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Special Areas

 = New for CHI2004



Student Design Competition


Jon SykesJon Sykes
Glasgow Caledonian University Scotland

Important Dates
Submission Deadline:
12 January 2004 [5:00 PM (1700) PST]
Proof of Student Status Submission Deadline:
12 January 2004 [5:00 PM (1700) PST]
Notice of Acceptance:
23 February 2004

Additional Information

Todd ZazelenchukTodd Zazelenchuk
Whirlpool Corporation
Contact Us
Message from Jon and Todd, Co-Chairs
The Student Competition program offers students an exciting opportunity to be recognised for their user-centred design skills, and to advance their development as HCI professionals. This year’s competition asks students to work in teams to collaboratively develop a solution to a challenging, relevant problem. We invite you to consider our design challenge, CONNECT with your teammates, thoughtfully craft your solution, and compete on an international stage. We aim to have a lot of fun by adding a new, fresh component to CHI that is exciting for both students and conference attendees. We hope you can join us!

About the Student Competition

Professionals in the field of Human-Computer Interaction have a unique opportunity to improve the quality of people’s lives. In tackling real-world problems, HCI researchers and designers – in both academia and industry – face the challenge of making the world a better place for all to enjoy. The CHI Student Design Competition represents a new component to the CHI conference and is aimed at meeting three primary goals:
  • Provide an opportunity for students from a variety of design backgrounds (HCI, industrial design, visual design, etc.) to participate at CHI and demonstrate their problem solving and design skills in an international competition against their peers.
  • Provide CHI attendees with an interesting perspective on how design teams from different disciplines and different parts of the world approach a common design problem.
  • Provide CHI attendees with a refreshing new category to enjoy in addition to the traditional research papers and topical discussions.

The Student Design Competition consists of three rounds, each focusing on a different modality for communicating your ideas and solution at an academic conference. Your team will be asked to prepare a written paper, a poster, and a short presentation.

Design programs in universities and colleges from around the world are encouraged to consider this competition and even incorporate it into their academic curriculum for interested students.

All accepted papers are published in the Student Competition section of the Extended Abstracts conference publication, and the top entries to the Student Competition will earn a Certificate of Recognition. The winning entry will be recognised during the closing plenary session of the CHI2004 conference. Please note: At least one member of your team must be prepared to present your solution at the Conference, if your solution should qualify in the final judging round.

The Design Problem

In 2004, the Olympic Summer Games will return to its original setting - Athens, Greece. In recent years, the Olympic Games have undergone much scrutiny for their inconsistency in administering judged events. Sports such as diving, synchronized swimming, gymnastics, and ice-skating have all had their share of controversy regarding scoring procedures and the ultimate awarding of medals. Resolving this problem is essential to the integrity of judged Olympic events.

In an effort to address the contentious issue of judged Olympic events, we would like you to suppose that the Olympic committee has decided to pilot audience participation in scoring the gymnastics and diving competitions in Athens. Your team has been selected to design a system that will allow audience members who are physically present at the event to cast their vote in real time. Although the audience votes could theoretically be considered by the judges, it is envisaged that during the pilot phase the audience vote would have no affect on the athlete's score. The audience vote will be offered purely as a form of entertainment. By showing the differential between the audience score and the judges scores, it is expected that audience engagement will increase. For the pilot phase, the Olympic committee would like your team to focus on demonstrating that it is possible to design a reliable, flexible, and highly usable system for collecting spectators' scores.

Your solution should allow spectators in attendance at each event to easily and quickly indicate their score following each Olympian's performance. Given that the Olympic committee would prefer to ultimately implement a single multipurpose system, your design must be flexible enough to accommodate the needs of both diving and gymnastics competitions. Part of your solution depends on understanding, supporting, and/or inventing the details you require and presenting them in a thoughtful and well-illustrated manner. Your solution must be cost-efficient, usable, and accessible by an international audience, reliable, and tamper resistant. It must be original, although previously developed solutions for similar problems may be referenced if appropriate.

Design solutions need to be practical in their selection of technologies and their associated costs. As a general rule, design teams should limit themselves to technologies that are either available today or anticipated to be readily available in the next couple of years. With respect to costs, teams are encouraged to think economically (thousands of dollars rather than millions of dollars).

Student Teams

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. All members of the team must provide proof that they were students at the time the work for the competition was conducted (see Proof of Student Status below). Submissions are invited from all students at all stages of their university careers, from undergraduate to post-graduate. While not a mandatory requirement, it is strongly encouraged that the teams reflect the CONNECT theme of the conference by putting forward a multidisciplinary, multi-national team.

You will be expected to present both your process and your solution in the form of three deliverables:

1. Five-page written design document submitted in the Conference Publications Format, due 12 January 2004, must include:
  • a description of the problem and context
  • a description of the design process followed
  • detailed description of the proposed 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, etc.)

2. Full-size poster for display at CHI2004 conference, due 12 January 2004 (Submit electronic file only! Actual poster required at conference if team is accepted), must include:
  • title, team, school affiliation
  • the context for the proposed solution
  • a concise description of the proposed solution
  • clear illustrations of key aspects of your proposed solution
  • compelling, effective visual design
  • format should adhere to the International Standards Organization (ISO) poster size format (AO) in either landscape or portrait orientation. The dimensions for AO format are 84cm x 119cm or approximately 33" x 47"

3. Ten-minute presentation in CHI short talk format, to be presented at conference, 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

