Colloquium: Steve Whittaker (UC Santa Cruz)


Title: The Science of Managing Our Digital Stuff: Present and Future

Speaker: Steve Whittaker, University of California at Santa Cruz

Location: UTA 5.522 (1616 Guadalupe St., 5th Floor)


This talk will present an overview of Personal Information (PI). I will begin by discussing PIM, the processes and technologies by which we manage our personal digital collections. Each of us has vast, ever-growing personal digital collections, including files, emails, videos, music, photos and social media content. However the most common way we organize such information is to use hierarchical folders, a technology that has been with us since the 1980s. There has been much criticism of folders, leading to the development of new technologies that aim to overcome folder limitations, including desktop search, tags and group information management. Each of these has strong intuitive benefits when compared with folders. I will review multiple studies comparing traditional folders with these alternatives, finding repeated benefits for folders. I will explain our counterintuitive results in terms of underlying cognitive and neuropsychology principles, showing that folders are cognitively less demanding. I next introduce an alternative design approach for PI, the user-subjective approach, which is the first design approach dedicated specifically to PI. Finally I address the future of PI specifically the new Quantified Self (QS) approach to rich health, social and communication data. Here the goal is to interpret our digital footprint to improve our everyday behaviors. I critically review two assumptions of QS, which presupposes that users have strong sense-making and behavior modification skills. I propose new design principles to PI that finesse these limitations of current Quantified Self systems and describe systems that embody these principles.


Steve Whittaker is Professor of Human Computer Interaction at UC Santa Cruz. He works at the intersection of Psychology and Computer Science, studying how technology affects fundamental aspects of our everyday lives. He employs insights from social science to design new digital tools to improve productivity, memory, and well-being. His research has been funded by the NSF, European Union, and UK Science Councils as well as by Google and Microsoft. In the past he worked at Hewlett Packard, IBM and AT&T Labs. He is Editor of the journal Human Computer Interaction, and has numerous awards including ACM Fellow, Member of the ACM Computer Human Interaction (CHI) Academy, and has a Lifetime Research Award from ACM Society for Research on Computer Human Interaction. He has a new book, The Science of Managing Our Digital Stuff(MIT Press) authored with Ofer Bergman.

Homepage: https://people.ucsc.edu/~swhittak/Steve_Whittaker_Santa_Cruz_HCI/Steve_W...


1:15pm to 2:30pm


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