Understanding and Improving the Learnability of Software Applications

Speaker: Tovi Grossman , Autodesk Research

Date: Friday, March 02, 2012

Time: 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Refreshments: 1:45 PM

Public: Yes

Location: Patil/Kiva Seminar Room (32-G449)

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Host: Rob Miller, MIT CSAIL

Contact: Juho Kim, 6507969759, juhokim@mit.edu

Relevant URL: http://groups.csail.mit.edu/uid/seminar.shtml

Speaker URL: None

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Reminders to: hci-seminar@csail.mit.edu, chi-labs@csail.mit.edu, seminars@csail.mit.edu, msgs@media.mit.edu

Reminder Subject: TALK: Understanding and Improving the Learnability of Software Applications


Despite advances made in the field of human-computer interaction, software learnability continues to be a prevalent problem. The topic is particularly relevant and challenging to the designers of large and complex software systems, such as computer-aided design and 3D modeling applications. While technology has evolved immensely over the past two decades, the techniques used to overcome software learnability problems have failed to keep pace.

Over the past three years, I have been working with my colleagues at Autodesk Research to explore how we can leverage emerging technological trends, such as enhanced computing capabilities and online social networks, to offer new techniques for aiding software learning. In this talk I will discuss the central guidelines we have followed during this exploration, and a set of innovative software learning technologies that our research has led to. Examples include Chronicle, which allows users to capture and explore entire document workflow histories, and IP-QAT, which allows the user community to ask and answer questions within the context of the software application. I will also discuss the transfer and implementation of our research tools within Autodesk’s design and engineering products, which can be notoriously difficult to learn.


Tovi Grossman is a Principal Research Scientist at Autodesk Research, located in downtown Toronto. Tovi’s research is in HCI, focused on understanding and improving software learnability in complex end-user applications. Tovi’s other research passion is interaction techniques, and in particular, for new technologies, such as multitouch, miniature projectors, and 3D displays. Tovi received a Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. He is the recipient of an NSERC Canadian Graduate Scholarship (2005), a Microsoft Research Fellowship (2007), and best paper nominations and awards at the UIST 2004, CHI 2005, CHI 2009, CHI 2010, and CHI 2011 conferences.

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See other events that are part of the HCI Seminar Series 2011/2012.

Created by Linda L. Julien Email at Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 6:24 AM.