Recently Steve Whittaker, professor of human-computer interaction at the University of California at Santa Cruz, sat on a national committee to evaluate HCI research funding.
“As part of that process, we discussed past successes and current challenges for HCI. It’s a good time to be thinking about these issues, as HCI is no longer a minority interest. The field has major conferences, active journals, practitioners, and degrees. HCI skills are in demand at the world’s leading technology companies. The success of design-oriented companies like Apple means that everyone understands the importance of interfaces. But what are these external indicators of success based on? What have we achieved, what do we know, and why are others interested in what we do? Where should we go from here?”
In this article, Whittaker first outlines three successes: transformative technology, the importance of experience, and the user-centric design process. He then argues that now we need to build on these successes by taking a more principled approach to what we do.