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IJHCS front cover

The International Journal of Human Computer Studies (IJHCS) issued a special issue on the topic "Understanding Digital Wellbeing within Complex Technological Contexts".

Nowadays, there is a growing — yet debated — discussion around the negative aspects of overusing technology, with many people that feel conflicted about the amount of time they spend on their devices. In this context, researchers and practitioners have started to consider a new kind of psychological digital wellbeing, giving rise to the flourishing of digital self-control tools (DSCTs), i.e., external applications that support users in self-regulating their technology use through interventions like timers and lock-out mechanisms.
Currently, the digital wellbeing topic is nearly always contextualized to consider single technological sources at a time, with a prevalence of studies and DSCTs that focus on smartphones only. As many people nowadays own (and use) several devices, however, there is a need to better understand their complex and overlapping use (and non-use), and the relationships to other people’s digital wellbeing.

The purpose of this special issue is to provide the academic and industry research communities a venue for work at the state-of-the-art on digital wellbeing and DSCTs, with a particular focus on digital wellbeing within complex technological contexts.

La relazione tra pubblica amministrazione, fornitori di servizi, ed utilizzatori finali (cittadini ed operatori delle amministrazioni) è in profonda evoluzione, con una nuova attenzione rispetto alle esigenze dell'utente, anche attraverso le nuove tecnologie di interazione, erogazione ed intelligenza.

Il tema verrà affrontato nel seminario "Cittadini nel paese delle meraviglie - Servizi pubblici digitali, una rivoluzione tecnologica e di pensiero" promosso dal Comitato Tecnico Scientifico del CSI Piemonte, ed organizzato come evento (in presenza + on-line) nella mattinata del 2 dicembre 2021. L'intervento di apertura dell'evento sarà tenuto da Fulvio Corno, attuale presidente del Comitato Tecnico Scientifico.

SIGCHI Logo

Congratulations to Luigi De Russis, who has been appointed as an Adjunct Chair (AC) in the ACM SIGCHI Executive Committee.

He has been selected after an open call and will serve in the Executive Committee of the group, which is the premier international society for professionals and academics interested in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). SIGCHI is, indeed, the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction, and supports different conferences, journals, and other services that advance HCI through events and outreach.

In a blog post, SIGCHI President introduces six recently appointed adjunct chairs, including Luigi, and describes the selection process. To our knowledge, Luigi is the first member of Politecnico di Torino to join the committee.

Front-page of the article

The Fall 2021 issue of the ACM XRDS magazine is dedicated to the topic "Is Computing Toxic?". For that issue, Alberto and Luigi were entitled "Designing technology that promotes users' digital wellbeing". In the paper, they reflect on the current state of digital wellbeing and related technologies, strategies, and tools. Existing tools for digital wellbeing, indeed, strongly rely on users' self-regulation strategies and capabilities. Recent work, however, highlights the importance of proactively assisting users in learning how to use technology through customizable and adaptable interventions, which are further discussed in the paper.

The e-Lite group will participate at the IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC) with a short research paper entitled "TextCode: A Tool to Support Problem Solving Among Novice Programmers." VL/HCC 2021 will be held virtually due to Covid-19 from 10-13 October 2021.

In this paper, TextCode is presented; an IDE specifically designed to support problem solving among novice programmers in an introductory university course. In TextCode, the graphical interface arrangement and the interaction design encourage the developers to follow a set of steps to reach the final solution. Namely, these steps refer to reading and understanding the programming problem statement before start coding, decomposing it down into subproblems, exploring alternative implementations for each subproblem, and arranging these implementations to build a general solution. We consider that providing a tool whose design emphasizes the problem-solving steps can raise metacognitive awareness among novices and help them implement a working solution.

Juan Pablo Sáenz will present the work on Wednesday, October 13, from 13:40 to 13:50 (Central Time [US & Canada]).

The presentation video can be found here.

INTERACT 2021 logo

The e-Lite group will participate at the 18th International Conference on Human–Computer Interaction (INTERACT 2021). The conference will be held in Bari, Italy, in an hybrid format from August 30 to September 3, 2021.

Luigi and Alberto will be at the conference. Luigi will join the EMPATHY workshop on Monday, August 30, where he will present a paper on the vocal composition of trigger-action rules in the smart home. In particular, the paper describes a study aimed at understanding whether and how end users would converse with a conversational assistant to personalize their domestic Internet-of-Things ecosystem. The underlying hypothesis is that users are willing to create personalization rules vocally and that conversational assistants could facilitate the composition process, given their knowledge of the IoT ecosystem. The preliminary study was conducted as a semi-structured interview with 7 non-programmers and provided some evidence in support of this hypothesis. This work is part of the research activities on End-User Development in the IoT.

Alberto, instead, will present a paper entitled "Towards Multi-Device Digital Self-Control Tools" on Wednesday, September 1 during the "Interaction modalities and techniques 1" session (11:15-12:30 CEST). The paper introduces FeelHabits, a DSCT that allows users to set up, through a novel approach, multi-device intentions, i.e., contextual time and launch limits for the simultaneous and/or alternating use of the PC and the smartphone. A preliminary study on 7 participants suggests that FeelHabits might be effective for reducing some multi-device behaviors, and opens the way for further research.