Design Competition


Welcome to the Design Competition in MobileHCI conference!

  • Authors are required to bring their posters to the conference and a number will be assigned to them as to know the location where to hang their posters (bostik and poster stands will be available). Student volunteers will assist them at the venue.
  • 10 minute Design Theatre presentation (PowerPoint) at the Insane Session intended to engage, provoke, and stimulate the conference attendees.
  • Authors are also required to prepare a one minute PowerPoint presentation for the Madness Session and submit it to the Posters' chair until September 1st.
  • Authors will have to be, for the duration of the Relax Session, next to their posters in order to present and discuss them with the conference attendees.

Quick Facts

  • Camera-ready version deadline: 16th June 2010, 9:00 EST
  • Camera-ready format: download updated ACM MobileHCI2010 Format
  • Camera-ready submission: Use the Publisher Site
  • Camera-ready submission note: you must remove the cover sheet with your contact information from the camera-ready version of your document.
  • Camera-ready submission note: on the submission process you do not have to submit your poster.
  • Submission format: 3 page concept description in PDF in the ACM MobileHCI2010 Format. Include a cover sheet with your contact information. You may optionally upload a video to the Conference Submission System of no more than 3 minutes duration. Please submit video in MPEG4 format (content must be playable without specialized software).
  • Submission deadline: 9th April 2010, 23:59 GMT
  • Submission: Use the Conference Submission System
  • Notification of acceptance: 18th May 2010
  • Archives: Electronic conference proceedings and ACM Digital Library
  • Chairs: Mauro Cherubini and Kris Mihalic

The goal of the Design Competition is to demonstrate problem solving and design skills in an international competition focused on MobileHCI. The competition provides MobileHCI attendees insight into different approaches to problem solving and realization of solutions that can change the way we think about mobility.

We encourage design professionals and design students to participate and get actively involved in the MobileHCI community. We ask design educators in universities and colleges from around the world to foster participation in this competition and to consider incorporating it into their academic curriculum for interested students.

Design Brief

The design competition of MobileHCI 2010 focuses on mobile accessibility. Mobile phones are one of the most pervasive technologies on earth: almost every person has access to a mobile device. Yet, little attention has been given to the design of the interface of these devices, or to its services, to include more equitably people with different abilities or cultures.

A big challenge of mobile UI design is the physical input limitation. In most cases users only have a simple 5-way controller, a few selection keys, and a keypad to enter both text and numbers. Recently, top of the line devices also include touch screens that are able to recognize multi-finger interaction.

Nevertheless, this seems to be still limiting when compared to the myriad of possibilities offered by other technologies. In particular, sensing technologies could be easily incorporated into mobile devices that could broaden the range of interaction capabilities.

Related to the lack of input is the limitation of the output capabilities of these devices. Screens are small, thus showing information and creating visual cues is a challenging task for designers. The iPod comes to mind as a good example of design solution to the input/output challenge. Apple designers started from the users’ goals and the context in which the device had to be used.

Accessibility for mobile devices is not just a hardware challenge. The design of software components has to adapt to people with different abilities and needs. For instance, the design of an interface for people with visual impairment has to adapt its visual components so to maximize readability while maintaining internal and external consistency.

Finally, accessibility for such universal technology should take into account people belonging to different cultures. The most obvious example is related to languages that are written from right to left – something that interfaces developed for western cultures do not take into account. However, supporting multiple cultures is not just a matter of rendering text. The metaphors that are associated with elements of the interface are often fundamentally driven by the particular culture of the designer of that interface.

The challenge for MobileHCI2010 consists in designing innovative software and/or hardware solutions for mobile devices that could allow people with different abilities or cultures to be supported in achieving their goals and satisfying their needs. We are seeking examples and case studies of solutions that are designed with the focus on users’ needs and context of use.

The Design Competition

The competition comprises of two parts:
  1. The selection of contestants prior to the conference – the review process
  2. The judging of the contributions at the conference – the award process

Entering the Competition

Your entry consists of three main elements:
  1. A three-page written entry focusing on the Design Brief problem and a summary of the solution (published in Extended Abstracts)
  2. An illustrative poster (reviewed in digital format and, if accepted, displayed in printed format at the conference)
  3. If accepted to the competition, a 10-minute Design Theatre presentation at the conference intended to engage, provoke, and stimulate the conference attendees.

We especially encourage entries that:

  • Illustrate points of view and relationships between actors and audience, users and interactive concepts.
  • Challenge the audience’s beliefs and perspectives.
  • Present a focused, clear, memorable point.

