Interaction Science Spotlight

Message from the Chairs

We want to highlight Interaction Science work and establish a stronger presence of this community within the CHI conference and outside of it. Over the past 30 years science has played a key role in shaping and advancing research in Human-Computer Interaction. Informed in part by methods, theories and findings from the behavioral sciences and from computer science, scientific contributions to HCI have provided explanations of how and why people interact through and with technology. We argue that the contribution of science to HCI could be enhanced if key challenges are met. These challenges are different from those of other disciplines (e.g., engineering, design) that make valuable contributions to HCI.

The challenges for Interaction Science

We list the key challenges for Interaction Science in our full proposal for this spotlight, together with key objectives to tackle these challenges. You can read this document here. Here is a brief summary of the challenges that Interaction Science faces:

  1. Contributions from Interaction Science sparsely populate an increasingly diverse field.
  2. Interaction science's methods and theories require years to learn and while a few efforts have been made to provide educational material these efforts are sparse.
  3. The imperative that HCI research should always have "design implications" can mediate against scientific values and against high risk work on hard problems.
  4. A concern with the details of particular interaction instances rather than the statistics of task ecologies, central to many researchers experience of HCI, does not always accord with the scientific aim to abstract general principles.
  5. Laboratory studies, which are often dismissed as irrelevant to the "real world", are essential to science's, including social science's, capacity to acquire causal knowledge through controlled variation.
  6. Interaction science has overlapping goals with other fields - including economics, social science, and psychology - and as a consequence its nascent focus needs careful definition.
  7. As with other science and engineering disciplines, interaction science suffers from limited diversity in its community of researchers.


To tackle the key challenges for Interaction Science, we have set out a series of objectives in our spotlight proposal. You can read this document here. Here is a summary:

  1. We will develop a diverse community of interest, stimulate submissions to the conference, and engage researchers and practitioners in the reviewing process. As a starting point, we will organize a Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting at the conference concerning Interaction Science, to discuss the challenges and objectives.
  2. We will work with the technical program committee to innovate in content types to better serve the needs of the community. Innovation is required in part because of the changing landscape of publication models (e.g., open access, registered submission, conference versus journal publications etc.).
  3. Provide tools to ensure that researchers and practitioners interested in Interaction Science are able to easily find relevant content. For CHI Interaction Science this will be an ongoing area of investigation that is partly motivated by the need for new publication models, greater levels of interdisciplinary work, and a drive towards a rigorous and cumulative science of interaction.

How authors and reviewers can contribute

We will also organize a Special Interest Group meeting to discuss the challenges and objectives of Interaction Science at CHI.

If you have any other ideas on how to tackle the challenges of our field, please contact us at:

Chairs and contact

To contact the Interaction Science chairs, please e-mail to:

The chairs are: