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INTERACT 2003 - Bringing the Bits together

Workshop 4

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#4 - The Business Case of HCI

Workshop Results


If you have any feedback or further input, please contact Patrick Steiger.

Patrick Steiger
PricewaterhouseCoopers, Stampfenbachstr. 73, CH-8035 Zurich, Switzerland

Gitte Lindgaard
Department of Psychology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada KIS 5B6

Daniel Felix
ergonomie & technologie ETH, Technoparkstrasse 1, CH-8005 Zurich, Switzerland

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) has been in existence almost as long as the discipline of software engineering. Yet HCI is still perceived in industry as a cost factor or a "nice to have" and more marginal than other software engineering activities. Companies often look for an HCI "rubber stamp" to assure themselves that their product is usable but are still resistant to involving HCI at all stages of development. This has been the same throughout the history of HCI. Why is it that HCI has matured as a discipline but has made little in roads into being accepted as mainstream in the industrial process of development? Why is it so easy to ignore or sideline HCI as something that is nice to have if the budget can stretch to it? In a time where products are developed in web time, is HCI actually fit for purpose? Can we, as HCI practitioners, justify our existence in the commercial business model of a company? Accounting and project management practices are over 100 years old – how can we influence the way
that companies look at their bottom line by providing examples where HCI has made a difference? It would appear that, as a discipline HCI still lacks a way of marketing itself as an essential asset for the business community.

A successful 1-day workshop on this topic was conducted at CHI 2002. We want to build on its results and move forward to produce effective material that helps HCI practitioners to convince their employer/clients that HCI is a must for every technology company and that usability engineers are a necessary part of every product development team. In this workshop we want to come up with a business case and associated messages that persuades the product planner, the CEO, and the head of development of a company that HCI is essential to their business.

Here is a more detailed description of this workshop.

Call for Participation

We are convinced that there are many HCI folks out there who have data, thoughts, experiences, successes, disasters, and models to share. We also believe that by putting it all together, your input can help strengthen our collective business case. If your story is any of the above and you are interested in furthering HCI at the business level, please send your position paper to Patrick Steiger.

The workshop is aimed at HCI practitioners, although academics with relevant experience are welcome to apply as well. Participants should fulfil one or more of the following criteria:

  • Bring their own HCI success stories that have probably not reached the HCI literature
  • Bring their own major HCI disaster stories
  • Work in companies in which HCI is integrated into development procedures
  • Work in companies in which the integration of HCI into development procedures is progressing
  • Are successfully applying HCI cost/benefit/business value models to their work already
  • Have developed and applied one or more quantitative cost/benefit/business value models that are not written up
  • Have insight to share on the topic

In addition, we will aim to select participants who represent companies varying in purpose (e.g. manufacturing, telco, services) size, and type of product (internal systems, consumer products).