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Conference Recap "Mensch und Computer 2018"

From September 3-4, 2018 I attended the "Mensch und Computer" (MUC), an annual human-computer interaction conference. It took place at the International Congress Center in Dresden. With more than 700 participants in recent years, the MUC is one of the largest HCI conferences in Europe. Every year, the conference attracts participants from science and industry.

Why I attended?

I presented our research activities in the field of air traffic control within our project "Virtual Airspace and Tower (VAST)" at the workshop entitled Mensch-Maschine-Interaktion in sicherheitskritischen Systemen. I gave a demo of our low-fidelity prototypes as well as the current state of our high-fidelity development to the audience. If you are interested in our work, visit the project website mc.fhstp.ac.at/projects/vast for a video and live demo. The conference paper can be downloaded here: Low-Fidelity Prototyping for the Air Traffic Control Domain.

Also, we submitted our research project Brelomate to the demo track. Brelomate is a second-screen application which enables social participation even at a high age through the use of media technology. The demo session took place on Monday evening. Many attendees tried out our demo and wanted to know more about our research activities in the field of Ambient Assisted Living. They were also very curious about the card game "Schnapsen" (sixty-six), which is quite popular in Austria, but not so well known by the visitors on the conference.

Brelomate booth A picture from the Brelomate demo booth.

The paper we wrote for the conference, can be downloaded here: Brelomate: Eine digitale Plattform zur Förderung sozialer Teilhabe (German).

Facts & Figures

For those who are interested in the acceptance rates, I put the numbers all together which I got so far from official sources:

Scientific Track "Human Computer Interaction"

The scientific part of the conference comprises long and short papers, demos, videos and tutorials and is coordinated by the Chairs of Multimedia Technology and Human-Computer Interaction of the Dresden University of Technology and the Faculty MCI of the Gesellschaft für Informatik:

Type Submitted Accepted %
Long paper 63 23 36%
Short paper (Poster) 87 44 50.6%
Workshops - 19 -
Demos - 20 -

Practitioner Track "Usability Professionals"

This track is organized by the German Usability and User Experience Professionals Association (Berufsverband der Deutschen Usability und User Experience Professionals - German UPA e.V.). A total of 110 contributions were submitted this year. 62% of all submissions for the conference could be accepted. They were divided into 30 full presentations, 6 creative presentations, 17 workshops/panel discussions, 7 tutorials and 6 young professionals presentations.

Take-aways from the conference

You quickly lose track of so many contributions, and it were a lot! You can browse all the articles here: https://dl.gi.de/handle/20.500.12116/16623. The following section summarizes submissions, which caught my attention during the conference.

The conference hallThe conference hall.

[DEMO] "DotTrack: Absolute und relative Ortsbestimmung von Tangibles mittels eines Maussensors"

Abstract: Tangible User Interfaces (TUIs) often integrate physical objects whose positioning or position change is used by the user for interaction. DotTrack is a tracking method that allows absolute positioning and tracking of the position of tangibles without external infrastructure. The prototype uses a commercial mouse sensor, which not only measures the translation, but also provides a camera image of the underground. A clear dot pattern on the ground allows the absolute position of the prototype to be determined.

[DEMO]: "Blinde Montagsmaler – Bilderraten auf einem taktilen Display"

Abstract: The amount of graphical information is constantly increasing. This trend often closes user groups with visual limitations, e.g. blind people. In order to compensate for this barrier textual alternative descriptions are widely used. However, these can only be a possible interpretation of the content. For some types of graphics, such as maps, it is even almost impossible to make such a description. Tactile graphs, which show the sense of touch can provide a remedy here.

[POSTER] "Audiorekorder zur kindgerechten Interaktion mit der Stimme"

Abstract: Audio recorders with a playback function give children the opportunity to experiment with their voice. However, many audio recorders are primarily based on buttons that do not allow for natural interaction. Taulien et al. describe the development of an audio recorder that allows children to interact naturally and playfully with the voice. The recording is made via the lid is controlled: If it is open, the the voice is recorded. With the closing of the cover, the recording will be finished and played.

[POSTER] "Audio Editing with a Game Controller for Blind Users"

Abstract: Blind people can be regarded as predestined for professions in which audio material is processed. In such professions, editing audio files can be an everyday activity that can be difficult for blind people to manage with established audio editing software that provides user interfaces that are optimized for visual perception. We have developed an operating concept that allows a blind person without prior knowledge of the application to quickly complete basic tasks in audio editing, utilizing a standard game controller. The operating concept is based on a menu for selecting actions and controller buttons that can be pressed gradually to control the speed during fast-forward and rewind. Our results show that people with and without experience with game controllers were able to solve the given test tasks blindfolded.

More Contributions

Conference Recap

The conference was well organized and the location was really impressive. Also, food was included in the conference ticket, and I can say it was one of the best food experiences I've ever had so far on a conference. At the venue, the food stations were well distributed, so you never had to wait long. For lunch they offered cold and warm starters, different main dishes as well as desserts of a very good quality. For the coffee breaks also desserts, coffee and tea were served.

The conference WiFi was quite stable. A short hint on that, for me it was not clear, which WiFi to take, please also write down the WiFi name next time. It was also a little bit hard to get an overview, which talk was in which room. It would be better to place more signs and print-outs. Finally, I had the impression, the conference is not very internationally as most of the talks and papers were written and presented in German. And I think, I was one of the very few attendees from Austria :)

Schauspielhaus DresdenA picture a took from the Schauspielhaus Dresden.