Monthly Archives: April 2010

If you have to justify the importance of HCI…

Can’t believe i even ran into this kind of discussion in a casual friends’ dinner.

Is the field of HCI really useful?

After having a morning of discussion of the importance of HCI, the fundamental question raised by a guy who have been working with HCI people for almost two years now seems pretty sarcastic indeed.

So his argument was the  HCI approach could only be applied to some already existing product/concepts/issues, or build on existing things, as oppose to serving as a source of innovation.  Whenever a new brand new concept comes out, HCI was not always a necessary component of that. Without HCI, people can still have pretty much the same amount of things, probably in worse usability condition, but enough for use. In other words, HCI is just for better, not for necessity.

I would probably think the same two years ago, one year ago, or even before this semester. To justify the work that one has been doing is always a painful process. People don’t want to admit that they have done something that’s not meaningful at all, but they also don’t want to defend themselves to an extreme state.

If you actually has to explain/justify/emphasize the importance of something, usually you have to rethink if it’s really important or if it’s just you, your own perspective, your values and your personal experience that biases your judgments.

So I guess for now, my answer would be “yes”, i do think HCI is important, not just for its add-on values, but for its being an “interdisciplinary” discipline that take the human care and consideration of how we should co-exist with technology, how there should be this mutual understanding between technology and us.

First, it definitely has a lot of add-on values, a better interface, a better user guide, a better toolkit, etc. too many things that could be done better to attract more users, offering them better user experience.

Second, i thought of this comparison between China and the US. Being a developing country, China doesn’t have that much money to put into HCI, cause obviously most people from China hold a similar belief as the guy i mentioned “HCI is something we could do after we become rich”. It is the fact, in most aspects, there are more urgent needs need to be meet, but not in every aspects. I believe the consideration of HCI can sometimes help us get to our goal in an easier and less costly way. The way some Chinese companies have been making profit while polluting the environment in a severe way, could possibly be avoid to some extent if the design of the machine, the production line can take the HCI sustainability into consideration.  That extra consideration of HCI does cost more in the first place, but it saves more in the future as well.

Third, the humanity care of HCI. It’s not as simple as a robot or a software interface that could read our emotions and make corresponding reactions, it’s more of how our generation, our next generation are trained “nurtured” bythe technology we are using today.  I couldn’t imagine our kids living in a world with “cold” and “inconsiderate”, but super “efficient” technology products, how the personality, values and  humanity issues can get involved.

Last, WHAT IS IMPORTANT? A classmate had this critique of a CHI paper in class the other day “i don’t think give old people an interactive record of their medical history is a useful way to help them keep healthy, we should solve problems of the medical system, the health care law, etc.” It sounds so noble at the first sight, but when you think about it, if you really want to solve the important issue, then don’t start with the States, start with Africa, there are more severe poverty, education, health issues there, more more more important than 99% of the things we are working on or doing research on here, so why don’t you go ahead and save that part of the world? As long as we can make effort, the difference and the progress we make shouldn’t be devalued. If we just gonna eliminate things that provide add-on values to  this world, then alright, let’s get rid of arts, music, the majority of social sciences, let’s just keep the hard core science part and start working on that from Africa then.

We can’t stop contributing or making changes just because it seems to be not the way that will make the biggest difference.  Moreover, there’s no ruler measurement of which way/field is making the largest contribution,  any field could, in theory. Each of those approaches need to be respected and appreciated.

Don’t know if I’ve gone tooooo far in this HCI mania mindset. I guess some parts, I am also just trying to be the devil’s advocate.  The forced justification of a field that I am going to say Goodbye soon…  so ridiculous.  What i am doing here ?!


Opened an online radio station, was just trying to take a break from the thesis revisions, so the song 无条件为你 came out all of a sudden. There are songs like this, contain rich memories hooks that you just couldn’t resist but to remember all those times, colors, sounds or even smells attached to it. Memories that’ll never go away. Good memories though, for this one.

Fish Leung is no doubt one of my favorite Female Chinese singers.  I didn’t fall for her at the first place as I thought her songs were too sweet and “girly”.

