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Jonathan Grudin <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 15 Jan 2000 09:38:42 -0800
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Submission deadline: June 30, 2000


A Special Issue of ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI)
Editors: Peter Thomas, Robert Macredie and Bonnie Nardi

Usability engineering has now reached the stage of a mature industry
with a stable set of objectives, processes and common knowledge.
Usability has now effectively been productized to assist companies in
making a differentiated customer offering in a fiercely competitive
technology marketplace. In an environment where information
technologies are treated as commodities, usability is now a key
factor in a product's success, and consumer expectations are that
products will have usability engineered-in.

However, the object of usability has dramatically changed. Far from
being only a key issue in the design of workstation/PC-based software
applications and office-based peripherals and devices, usability is
now an central issue in the design of a vast range of technologies,
particularly handheld and mobile personal systems used away from the
organization, and in new application scenarios, particularly
internet-based e-commerce applications accessed from the home and the

There is now a question mark over whether established usability
engineering methodologies will be suited to emerging technologies and
applications and to the business contexts in which they will be
developed and applied to the market. Usability issues are
increasingly demanding and complex, since emerging systems and
applications have a broader user base, a wider range of uses and more
demanding user expectations. Dramatically shortened product
timescales, the explosion of digital media content and a move toward
mass consumer markets has had the result that communications and
computing products will be selected for their ability to deal with
the latest content in a highly usable fashion. This means that
usability is of key strategic importance in product design.

The discontinuity between between emerging technologies and the
current usability engineering approaches will be explored in the
special issue of TOCHI. Specifically the issue will explore what form
a 'New Usability' will take, and how The New Usability may be far
more successful in creating highly-usable products and services than
is possible by attempting to apply the existing approaches .
Contributions which take a strong stance on the New Usability issue
are welcomed, as are empirical papers which report on the application
of the New Usability in application areas such as interactive TV,
mobile and personal systems, embedded computing , ubiquitous and
context-aware computing, domestic computing technologies and Internet

All contributions will be rigorously peer reviewed to the usual
exacting standard of TOCHI. Further information, including TOCHI
submission procedures and advice on formatting and preparing your
manuscript, is found at <>. Please indicate
in your cover letter that you are submitting for the special issue on
"The New Usability."
To discuss a possible contribution, please contact:

Peter Thomas <[log in to unmask]>
Robert Macredie <[log in to unmask]>
Bonnie Nardi <[log in to unmask]> (TOCHI Associate Editor)

The deadline for contributions is June 30, 2000.

Jonathan Grudin, Editor, ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
Jonathan Grudin, Editor
ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction     Email: [log in to unmask]
Microsoft Research                                   Web:
One Microsoft Way                                     Phone: (425) 936-0784
Redmond, WA 98052-6399  USA                             Fax: (425) 936-7329