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A Trip Report from AVI 2006

A trip report from The Advanced Visual Interfaces (AVI) Conference

AVI 2006 Trip Report
Mary Czerwinski, Daniel Robbins, & Jacob Biehl
Microsoft Research

The Advanced Visual Interfaces (AVI) 2006 was held in Venice, Italy on May 23-26. The venue was the Don Orione Artigianelli Cultural Centre, a centuries old monastery that has been converted to a vibrant conference location. The conference opened with several excellent workshops on the evaluation of visualizations and on gender and context, some tutorials including intelligent visual interfaces and statistics. Later that evening, an outing via water taxi to the Venice Arsenale comprised the welcome event, where attendees were greeted with cocktails and appetizers and also received a slideshow presentation on the history of shipbuilding in Venice.

In terms of paper presentations, the conference continued to primarily utilize a single track format, though there were 2 afternoons of parallel sessions. Papers were presented by a truly international representation of attendees from over 30 different countries. Topics ranged from assisting people of varying abilities to ubiquitous computing to media, the arts and cultural preservation. The traditional theme of visualizations was augmented by an emphasis on evaluating visualization techniques.

A sampling of the notable presentations included, (but is clearly not limited to!):

  • A keynote by Gerhard Fischer on distributed intelligence, wherein Fisher outlined the tools and systems his research team has developed over the last decade to create effective socio-technical environments supporting distributed intelligence.
  • Aliakseyeu et al.’s BubbleCursor, which allowed users to reach specific targets using an enhanced area cursor plus intelligence about the user’s input trajectory.
  • Pousman & Stasko’s taxonomy of ambient information systems which identified four dimensions of the design space for ambient displays that researchers and designers can leverage for UI generation and evaluation.
  • Broy et al.’s iFlip in-vehicle information system, which provided a 3D, spatial organization of available system features for peripheral awareness in the car. Evaluation of the system was performed using a car simulator and iterative design was presented.
  • In addition to many other fine paper presentations and keynote addresses, we especially applauded the increased attention to interfaces for differently-abled users.

A standout this year was the large number of interactive demos presented that explored new modalities for interaction, including Tablet + Large Display Interaction, Tabletop interaction, and interaction at a distance.

Beth Mynatt provided an excellent closing address, “From Mainframes to Picture Frames: Charting the Rapid Evaluation of Visual User Interfaces”, which presented many potentially new forms of end user authoring. In addition to evaluating user interfaces solely along the lines of performance and productivity, Mynatt encouraged attendees to focus instead on user interface designs that empower lightweight and rich expression.

As has become the custom at AVI, the conference reception was held in a beautiful location. This year, attendees were taken by chartered boat to the colorful island of Burano, known for its lace and linens, for a boisterous and enjoyable multiple course meal with entertainment from a wonderful string quartet. An excellent time was enjoyed by all.


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