So I participated in this college Karaoke contest. God, I was young then. Five years ago, when there’s not much public flush for the “American Idol” kinds of TV shows.  A Karaoke contest was all we could ask for as a platform to share our music and voices.

Da Ge (or I should say Mr.Tatsu Li :P) came to me after the preliminary and said, ” i like your voice, but you know what, you should be sing Leung’s song. not some ordinary pop craps…”

My first two reactions were: 1. Who the hell are you?! 2. Aren’t her songs those pop craps as well?

It turned out that I was wrong about both. He started conducting the chorus in my college two years later, and I became a huge fan of Leung since then…


Somehow, he talked me into this, the song “无条件为你” was the one he recommended me to sing in the final round.  My roommates were like, he’s definitely into you, so that’s why he wanted to find some topics to have conversations with you, spend time with you. Maybe, maybe not? I am not sure, but all we talked about was indeed the music and how the song can be better interpreted and delivered. Nothing else, and I did like the way how he corrected the way I sang, as he continued doing so in the chorus later on, to a group of 50 people. Didn’t like the song at the first sight actually, the lyrics and the rhythm didn’t stand out, her high pitch wasn’t stable as well. One of her early works, indeed. Not sure why, I felt somehow connected to this song. Did spend three days, learning and practice it. It was really kind of risky, to perform a total new song on the stage in three days?

So the freshmen Sally performed it three days later in the college auditorium. I still keep the video for that performance. I looked so “awkward” on the stage, wearing an ugly black vest and a white sweater or something (?), standing there still,  didn’t how to move or where to move at all. But the voice was clear, not beautiful though, but clear. I remember I didn’t see any of the audience, cause somehow they were all “blocked” by some kind of white smoke set by the stage staff… trying to create a sense of mystery or romance for the song or whatever? LOL  Although didn’t win a super great prize or title or something out of that very very first try, but of all those times I had performed in that auditorium, that was the time I remembered the most.

Tatsu’s in Kyoto now, doing his master in some kind of digital design. I doubt he’ll ever get a chance to read this (he’s never into English, only Japanese for him…)

But, Tatsu, if you do read this, thank you for introducing this beautiful voice to my life and, more importantly, helping me learn my own voice at the very first place 🙂

My CHI2010 Day 2

– 依然早起听madness,所谓madness就是,每个presenter需要把自己30分钟talk的内容在30秒内表达完,并且达到吸引audience的效果,这点老美明显比亚裔们做得好,但凡是个亚裔上去,那绝对是念30秒,slide也无聊,但老美一上台就又唱又跳,根本不说talk内容,以吸引眼球为priority…

– 听完madness之后,偶当下就伪学术了一下,设想有个cultural study,样本是一群中国人和一群美国人,所有人首先只看文本的title和abstract,让他们对talk有个大致了解,通常人们都会选和自己兴趣相关的session去听,然后让他们看一遍这些author千奇百怪的madness presentation,其中可能与他们research interest相关的talk的作者present得非常无聊,而talk内容与他们research相关度不大的作者反倒在madness表现出色,看上去很有意思,看看有多少中国人,有多少美国人会最终改变选择,去听有意思但和自己研究不相关的talk… 那么hypothesis就是,中国人比较难以受到author的present style的影响,更重视内容,而美国人比较容易受到author style的影响,容易改变主意吧。

– Action Shot,昨天CMU做personal informatics的另一个talk,是他在IBM Almaden做intern的时候做的project,还是帮助task memory和resumption的,感觉此人还是挺靠谱的,两个project都很有可取之处,比大多水talk好多了.

– Sharing in Social Media这个session蛮不错的,其实这里的social media并非是我们所谓的Facebook, twitter,更多的是针对企业内部的file sharing system,几个talk都将文件的organization, labeling和sharing联系起来,通过devise一下简单的tool,让人们更加方便快捷的在企业内部共享并且搜索信息。比较有意思的一个study的finding是,当人们给文件取名字的时候,当知道是要给别人看的时候,和只是给自己用的时候,取的名字是完全不一样的… 在该talk的reference list上俨然看到了牛人fussell姐在1989年写的一篇paper… 果然是在该领域混了很久的鼻祖类型的人物…

