UCLan to bring global computer interaction experts together for annual event

05 September 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

UCLan organises annual Human-Computer Interaction conference

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) will bring together computer experts from around the world next week at the annual British Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Conference organised by the University’s Child Computer Interaction Group (ChiCI).

The British HCI Conference will be held in Southport from the 9 – 12 September and has been organised this year by four academics from ChiCI. The event will draw together global experts who study how computers and computer technology can be made more useful to humans.

HCI relates to all kinds of users, from children to the elderly, and technologies, from mobile apps and social networking to Google Glass. The goal of HCI can be summarised as making technology more useful and less annoying for its users. Good HCI is evident in devices such as the iPad that can easily be used by everyone from toddlers to grandparents, and when we find we can use our new smart TV or smart watch without reading the instructions it’s usually good HCI at work.

As this year’s conference will be held in the seaside town of Southport, the theme is sand, sea and sky.

"The responsibility of the HCI community is to concentrate not on what the technology can do but on what experience the technology can bring."

Professor in Child Computer Interaction at UCLan Janet Read commented: “Much of our computer use these days is for leisure and downtime. We use technology to plan our holidays with sites like Expedia and Trip Advisor and we use technology to capture our holidays using phones and cameras. The gestures we use on phones came about from HCI research, we use technology during our holidays including e- readers and music players and there are still design challenges to make these products more useful, easier to use and more appealing.

“The next generation of technologies include foldable displays, smart materials and organic interfaces - a holiday rock pool could become an augmented space, a kite could trace out a poem in the sky or a postcard could be a media package. The responsibility of the HCI community is to concentrate not on what the technology can do but on what experience the technology can bring; anyone with a teenager wired into a music player will know that technology can be used in so many different contexts that this has to be a complex space to study.”

The conference will look closely at social and online communication, emotions, health and well-being, gaming and children and teenagers to name a few.

Since its establishment in 1985, the British HCI Conference has become the leading annual HCI conference in Europe.