Judith H. Hammond

University of Technology Sydney, NSW, Australia judy@acslink.net.au


Human-Computer Interaction first emerged as an area for research in IFIP WG6.3.  Rapid growth in the field of HCI and two highly successful IFIP INTERACT conferences during the 1980s, led to IFIP establishing TC13 in 1989, with Brian Shackel as inaugural Chairman.  The first six years of TC13 created a solid foundation for further development.  The second Chairman, Judy Hammond, developed this work further as the number of TC13 members more than doubled and Working Groups expanded.  This paper describes major achievements of TC13’s first twelve years, focusing on TC and WG activities, the INTERACT conference series, support for regional HCI events and for researchers and students in developing countries to participate in TC13 events.  In 1998, the IFIP General Assembly approved the Brian Shackel Award as an IFIP Award in recognition of the enormous contribution of TC13’s inaugural Chairman. This Award is now presented at each INTERACT conference.

Keywords: Human-Computer Interaction, history, IFIP TC13, HCI,  INTERACT, Brian Shackel.


Established in 1989, TC13 is one of the younger IFIP Technical Committees. Brian Shackel (UK), the inaugural Chairman, laid excellent foundations for developing the Technical Committee and Working Groups into active and focal areas of both HCI research and industrial application, and undertaking a range of international HCI events and activities.  A full account of the first six years of the Technical Committee on HumanComputer Interaction (IFIP TC13) from 1989 to 1995, and developments leading to the establishment of TC13 (prior to 1989) is published online at: http://www.ifip.org/ 36years/36years.html [1]. Judy Hammond (Australia) was elected as the second TC13 Chair. She is the first woman to hold the position of Chair of a Technical Committee in IFIP. One of the first actions in this second period of TC13’s development, was for Brian Shackel and Judy Hammond to prepare a Review Report.  This was presented to the IFIP General Assembly, in Brazil, 1997 [2].  The report covered TC13’s first six years, documenting achievements and providing guidance for the major future  areas of TC13 planning and publications, including its major flagship conference, INTERACT.

During the 1990s, there were major changes in computer hardware, software and packaged programs, resulting in significant growth of interest and research in HCI, including the areas of usability, accessibility, user satisfaction and suitability for the needs of individual users and organisations.  These areas were particularly the  province of experts in Human-Computer Interaction. The second six years of TC13 development focused on expanding TC13 activities to meet the challenges of the new technologies for the benefit of users and consumers world-wide.

2   TC13 Membership

TC13 membership increased from 14 national representatives in 1990 to 36 members (30 national representatives, 5 Working Group Chairs and 1 affiliate member) in 2001.  In general, the geographical balance in TC13 representation improved, but IFIP European member societies still dominated.  TC13 held annual meetings in a different country each year. Meetings often included workshops for TC13 members and Working Group office bearers to deliberate about the past and future visions of HCI and develop strategies for future IFIP TC13 activities.  The first two-day workshop was held in London in 1996, followed by a two-day meeting in Eindhoven, Netherlands in 1998, and later in San Sebastian, Spain in 2000.  Shorter meetings were also held at INTERACT conferences.

3   TC13 Working Groups

TC13 has a high level of expertise in its Working Groups.  Their most visible activities have been Working Conferences and Workshops, often in cooperation with other organisations and HCI groups.  They have also participated in the INTERACT series of conferences in a variety of ways, running workshops and conference sessions highlighting their own areas of study. These often resulted in publications that raised awareness of WG work and increased their visibility.

4   Major TC13 Developments

Major TC13 work developed in the first twelve years, are as follows:

4.1   Documenting TC13 Policies and Procedures for Members

Many of the new TC and WG members had little understanding of IFIP policies and bylaws.  It was important to write our own handbook to provide general guidance and to support those leading the work of TC13. Brian Shackel developed the first versions of the TC13 Handbook, acknowledging similar work completed in 1993 by John G Beatson (TC11 WG Co-ordinator).  Judy Hammond wrote a third version (published 2002), as the work of TC13 had expanded substantially by the end of her term as Chair.  IFIP policies and procedures had been amended and TC13 had developed more understanding of what its office-bearers and members needed to know to participate in TC13 and WG work successfully. In particular, it was essential for planning TC13 activities within an IFIP framework, especially INTERACT, working conferences and the like.

