Human-Computer Interaction

Special Issue on Ubiquitous Multi-Display Environments

Special issue editors:
Ravin Balakrishnan, University of Toronto
Patrick Baudisch, Microsoft Research

Recent advances in display technology - miniaturization of projectors,
increasing resolution and size of flat panels, flexible and paper-like
display substrates, innovative new input sensors, and rapidly decreasing
cost - make it reasonable to envision a not-so-distant future in which
pretty much any surface in our environment will function as a digital
display. At first glance, designing user interfaces for such ubiquitous
multi-display environments might appear to be a simple application of
standard user centered design methodologies. After all, humans have long
used various surfaces as a medium for human expression, both informative and
aesthetic, in diverse scenarios. These include, to name but a few examples,
pinning items on a corkboard, writing on a blackboard, leafing through a
large book on a coffee table, displaying artwork on a living room wall,
sticking notes on doors, and graffiti in public spaces. Could we not simply
study these traditional uses and apply what we learn to the design of our
digital multi-display environments of the future? Or better still, could we
not base our new designs on existing user interfaces designed for various
single-surface electronic displays? Perhaps, but many of these traditional
uses tend to treat each surface as distinct, and by applying only these
ideas to a seamlessly networked multi-display environment we may well run
the risk of designing the horseless carriage of the 21st century.

Arguably, designing interfaces for these environments should not only
consider the past, but also the vast array of new usage possibilities that
these digitally interconnected display surfaces will enable. Despite the old
adage, and as recent examples in the internet age illustrate, invention
might well be the mother of necessity. While some of the new applications
and interfaces will undoubtedly be driven by existing or perceived needs,
and also grow out of existing work being conducted in related areas such as
large displays and tabletop displays research, there will almost certainly
be novel applications developed that will generate new needs. Regardless of
their genesis, for these applications to succeed, numerous open research
problems must be tackled. These include input technologies and interaction
techniques, within and across displays; mechanisms for seamlessly
transitioning data, input and interaction between displays; social and
technological issues pertaining to collaboration, territoriality, and
awareness; designs and scenarios for using display installations in an
ambient manner; as well as mechanisms for solving the emerging security and
authentication issues. As with any technology, upcoming innovations in these
areas should be guided by the capabilities and potential needs of the human
and could benefit from appropriate theories and methodologies that help
understand, describe, and predict the role these multi-display environments
will play as they indeed become ubiquitous. 

Submissions are invited that touch on one or more of the following themes:

- Theoretical foundations for multi-display environments

- Empirical work addressing some of the open questions in the design of
multi-display environments. For example: 
  How do different display configurations, sizes, and orientations compare
for various tasks? 
  What are the preferred input mechanisms?
  How can multiple users be best supported? 
  How is human collaboration affected by multi-display environments? 
  How do different authentication mechanisms compare in these environments? 

- Methodologies for the evaluation of multi-display environments.

- Investigation of work, communication, and entertainment needs of people
that can be addressed through ubiquitous multi-display environments.

- Novel design concepts, applications, and implementations.

- Experiences from actual deployment of multi-display environments. 

We would prefer contributions taking a broad and integrative view of
relevant topics, rather than discussing a narrow and specific piece of
research. Contributions are welcomed from different disciplinary
perspectives, including computer science, design explorations, evaluation
research, ethnography, social psychology, cognitive psychology, and enabling

Important Dates:
March 2, 2007 - Deadline for paper proposals 
March 30, 2007 - Feedback to proposal authors
June 15, 2007 - Deadline for full paper submission
September 21, 2007 - Review results returned to authors
December 14, 2007 - Deadline for revised papers
February 29, 2008 - Second round review results returned to authors
March 28, 2008 - Deadline for final submission

By March 2, 2007, please submit a 300-500 word proposal for your paper via
email to the special issue editors:

Ravin Balakrishnan <ravin at>
Patrick Baudisch <baudisch at>

If you cannot meet this deadline for proposals, but would still like to
submit a paper, please contact the special issue editors to discuss your

Paper Submission:
By June 15, 2007, authors should submit an electronic submission (preferably
in MS Word, RTF, or PDF format) by email attachment to the HCI
Administrative Editor:

Patricia Sheehan <[log in to unmask]>.

Information about submissions to HCI can be found at the journal's web site: 

Note that HCI has, for your convenience, an MS Word template that conforms
to the journal's style guidelines

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