Creativity Support Tools: A Grand Challenge for HCI Researchers
Creativity Support Tools is a research topic with high risk but potentially very high payoff. The goal is to develop improved software and user interfaces that empower diverse users in the sciences and arts to be more productive, and more innovative. Potential users include a combination of software and other engineers, diverse scientists, product and graphic designers, and architects, as well as writers, poets, musicians, new media artists, and many others.
Enhanced interfaces could enable more effective searching of intellectual resources, improved collaboration among teams, and more rapid discovery processes. These advanced interfaces should also provide potent support in goal setting, speedier exploration of alternatives, improved understanding through visualization, and better dissemination of results (demos will be shown). For creative endeavors that require composition of novel artifacts (computer programs, engineering diagrams, symphonies, animations, artwork), enhanced interfaces could facilitate rapid exploration of alternatives, prevent unproductive choices, and enable easy backtracking.
Two key human factors issues are (1) Formulation of guidelines for design of creativity support tools (2) Novel research methods to assess creativity support tools. These issues will be the core of the June 2007 Conference on Creativity and Cognition in Washington, DC.
Ben Shneiderman is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, and Member of the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies at the University of Maryland at College Park. He was elected as a Fellow of the Association for Computing (ACM) in 1997 and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2001. He received the ACM SIGCHI Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.
Ben is the author of Software Psychology: Human Factors in Computer and Information Systems (1980) and Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (4th ed. 2004). He pioneered the highlighted textual link in 1983, and it became part of Hyperties, a precursor to the web. His move into information visualization helped spawn the successful company Spotfire. He is a technical advisor for the HiveGroup. With S. Card and J. Mackinlay, he co-authored Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think (1999). His books include Leonardo's Laptop: Human Needs and the New Computing Technologies (MIT Press), which won the IEEE Distinguished Literary Contribution award in 2004.