CHI2003 - New Horizons

Conference Theme & Special Areas

New Horizons

Once upon a time, computers processed data. Our discipline of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) introduced a more human-centered approach: users performed tasks. Next, HCI moved beyond tasks to the everyday activities that embrace them. Computers disappeared from view. HCI focused on people's real work. Then along came broadband networks, multimedia, and mobile devices, and with them came fun, persuasion, outrage, delight, faith, campaigns, satire, lifelong learning, identity, communities and passion. Now, increasingly, we interact to be, not just to do. Interaction no longer just changes things, it changes people. Therefore, CHI 2003 focuses on interactive communication (in any form) and its challenge to HCI. Our discipline must grow to fully support design for new mass media.

Communication informs, engages and persuades, and thus creates new horizons for all human activity. We have already set sail towards these new horizons. The anchor's up, but we don't quite know where we're bound. Come aboard CHI 2003 and help us to steer a course. Bring distant shores into view. Chart new routes to new destinations. Each new route will bring fresh opportunities. Little will remain unchanged - publishing, learning, marketing and politics will all change in the face of disruptive technologies. These changes must be guided by HCI's human perspective and balance. As a result, HCI must be renewed with the fullest understanding of what it is to be human and what our humanity implies for interactive communication in the digital world.

Three special areas support the conference theme of communicating via interactive digital media: mass communication, emotion and e-learning.


E-learning provides opportunities for formal and informal learning, potentially bridging geographic and cultural boundaries, but constrained by factors such as information overload, time constraints, bandwidth, and screen size. When we convene in Fort Lauderdale for CHI 2003, many people who would like to attend can not. With parallel tracks, conference participants miss more sessions than they attend. In addition, the richness of the conference experience and the content and discussions of most sessions are not contained in the proceedings.

This exemplifies the challenge for e-learning today: how can people participate in rich and engaging learning experiences? The role of HCI research and practice in answering this question is to design more usable tools to support online communication and collaboration, to select and orchestrate the use of technologies as appropriate to students, topics, and organizations, and to design, facilitate, and evaluate learner experiences.

We seek to improve e-learning through the HCI concepts of effectiveness and efficiency. We want to bring e-learning technologies and approaches to CHI 2003 to provide a richer pre- and post-conference experience. And we want to expand the scope of the conference experience for participants, presenters, and interested people who cannot be in Fort Lauderdale.

When submitting to CHI 2003, be sure to think of ways of contributing to the e-learning experiment, both at CHI 2003 and beyond. Submissions on e-learning topics are especially welcome, particularly where they contribute to our understanding of quality e-learning and better bridges between the e-learning and HCI communities.


Issues of emotion, affective response, and inclusive human concerns are exceedingly important in the HCI community. As people become more sensitive to dimensions of products that go beyond traditional aspects of usability, the need to understand and create emotional and aesthetic resonance between people and technology products increases. However, we have yet to discover a shared understanding and develop a shared language for emotion within the context of design.

The various disciplines involved in Human-Computer Interaction each bring their own theories and languages about emotion to the design and development process. At CHI 2003, we will have a special topic for those working to understand emotion and integrate this understanding into the collaborative design of future technology.

Mass Communication and Interaction

CHI 2003 will also focus on how HCI can respond to the advent of mass communication and interaction in the digital world. Access to information has moved to multiple media (print, computer, cellphones and PDAs) in many forms (Web pages, email, digital facsimiles, time-based media). Information is delivered more often and can be more easily searched. It is more directly accessible and is available in many more places. And it is easier than at any time in history to be a publisher. CHI 2003 will focus on how HCI can respond to these developments.

We encourage submissions that address the implications of mass communication and interaction for HCI research and practice. How can HCI techniques help us understand the ways in which people are adapting to the changing information landscape, how they are managing information, turning it into knowledge, and sharing it? How can HCI approaches to user behavior and cognition help to create publication forms that are better suited to the people who use them, and that are easy to adopt and learn? And how can HCI methods be used to create new forms of knowledge sharing, building on the interactions within human networks, that can effectively take human understanding forward?