Human Computer Interaction and Data Visualization - overview

IBM HCI Research keywords: Social, Web information, research, users, mobile, design, collaboration, experience


Human-computer interaction researchers at IBM study the way people think and feel when they are using digital technologies. Our goal is to design systems that are easier and more delightful for people to use.

Our approach is to treat products and services as parts of complex systems that consist of both social and technological components. Human-computer interfaces are an integral part of the functioning of these systems. We aim to understand how to design, implement, and evaluate these interfaces in order to ensure that they:

  • Improve or enhance human productivity and efficiency.
  • Improve people's understanding.
  • Give people appropriate control over or feedback to the system.

As HCI researchers at IBM, we apply our knowledge to implement systems that are deployed in real-world situations. We study these deployments and publish our results in top-tier HCI and data visualization conferences, such as CHI, IUI, IEEE VIS, and CSCW, in order to have the impact that matters for ourselves and for the world.

Research Themes

Our work spans a wide range of areas in the human-computer interaction field. Some of the important themes of our research include:

  • Visualization. From discovering successful disease treatments in healthcare data to uncovering anomalous behaviors in social networks, easy-to-use visualizations are critical for helping people see important patterns in big data sets.
  • Cognitive & user modeling. Understanding users is at the heart of HCI research. By creating models of users’ cognitive processes, we can help detect usability problems in software systems before they lead to costly mistakes
  • Usable mobile security. Security often gets in the way of the task at hand. We are investigating intuitive and natural methods for creating secure mobile apps based on biometric authentication.
  • Mobile collaboration and learning. Mobile field workers often need access to information and expertise on the job site. We are creating systems that enable workers to collaborate and improve their expertise while remaining in the field.
  • Smarter cities. IBMers are helping people conserve water and electricity in their homes by tracking usage and presenting this information in clear dashboards and visualizations.

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