HCI Outdoors: A CHI 2018 Workshop on Understanding Human-Computer Interaction in the Outdoors

HCI in outdoor recreation is a growing research area. While papers investigating systems in specific domains, such as biking, climbing, or skiing, are beginning to appear, the broader community is just beginning to form. The community still seems to lack a cohesive agenda for advancing our understanding of this application domain. The goal of this workshop is to bring together individuals interested in HCI outdoors to build a unifying research agenda, share ongoing work in the area, encourage collaboration, and make plans for future meetings.

Information for Attendees

  • Read the position papers before the workshop.  Accepted position papers have been posted.
  • The workshop will be held on Saturday April 21 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
  • Bring bibliographic information for papers related to HCI Outdoors.  At the workshop we will identify and organize prior work in HCI Outdoors, be ready to contribute bibliographic references for papers you know–including your own.
  • Exact room number is TBA but it will be in the same venue as CHI itself in Montreal.
  • Bring a laptop (if you can) It will be helpful if many, most or all attendees have a laptop or similar device for editing shared documents.
  • Coffee breaks are provided,
  • Lunch and dinner are “on your own.”  We hope that groups of attendees will venture out to find lunch or dinner together.

About the workshop

The use of interactive computing continues to expand into more human contexts–including time spent in outdoor recreation. This creates an opportunity for the HCI community to both understand and shape the use of interactive technology in outdoors recreation. Understanding why and how to build interactive systems for outdoor recreation may encourage, enable and enhance outdoor experiences. Encouraging outdoor recreation may lead to positive personal health outcomes and may lead to positive social change such as deeper feelings of stewardship for the planet on which we live. The merger of HCI and outdoor recreation may prove to be a happy one, but in order for that to be true much work remains to be done.

This workshops builds on previous efforts in forming a community around this research theme. We will invite past attendees to closely related events and authors of on-topic published papers. Connections and collaborations will be encouraged as individuals learn about others with similar research interests and goals. Sharing of individual and group research will allow for a mapping of the design space related to HCI outdoors. This includes understanding both which areas of this space have been explored through existing work and which areas remain largely unexplored. This will help us as a community to establish clear research directions, questions, and goals moving forward. A final and very important goal for the workshop will be to unite around a plan to foster both the growth of the community and the growth of the research discipline of HCI outdoors. This is partially fulfilled by the other goals, but also requires careful planning for future events within the community, either standalone or in conjunction with other HCI venues.

Workshop Themes

  • Using technology to encourage more people to engage with the outdoors
  • Safety (or lack thereof) when using technology in the outdoors
  • Engineering solutions to environmental constraints faced outdoors
  • Cultural issues associated with HCI outdoors
  • The role of HCI before, during and after an outdoor activity
  • Art projects which pose questions about HCI outdoors
  • How to design technology which does not detract from the outdoor experience
  • Designing technology which encourages users to be mindful of others’ technology preferences in natural settings
  • Social impacts of HCI outdoors
  • Technology which enhances the natural experience
  • Technology which brings the natural world into the civilized world