– Poster Session,好水好水的内容配上好傻好傻的我… 来来回回都是一堆日本来的大叔大婶在我poster面前逛,看来果然还是他们比较注重efficiency这个概念,但我实在实在是听不懂日本英语,所以我seriously怀疑我有没有听懂他们问的问题…

在Poster前dan bi期间,还认识了清华美院毕业,后来去韩国念书,后来又来CMU交换的JX;Virginia Tech的WRR姐姐;GaTech的Chris;还有一巴西来的豪放女教授… 穿着及其暴露,搞得连我都没心介绍poster了…

– 电梯间,本次conference遇见的最神奇的人物(注意,没有之一)出场了… 首先是xuan姐跟我在电梯上碰到一韩国大叔,xuan姐因为做志愿者的原因跟大叔认识,于是仨人就在电梯里开始寒暄,韩国大叔一副泡菜吃多了的感觉,长得瘦小而干瘪,扁平的眼镜俨然打出的是聚光灯(眼睛缝太小…),我们住三层,电梯到二层,因为有人按的原因,停了,一堆人以为已经是三层,一哄而出… 发现是二层,又一哄而入… 这下发现前面站着个小哥,背着的书包口还大开,就好心提醒了下,于是小哥把书包口拉上,也加入了我们和泡菜大叔的“寒暄”…

– 一聊,发现小哥也是泡菜国来的,第一眼看并没觉得怎样,而且一上来就煞有介事的跟我们讨论research interest,一问居然是MIT Media Lab的Ishii的master学生,我和xuan姐当场就被震了,马上陷入对Ishii大牛无限的憧憬中,结果泡菜小哥并没有我们想象中那么被他导师光环所笼罩,只是一个劲的说,“恩还好还好,他好严,不太喜欢我做的东西.” 然后就掏出iphone跟我们展示他做的在平面上进行3D绘图的一套工具的video。看video就已经觉得效果蛮神奇的了,说是也是个work-in-progress(看完之后我顿时觉得我这水project也能被选,真是走了XX运了)。感觉conference还是个挺诡异的social networking的scenario,一堆素昧平生的人见面没五分钟,就可以揽上一些common ground开始dan bi… 不同之处在于我dan的比较没有技术含量…

– 看完video之后,我和xuan姐在心里把泡菜小哥直接改名为MIT天才小少年。他背景跟weiwei哥还蛮像的,都是在日本上了四年本科,然后来美国读研,虽然现在在MS program里,正准备申Ishii的PhD. 这边我们仨讨论research interest讨论high了,那边泡菜大叔很无趣,插不上话,只能做背景,还要配合着我们面露微笑,估计实在是忍不住了,在我们讨论tangible interface讨论得正high的时候,突然out of no where来了一句:“I am gonna have dinner with my uncle tonight…” 大概有几秒钟吧,大家稍微石化了一下,然后继续ignore他…

– 泡菜大叔这瓶酱油真的打得好辛苦… LOL

– IBM China:  因为group project的原因,和xuan跑去听了IBM China的一个talk “Supporting Coordinated Collaborative Authoring in Wikis”,其实跟我们做的course project非常像,是否有必要将每一个group member的work progress实时的display给peers/managers,这样对于collaboration的progress有怎样的影响,跟我们的idea重合度很大,他们做的也是一个tool的evaluation。Present的是一个IBM的红衣阿姨,talk完了我们上去chat了一下,其实是想问问有没有intern的可能,阿姨很彪悍说话很直接,把我的M.S.背景直接被BS了,而且一开口就是,给的工资不高,规定时间要完成任务,而且最好要能留下来,intern完想走的免谈…  就剩下xuan姐以PhD背景可以follow up一下了,我就不抱念想了。

– 晚上又是Job Fair,这次忍住没喝酒,发现Fussell姐名号果然好用,一提,好多人认识… 不过感觉这些人过来没几个诚心想招人的,做广告的成分居多。

– Job Fair之后,拽上xuan跟renee, dexin, gongjie找了家downtown ATL的spanish restaurant小腐败了一下,跟renee一起策真是无比享受,并且超佩服她的记性,当年多少事儿的细节都还记得清清楚楚,而且被她articulate得超好玩 😀 xuan姐就俩字评价她了:完美;

