by Constantine Stephanidis and Michael Pieper
In the tradition of its predecessors, the 9th ERCIM Workshop 'User Interfaces for All' aimed to consolidate recent work, and to stimulate further discussion on the state of the art in this area and its increasing range of applications in the Information Society.
The last of the workshops on 'User Interfaces for All' was held in Königswinter (Bonn), Germany, 27-28 September 2006. It was locally organized by Michael Pieper from Fraunhofer-FIT, and built upon the results of the eight previous workshops, the first of which was held in Crete in 1995. Since 2001, the UI4ALL Working Group Workshop has alternated with the 'Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction' (UAHCI) conference, which is held every two years in the context of the HCI International and affiliated conferences. In July 2007, Beijing will host the fourth UAHCI conference.
The emphasis of the 2006 event was on 'Universal Access in Ambient Intelligence Environments'. As a result of the increasing demand for ubiquitous and continuous access to information and services, it is anticipated that information society technology will evolve towards a new paradigm referred to as ambient intelligence. Such an environment will be characterized by invisible (ie embedded) computational power in everyday appliances and other common physical objects, and populated by intelligent mobile and wearable devices. Ambient intelligence will have a profound effect on the type, content and functionality of emerging products and services, and on the way people will interact with them. This will inevitably lead to multiple new requirements for the development of information society technologies.
In this process, the notion of universal access, which aims towards the accessibility and usability of Information Society Technologies by anyone, anywhere and at anytime - is critically important. The complex networks and interactivity involved in an ambient intelligence environment will present a number of challenges for universal access. The 9th ERCIM Workshop 'User Interfaces for All' therefore focused on these challenges, envisaging new and diverse scenarios of use of ambient intelligence technology, and identifying critical issues that will have to be addressed during the development life-cycle of interactive applications and services.
The Workshop offered two keynote speeches: 'From Human 'Computer Interaction to Human' Environment Interaction: Ambient Intelligence and the Disappearing Computer' by Norbert Streitz (Fraunhofer IPSI, Germany); and 'Human Computer Confluence' by Alois Ferscha (Institut für Pervasive Computing, Johannes Kepler Universität Linz, Austria). Twenty-seven long papers and nine posters on topics related to ambient intelligence and universal access were presented during the Workshop, which attracted participation from all over the world.
The official Workshop proceedings will be published by Springer as part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science series (LNCS 4397) and will be embedded in the LNCS digital library.
ERCIM UI4All Working Group coordinator
Tel: +30 2810 391741