Guidelines for Submission

  1. All submissions must be in English and must include title and author information.
  2. Faxed submissions are not acceptable.
  3. Late submissions will not be reviewed.
  4. All submissions must be preceded or accompanied by a Proof of Student Status package. (See Proof of Student Status section below).
  5. The paper should include a short abstract, keywords, body, and references (for more detail, please see the CHI Conference Publications Format). Submissions must not contain proprietary or confidential material and should not cite proprietary or confidential publications. All submissions must be in the two-page, camera-ready format (PDF) specified by CHI to be published in the Extended Abstracts; however, due to the nature of the competition, the two page limit is expanded to five pages. Due to tight publication schedules, revisions will not be possible. The submitted PDF version will be considered the final version of the paper. All submissions remain confidential throughout the review process to avoid potential biases.
  6. The paper and poster, as submitted for review, will be regarded as the final publication-ready version of your submission. Accepted submissions are published in the CHI2004 Extended Abstracts. Therefore, the paper and poster submission must be clearly written, carefully proofread, and correctly formatted. Submissions that do not conform to the publications standard will not be reviewed. Please see Conference Publications Format for details on how to prepare your submission (see both Student Competition Papers and Posters for format and content requirements).
  7. All submissions must be submitted electronically as a ZIPPED package of PDF files to by the deadline of 12 January 2004, 5:00 PM (1700) PST. Please name both your ZIP package and the documents it contains using the following conventions: SC_[teamname].[extension]. For example: SC_UCSC-CompSci-Weasels.ZIP, containing SC_UCSC-CompSci-Weasels_Paper.pdf and SC_UCSC-CompSci-Weasels_Poster.pdf. Using this naming convention helps the co-chairs and reviewers ascertain that your submission has been received and helps them track it during the review process.

Proof of Student Status

To be eligible for the student competition, you must send in proof of full-time student status on or prior to 12 January 2004. This requires teams to acknowledge that the work submitted was performed by the team to which the work is ascribed and that all team members have been verified as full-time students. Part-time students are ineligible to contribute to teams. Submissions for which verification has not been received will not be reviewed.

Proof of full-time student status must be sent in one package for the entire team. Please include:
  • a cover sheet identifying the names and affiliations of all team members and any consulting or advisory faculty
  • for each team member, a separate signed statement from the organization where each author was registered as a full-time student when the work was carried out

Each team must provide one proof package; Please do not submit them individually. You may scan the documents described above and submit them in a single ZIP file attached to an email to chi2004-student-competition@turing.

Upon Acceptance

Teams will be notified of acceptance or rejection by 23 February 2004. Accompanying their letter of acceptance, students will receive a copyright release form. This form must be signed and returned immediately to allow publication of the Student Competition Design Solution in the CHI2004 Extended Abstracts conference publication.


Owing to the competitive nature of the Student Competition, CHI2004 will not provide individual mentoring for potential submissions. Student authors may take advantage of mentoring opportunities with faculty and colleagues at their University as long as it remains mentoring and not active participation by the mentors. You may contact the co-chairs at with any further questions regarding mentoring.

Review Process

There are three stages of review:

Stage One: Design Document Submission
In early January 2004, each team’s five-page design document will be distributed to and reviewed by a collection of design and HCI experts. Based on the CHI reviewers’ rankings, up to 12 teams will be invited to compete at the CHI2004 conference in Vienna. Student teams are eligible for the student registration rate offered by the CHI conference, but further financial assistance will not be available.

Stage Two: Poster Presentation
At the conference, teams will be provided space in a high traffic area of the convention centre to display their posters and discuss their proposed solutions with the general CHI audience. During a scheduled 90-minute “mingle session”, student teams will be expected to host their posters and be available to respond to questions from a team of four expert judges. The expert judges will include two academics and two practitioners from HCI and design related fields in North America and Europe. Each of the four judges will have had an opportunity to review the 12 projects prior to the conference. Following the mingle session, judges will select 4-5 teams to present their projects and proposed solutions during a scheduled short-talk session.

Stage Three: Short-Talk Presentation
A second scheduled 90-minute session at the conference will see each team present their design process and solution during a short presentation to the judges and the general CHI public. Presentations will be limited to 10 minutes plus a subsequent 5 minutes to answer questions from the judges and audience. Following the presentations, judges and the event’s co-chairs will review the rankings and make the final decision following the short talk presentation. Notification to winners will not be made in advance of the Closing Plenary.

Review Criteria

Written submissions are reviewed based on:
  • the originality of the work
  • the clarity of the written presentation
  • the quality of the design process
  • the clarity of the solution
  • a persuasive argument for what makes their solution worthy of consideration

Poster submissions are reviewed based on:
  • aesthetic appearance
  • visual design
  • clear communication of key aspects of solution
  • judicious use of text

Presentations are reviewed based on:

  • clarity and organization of the oral presentation
  • relevance and clarity of presentation material (Power Point slides, video, etc)
  • a persuasive argument to justify why the solution is worthy of consideration

At the Conference

Presenters are encouraged to bring their own laptops for their presentation. CHI2004 will identify local vendors for on-site rental equipment at presenters' expense (details forthcoming) but due to budget constraints will not be able to provide computer support in every session. A digital projector (800x600 or better) will be provided for Macintosh or PC laptop projection.


All accepted papers are published in the Student Competition section of the Extended Abstracts conference publication, and the top three entries to the Student Competition earn a Certificate of Recognition. The Winning Entry and First and Second Runner Ups will be announced at the Closing Plenary session of the CHI2004 conference. The Winning Entry will be specially recognized.

Student Competition Checklist

Please perform the activities in this checklist to ensure the completeness of your submission.
  • Read the Conference Overview and CHI Submissions: Process & Formats
  • Prepare a five page design document in the conference publications format
  • Prepare your illustrative Poster in the standard CHI poster format
  • Submit your Design Solution package (design document and poster) Proof of Student Status on or before 12 January 2004, 5 PM PST.

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