4.2   Increasing Working Groups and Their Activities

A new Working Group was established in 1998 on Human Error, Safety and System Development (WG13.5).  It aims to support practitioners, regulators and researchers to develop leading edge techniques in hazard analysis and the safety engineering of computer-based systems. Emphasis is on the role of human error in the development and operation of complex processes, and on techniques that can be easily integrated into existing system engineering practices. All Working Groups were encouraged to increase the number and range of activities in line with TC13 and WG objectives. These activities supported research and applications being implemented during this period of rapid development of HCI, as well as the growth of IFIP TC13 itself. To this end, TC13 approved the introduction of a scheme to support Working Groups by providing some seed-funding for new initiatives.

4.3   Supporting Regional HCI Activities and Developing Countries

One of TC13’s aims is to assist developing countries acquire HCI knowledge through conferences, information exchange, via the internet and whatever other possible means of available communication and information dissemination.   Attention was given to finding ways of supporting researchers and practitioners in developing countries to be included in TC13 events and activities, particularly  INTERACT, so they could attend and present papers in what was often their first experience of an international HCI conference. This led to TC13 creating a Developing Countries Support Plan, to provide some financial support so that researchers in developing countries could afford to travel to TC13 events. This was very successful and much appreciated by the recipients.   With financial support from UNESCO, 18 Eastern European scientists participated in INTERACT’95.  Similarly, researchers from developing countries, particularly Asia, Africa and South America, participated in later INTERACTs with financial help from IFIP Developing Countries Support grants, and some INTERACT sponsors.  In addition, Working Groups were encouraged to locate their activities and events in developing countries. During this period, TC13 supported cooperative links with regional conferences eg Asia-Pacific HCI conference (APCHI) and the Nordic Conference on HumanComputer Interaction (NORDICHI).  It was expected that such ongoing regional  activity would lead to more cooperation, increasing IFIP TC13’s support for and encouragement of HCI activities world-wide.

4.4   Communicating Electronically

The introduction of email was a most welcome advance that enabled TC13 members and Working Groups to arrange meetings, facilitate discussions and disseminate information world-wide in real time.  In particular, it enabled greater participation  by those members of the committee (especially outside Europe, and in developing countries) who have difficulty in attending meetings for lack of funds. Lars Oestreicher (Sweden) accepted the position of Head of TC13 Information Services to direct these important new aspects of TC13 activity.   A public-access web site (www.ifip-hci.org) was implemented in 1998 to support TC13 and WG activities and disseminate information about HCI events, activities and resources to the community at large, as well as coordinating HCI knowledge and increasing TC13’s visibility in the community.  An experimental TC13 meeting (in a virtual meeting format) was held over three weeks in November, 1998.  The meeting was set up by Lars Oestreicher, Brian Shackel (TC13 Secretary) and Judy Hammond (TC13 Chair) and took much experimentation before it could be implemented.  However, the experiment was found to be more time-consuming and challenging than expected, and needed more appropriate online meeting packages to be developed before it could become a regular vehicle for TC13 meetings.

4.5   Planning for the INTERACT Conference Series

INTERACT became well established as a high quality international scientific HCI conference hosted by an IFIP member society, with TC13 being involved in the processes needed to create the Technical Programme. Cooperative links were encouraged with all IFIP member countries and their HCI Groups, and aligned professional international societies, such as the European Association of Cognitive Ergonomics (EACE), the European Association for Computer Graphics (Eurographics), the British Psychological Society, and the International Ergonomics Association (IEA). For the first time, INTERACT was held outside Europe in Sydney, Australia, in 1997, hosted by the Australian Computer Society. Taking advantage of its location, INTERACT’97 incorporated the biennial Asia-Pacific HCI conference (APCHI) and the annual Australian national HCI conference (OZCHI) into its programme. This enabled many local researchers, students and business organisations to participate in an international HCI conference for the first time. Together with the British HCI annual conference, INTERACT’99 was held in  Edinburgh, Scotland. This was highly successful, particularly in terms of its wideranging programme, numbers of participants and financially.  The considerable expertise of the UK committee organising this INTERACT provided a welcome boost to long-term INTERACT planning. Hosted by the Information Processing Society of Japan and the Human Interface Society, Japan organised INTERACT’01 in Tokyo. It was the first time TC13 had held its flagship conference in a non-European language country.  This required careful consideration of new strategies to ensure that the organisation, publicity and  proceedings retained the essence of the INTERACT series, whilst allowing for conference expectations within Japan. The resulting conference was most successful. Throughout this period, substantial work was undertaken by many members of the three INTERACT organising committees, along with Brian Shackel and Judy Hammond, in order to develop long-term plans for planning and organising INTERACTs. This  was essential to ensure that IFIP TC13 objectives and standards continued to meet expectations and to maintain the high quality of INTERACT conferences and its  proceedings.