Review Process

The design jury will review all entries based on the criteria listed below. Accepted entries will be presented at the conference. The design jury will determine winners based on a combination of feedback on the written portion of the entry, the poster, the presentation, and audience reaction to the presentation. Winners will be determined on site at MobileHCI2010.

Judging Criteria

Entries will be judged by a design jury composed of a mix of industrial and academic professionals. The design jury may request additional information or explanations from the your team prior to awarding the winners. Jury selections and judging decisions are final and will be announced at the MobileHCI closing plenary.

Your design solution will be judged on demonstrating the following:

  • Deep understanding of the problem space and the solution space.
  • Exploring, inventing, and presenting the details of your solution in a thoughtful manner
  • Social factors including availability, cost efficiency, internationally appropriate
  • Design quality including originality, usability, desirability
  • Technical quality including practicality, using technology available now or anticipated in the near future

Your written entry will be reviewed based on:

  • Originality of the work
  • Clarity of the written presentation
  • Quality of the design process
  • Clarity of the solution
  • Your persuasive argument for what makes your solution worthy of consideration

Your poster entry will be reviewed based on:

  • Aesthetic appearance
  • Clear communication of key aspects of solution
  • Judicious use of text

Your Design Theatre presentation will be reviewed based on:

  • Clarity and organization of the oral presentation
  • Relevance and clarity of presentation content
  • Audience reaction

Your written entry and poster will be reviewed by the jury. If selected, you will be invited to compete at the conference by making a 10-minute presentation to conference attendees. The jury will rely on their expertise, and audience reaction to your presentation, in order to determine the final winners.

Please note that not all solutions necessarily require a visible interface or visual design finesse, and entertainment value is not a judging criterion. However, you will need the audience’s support to win, so gauge your presentation appropriately. Entries will be judged as a whole with different judging factors weighted differently as contextually appropriate for the solution.

The Award

Gold, Silver, and Bronze award winners will be selected from the entries. Winners will receive:
  • A certificate of acknowledgment presented at the closing session of the conference
  • Acknowledgment on the conference web site
  • A Telefonica Android phone for the winner
  • Telefonica branded merchandise (mugs, T-shirts, etc) for all the other participants

Winners will be announced at the closing plenary of the conference. Please note: one member of each winning team must be present at the closing plenary of the conference to receive the award.

Forming Your Team

In general, teams composed of individuals with a mix of interests and specialties produce a more interesting result than teams with members who all share the same perspective. We encourage a participatory and multidisciplinary approach to the design problem. There is no limit to the number of teams that may compete from any given University, and no limit to the number of entries per team.

Creating Your Deliverables

Your entry must not contain proprietary or confidential material and should not cite proprietary or confidential publications. Please prepare the following:
  1. Three-page written design document submitted in the ACM MobileHCI2010 Format, must include:
    • A description of the problem and context
    • A description of the design process followed
    • Detailed description of the proposed solution
    • Reference to design principles and theory where appropriate
    • Acknowledgement of partial or incomplete solutions
  2. If accepted, please bring a printed version of your full sized poster to the conference. The format should adhere to the International Standards Organization (ISO) poster size format (A0) in either landscape or portrait orientation. The dimensions for A0 format are 84cm x 119cm or approximately 33" x 47". Your poster must include:
    • Title, team, school affiliation(s)
    • The context for the proposed solution
    • A concise description of the proposed solution
    • Clear illustrations of key aspects of your proposed solution
    • Compelling, effective visual design
  3. If selected to compete, prepare a 10-minute presentation in a theatrical format to be presented at conference. We suggest that you cover the following:
    • Your design process
    • Your proposed solution
    • Reference to design principles and theory where appropriate
    • Acknowledgement of partial or incomplete solutions

Submitting Your Entry

All entries must be in English and must include title and author information. Faxed entries are not acceptable.

All entries must include:

  • A short abstract
  • Keywords
  • Body
  • References

To ensure that your entry is reviewed:

Upon Acceptance

Teams will be notified of accept status by Tuesday, May 18th, 2010. If your entry is accepted, you will receive a letter of acceptance.


MobileHCI will not provide individual mentoring for competition entries. You may use faculty and colleagues at your University for mentoring, but mentors may not actively participate in the design solution. Please contact the Chairs at if you have questions about mentoring.

At the Conference

Design Theatre presentations are 10 minutes. Digital projection will be available but you are not required to use it. You are encouraged to develop a theatrical approach to your work, creating not only your thesis but also the user experience that will make the point come alive for the audience. An important part of this venue is the meaningful presentation of well-paced material that holds the audience’s attention.

If you have questions about the Design Competition for MobileHCI09, contact the Design Competition Chairs Mauro Cherubini and Kris Mihalic at: