Student Design Competition : Call for Participation

Quick Facts

  • Submission Deadline: 7 January 2014 (5:00pm PT)
  • Online Submission: PCS Submission System
  • Notification: 10 February 2014
  • Camera Ready: 19 February 2014
  • Submission Format: Camera-ready unanonymized 6 page extended abstract in Extended Abstracts format and proof of all team members' student status.
  • At the Conference: Up to 12 accepted design competition submissions will give posters at the conference; 4 of these teams will be chosen to give a presentation. Please see the Information for Poster Presenters.
  • Archives: Extended abstracts; DVD and ACM Digital Library

What's New with the Student Design Competition

This year we plan to have posters included in the ACM Digital Library along with the extended abstract. If you would like, you can include your poster in your initial submission as Supplementary Material, however this is not required.

Message from the Student Design Competition Chairs

This is the 12th year of the CHI Student Design Competition. The Student Design Competition continues to grow each year with increased international representation. The competition always draws a large audience at CHI and has also become a major recruiting opportunity for identifying talented students. In previous years, there were over 50 or more international submissions from more than 10 countries every year and we hope to continue this trend in both submission numbers and quality.

Thecla Schiphorst, School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT), Simon Fraser University, Canada
Youn-kyung Lim, KAIST, Korea

What is the Student Design Competition?

The competition is aimed at meeting three goals:

  • Provide an opportunity for students from a variety of design backgrounds (HCI, industrial design, product design, visual design, etc.) to participate in CHI and demonstrate their problem solving and design skills in an international competition against their peers.
  • Provide CHI attendees with refreshing perspectives on how design teams from different disciplines and different parts of the world approach a common design problem.
  • Provide CHI attendees with a chance to meet future professionals in our area, and provide competition participants with an opportunity to network with experienced HCI and Design professionals.

The Design Problem

BodyData: Designing for Qualities of the Quantified Self

This year's conference theme "One of a CHInd" focuses our SDC design challenge on the one of a kind diversity that is made up of the individual selves that create our community. The growing design domain of the Quantified Self has been made possible through the integration of low-cost sensing technologies with proliferating applications available through mobile and internet technologies. There is a context of sensory-rich data from biometric, health, neo-analog, DIY culture and geophysical sensing that expands our ability to augment or shift our perspectives and our knowledge. Self-tracking, self-management and self-awareness are activities that promote agency and transformation of our own growing accumulation of bodydata. How can we transform this overwhelming incoming bodydata into self-knowledge?

The growing integration of sensing technologies impacts our ability to track our own BodyData creating new design challenges for self-assessment, self-monitoring and self-change. What are emerging design and experience qualities for the quantified self? How can we design for technology that promotes greater access to self-knowledge through data collection, observation and analysis? How do research areas such as personal analytics provide access to tools that can have an impact on personal health, family and community, sustainable and environmental activism, social-change and global responsibility? Self-knowledge and self-change may start at home but ultimately affect our families, communities and global ethics. Our technologies have entered the rhetoric of our everyday perspectives yet our future outlooks depend upon our ability to alter and transform our own individual perspectives in fluid, ameliorative and improvisational ways.

The design arenas for BodyData: Designing for Qualities of the Quantified Self could explore (but are not limited to): Mood, Emotion, and Meaning; Sleep, Habits and Health; Movement, Mindfulness and Listening; Personal Analytics, Data Visualization and Ethics. The philiosopher Richard Shusterman has defined the term somaesthetics as "the critical study and cultivation of the experience of the living body as a site of sensory-aesthetic appreciation." How can we use the data of the Quantified Self to increase the experiential Qualities and agency of the Somaesthetic Self?

Our one of a CHInd voices vary tremendously by culture, community, income, age, politics, economic development and education. While BodyData describes the self, our individual selves are inextricably tied to historical concepts of identity, culture and not all selves have access to the same data. BodyData reflects both public and private, unique local needs and desires, as well family, community and cultural influence.

This year's challenge is to design an object, interface, system, or service intended to help us to develop and share self-awareness, understanding or appreciation for our BodyData, exploring how we can Design Qualities for the Quantified Self, our personal experience as it relates to our One of a CHInd knowledge in the world.

We want you to find new solutions, new groups of people and new issues that could benefit from the application of good design with appropriate technology.

Use appropriate design methods such as ethnography, contextual and phenomenological research to understand the problem space, and develop human-focused design solutions to support, assist, enhance or otherwise benefit your target audience. Your solution should address the issues of helping us to develop and share awareness, understanding or appreciation for collaboration.

To enter the competition, student teams may present either a concept (a clear, detailed design specification that can be taken to prototype), or a fully realized prototype. Either way, teams must clearly illustrate their design decisions and demonstrate the design processes that have been followed. Additionally, as this problem has a broad cultural and social focus, "system design thinking" is encouraged. We strongly encourage consideration of:

  • Previous work in this and adjacent areas, and relevant creative and technological opportunities.
  • Appropriate methodologies to ground your research decisions. These can include ethnography, contextual research, phenomenological/autobiographical methods, secondary sources (including trends) or other research approaches that inform, inspire or rationalize your design process.
  • Elaboration of methods for evaluating your designs within your iterative design framework
  • Contextualization of your design through scenario and narrative"

The Competition Structure

The competition follows a three-round process. Each round focuses on communicating the team's ideas through a different mode, as follows:

  1. Teams will submit a short paper in Extended Abstract Format(six pages maximum) summarizing their design solution and its evolution. Supplementary material should be provided as an interactive pdf. This material should illustrate the development of the design solution. Expert reviewers will evaluate submissions and a maximum of 12 teams will be selected to attend the CHI conference.
  2. Accepted teams will be expected to attend the conference to give a poster presentation outlining their design, and discuss their proposed solution with a panel of Student Design Competition Judges. The Judges will select 4 teams to participate in the competition final.
  3. The 4 finalists will give an oral presentation on their design to the panel of Student Design Competition Judges and CHI conference attendees. Based on the criteria below, the competition judges will rank and identify an overall winner of the competition as well as second and third place teams.