– 听完renee和gong jie对他们老板的complain,我和xuan都觉得,对于如此nice如此humane的JB,我们真是have nothing to complain了…

– 晚上回到酒店,接到泡菜小哥的电话,我和xuan姐抱着再苦再累也要见天才小帅哥一面的意志,还是打起精神在酒店hallway里跟他聊了半小时天,并且给了一张第二天晚上Cornell Party的invitation card。晚上这次谈话超诡异,明明三个人都很困很想睡觉了,泡菜小哥一直处于不断揉眼睛打哈欠的状态,但是谈话却一直还在继续,而且话题一直围绕在“今天听了什么有意思的talk”“明天准备去听什么talk”… 我都服了,果然是MIT的…

– 最搞的一幕出现在,在大家都已经困的不行的状态,泡菜小哥问,明天你们的party在哪儿,我们说,不是invitation上面都写了的?他开始掏口袋找刚拿到的那张card,然后开始念… Francois… 拿过来一看,居然掏出的是Francois的名片… (接下来又讨论了数分钟Francois和其手下韩国大姐的research),直到大家实在不行了,才回房睡觉…

– 当韩国三好学生碰上中国三好学生…

My CHI2010 – Day 1

-居然不要show ID,直接报名字就可以register…

– 今年CHI的logo是大绿,志愿者衣服的颜色却通红,这帮老美怎么想的。

– Opening Plenary搞得很fancy,好像又把我带回了三年前在Seoul的Imagine Cup,当年是MS的Joe Wilson在台上忽悠大学生,现在是Intel的Genevieve Bell在上面忽悠台下的PhD和professor们。Genevieve是Intel做HCI方面的research scientist,user experience的director。

这边做HCI research出身的大拿有两个极端,一端是工程实干型,以小日本Hiroshi Ishii为典型代表(类似Cornell的Francois),不强求解释,用fancy的design搞定user,另一端是社科理论型,以想法设法understand user为目的,我们系的fussell姐和Hancock哥是也,做key note的这位Genevieve就是后一类,拿着Stanford的人类学的PhD,在Intel里充当一个“思考者”和“定位者”的角色。

这届的CHI貌似“阴气”很重,不仅chair是个GaTech的女教授,Genevieve也是个女researcher,一上来就讲了很多怎么understand female user的轶事。Key note的主题并不新颖,无非是在这个技术不断变化的社会中,怎么用一种cultural approach来重新解读用户,定位技术发展方向;企业和学术界应当抱着怎样的“人文关怀”来协同缩小贫富差距,帮助不同地域不同文化背景的人在这个时代更好的embrace technology。同样的topic,可以被讲的很无趣,好在她的风格很casual,加上浓重的澳洲口音很重和在intel积累多年的研究轶事,她讲得信手拈来,我们听得也甚为轻松。什么时候public speaking能到这种程度,稳而不平,活而不散,就可以了。

– 第一个session先去听了个关于large display的talk,想着跟我thesis的peripheral display有点关系,不过比较失望,不过是把几个大屏幕连接起来,让用户更好的进行task或program定位(其实后来想想,这几天听的conference talk,大凡都是名字catchy,内容so so的,自己的poster那更是不值一提)

-Multitasking,又是一个和Awareness和Interruption相关的session,有个GaTech的小哥搞了个visual note taking tool来帮助用户缩短返回primary task的时间,不过是专门面对programmer。

– Multitask Bar,才知道中山大学的英文名是Sun Yat-Sen University,开始还以为是某台湾大学,不过听presenter的口音实在是很大陆,看了几页slide,终于看见“中山大学”的logo。感觉直接从国内出来还能拿到honorable mention,还是挺牛的,而且用的research method很有国外的风格,与国内务实的HCI差异颇大,我本以为是在北美这边PhD毕业,回国发展的海归,session结束后聊了聊,才知道是“土鳖”CS PhD,中山大学的讲师。

