learned and failures such that they can inform design. HCI4D design environments are very diverse, resulting in both successes and failures. The reflection on "failures" can provide us with deep insights. We may find that projects work in one setting but not another. We want to engage the CHI community in dialog about how to learn from these lessons.

The overarching theme is the inclusion of people from populations we aim to support. Including non-conventional users brings deeper insights about end-users, helps to avoid hubris and stay on course with the goals of "development", and advances the boundaries of HCI.

Preparing your Submission for the HCI4D Spotlight

Interested practitioners and researchers are invited to advance any of the above goals by submitting case studies, full papers & notes, panel proposals, workshop proposals and course proposals. In particular, one of the goals of CHI Spotlights is to support members in navigating the CHI submission tracks so as to maximize the visibility of their work. We encourage interested participants to start working on their submissions as early as possible before the respective CHI 2014 deadlines, and to get in touch with us at chi2014@hci4d.net if they would like assistance with the submission process (more details below).

For tips on creating effective HCI4D submissions, see the Guide to a Successful CHI Submission, and previous HCI4D-related CHI submissions. You may also find it helpful to refer to What Constitutes Good ICTD Research? (Burrell, Toyama, ITID 2009) for criteria more specific to development-related research, as well as pointers to related papers. Human-Computer Interaction for Development: The Past, Present, and Future (Ho, Smyth, Kam, Dearden, ITID 2009) provides a literature review of and historical background to HCI4D research. In addition to work being done in developing countries, we specifically invite work targeting socio-economic development in underserved communities in any locale. In general, we welcome submissions that can foster dialogue between community members and facilitate its growth.

Preparing Your Submission

We encourage you to contact us at chi2014@hci4d.net as soon as possible if you have ideas or questions about submissions. Some of the ways that the co-chairs can support you include: helping you to find appropriate collaborators, sharing their experiences about how similar ideas have fared in previous years, giving feedback for strengthening your submissions, and answering questions about and/or providing assistance with navigating the submission process. We are excited to help you channel your enthusiasm to achieve optimal results for your submission.

When submitting using the PCS online submission system, you will have an opportunity to select the HCI4D Spotlight as a relevant reviewing community. Please use the term "HCI4D" in the author's keywords to help us route your submission to qualified reviewers. In addition, we recommend that authors of Papers and Notes submit to the "Specific Application Areas" subcommittee.

Formatting Guidelines

Submissions should follow the CHI 2014 Format appropriate to your submission type.