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Stephann Makri <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 9 Jun 2011 09:51:26 +0100
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Deadline for position papers extended  - International workshop on
Encouraging Serendipity in Interactive Systems at INTERACT 2011,
Lisbon, Portugal

See the workshop website
( for further details
and 1.5 minute 'workshop in a nutshell' video.

Workshop organisers:
Stephann Makri and Ann Blandford (UCL Interaction Centre), Elaine Toms
and Lori McCay-Peet (iLab, Dalhousie University)

Important dates

Submission of 1-2 page position papers: June 17th 2011 (extended from June 10th)
Notification: July 1st 2011 (remains unchanged)
End of early-bird registration: July 15th 2011
Workshop: All day 5th September 2011 (confirmed date)

Workshop overview

A 1 day workshop at INTERACT 2011 on encouraging serendipity in
interactive systems, focusing on:

- Understanding serendipity
- Designing interactive systems to encourage serendipity
- Evaluating interactive systems that aim to encourage serendipity

About the workshop

We often make serendipitous discoveries (that involve a mix of chance
and insight and lead to a valuable outcome) – particularly when
interacting with information and people. For example, consider finding
a useful article for a paper you are currently writing while
researching a different topic entirely, meeting someone with mutual
business or research interests in an unlikely place (e.g. at a
conference on a different subject), or applying for a job position
after being approached by a company that notices your enthusiastic
tweets on Twitter.

Interactive systems cannot directly ‘induce’ serendipity. Indeed, it
can be argued that even ‘designing to encourage’ it is an oxymoron; as
soon as serendipity is ‘engineered’ into a system, discoveries might
cease to be regarded as serendipitous (even if they lead to a valuable
outcome). This is because the system is likely to reduce the amount of
chance and insight involved in the serendipitous discovery simply by
helping to encourage it. So how can we harness the potential of this
fleeting concept? How can we best design interactive systems that
surprise and delight users without devaluing users’ perceptions of the
role of chance or insight? And how can we best evaluate the success of
the systems we design if by designing to encourage serendipity, we
might actually make the resultant discoveries appear to be less
serendipitous than if they had been made without our assistance? With
these tensions in mind, this workshop will identify key requirements
and research challenges for designing and evaluating user-centred
systems that aim to encourage serendipity.

Rather than involving a series of presentations, the workshop will be
hands-on and discussion-focused. In the morning, we will discuss the
current state-of-the-art for understanding serendipity, designing to
encourage it and evaluating the success of interactive systems that
aim to encourage it. In the afternoon we will undertake a group design
activity in order to consider how serendipity might be enabled by
future technologies.

For more information about the workshop, see the 'more about the
workshop' section of the workshop website

About your position paper

Prospective attendees should submit a 1-2 page position paper in
Microsoft Word or PDF format by e-mail to Stephann Makri
([log in to unmask]) by 17th June 2011. There is no set format for
position papers.

Your position paper should include an explanation of your
serendipity-related interests and an example of serendipity either
based on your research or everyday life (text and/or images explaining
the serendipitous experience). Please also indicate whether you are
primarily interested in understanding the nature of serendipity or
related concepts (perhaps with a view of informing the design of
interactive systems, perhaps not) or in designing or evaluating
interactive systems that aim to encourage serendipitous discoveries
(or a mix of the 3).

Please see the 'what do I need to do to prepare?' section of the
workshop website (
for an example position paper written by the conference organisers.
Position papers will be published electronically as edited workshop
proceedings. Attendees will receive a hardcopy of the proceedings at
the workshop. Attendees who currently work and will be attending the
workshop together may choose to submit 1 position paper for the entire

Who should attend?

In line with this year's conference theme of 'building bridges,' we
would like to encourage attendees from a mix of HCI and related
disciplines (e.g. Design, Psychology, Information Retrieval,
Information Science, Computer Science) who share an interest in the
user-focused design and evaluation of interactive systems that aim to
encourage serendipity. We would also like to encourage attendees from
both academia and industry. We look forward to seeing you at our
workshop and at INTERACT 2011 in Lisbon, Portugal.

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