Dr. Shumin Zhai (Google Research)

Title: Advancing a science and engineering approach to human-computer interaction research and development

Engineering is often understood by many as building things whereas its complete definition is "applying scientific principles to design or develop structures, machines, apparatus, or processes". Such an engineering approach to user interfaces and interactive system research and development can be traced to the founding of Human-Computer Interaction as a separate academic field. However to date such an approach is still underdeveloped and only practiced in limited areas. In this talk I will highlight a few projects my colleagues and I have pursued in the last 15 years in our attempts to both strengthen the scientific foundations of HCI and to apply such knowledge to develop advanced user interfaces. I believe great advances and impacts of the science and engineering approach to HCI should be expected thanks to large scale data connectivity, computational learning, and new insights into user behavior.


Shumin Zhai is a scientist at Google where he leads research and development of advanced mobile user interfaces.  Prior to joining Google in January  2011, he worked at the IBM Almaden Research center on both foundational issues of user interfaces such as laws of action and the cognitive aspects of gesture UI and practical innovations such as FonePal and the ScrollPoint mouse. He originated and led the ShapeWriter project that pioneered the touchscreen gesture keyboard paradigm. His work has produced a large number of papers, patents, media reports in for example the New York Times and the BBC, and most importantly products used by millions of users. He regularly serves on boards and committees of the HCI field and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction. Among the first to enter universities through the competitive national entrance examination in 1977 after the 10 year Cultural Revolution, Shumin started his academic and research career in China in 1984 after receiving his master's degree. He earned his Ph.D. degree at the University of Toronto in 1995. In 2006, he was named one of ACM's inaugural class of Distinguished Scientists. In 2010 he was named a Fellow of the ACM and Member of the CHI Academy.

Dr. Yuichiro Anzai (Keio University)

Title: Design and Management of Human-Computer Interactive Systems with Cognitive Decisions as Intervening Variables

The March 11 2011 Earthquake revealed that human decisions are critical intervening variables for complex interactive systems such as those for emergency evacuation from tsunami and nuclear power plant disastrous situations. The design, as well as management, of any system that includes the interaction of humans and computers, or the human-human interaction via computers, from disaster prevention to smart phones to computer entertainment, must consider cognitive characteristics of human users of the system, from security experts to cell phone users to children who like to play games on computers. This talk summarizes a wide spectrum of research results in cognitive science on cognitive characteristics in human decision making, recommends that the ubiquitous human cognitive nature should be seriously considered in the system design and management, and suggests possible future directions of activities for researchers and developers in interactive system design.


Yuichiro Anzai has worked on cognitive and computer sciences for more than thirty-five years. He started research on human cognitive processes and machine learning in mid 1970’s, and spent 1976-78 and 1981-82 at Carnegie-Mellon University as a post-doc and a visiting assistant professor, respectively. After coming back to his country, he has kept working on learning and problem solving as well as doing extensive research on human-robot interaction since 1991. He published numerous academic papers and books, including Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning (Academic Press), Concepts and Characteristics of Knowledge-based Systems (co-ed, Elsevier Science) and Symbiosis of Human and Artifact Vols. 1 and 2 (co-ed, Elsevier Science).

Also Anzai spent eight years as Dean of Faculty of Science and Technology, Keio University (1993-2001), then eight more years as President of the same university (2001-09), while he led with his colleagues a large-scale commemorative project and fundraising campaign for Keio’s 150th anniversary. In October last year he accepted the present position of President, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the representative research funding agency in Japan that covers more than a half of the competitive research funds of the government, while keeping the status of Executive Academic Advisor for Keio University.

Anzai works now also as Chairman of University Council, Central Council for Education, Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, Sports and Technology (MEXT), as well as others. His past public contribution includes Advisor to MEXT (2010-11), Chairperson of Association of Pacific Rim Universities (2008-09), Member of the Science Council of Japan (2005-11), President of the Information Processing Society of Japan (2005-07) and Japanese Cognitive Science Society (1993-94), and President of Japan Association of Private Universities and Colleges (2003-09).

Anzai has received many awards, including Medal with Purple Ribbon from Japanese government for his academic contribution to informatics, Commandeur de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques from French government for his contribution to Japan-France academic collaboration, and honorary doctoral degrees from Yonsei University in Seoul and École Centrale de Nantes in Nantes. He received M.S. in 1971 and Ph.D. in 1974 from Keio University.

Dr. Marc Hassenzahl (Folkwang University)

Title: Shaping experiences – Technology for all the right reasons

Nowadays, it is not only about the functionality of an interactive product, but the experience it provides. The difference is profound. Instead of solely focusing form, materiality, and instrumentality, researchers and practitioners now embrace emotions, story, and meaning. By this, a good part of interactive products become intangible – the experiences created or mediated through the product. I argue that those experiences must be designed, too. They must be an explicit objective of design, not only an appreciated by-product. In other words, they must be considered before the product. In this view, experiences are stories told through the product and the designer is foremost an author of those stories. Only after having outlined the desired emotional and cognitive content of an experience, the action involved, its context and temporal structure, we may start designing the product. And then, each and every detail (content, functionality, presentation, interaction) has to be scrutinized according to its potential to create or destroy the desired experience.

Shaping experiences requires a profound knowledge of the psychology of pleasure, intrinsic motivation, happiness and well-being and practical expertise with putting this knowledge into action. This keynote motivates Experience Design and highlights emerging themes as well as the consequences of pursuing these themes for the way future technologies will be.


Marc Hassenzahl is Professor and head of the "Experience Design" group at the Folkwang University of Art in Essen, Germany. His research interests revolve around the positive aspects of interactive products, their beauty and the question of how to design for positive experiences. In 2010 he published "Experience Design: Technology for All the Right Reasons" (Morgan&Claypool). Take a look at for further information.

Dr. Asako Kimura (Ritsumeikan University)

Title: How to make user interface intuitive?

Computers are widely used in various fields. The more widespread the utilization of the computers becomes, the more intuitive and natural the user interfaces (UI) should be to the users. Then how can we achieve such UIs? One of the effective strategies to materialize such UIs is to make use of the users' experiences in everyday life. Users’ routine experiences would lead them to guess how to operate the UI and what might happen as a result of their input. Therefore, we have been working on the UIs paying special attention to the utilization of the users’ everyday-life experiences. Our approach consists of the following two concepts;

  1. Utilize metaphors of actions and tools which are familiar in everyday life.
  2. Express those metaphors with various modalities such as visions, sounds and senses of touch.

In this speech, I would like to introduce our UIs in detail.


Asako Kimura is an Associate Professor at the Department of Media Technology, Ritsumeikan University, Japan. She received BS in 1996 from Osaka University and MS in 1998 and Ph.D. in 2001 from the graduate school of engineering science, Osaka University. She taught there from 2000-2003 before coming to Ritsumeikan University. She was concurrently a special project associate in Biomedical Imaging Resource Laboratory at Mayo Clinic from 2001-2002, and a Sakigake Researcher of PRESTO Japan Science and Technology Agency from 2006-2010. Her research interest includes human-computer interaction, tangible interface and mixed reality.