CHI Ten Year View:
Creating and Sustaining Common Ground
We assume that the availability of jobs for CHI professionals in 2006 is about the same as it is
today. We also assume that the median (adjusted) salary and the general level of job satisfaction for
CHI professionals in 2006 is about the same as it is today. Finally, we assume that membership in
SIGCHI and related professional societies has grown only slightly.
- CHI is a ``big tent'' with increasing specialization and spin-off conferences, but not reconciled
or integrated with increasing breadth, especially for ``translators,'' who perform routine
functions in organizations but are not very highly valued.
- Attempts, only partly successful, to develop a common language within CHI have not
resolved into common ground.
- Growing awareness of CHI within computing community generally, but most new growth is in
other communities, like software engineering, multimedia, VR, CAD, and CSCW.
- More people join community from, e.g., arts and business, but more people also leave the
community to return to their core disciplines or to spin-off groups like CSCW.
- Technology will still see big developments, but these won't come from within CHI although
they will give a sustaining role to CHI. CHI community is mostly reactive rather than
- Human focus in systems development still seen as important.
- Government policies remain favorable to technology development, and CHI in particular.
- Continues to be technology-driven, results non-generalizable.
- Diverse research communities remain differentiated.
- Model of research is evolution, not revolution.
- Conference is slightly larger overall, because more people in field, but less identification with
- Some people have left the field.
- Lots of churn, with many newcomers who won't return.
- Little basis for common ground because community fails to integrate across subcommunities;
that is, CHI has not resolved breadth-depth tensions.
- Continued identification of importance of human in systems design, manifested as, e.g.,
usability testing and toolkits.
We assume that jobs for CHI professionals are hard to come by in comparison to those for
professionals with a comparable degree of training and experience. We further assume that the
median salary for CHI professionals is lower than it is today, and that CHI professionals have low
job satisfaction. We also assume that membership in SIGCHI has declined dramatically.
- Much of what CHI professionals do today can be done by people who have much less
specialized knowledge because knowledge has become packaged into standards, tools, and
conventionalized interfaces (e.g., desktop metaphor). In the meantime, CHI professionals
have not found new things they can do to have recognized value.
- This happens in part because CHI=GUI. Innovation leading to new interaction paradigms
occur outside the CHI community, and that community fails to have any significant impact on
- Universities have declined because of continued reductions in funding; this is especially hard
on a relatively new field like CHI.
- A small group of die-hards will be doing research looking for ways to advance the field.
Research in CHI will be largely technology-reactive, however.
- Where has CHI gone? Some of CHI is packaged and easily learned with relatively little
training. Some of CHI is absorbed by software engineering and mainstream CS. Some CHI
professionals will reinvent themselves as specialists; they'll be doing what they currently do,
but they'll no longer identify it as CHI. What's still recognized as CHI has its input and impact
very late in the development process, which represents a retreat to the situation of 10-plus
- A trade show. People will come to look for jobs.
- One key driver of the decline of CHI is the failure of the community to identify a common
core and to find common ground. This is what led to the leeching away of talent and energy
into other fields that did not identify themselves as part of CHI.
- CHI collapses as a field, and the world goes on. CHI is not much missed. However, we
believe that something has still been lost: a potential for synergy that's not missed because it
never became sufficiently realized to become recognized.
We assume that in 2006 jobs for CHI professionals are plentiful, that the median (adjusted) salary
for CHI professionals is higher than it is today, and that most CHI professionals find their work
interesting and satisfying. We also assume that the membership of SIGCHI and related professional
societies has grown significantly.
CHI plays a key role in creating a new generation of products, processes and technologies that
change the way people live and work, because:
- CHI facilitates the integration of diverse approaches to system development, including
software engineering, industrial design, organization management, and user-centered design;
- CHI develops useful predictive approaches for interaction technology;
- CHI is proactive in identifying and creating new areas of contribution for use of CHI
- CHI manages increasing growth and diversity of field without loss of core compentencies;
- CHI community is able to respond effectively to external events, such as (i) the emergence of
multicultural markets for computing and communications, (ii) a move away from traditional
disciplinary divisions in academe toward centers focused on solving problems, and (iii)
increasing environmental concerns.
- CHI will receive continuing stimulus from innovation in, e.g., technology, theory, and social
- CHI will remove barriers to participation in communities of interest via, e.g., virtual
communities and electronic voting.
- Lower prices for computing and communication technologies
- Political context stays positive, supporting global economic growth
- Artistic interfaces yield awards, public recognition, royalties
- Results are generalizable and transitioned to practice.
- Expands beyond office work to everyday life and leisure.
- Increase multicultural and environmental emphasis.
- Stronger ties between industry and academe.
- Opportunities for new research paradigms, i.e., unhampered by traditional disciplinary
- Large, distributed virtual event with productive interaction between specialists and
generalists, with terrific inexpensive multicultural food, enabling participants to be
well-informed about significant developments in the field.
- International awards for great interface achievements.
- Core knowledge in common: specialists will take some aspect in
depth and generalists will have good understanding of field as a whole. Agreed-upon
standards and design processes will help to unify the field.
- Focus by CHI professionals on pioneering new markets and products helps to integrate
researchers and practitioners.
©Copyright 1996 Catherine R. Marshall and David G. Novick