Attendance at the CHI 2014 conference is mandatory for selected teams to reach stage 2 of the above process.

Round One: Extended Abstract and Supplementary Material

Teams should prepare a camera ready unanonymized Extended Abstract (six pages maximum) written in the Extended Abstracts format. This document should be submitted as a single PDF to the PCS submission system. The file must be no larger than 4 Mb in size. Additional supplementary material should be submitted as an interactive pdf, with a file-size no larger than 4Mb.

The Extended Abstract should include:

  • A description of your chosen design focus and proposed solution, with a summary of the approaches taken within your design process, and your main claims for your proposed solution
  • Reference to design principles, sources of inspiration, and HCI theory where appropriate and relevant
  • Acknowledgement of partial or incomplete solutions
  • Acknowledgement of any assistance drawn from outside the student team (advisors, faculty, domain experts, existing solutions, users, etc.)

The Supplementary Material should include:

  • Examples of significant contextual data and its analysis (primary, secondary research or both)
  • Key creative sources of design inspiration (existing designs and systems)
  • Sketches of the evolving solution
  • Imagery (as appropriate) to illustrate the design solution
  • Significant evaluation data in support of claims in the extended abstract

All submissions must be in English and must include title and author information, including author affiliations. Please be sure that submissions do not contain proprietary or confidential material and do not cite proprietary or confidential publications. Due to tight publication schedules, revisions to the extended abstract will not be possible. The submitted PDF version should be camera-ready final version.

Round Two: Poster

Up to 12 successful submissions will be invited to CHI 2014 to take part in the next stage(s) of the competition, based upon reviewer ratings and comments. Teams will be provided space in the convention center to display posters and discuss their proposed solutions with the CHI 2014 attendees.

A scheduled 80-minute poster presentation event will take place during the conference. Student teams will be expected to host their posters and discuss their approach, design method and solutions with the Student Design Competition Judges. The competition judges will select four teams to present their proposed solutions orally during a scheduled presentation session named "Student Design Competition Final".

Specific guidelines for preparing posters:

  • Each poster will have a display space approximately 8 feet wide and 4 feet high.
  • The poster is expected to follow the International Standards Organization (ISO) poster size format (A0). The dimensions for A0 format are 84cm x 119cm, or approximately 33" x 47". Either landscape or portrait orientation is acceptable.
  • Audiovisual and computing equipment will not be supplied. Power outlets will not be available.

The poster must include:

  • The proposed solution's name, team name, school affiliation
  • The perspective taken to address the design challenge
  • A concise description of the proposed solution
  • Clear illustrations of key aspects of your proposed solution
  • Compelling, effective visual design

Please see the Information for Poster Presenters.

Round Three: Presentation

The four teams selected by the judges following the Poster Presentations will present their design process and solution during a short presentation to the Judges and CHI attendees. Presentations will be limited to 10 minutes plus a subsequent 5 minutes to answer questions from the judges and audience. Presentations must include:

  • The design process that was followed
  • A concise description of the proposed solution
  • Reference to design principles and theory where appropriate
  • Acknowledgement of partial or incomplete solutions

Reviewing Criteria

Each team's short paper submission will be reviewed by both academic and professional design and usability experts.

Round one, the written submission, will be reviewed based on:

  • Use of appropriate design methods such as ethnography, contextual research, phenomenological/autobiographical methods, secondary research, reflection, critique, analysis, and empirical evaluation.
  • Clarity and credibility of design focus, purpose and solution relative to the posed challenge.
  • Originality and quality of the design solution, including claims and their supporting evidence.
  • Innovation within the design process.
  • Quality of design management.
  • Clarity of extended abstract and supplementary material.

Round two, the poster submission, will be judged based on:

  • Clear communication of key aspects of solution
  • Clear communication of design approaches
  • Clear communication of arguments for proposed solution
  • Craft quality of the solution

Round three, the presentation, will be judged based on:

  • Clarity and organization of the oral presentation
  • Relevance and clarity of presentation material (slides, video, etc)
  • Quality of argument used to justify why the solution is worthy of consideration
  • Quality, originality and relevance of design solution


The top four entries to the Student Competition earn a Certificate of Recognition. The winning entry will be recognized during the closing plenary session of the CHI 2014 conference. In addition, the top entry will receive a special award at the conference.


Proof of Student Status

To be eligible for the student competition, all participants must provide a signed letter from their academic supervisor confirming that at least 50% of their working week is spent following an academic course of study, and that they were not employed within HCI-related industries when working on the team's submission. All students must provide proof of their student status. For this proof of their student status, they should show that they registered for the Fall semester of 2013 and completed it. Each team must provide one proof package (a single file containing scanned signed letters for each team member) together with their project submission.

Student Team Requirements

Teams must consist of at least two, but no more than five students. There is no limit to the number of teams that may compete from any given University or organization.

Submissions are invited from all students at all stages of their university careers, from undergraduate to postgraduate. While not a mandatory requirement, it is strongly encouraged that the teams put forward a multidisciplinary, multi-national team.