iSchool, UW make another strong showing at CHI

By Doug Parry Friday, April 26, 2019

The University of Washington Information School will again have a prominent presence at the world’s foremost conference on human-computer interaction, with lead authors on a Best Paper Award winner and 17 papers accepted in total at CHI 2019.

Assistant Professor Alexis Hiniker (pictured above) earned a Best Paper Award, given to the top 1 percent of submissions, for her research inventing a technique for using audio recordings to study children’s reactions to technology. The paper, “Anchored Audio Sampling: A Seamless Method for Exploring Children’s Thoughts During Deployment Studies,” describes a method for researchers to improve their data-gathering using audio recordings in studies. Co-authors include computer science Assistant Professor Jon Froelich and iSchool Ph.D. students Mingrui (Ray) Zhang and Erin Beneteau.

Using anchored audio sampling, researchers set a cue – such as a particular word being spoken – to signal that a portion of a recording is of interest for their studies. For example, when an Amazon Echo user says “Alexa,” it signals to researchers that they should focus on the time period immediately before and after that.

Hiniker, who also co-authored four other papers accepted to CHI this year, said the idea behind the research is to gather more accurate data about how people, particularly children, use technology. Audio recordings are a way to gather real-time reactions without being intrusive, and anchored audio sampling allows researchers to focus on the relevant portions of a recording.

“We’re trying to get data from people about their experiences in the field in a really rich, detailed way, so we can understand everything that’s happening as they use technology,” she said.

The technique could help improve how people design technology that adapts to users’ practices. It also raises privacy issues around the collection of recordings, and those concerns are raised in the paper.

Meanwhile, an honorable mention went to iSchool Ph.D. student and Master of Science in Information Management alumnus Justin Petelka, who was the lead author of “Put Your Warning Where Your Link Is: Improving and Evaluating Email Phishing Warnings.” Petelka’s co-authors were Yixin Zou and Florian Schaub of the University of Michigan School of Information.

In addition, several other iSchool students and faculty were the lead authors on papers accepted to the conference. They include Associate Professor Katie Davis; Assistant Professors Jaime Snyder and Jason Yip; Research Associate Pete Krafft, Ph.D. students Abdullah Ali, Erin Beneteau, Alex Kale, Yea Seul Kim, Amanda Menking, Sonali Mishra, Caroline Pitt, Xuhai Xu and Mingrui (Ray) Zhang; and 2018 Ph.D. alumnus Martez Mott. Numerous others represented the iSchool as co-authors.

iSchool Ph.D. alumni Sunny Consolvo, now at Google, and Shaun Kane, now at the University of Colorado-Boulder, also received Best Paper honors.

iSchool Professors Batya Friedman and Jacob O. Wobbrock, along with Jennifer Mankoff, a professor in the Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, are among this year’s eight inductees into the CHI Academy – recognized as the highest honor in the field of human-computer interaction. The inductees will be honored at the ACM CHI Conference in early May in Glasgow, Scotland.

Overall, the UW’s “DUB” (Design + Use + Build) community will have a strong presence at CHI, with UW authors contributing to 63 accepted papers, including five recognized as Best Papers and six honorable mentions, given to the top 5 percent. The contributors represent eight UW departments and programs, showcasing the strength of the university’s HCI research. The UW has now had the most papers accepted to CHI for four consecutive years, with researchers from the iSchool, Human Centered Design & Engineering and the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering leading the way.