TC13 Presentation

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About IFIP TC.13

TC.13 Presentation

[The work of IFIP TC.13 on Human-Computer Interaction
[The current position and scope of HCI in the TC.13]
[IFIP TC.13 Events]
[Working Groups]

[TC.13 – Some current activities and future plans]

[Example of the relevance of TC.13’s work]

Webmaster:Lars Oestreicher, Sweden


The Work of IFIP TC.13 on Human-Computer Interaction

The domain of TC.13 – Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) – is an active and focal area of both research and industrial application. As the influence and use of computing capability grows, so does the recognition that computing systems will be required to conform to many other criteria than simply those of technical excellence. The criteria of usability, acceptability, user satisfaction and suitability for user and organisational needs are some of those which are particularly the province of experts in Human-Computer Interaction. It is therefore proper that the world’s premier organisation for computing, IFIP, should encourage a thriving activity whose role is, at least in part, to review, criticise and (it is hoped) change the methods and products of their colleagues in hardware and software design. Thus, through TC.13 and its Working Groups, IFIP seeks to implement and satisfy those parts of its mission statement concerned with “the safe and beneficial development and use of IT and . . . the interest of users”.


The first work in IFIP on this subject was done in WG6.3 (Man-Computer Communication) under the chairmanship of Dr Jim Bair in the late 1970s. Early in 1981 Working Group 6.3, now entitled Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), was reconstituted under the chairmanship of Prof Brian Shackel. Because of the rapid growth in WG6.3 activity from 1981, IFIP TC.6 considered that the scope of work was developing beyond that of a traditional working group and suggested that some different arrangements should be made. At the September 1982 General Assembly IFIP approved the proposal to establish a Task Group on Human-Computer Interaction (again with Shackel as chairman). The next period of seven years 1982-9 was especially notable for the `explosion’ in research on information technology and the main work of the IFIP TG on HCI was focussed upon information exchange activities, primarily via conferences. The planning for the first IFIP international conference on Human-Computer Interaction, entitled INTERACT’84, began in 1982. Thereafter these conferences were held at three-year intervals until 1995, and thereafter at two-year intervals.

  • INTERACT’84 – at Imperial College London on 4-7 September 1984. In the Proceedings (983 pp.) 152 papers were published, and 568 participants attended from 20 countries.
  • INTERACT’87 – at Stuttgart University on 1-4 September 1987. In the Proceedings (1138 pp.) 163 papers were published, and 560 participants attended from 23 countries.
  • INTERACT’90 – at Cambridge University on 27-31 August 1990. In the Proceedings (1078 pp.) 153 papers were published, and 572 participants attended from 30 countries.
  • INTERACT’93 – in Amsterdam on 24-29 April 1993. Named INTERCHI’93 – because held jointly with ACM SIGCHI and the Netherlands Society for Informatics. In the Proceedings (483 pp.) 62 papers were published, and 1580 participants attended from 32 countries.
  • INTERACT’95 – in Lillehammer, Norway on 25-29 June 1995. In the Proceedings (436 pp.) 75 papers were published, and 220 participants attended from 29 countries.
  • INTERACT’97 – in Sydney, Australia on 14-18 July 1997. In the Proceedings (713 pp.) 140 papers were published, and 366 participants attended from 23 countries.
  • INTERACT’99 – in Edinburgh, Scotland on 1 – 4 September 1999.
  • INTERACT’01 – in Tokyo, Japan on 9 – 13 July, 2001
  • INTERACT’03 – in Zürich, Switzerland on 1 – 5 September 2003
  • INTERACT’05 – in Rome, Italy on September 12 – 16, 2005
  • INTERACT’07 – will be held in Rio de Janeiro, September 10 – 14, 2007


The status of IFIP work on Human-Computer Interaction was changed at the IFIP General Assembly of September 1989, when the Task Group was re-constituted as the latest Technical Committee to be established – TC.13 on Human-Computer Interaction

The principal aim of TC.13 is to encourage development towards a science and a technology of human-computer interaction. The main orientation is toward the users, especially the non-computer-professional users, and how to improve the human-computer relationship for them. The scope of work and the areas for study include:

  • the problems people have with computers,
  • the impact of computers upon people in both individual and organisational contexts,
  • the determinants of utility, usability and acceptability,
  • the appropriate allocation of tasks between computers and people,
  • modelling the user as an aid to better system design, and
  • harmonising the computer to the characteristics and needs of the user.

