Your Help Needed: the Effect of Aesthetics on Visualization

Your help is needed!

We have just launched an online study on measuring the effect of aesthetics in data visualization. The study is part of a collaborative research project between K.U. Leuven, Vienna University of Technology, and the University of Sydney.

If you have about 10-20 minutes of uninterrupted time please help us by completing the study at Aesthetic Impact. The main task that will be expected from you, is to interact with a visualization, and to describe what you have learned from it.

Please pass around the URL to any person who might be interested in participating. The only thing you need to know is that the study is less about usability, utility or usefulness, and more about measuring what non-trivial and unexpected insights you actually ‘get’ from interacting with a specific data representation.

Should you have any questions about the study, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

DECO HCI Seminar WS 2010/2011: Student projects

This semester’s design task of the Human Computer Interaction seminar at DECO was to create, prototype and evaluate a location-aware mobile application that uses open data.
Five teams of three students each completed the seminar, resulting in creative, useful and sometimes also provoking use of fictitious open data. As open data in Austria is in its infancy (for more information visit or, teams had difficulties finding existing open (government) data sources. Some teams solved this problem by augmenting their application ideas with user-generated content as the main data source. The horizontal prototypes for the evaluation were implemented with various tools, including Titanium Mobile, Sencha Touch and also native development on iOS and Android platforms.

We proudly present the mobile application concepts of our five participating student teams. Note that most screens contain static data used only for the evaluation of the prototypes. The applications are (also if stated otherwise) not available on any store at the moment.

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HCI Seminar WS2010/2011

We’re happy to announce that registration for this term’s HCI Seminar is now open. The topic for this term is the conception and prototyping of an innovative mobile application based on “open data”.

You’ll have the opportunity to develop a prototype application for a mobile platform (iOS, Android, Maemo) utilizing a user-centered design process. We provide a methodological framework and you can show your creativity in the practical implementation.

The introductory discussion will be on Thursday, 14.10.2010, 16:00 in the INSO library (Wiedner Hauptstraße 76/2/2, 1040 Wien). If you’re interested in participating, please visit the course website for further information about the topic, schedule and registration.

We would be happy to welcome you in our seminar.

International Student Design Competition at UPA2010

After the inaugural Student Design Challenge at OZCHI last year, the first IxDA Global Student Competition at Interaction 11 last month, and of course the established Student Design Competition at CHI 2010, there is another chance for students interested in HCI and Interaction Design to participate in a global event:

The UPA Student Design Competition is going into its second year. This year’s design challenge is “Designing for a Sustainable World”. Student teams need to submit a short paper (6 pages maximum) describing their design solution in a first round. Advancing teams will attend the conference in Munich and have the chance to win up to US$1,250. Deadline for paper submissions is 29 March 2010.

iPhone remote controlled robot

This video shows a well-done iPhone interface for controlling the movements of a robot. I thought to post this here, since – as some might remember – we had an assignment for a couple of years, where the task was to come up with an alternative remote control interface for the Robosapien.

It was always interesting to see emerging products as inspiration for the redesign in many assignment submissions. Last time we run this assignment, many students came up with WII like interfaces. We actually dropped the assignment the year the iPhone was released, since we feared a majority of iPhone-like interfaces.