VL/HCC 2012




Best Paper Awards

The VL/HCC 2012 Best Paper is: 

GUI-Driven Code Tracing

André L. Santos

University of Lisbon, Portugal


A significant part of a developer’s activity is spent on maintenance tasks, which might involve dealing with unfamiliar code. Especially in these cases, a maintenance task is likely to imply a considerable amount of time locating the relevant source code that needs to be changed. This paper proposes a navigation mechanism for tracing UI elements of a running program to their representation in the source code. The technique relies on instrumenting the program in order to enable navigation from UI elements to locations in the source code. We have developed a prototype implementing the proposed mechanism and performed a user study where programmers were asked to perform maintenance tasks on programs of different sizes. We observed that the proposed mechanism enables fast code location, and that the time spent to accomplish similar tasks does not change significantly as program size increases.


The VL/HCC 2012 Best Student Paper is: 

Informing the Design of Situated Glyphs for a Care Facility

Jo Vermeulen*, Fahim Kawsar, Adalberto L. Simeone, Gerd Kortuem§, Kris Luyten* and Karin Coninx*

*Expertise Centre for Digital Media – Hasselt University – tUL – IBBT
Bell Labs, Belgium
School of Computing & Communications, Lancaster University, UK
§The Open University, UK


Informing caregivers by providing them with contextual medical information can significantly improve the quality of patient care activities. However, information flow in hospitals is still tied to traditional manual or digitised lengthy patient record files that are often not accessible while caregivers are attending to patients. Leveraging the proliferation of pervasive awareness technologies (sensors, actuators and mobile displays), recent studies have explored this information presentation aspect borrowing theories from context-aware computing, i.e., presenting subtle information contextually to support the activity at hand. However, the understanding of the information space (i.e., what information should be presented) is still fairly abstruse, which inhibits the deployment of such real-time activity support systems. To this end, this paper first presents situated glyphs, a graphical entity to encode situation specific information, and then presents our findings from an in-situ qualitative study addressing the information space tailored to such glyphs. Applying technology probes using situated glyphs and different glyph display form factors, the study aimed at uncovering the information space pertained to both primary and secondary medical care. Our analysis has resulted in a large set of information types as well as given us deeper insight on the principles for designing future situated glyphs. We report our findings in this paper that we expect would provide a solid foundation for designing future assistive systems to support patient care activities.


Most Influential Paper Awards

The VL/HCC community began a Most Influential Paper tradition in 2008. A voting group consisting of all members of the current steering committee, current program committee, and program chairs of the VL/HCC conferences of the years being considered, review the papers from the VL/HCCs held one decade ago and two decades ago, to select the papers from these decades that have had the most influence on VL/HCC research or commerce.

The voting group considered technical papers presented at VL/HCC approximately one decade ago (in 2001, 2002, and 2003) and approximately two decades ago (in 1991, 1992, and 1993). All members were invited to nominate papers from these years and, once a shortlist of nominated papers was produced, the members who did not have conflicts with the nominees reviewed and voted for the most influential paper from each decade.

The process was organized and facilitated by John Grundy, John Hosking and John Howse (“The Three Johns”).

Following this process, the group voted to award the Most Influential Paper Awards to the following papers. These awards will be officially presented at VL/HCC 2012 in Innsbruck, Austria.


Most Influential Paper from approximately two decades ago:

Understanding and characterizing software visualization systems

John Stasko and Charles Patterson

1992 IEEE Workshop on Visual Languages


The general term software visualization refers to graphical views or illustrations of the entities and characteristics of computer programs and algorithms. This term along with many others including data structure display, program animation, algorithm animation, etc., have been used inconsistently in the literature, which has led to confusion in describing systems providing these capabilities. This paper presents a scaled characterization of software visualization terms along aspect, abstractness, animation, and automation dimensions. Rather than placing existing systems into hard-and-fast categories, it focuses on unique and differentiating aspects across all systems

Available from IEEE Explore: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/WVL.1992.275790


Most Influential Paper from approximately one decade ago (joint winners):

The immune system as a reactive system: modeling T cell activation with statecharts

Na'aman Kam, Irun R. Cohen, David Harel

2001 IEEE International Conferences on Human-Centric Computing


The construction of reliable reactive systems is considered to be one of the most challenging goals in the fields of software and system engineering. The definition of a reactive system suits biological systems at different levels, ranging from gene networks, developing embryos and the immune system. We report here the application of a tool developed for constructing computerized systems to the modeling and analysis of a biological system, the immune system. We use the language of statecharts within the framework of object-oriented modeling. The results described here indicate that this modeling strategy can contribute to the transition of biology from the phase of analysis to the phase of synthesis.

Available from IEEE Explore: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/HCC.2001.995228


Using HCI techniques to design a more usable programming system

John F. Pane, Brad A. Myers, and Leah B. Miller

2002 IEEE International Conferences on Human-Centric Computing


A programming system is the user interface between the programmer and the computer. Programming is a notoriously difficult activity, and some of this difficulty can be attributed to the user interface as opposed to other factors. Historically, the designs of programming languages and tools have not emphasized usability. This paper describes the process we used to design HANDS, a new programming system for children that focuses on usability, where HCI knowledge, principles, and methods guided all design decisions. The features of HANDS are presented along with their motivations from prior empirical research on programmers and new studies conducted by the authors. HANDS is an event-based language that features a concrete model for computation, provides operators that match the way non-programmers express problem solutions, and includes domain-specific features for the creation of interactiveanimations and simulations. In user tests, children using HANDS performed significantly better than children using a reduced-feature version of the system where more traditional methods were required to solve tasks.

Available from IEEE Explore: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/HCC.2002.1046372



Previous VL/HCC conference Most Influential Paper award winners can be found here.

Updated on October 22nd, 2012 | §Permalink