In this post I present five videos from the UIST video archives. I am not involved in any, but I find the videos I chose to be great presentations of UI research work. Here, I focus on the storytelling techniques that make these videos great and not on the quality of the research itself; all research published in UIST is great anyway.
For the non academics, UIST is the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, one of the high-ranked conferences in the field of Human-Computer Interaction.
While compared to non academic videos these might seem slower and less fancy, in a video demonstrating research one has to be very accurate and avoid strong statements. So, apart from sharing these videos because I liked them, I also think that they can serve as a sort of guide, should you have to prepare a demo video for a conference yourself. Enjoy!
Directness and liveness in the morphic user interface construction environment
Mind you, this is a presentation back from 1995! Despite that fact it uses a visual language to explain its concept. Actually it’s explaining the concept and making a point at the same time. How? The presentation is the interface. That is, in order to explain the Morphic UI, elements of the interface actually move. Yes, it’s that cool.
In summary, the presentation visually supports the story the presenter tells and this leads to an understandable result.
See this video: http://www.acm.org/uist/archive/videos/1995/p21-maloney.mov
Organizing Photos of People
This video is about organising photos with pre-used labels, something that we see happening a lot lately in similar ways, this is one way presented in 2004. This video zooms in to present each area of the interface, but only reasonably enough. You will not end up being dizzy after watching it. They zoom out to go back to an overview and zoom in again to present another area of the interface. Given it’s an academic demo, it shows a great use of music. Nothing of acquired taste, makes the video more interesting.
Overall, camera movement and music are used in a way that supports the narrative about the organisation of photos.
Summarizing personal web browsing sessions
Ok, I can’t be objective with the next two papers, since I’m a fan of their work. 😀 One of the reasons though, is that also the video had grasped my attention when I first saw it (a few years back).
What happens is that the video summarises the problem of information diversity first, and then presents the authors’ work on unifying the structure and appearance of web content. It doesn’t present the solution and state problems it solves in the meanwhile, but has problems and solutions separated. That allows you to focus more on what you’re seeing at the moment rather than reflect on known problems and miss the content. Another thing I liked a lot is that they use really realistic examples.
I can say that the effort put into the video made me appreciate this great work even more.
See this video: http://www.acm.org/uist/archive/videos/2006/p115-dontcheva.mov
Relations, cards, and search templates: user-guided web data integration and layout
I’ll repeat that I’m not objective with this, since I like this work a lot. In this video from 2007 they describe user-guided layouts. That is, end users can design layouts that contain content from various sources. What I like about the presentation is that it embodies a tech demo, a tutorial, and a design process presentation, all in one. While they explain how it works, they also make apparent that their system is targeted to end users and that it is usable by end users.
This video illustrates one way in which one can be visually concise.
See this video: http://www.acm.org/uist/archive/videos/2007/p61-dontcheva.mov
Bubble clusters: an interface for manipulating spatial aggregation of graphical objects
In this video the authors describe an alternative way of visually clustering objects such as icons or lines. They present their work with dummy objects first and then they provide real-world examples. In the end they also demo user research and present its results. Sounds make the presentation more fun.
Building up from abstract examples to the real world and good use of sound makes this presentation understandable and pleasant to watch.
See this video: http://www.acm.org/uist/archive/videos/2007/p173-watanabe.mov
In conclusion, each of the authors avoided extravaganza; I don’t want to imagine how applying all of these techniques in one video would look like. They were very careful to pick techniques that match the nature of their work—or, it could be a result of familirisation with one’s own research. 😉
What do you think?