While the scope is thus set wide, with a tendency towards general principles rather than particular systems, it is recognised that progress will only be achieved through both general studies to advance theoretical understanding and specific studies on practical issues (e.g. interface design standards, software system consistency, documentation, appropriateness of alternative communication media, human factors guidelines for dialogue design, the problems of integrating multi-media systems to match user needs and organisational practices, etc.).

The IFIP Technical Committees organise conferences, publications and other activities directly. Also, they stimulate and supervise smaller meetings and many other activities via working groups. At the end of its first ten years (in September 1999) has five active Working Groups; these are outlined below.

IFIP TC.13 Events

IFIP TC.13 organises conferences (especially the INTERACT series) and other activities directly. Also, it stimulates and supervises smaller meetings and many other activities via its working groups.

Working Groups

TC.13 has six active Working Groups; these are outlined below.

WG 13.1 Education in HCI and HCI Curriculum


The aims of WG13.1 are:

  • to enhance international collaboration in disseminating knowledge about this rapidly developing and impoertant subject;
  • to improve HCI education at all levels of higher education;
  • to coordinate and unite efforts to enhance the development of HCI curricula;
  • to recommend fundamental structures for curricula and course materials and for their adaptation to the various national educational systems;
  • to advance international recognition of qualifications in this field, and
  • to promote the teaching of HCI.


The scope of the Working Group will build upon existing work in IFIP member countries to include:

  • the evaluation of the needs of industry;
  • the collation of existing curricula, course literature and other relevant materials;
  • the international exchange of information about curricular aspects of HCI and their further development;
  • the design of recommendations and guidelines for HCI curricula at different levels of higher education, and the adaptation of the guidelines to the cultural situation within which the respective education system is based.

In developing its work WG13.1 will expect to co-operate appropriately with IFIP TC.3 on Education and the relevant TC.3 Working Groups.

WG 13.2 Methodology for User Centred System Design


The principal aim of WG13.2 is to foster research, dissemination of information and good practice in the methodical application of HCI to software engineering (SE). This involves (a) research into and development of HCI principles, methods and techniques applied to system design and integrated with principles, methods and tools in software engineering, and (b) research into human action within the system development process and promotion of knowledge transfer from such studies into the construction of integrated HCI-SE design methods.


The scope of the work includes evaluation and synthesis of HCI specification and design methods, implications of cognitive psychology for the design of human-computer interfaces, evaluation and study of different approaches to design delivery, improvement of methods and techniques of human factors in software engineering as practised in industrial environments, and development of cooperative work techniques applied to software development.

WG 13.3 Human-Computer Interaction and Disability (HCI and Disability)


The principal aims of WG13.3 are:

  • to make HCI designers aware of the special needs of disabled and elderly people, to recommend guide-lines for the design of HCI to facilitate the use of computers by disabled persons, and
  • to encourage the development of systems equipped with hardware and software tools which permit the adaptation of the human interface to each specific user.


The scope of work includes the compilation of materials elaborated by other groups working on HCI and Disability and their dissemination to interested people, collaboration with institutions interested in this field, and the design of recommendations and guide-lines for HCI designers which keep in mind disabled people in the production of new HC interfaces.

WG 2.7(13.4) User Interface Engineering

In 1992 IFIP decided a new arrangement allowing working groups to be associated with more than one Technical Committee. In 1993 TC.13 received a formal request from WG2.7 for this direct link. WG 2.7(13.4) was established as the first WG under this new arrangement to be affiliated also to another TC. Recent WG2.7(13.4) activities have included especially the book Design Principles for Interactive Systems developed collectively by the WG and published in 1996.


The principal aim of WG2.7(13.4) is to investigate the nature, concepts and construction of user interfaces for software systems.


The scope of the work includes increasing the understanding of the development of user interfaces, providing a framework for reasoning about interactive systems, and providing an engineering model for the development of user interfaces.

