Chi 2011 - Connecting

Student Design Competition: Call for Participation

Quick Facts

Message from the Student Design Competition Chairs

This is the eighth year of the CHI Student Design Competition. The competition has grown each year with increased international representation, and always draws a large audience at CHI; it has also become a major recruiting opportunity for identifying talented students. In 2010 there were over 90 international submissions, and we trust 2011 will be even bigger.

Stephen Brewster, University of Glasgow, UK
Youn-kyung Lim, KAIST, Korea
Contact email:

What is the Student Design Competition?

The competition is aimed at meeting three goals:
  • Provide an opportunity for students from a variety of design backgrounds (HCI, industrial design, product design, visual design, etc.) to participate in CHI and demonstrate their problem solving and design skills in an international competition against their peers.
  • Provide CHI attendees with refreshing perspectives on how design teams from different disciplines and different parts of the world approach a common design problem.
  • Provide CHI attendees with a chance to meet future professionals in our area, and provide competition participants with an opportunity to network with experienced HCI and Design professionals.

The Design Problem

In the spirit of this year's conference theme of "Connecting...", this yearís challenge is to design an object, interface, system, or service intended to help us appreciate our differences. Differences come in many forms, including culture, community, age, politics, education, and abilities and disabilities. It can be hard for us to appreciate and understand the differences we see in other people but there is rich value in appreciating another personís point of view and understanding the world through someone elseís eyes. The Internet and globalization are homogenizing our lives, with unique and interesting facets being lost. CHI promotes issues of diversity and under-represented groups and we want to support this in the Student Design Competition. We want you to find new solutions, new groups of people and new issues that could benefit from the application of good design and good technology.

Use methods of ethnography and contextual research to understand the problem space, and develop user-centered design solutions to support, assist, enhance or otherwise benefit your target audience. Your solution should address to the issue of helping us appreciate and celebrate our differences through the novel use of technology.

To enter the competition, student teams may present either a concept (a clear, detailed design specification that can be taken to prototype), or a fully realized prototype. Either way, teams must clearly illustrate their design decisions and demonstrate the user centered design processes that have been followed. Additionally, as this problem has a broad cultural and social focus, "system design thinking" is encouraged. We strongly encourage consideration of:

  • Previous work in this and adjacent areas
  • Ethnography and contextual research to ground your design decisions
  • Elaboration of methods for evaluating your designs within your iterative design framework

The Competition Structure

The competition follows a three round process. Each round focuses on communicating the team's ideas through a different mode, as follows:
  1. Teams will submit a short Extended Abstract (6 pages maximum) describing their design solution. Expert reviewers will evaluate submissions and a maximum of 12 teams will be selected to attend the CHI conference.
  2. Accepted teams will be expected to attend the conference to give a poster presentation outlining their design, and discuss their proposed solution with a panel of Student Design Competition Judges. The Judges will select 4 teams to participate in the competition final.
  3. The 4 finalists will give an oral presentation on their design to the panel of Student Design Competition Judges and CHI conference attendees. Based on the criteria below, the competition judges will rank and identify an overall winner of the competition and two runner-up teams (second and third place).

Attendance at the CHI 2011 conference is mandatory for selected teams to reach stage 2 of the above process.

Round One: Extended Abstract

Teams should prepare a camera ready unanonymized Extended Abstract (6 pages maximum) written in the Extended Abstracts format. This document should be submitted as a single PDF by 14 Jan 2011to the PCS submission system. The file must be no larger than 4 Mb in size.

This submission must include:
  • A description of the proposed solution, including the approach taken and the design process followed
  • Imagery (as appropriate) to illustrate the design solution
  • Reference to design principles and theory where appropriate
  • Acknowledgement of partial or incomplete solutions
  • Acknowledgement of any assistance drawn from outside the student team (advisors, faculty, domain experts, existing solutions, users, etc.)

All submissions must be in English and must include title and author information, including author affiliations. Please be sure that submissions do not contain proprietary or confidential material and do not cite proprietary or confidential publications. Due to tight publication schedules, revisions will not be possible. The submitted PDF version will be considered the final version of the paper.

Round Two: Poster

Up to 12 successful submissions will be invited to CHI 2011 to take part in the next stage(s) of the competition, based upon reviewer ratings and comments. Teams will be provided space in the convention center to display posters and discuss their proposed solutions with the CHI 2011 attendees.

A scheduled 80-minute poster presentation event will take place during the conference. Student teams will be expected to host their posters and discuss their approach, design method and solutions with the Student Design Competition Judges. The competition judges will select four teams to present their proposed solutions orally during a scheduled Student Design Competition Final CHI presentation session.

Specific guidelines for preparing posters:
  • Each poster will have a display space approximately 8 feet wide and 4 feet high.
  • The poster is expected to follow the International Standards Organization (ISO) poster size format (A0). The dimensions for A0 format are 84cm x 119cm, or approximately 33" x 47". Either landscape or portrait orientation is acceptable.
  • Audiovisual and computing equipment will not be supplied. Power outlets will not be available.
The poster must include:
  • The proposed solution's name, team name, school affiliation
  • The perspective taken to address the design challenge
  • A concise description of the proposed solution
  • Clear illustrations of key aspects of your proposed solution
  • Compelling, effective visual design
Please see the Information for Poster Presenters.
Round Three: Presentation
The four teams selected by the judges following the Poster Presentations will present their design process and solution during a short presentation to the Judges and CHI attendees. Presentations will be limited to 10 minutes plus a subsequent 5 minutes to answer questions from the judges and audience. Presentations must include:
  • The design process that was followed
  • A concise description of the proposed solution
  • Reference to design principles and theory where appropriate
  • Acknowledgement of partial or incomplete solutions

Reviewing Criteria

Each team's short paper submission will be reviewed by both academic and professional usability experts.

Round one, the written submission, will be reviewed based on:
  • Use of ethnography and contextual research
  • Analysis of/approach to the proposed challenge
  • Appropriateness/relevance of the solution to the posed challenge
  • Originality of the solution
  • Quality of the design process
  • Quality of the argument for the proposed solution
  • Cost efficiency of solution
  • Clarity of writing
Round two, the poster submission, will be judged based on:
  • Clear communication of key aspects of solution
  • Clear communication of design method
  • Clear communication of rationale for proposed solution
  • Visual design and aesthetic appearance
Round three, the presentation, will be judged based on:
  • Clarity and organization of the oral presentation
  • Relevance and clarity of presentation material (slides, video, etc)
  • Quality of argument used to justify why the solution is worthy of consideration


The top four entries to the Student Competition earn a Certificate of Recognition. The winning entry will be recognized during the closing plenary session of the CHI 2011 conference. We also hope to provide a prize from one of the CHI 2011 sponsors to the winning team.


Proof of Student Status

To be eligible for the student competition, all participants must provide a signed letter from their academic supervisor confirming that at least 50% of their working week is spent following an academic course of study, and that they were not employed within HCI-related industries when working on the team's submission. All students must provide proof of their student status. For this proof of their student status, they should show that they registered for the Fall semester of 2010 and completed it. Each team must provide one proof package - a single file containing scanned signed letters for each team member - together with their project submission

Student Team Requirements

Teams must consist of at least two, but no more than five, students. There is no limit to the number of teams that may compete from any given University.

Submissions are invited from all students at all stages of their university careers, from undergraduate to postgraduate. While not a mandatory requirement, it is strongly encouraged that the teams put forward a multidisciplinary, multi-national team.

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