People of ACM European Chapters - Andreas Riener

April 30, 2019

Can you briefly describe your own line of research and how you became interested in this area?

Currently, I am a professor for Human-Machine Interaction and Virtual Reality at Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt (THI), leading the degree programs User Experience Design (UXD, undergraduate and graduate), and heading the usability testing/user experience design and driving simulator labs at THI. In 2017, I founded the Human-Computer Interaction Group at THI, which I also lead.

I studied “traditional” computer science (without any HCI, or human-computer interaction) and worked for several years as an IT consultant, as well as a software developer for PL/I mainframe applications. During my professional activities, I realized the importance of user-centered design. That was my main motivation to quit my job at the time, sell my startup, and enroll in a PhD program on pervasive/ubiquitous computing. In my PhD thesis, I worked on implicit automotive user interfaces, and later continued to explore experimental and hypothesis-driven research within applied CS/HCI, with the goal of improving our understanding of the human individual and the role of emotion and cognition in user interfaces. Gradually, I became an expert in user-centered design and usability/user experience research.

My current research interests include UX design and usability research with focus on automotive applications including driving ergonomics, driver state estimation from physiological measures, human factors in driver-vehicle interfaces, and topics related to (over)trust, acceptance, attentive UIs, and other topics in automated driving.

In your area of research, what recent advance/emerging subfield will yield important advances in the years ahead?

Research in the HCI domain is super interesting and fascinating and will always allow for significant changes in the near future. The miniaturization of technology will entail new interaction patterns and forms of communication beyond the smartphone era; implants will better support bodily interaction; artificial intelligence will tremendously change the way we communicate with systems and with each other; adaptive UIs will support us based on our emotional state, intra- and interpersonal variability, and the current context; and brain-computer interfaces will enable I/O without keyboard and mouse. Automated driving is a specific field of application with lot of potential in the design of human-machine interfaces including reliability displays, trust calibration, “explainable AI”, attentive- and context-adaptive UIs, UX design, new service concepts, and brand design, among other areas.

Will you tell us a little about the German ACM SIGCHI Chapter?

The chapter was founded in March 2017 and makes available all English-language information on human-technology and HCI research in Germany. Its main aim is to increase the international visibility of German HCI research. Within Germany, the Human-Computer Interaction division of the German Society for Computer Science (or Gesellschaft für Informatik), is the major hub for German HCI research. The SIGCHI chapter and the German Society for Computer Science work closely together. As a rather new chapter, we have about 70 professional members, half of whom are also ACM members. It supports HCI-related conferences and workshops in Germany, mainly by providing a marketing platform and mailing lists to distribute information to its members.

What advice would you offer a younger colleague just starting out in the computing field?

  • Be interested and ask questions!
  • Take advantage of even short research stays abroad (ideally, in different cultures).
  • Work in interdisciplinary teams: be open-minded, look into other domains, try out different research approaches, etc.
  • Develop your own unique style.

Andreas Riener is a Professor of Human-Computer Interaction and Virtual Reality at Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt (THI) in Ingolstadt, Germany. His research focus is in the field of hypothesis-driven, experimental research in human factors and ergonomics, with an emphasis on human-machine interfaces and driver-vehicle interaction.

Additionally, he was recently named the scientific head of the Test Systems and Methods division at CARISSMA, a leading center for vehicle safety in Germany. Riener is on the steering committee of AutomotiveUI 2019, the international ACM conference on Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications, and serves as Treasurer of the German ACM SIGCHI Chapter.