WG 13.5 Human Error, Safety, and System Development


This working group aims to support practitioners, regulators and researchers to develop leading edge techniques in hazard analysis and the safety engineering of computer-based systems. Particular emphasis will be on the role of human error both in the development and in the operation of complex processes and on techniques that can be easily integrated into existing system engineering practices. Specifically, the aims are

  • to provide a framework for studying human factors that relate to systems failure;
  • to provide a forum for practitioners, regulators and researchers interested in the ‘human contribution’ to major accidents and incidents;
  • to identify leading edge techniques for the development of safety-critical interactive systems and integrate them with existing systems engineering techniques;
  • to support and guide international accreditation activities in the area of safety-critical systems.


To build on existing work in IFIP member countries in the following areas:

  • techniques for analysing human, managerial and organisational factors that relate to the occurrence of accidents;
  • the integration of human factors concerns into risk analysis and assessment;
  • the integration of human factors concerns into systems engineering techniques for safety-critical systems development;
  • the ergonomics of human-computer interaction with safety-critical applications;
  • the role of human error both in the development and in the operation of complex processes.

WG 13.6 Human-Work Interaction Design group (HWID)


The aims of the HWID working group are:

  • To encourage empirical studies and conceptualisations of the interaction among humans, their variegated social contexts and the technology they use both within and across these contexts.
  • Promote the use of knowledge, concepts, methods and techniques that enables user studies to procure a better apprehension of the complex interplay between individual, social and organisational contexts and thereby a better understanding of how and why people work in the ways that they do.
  • Promote a better understanding of the relationship between work-domain based empirical studies and the iterative design of prototypes and new technologies.
  • Establish a network of researchers, practitioners and domain/subject matter experts working within this field.

Thus on an overall level the working group aims at establishing relationships between extensive empirical work-domain studies and HCI design.


A Human-Work Interaction Design group (HWID) will provide the basis for an improved cross-disciplinary co-operation and mutual inspiration among researchers, but it will also lead to a number of new research initiatives and developments, as well as to an increased awareness of HWID in existing HCI educations. Complexity will be a key notion in the working group, it is not a priori defined or limited to any particular domains. A main target of the work group is the analysis of and the design for the variety of complex work and life contexts found in different business. Technology is changing human life and work contexts in numerous, multi-faceted ways:

  • Interfaces between collaborating individuals; advanced communication networks
  • Small and large-scale distributed systems
  • Multimedia and embedded technologies
  • Mobile technologies and advanced “intelligent” robots

With this evolution, toward new ways of working, has followed an intensive demand for techniques and technologies that address contemporary issues connected to:

  • Communication, collaboration, and problem solving
  • Large information spaces, variability, discretion, learning, and information seekin
  • This evolution toward new ways of working and living must be embraced as a challenge to current knowledge and practice and one, moreover, which presents exciting new opportunities in:
  • Epistemology, with knowledge acquisition, knowledge creation, management and knowledge sharing
  • The symbiosis of users and contexts of use, between work and life-quality and with both professional and individual development.

It is a challenge to design applications that support users of technology in complex and emergent organisational and work contexts, and thus opportunities exist to focus on methods, theories, tools, techniques and prototype design on an experimental basis.



The members of the TC and of all WGs are regularly considering what subjects merit active attention, for example by focussed discussion, seminars, workshops, conferences, handbooks and training courses, etc. The TC or WG may not necessarily arrange such events but will seek to stimulate an appropriate activity or to exchange information more widely if an appropriate event is already being arranged. Examples of topics to which attention is already being given are noted under the WG activities above. Other topics noted for initial consideration and possible development include, for example:

  • HCI in specific application domains – e.g. HCI in office systems; HCI in CAD; HCI in CIM; HCI in neural network applications; etc
  • Specialised training in HCI for designers
  • Tools for HCI transfer into design – e.g. HCI in multi-media system design; HCI in virtual reality system design; etc.
  • User support documentation – e.g. operating manuals, on-screen tutorials, on-screen documentation, etc.
  • System design of international systems for multi-cultural use.

These and similar topics may, after due debate and with suitable leadership, become the subject of workshops etc. or even the setting up of working groups for more extensive study.

Any member of an IFIP member society is welcome to offer himself/herself and apply to become an active working partner in the work of any WG13 group. Further, if you have ideas or suggestions for improving or increasing the scope of our work, we shall welcome them. Please contact any of:

  • Annelise Mark Pejtersen, Chair
  • Gitte Lindgaard, Secretary
  • Janet Wesson, Vice Chair