挺不容易的,那得在国内啃多少英文的CHI文献啊…聊得过程中才得知,国内不是不能搞这个,而是大家还没买empirical user study的帐,一搞就是算法优化,paper看不到公式推导通常都被认为很水。类似于美国学术界这种搞一搞user study,整一个tool出来,然后再做做user experience evaluation的东西,国内的老教授们基本认为是che dan… 其实我自己有时候也不免会这么认为,只是可能没那么极端,我不认为这种user evaluation的approach能解决所有问题,甚至我怀疑它是否能够to some extent解决问题,但若能发现问题,那也是好的。


– The tower of Babel是northwestern的Gergle和他的学生做的一个关于wikipedia的多语种研究,之前看paper的时候觉得好炫,听talk觉得再水的analysis也可以被包装得很炫… 不过他们的角度选的很好,是一篇角度新颖却中规中矩的文章,我的Multilingual Facebook study能做的有他们一半我就谢天谢地了。

– 听Language 2.0的时候又想到Fussell姐的三个cultural differences的level,values -> social norms -> cognitive patterns…

– Personal Informatics,跟Dan Bi哥课上的final project还蛮相关的,还做了不少笔记… 想着回头跟xuan姐汇报的,信息的collection, integration和reflection也是我们想做的方面,a way to increase self-awareness放到group context就变成了progress awareness, collaboration awareness。present的这个CMU的小哥,怎么看都是个ABC, 但英文不知为何说的还一顿一顿的…

– 晚上的reception有一些dip food,不多,不过也饿不着了。

– Exhibition有很多companies,虽不至于是recruiter,但也算是networking不错的机会,本来是想好好谈一谈的,结果没想到我喝了半杯tonic+pineapple juice之后就满脸通红…

– Exihibition上超多eye tracker companies,有一家最牛的是Tobii,直接把calibration process减少到半分钟,捕捉也很精准,如果JB当年多花点钱买这个,我的thesis study应该会少很多pain…

– 本次conference碰到很多神奇的人… 这算是第一位:澳大利亚的挖矿gg,饶有兴致的跟我介绍了半天他们怎么用eye tracker挖矿… 亚洲面孔,一直在说英文,但听口音又分不出是半路出国还是怎么回事,我也只能用英文打哈哈…

– Conference的第一天过得最健康了…  exihibition结束之后居然就直接会room了… 打开电视还发现是FOX上24最新一集的首播,很是happy的看了整集,就是xuan姐稍微惨了点儿,在完全没搞清楚剧情的情况下陪我看了四十五分钟,边看还边complain,怎么这么多缩写啊,又是CTU,又是IRK的…

[译文] 2010年移动营销五个趋势:你的便携电子设备将如何改变?

再不更新都要长草了,昨天在做dan bi哥的作业,设计一个与location和personal information相关的mobile app的design,想起这篇老文,直接先过来,顺便提醒一下自己好久没有给puting的socialbeta投送文章了,最近两天应该找时间做一下。

翻译自MobileBehavior网站,原文链接:Mobile Trends for 2010: How the Computer in Your Pocket Is Changing

1. 移动技术会给本地广告商户与其潜在用户的沟通渠道带来完全的变革


一些基于地理定位(GPS)的服务给这些小规模的针对性很强的营销者们提供了一些颇具吸引力的新选择。例如,Foursquare允许小型商家根据用户与店面的物理距离来提供不一样的促销活动。这些促销可以针对用户周边的环境,朋友,其个人喜好等等。一款相类似的服务,Gowalla则实验性的将印有商家品脾的徽章(branded badges)和礼品结合在营销中。用户可以通过在某一个特定的地点来登记和领取自己的徽章(check-in)从而来赢取奖品。谷歌也在积极的将本地商户在Google Map上的信息移植到移动平台上(place pages)。广告商可以自己设置自己的Google Map页面,加入相关促销活动,甚至在页面中加入二维条形码(QR code)从而引导用户访问他们的页面。


2. 支持移动购物的应用程序会逐渐成熟:由于消费在移动终端变得可能,传统入店购物的消费者行为将会受到极大影响

市面上已经有一大批的手机应用程序(application)可以使消费者的购物过程变得更有效率,也更有意思。首先,一系列类似于Shop Savvy, Red LaserAmazon Mobile之类的application可以让人们在手机上进行商品价格比较。非常实用的一个功能是 – 这些application可以让人们将可以在附近店面买得到的某种商品和同类商品的网购价格进行比较(Sally: 我想很多人都会和我一样,常常在店面看到中意的商品,然后纠结半天到底是回家上Amazon订一个还是干脆买了,我比较没耐性… 常常就直接买了)。

