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Featured Community


Message from the HCI For Development (HCI4D) Community Chairs

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are increasingly used and appropriated by communities and other stakeholders in low-resource contexts around the world to improve education, healthcare, and lives. Yet, we lack a sufficiently rigorous evidence base that policymakers, practitioners and researchers can draw on to design and apply ICTs for maximum positive social impact. Most importantly, over the decades, human-computer interaction (HCI) has successfully contributed to our methodological toolkit for user-centered, data-driven design; and how decisions in technology design influence technology usage, adoption and the resulting social consequences. With a HCI orientation, we advance the discourse about “ICTs in development” by recognizing that technology is neither culturally-neutral, static nor deterministic.

The HCI4D community welcomes everyone who is interested in the role of technology in diverse domains such as, but not limited to: conflict zones; early-grade reading; infant mortality; rural and urban community development; strengthening human institutions; and resource-constrained, disenfranchised and marginalized populations. In short, we invite practitioners and researchers who are interested in working at the intersection of HCI and socioeconomic development. We expect members to come from various geographic regions and backgrounds such as anthropology, computer science, economics, education, international development, psychology, and sociology, among others. By being inclusive, we look forward to members engaging with one another in a dialogue that builds on our collective diverse experiences, and in turn strengthening the evidence base for ICTs to impact development in more positive ways.

Introduction to the HCI4D Featured Community

The concept of Featured Communities was first introduced at CHI 2012 and is more domain-oriented than the cross-cutting Core Communities. The HCI4D Featured Community offers members with the opportunity to community members to incubate their work and allow the community to grow. More specifically, we strive to provide individuals interested in this field with an opportunity to present and discuss their work.

Our community emerges from a need to mobilize more members in the growing HCI4D community through face-to-face interactions.  While our name (Human-Computer Interaction for Development) may imply a focus on computer interfaces, we intend for the HCI4D community to refer to and include human-centered design and other work that share a common focus on socio-economic development. Other terms encompassed within this community include Human-Computer Design for Development (HCD4D) and User-Centered Design for Development (UCD4D). While “development” has a controversial history, we take it to mean working with people in any underserved population to empower them, regardless of geography.

Our community aims to pursue the following goals:

  1. Strengthen research and the evidence base in HCI4D
  2.  Improve capacity of universities in developing countries to engage in HCI research and education
  3. Advocate for HCI research and practice in the global development community (including the domains outlined above), and to promote the increased use of user-centered design in developing regions
  4. Reflect on and advocate for HCI4D as part of the ACM SIGCHI community

To this end, we invite others to join us and submit original work to our CHI2013 featured community. To join the community, and to learn more about our activities, please visit: http://www.sigchi.org/communities/hci4d

Types of Submission for the HCI4D Community

The HCI4D Featured Community at CHI 2013 invites works reporting issues of importance within the community. Initially, these include the following:

1.     An understanding of HCI4D and why it matters to the larger CHI community. HCI4D has taught us that our methods and their outcomes are, inevitably, shaped by the settings in which we work. For this reason, we underscore the critical role of reflection on the ways we understand context when developing and testing artifacts. In addition, these designed artifacts may provoke conversations of interest to the Design community.

2.     The extension of traditional HCI tools and methods for use in broader contexts. Methods typically used in HCI have been shown to breakdown in HCI4D settings. We invite work that discusses this outside the HCI4D community and explore the need to adapt our methods.

3.     Documenting lessons learned and failures such that they can inform design. HCI4D design environments are very diverse, resulting in both successes and failures. The reflection on “failures” can provide us with deep insights. We may find that projects work in one setting but not another. We want to engage the CHI community in dialog about how to learn from these lessons.

This is only an initial outline of some the issues that are considered of interest to this community, but they are by no means the only ones. An overarching theme is the inclusion of people from populations we aim to support. Including such people brings deeper insights about end-users, helping to avoid hubris and staying on course with the goals of the community.

Preparing your Submission for the HCI4D Community

Interested practitioners and researchers are invited to advance any of the above goals by submitting case studies, full papers & notes, workshop proposals and course proposals. We encourage interested participants to start working on their submissions as early as possible before the respective CHI 2013 deadlines. (Note: The co-chairs are planning to submit a proposal for a Special Interest Group meeting on HCI4D at CHI 2013. If you would like to help with the proposal and shape this event, please contact the co-chairs at HCI4D@chi2013.acm.org.)

For tips on creating effective HCI4D submissions, see the Guide to a Successful CHI Submission, and previous HCI4D-related CHI submissions.  You can find HCI4D papers previously published at CHI in the ACM Digital Library.  You may also find it helpful to refer to What Constitutes Good ICTD Research? (Burrell, Toyama, ITID 2009) for criteria more specific to development-related research, as well as pointers to related papers. Human-Computer Interaction for Development: The Past, Present, and Future (Ho, Smyth, Kam, Dearden, ITID 2009) provides a literature review of and historical background to HCI4D research. In addition to work being done in developing countries, we specifically invite work targeting socio-economic development in underserved communities in any locale.  In general, we welcome submissions that can foster dialogue between community members and facilitate its growth.

Preparing Your Submission

We encourage you to contact us at HCI4D@chi2013.acm.org as soon as possible if you have ideas or questions about submissions. Some of the ways that the co-chairs can support you include: helping you to find appropriate collaborators, sharing their experiences about how similar ideas have fared in previous years, giving feedback for strengthening your submissions, and answering questions about and/or providing assistance with navigating the submission process. We are excited to help you channel your enthusiasm to achieve optimal results for your submission.

When submitting using the PCS online submission system, you will have an opportunity to select the HCI4D Community as a relevant reviewing community.  Please use the term “HCI4D” in the author’s keywords to help us route your submission to qualified reviewers. In addition, we recommend that authors of Papers and Notes submit to the “Specific Application Areas” subcommittee. We encourage you to check the due dates, read the requirements for your contribution, and start early in order to develop a quality submission. You must prepare your submission in the format that is required for each type, i.e. archival format, extended abstracts format, video, etc. Please refer to the pages on the CHI2013 website for more details about formatting guidelines.

Formatting Guidelines

Submissions should follow the CHI 2013 Format appropriate to your submission type.


Melissa Densmore

Microsoft Research India



Matthew Kam

Carnegie Mellon University



Ban Al-Ani

University of California, Irvine