This work produced policy and planning documents, developing a structure for INTERACT conference planning, and guidelines for Authors, including both Microsoft Word and LaTeX templates that conformed to publication guidelines. The  INTERACT proceedings cover was also carefully standardised to ensure that the  INTERACT series publications would always be easily and uniquely identified as  the quality scientific international conference proceedings they had become.   For the list of all INTERACT conferences: see appendix.

4.6   Establishing the Brian Shackel Award

In 1998, the TC13 committee unanimously approved the establishment of an Award to be given at INTERACT conferences in recognition of the enormous contribution of Brian Shackel, as TC13’s inaugural Chairman and founder of the INTERACT series of international HCI conferences and for his significant scientific work establishing Human-Computer Interaction as an international discipline. The purpose of the Award is as follows: “The BRIAN SHACKEL AWARD is associated with each INTERACT Conference, usually biennial, and is to recognise the most outstanding contribution in the form of a refereed paper submitted to and delivered at the Conference.  The purpose is to draw attention to the need for a comprehensive human-centred approach in the design and use of information technology in which the human and social implications have been taken into account. The BRIAN SHACKEL AWARD consists of a commemorative plaque and a certificate.” In 1998, the IFIP General Assembly accepted TC13’s recommendation and the Brian Shackel Award was established as an IFIP Award. It has been awarded at every INTERACT conference starting at INTERACT’99.

5   Conclusion

When looking back on the era documented in this chapter, it is hard to recall how different communications used to be.  Progress of TC13’s initial work was rather slow when compared to today.  All information, notices, discussions and decisions consisted of paper documents and letters sent to TC13 members around the world by post or fax – sometimes augmented by telephone conversations.  With English being the language of IFIP, recognition had to be made of the diverse languages and cultural expectations of the growing number of IFIP TC13 representatives. It was a much slower (and more orderly) process than using email and web communications today.  Nevertheless, much significant work was done in the first twelve years.  Advances and decisions were developed in discreet chunks, after TC members had reflected on the topic and responded accordingly. TC13 meetings and workshops were essential for making final decisions, updating actions taken and planning further work. In his keynote paper for INTERACT’99, Brian Gaines presented a perspective of HCI developments in the next millennium, and how HCI might support the development of the “world mind” [3].  He concluded that “ we are still at a very early stage in the development of HCI, and the major impact of the technology on our societies is yet to come.  To understand the issues involved we will need greater understanding of the operation of our societies, their economies, politics and cultures, and how these evolve under the influence of environmental factors including advances in information technologies.” If one agrees that the scenario described by Gaines will become reality, the long-term continuation and expansion of future work in TC13 is assured. The result of the first twelve years of TC13’s work created a basis for ensuring that the IFIP Technical Committee on Human-Computer Interaction is capable of upholding its aims to encourage development towards a science and technology of humancomputer interaction. This should be especially oriented towards users and noncomputer-professional users, and how to improve the human-computer relationship for them.   Working within the context of IFIP’s mission “to provide a forum…. to campaign for the safe and beneficial development and use of IT” and “to foster and facilitate cooperation between academics, the IT industry and governmental bodies and to seek to represent the interest of users” is certainly achievable.


  1. Shackel, B.: Human-Computer Interaction in IFIP: The Work of IFIP TC13. In: Zemanek, H. (ed.) 36 Years of IFIP, IFIP Secretariat (1996), http://www.ifip.org/36years/36years.html 2. Hammond, J., Shackel, B., Johnson, R.G.: IFIP TC13 Review Report. IFIP General Assembly, Brazil (1997) 3. Gaines, B.R.: HCI in the Next Millenium: Supporting the World Mind. In: 7th IFIP TC13 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, INTERACT 1999, pp. 18–30. IOS Press, Amsterdam (1999)
  2. Brunnstein and H. Zemanek (Eds.): 50 Years of IFIP, pp. 181–191, 2011. © IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2011