类似于FashismBazzar Voice’s MobileVoice的application则会提供给用户产品的相关评论和用户反馈。对于市场营销而言,这种类型的apps可以很有效的将某种产品和品牌灌输给潜在用户(raise the awareness),并且在用户的购买决策过程中起到比较关键的作用。


在购买之前查看手机的行为也会给商家们带来一个新的营销平台 – 商户们可以给用户们发送基于他们之前购物记录历史的,更为个性化的购买建议。所有上述的应用程序将会给客户关系管理(Consumer Relationship Management),特别是品牌忠诚度培养(brand loyalty programs)带来前所未有的渠道和机遇。

3. 品牌和厂商会设计更多的与品牌相关的应用程序,同时会拥有更多的媒体展示的方式(thanks to Google)

2009年,有不少品牌都急着通过推出相关应用程序来抢滩移动市场。而在现在这个日趋拥挤的营销平台上,商家们更多的需要的是对用户的购买行为的关注。谷歌意识到这一点,这也就是为什么他们最近收购了AdMob,他们希望从真正掌握媒体的内容。谷歌还通过让可以支持广告的应用程序在Android平台上运行起来更比在iphone平台上更方便,从而建立起了他们的应用程序内容网络(application content network)。 这些都是为了更有效的在移动平台上搭建起Adsense可以运行的环境。

几家主要的通讯运营商和手机制造商都定下了一系列在2010年推广Android相关产品的计划,所以我们大致可以预见在2010年底Android将在用户使用率上逐渐赶上iphone。基于网络的Android的应用程序商店由于没有iTunes’ 桌面应用程序商店(desktop app store)在普通电脑上的运用,所以还需要给予用户一段时间来适应。如果谷歌能够改善这一个环节,那么应用程序开发者们就会更多的把开发Android相关产品提上日程。

4. 广告商的户外展示平台将成为另一个与消费者沟通的渠道 – 具体的营销效果也可以在这个渠道中得到预计


户外的数码产品,手机在很大程度上改变了广告商对于用户品牌忠诚度的预测。利用手机或其他便携设备,曾经被动的广告观看者可以实实在在的和广告进行交互。例如,Toyota发布了一个iPhone app可以让用户在纽约时代广场的大型电子显示屏上画画。耐克的“Chalkbot”能够让自行车迷们通过短信和推特来给环法自行车的赛车手们发送支持信息。Vans的”Be Here”让用户们提交与品牌相关的视频、照片或者短信,从而可以在时代广场上的大型数码显示屏进行展示。综上所述,mobile就像是胶水将户外和网络联系在了一起。事实上,真正有潜力的户外广告是将数码世界和物质世界在结合起来的。这将潜移默化的使得曾经针对性较低的大众媒介的广告变成基于个人用户手机使用行为的个性化有的放矢的营销。

5. 消费者也拥有了随时随地发表自己看法意见的权利 – 聪明的营销人员会尽可能的鼓励消费者们的这种即时反馈


最好的公司已经通过倾听并且基于用户的反馈做出相应改变来完成这个营销回路(close the loop)。有些更是精心设计applications和相关服务来收集这些用户意见。Taxihack是一个能让乘客实时评论纽约市出租车司机服务的application. SeeClickFix and CitySourced都让用户们可以使用移动application向政府部门来报告路上的坑洞或是不雅的墙上的涂鸦。AT&T最近在iphone上使用了一个类似的application,Mark the Spot,来让用户们报告他们遇到的无线信号较弱的地区。


不管是在移动平台上特别设计一个用户回馈渠道,或者是依赖于twitter一类的即时评论平台,一个日渐清晰的事实是更多的品牌将建构并且完善用户的回馈回路(feedback loop)。我们所面临的挑战其实更多的来自企业内部,如何设立一个有效的平台来确保企业们能够听到用户的声音并且基于回馈有所作为。