The Interaction Museum

Sponsored by the Convivio network


News: Museum beta-version Web site


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Researchers and designers of interactive systems face a common problem: unlike like other design fields (architecture, industrial design, graphic design), we have no shared repository of interactive systems. We have no easy way of reviewing the history of our field nor analysing 'best practices'. We have no easy way of showing students examples of specific interaction techniques, nor can we easily compare them. Interactive systems are, by their very nature, dynamic and interactive.

Videos and interactive software provide the best method of illustrating interactive systems. But, to date, we have no coherent, complete and easily-accessible collection. Some resources exist, such as the ACM/SIGCHI video series, but these were not produced in a systematic format, are difficult to find and are no longer created annually.


We propose to create an Interaction Museum, which will collect a wide variety of interaction techniques and systems and make them available to the HCI community.

We will take advantage of recent advances in networked video technology to present these videos via an on-line website, making the techniques easy to search, compare and present. Initially, our focus will be on its role as a museum, to capture the historical record of advances in interactive systems, while the materials can still be obtained.

In the longer term, we view the Interaction Museum as a novel kind of on-line publication, in which HCI-themed conferences have a consistent outlet for preserving interactive systems. The Interaction Museum will also host exhibits that provide edited presentations of selected material, for professional, educational or research purposes, e.g., interaction techniques for small displays.


The Interaction Museum will be an essential resource for industry practitioners, teachers, students and researchers.

Practitioners will have access to a wide collection of existing interaction techniques, which will serve as inspiration or comparison as they develop their own designs. The Interaction Museum will also provide an outlet for practitioners to share their novel ideas with the research and design community, without going through the standard print publication process.

Teachers will be able to select specific examples to illustrate HCI concepts and students will be able to search the Interaction Museum to aid in developing course projects.

Researchers will be able to search and reference other interactive system designs and will be able to use the database for developing, applying or testing interaction models and theories.


We will create a standard format for meta-data about each entry, to facilitate searching and comparison. We will begin with graphical interaction techniques, because they are of interest to both practitioners and researchers and are the easiest to define. In the future, the Interaction Museum will be expanded to include input and output devices, more general interactive systems, tools, etc.

Users will be able to search the Interaction Museum directly or via pre-created exhibits. For example, a historical exhibit would present a chronological view of certain interaction techniques. An exhibit on interaction with small-screen devices, such as PDAs, might include both examples of specific designs as well as research results on human sensori-motor capabilities relevant to small-screen displays.

Researchers and graduate students will be encouraged to publish different ways of classifying the contents of the Interaction Museum, from taxonomies of interaction techniques to Fitts' law comparisons of pointing-based interaction techniques. We have arranged with ACM's interactions magazine to publish a regular column to highlight new exhibits.


The goal of the project is to create a living museum in which anyone can contribute both new entries and exhibits. A steering committee, similar to a volunteer editorial board for a journal, will monitor new entries, ensuring that they are accurate and sufficiently distinct from other entries, with appropriate cross-references. They will also check new entries and exhibits for validity. The process must be as lightweight as possible but is necessary to ensure the high quality of the interaction museum's content.


The Interaction Museum will be made available through the Convivio Website during its development. Since the Convivio network has a limited duration, we are also seeking a long term solution, such as the ACM Digital Library.