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Time is central to HCI. Humans have varying conceptions and experiences of time [1, 3]. Computational systems represent time in various ways. And interaction itself plays out over time. Yet HCI has rarely examined time as a concept in its own right.

More often, time is taken for granted. For example, calendaring systems typically make a variety of unstated assumptions about time and the user’s relationship to it. Their representations assume that meeting at 8 am is the same as at 5 pm. They may presume particular defaults such as starting point (on the hour) or duration granularity (e.g., a quarter hour). They assume a precise beginning and end. They rarely afford the possibility of reserving a free hour without it being anchored to a particular time. All these issues speak to an awkward fit between how people conceive of and experience time, and how systems represent it.

Similarly, software project planning tools treat time as equal and fungible quantities. To a manager, an hour meeting takes an hour. To a programmer involved in a complex debugging process, however, that meeting may cost much more than one hour’s time in productivity. Planning tools that allow for the possibility of some unplanned disruptions do not generally distinguish between uncorrelated temporal disruptions (e.g., individual illnesses) and those that are perfectly correlated (e.g., a major change in requirements). These are but two of many examples.

It is the aim of this workshop to lay the ground for a principled analysis of these issues. First, it is important to examine how people conceive of and experience time – and this will clearly vary across domains and cultures [1]. Second, it is important to examine the possibilities for representing and expressing time in interactive systems. While this has received some attention in other areas of design (e.g., [2]), it has received little in HCI. Third, we need to examine how interactive
systems can support their users’ conceptions and experiences of time in various domains (or how, sometimes, they can transform their uses’ conceptions of time).

In this workshop, by bringing together researchers and practitioners with a wide variety of backgrounds who share an interest in the concept of time, we will open a conversation about these and other time assumptions. To illustrate the breadth of ways that HCI research and practice interact with notions of time, we consider the following, non-exhaustive list of questions.


[1] Hall, E. The Dance of Life: The Other Dimension of Time. Anchor books, 1983.
[2] Lynch, K. What Time is this Place? MIT Press, 1976.
[3] Zerubavel, E. Hidden Rhythms: Schedules and Calendars in Social Life. University fo California Press, 1985.

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