Champion Sponsors

Student Design Competition

Quick Facts

Important Dates

  • Submission deadline: 7 January 2019, 12pm (noon) PST / 3pm EST / 8pm GMT
  • Notification deadline: 14 January 2019
  • Camera-ready deadline: 31 January 2019

Due to tight publication schedules, revisions to the submitted work will not be possible. Your submitted PDF will be the publication-ready version. Please note that upon acceptance authors will be required to complete the ACM rights form, fill in the copyright information in their document, and submit their final version within 24 hours of its being requested.

Submission Details:

    • Online Submission: PCS Submission System (PCS 2.0)
    • Template: Extended Abstracts Format
    • Submission Format: 6 page paper in Extended Abstracts Format, a 5-minute video clip in MP4 format, a poster in one standard letter page size, and proof of all team members’ student status.
    • For this venue, references do count towards page length.
    • Submissions are not anonymous and should include all author names, affiliations, and contact information.

Please note: CHI 2019 is using a new version of Precision Conference System (PCS 2.0). You will need to create a new login/password for this system.

Selection process: Juried

Chairs: Roisin McNaney, Hiromi Nakamura, Nick Taylor (

At the Conference: Accepted submissions will participate in a juried poster session. 4 teams will then be chosen to advance to the next round which will involve giving a short presentation.

Message from the Student Design Competition Chairs

This is the 17th year of the CHI Student Design Competition (SDC), which has grown into a premier venue for extremely talented students to demonstrate their skills in Interaction Design and User Experience. The SDC poses a real-world challenge and demands that teams of students use myriad approaches (design research, brainstorming, prototyping, implementation, and evaluation, for starters) to develop their submissions. In previous years, there have been over 79 submissions from about 15 countries each year. With your entries, we hope to grow those numbers and increase the quality of submissions while continuing to offer students and instructors the most hands-on, engaging, and significant design experience we can. The competition always draws a large audience at CHI and also serves as a fantastic opportunity to identify the field’s most talented students.

Roisin McNaney, Bristol University, Bristol, United Kingdom
Hiromi Nakamura, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tsukuba, Japan
Nick Taylor, University of Dundee, Dundee, United Kingdom

What is the Student Design Competition?

The Student Design Competition has three goals:

  • Provide an opportunity for students from a variety of design backgrounds (HCI, industrial design, product design, visual design, interaction design, etc.) to participate in CHI and demonstrate their problem solving and design skills in an international competition against their peers.
  • Provide CHI attendees with refreshing perspectives on how design teams from different disciplines and different parts of the world approach a common design problem.
  • Provide CHI attendees with a chance to meet future professionals in our area, and provide competition participants with an opportunity to network with experienced HCI and Design professionals.

CHI 2019 Design Brief: Weaving the Threads within the Social Fabric

Technology has provided numerous means through which people can connect and create new networks, practices, and cultures. It has also provided new channels for people to make their voices heard and shape the future. We have seen this phenomenon accelerate over the last decade; in societies with serious political crises, local people have been able to communicate with the world and influence opinion and politics. Social technologies, crowdsourcing platforms, and digital fabrication have created new opportunities for invention, business, and manufacturing to be democratised and sharing economies to emerge. Technologies enable different communities of interest or practice to come together to share experiences, support one another, and to address some of the wicked problems faced by humanity.

The theme of CHI 2019 is ‘Weaving the threads’. In the Student Design Competition, we encourage you to contribute to this theme by considering the ways that technology might be used to strengthen our social fabric. Social fabric is a metaphor for how individuals interact with each other within a community. Frequent and positive interactions create a tight weave to create a strong ‘social fabric’ that can withstand the weight of a challenge. The looser the connections a community has, the looser the weave and the greater the likelihood that the fabric will break. The fabric can also fray if key threads are lost, or develop loose threads if some members of the society choose a different path (e.g. differing opinions on key politics, criminal actions). We challenge you to consider how technology can enhance how people weave together within communities and wider society as a whole. 

The scope of this brief is broad: for example, you could focus on healthcare, ageing, education, policy, public service, business development, charity, sustainable living, food, energy consumption, art, or indigenous culture, just to name a few. You can either work with an existing community, or you could aim to create a new community. The scale and definition of a community can vary depending on your design aim, for example, people in the same region, a group of people with the same interests, a network of people who pursue new social or economic value, communities of practice in professional fields and so on. You may adopt design strategies that allow community engagement, including participatory design, co-creation and co-design, service design, design for social innovation,inclusive design and open innovation. You may come up with a participatory design and co-creation approach using existing technologies or you may find opportunity in contemporary developments in technology, such as 3D printing, digital fabrication, citizen sensing, the maker movement, the sharing economy, big data, social networks, IoT, gamification, new sensors and actuators, and Augmented Reality, to name just a few.

Remember, though, that sometimes the best interventions may flow from a simple yet sharp insight gleaned from research, and might require only minimal technology – what is important is that your choice of technology and design intervention should be appropriate for the particular community and context you are focusing on.

For this year’s design challenge, we particularly encourage that the following criteria be considered:

  • Does the design intervention address a real population and/or situation?
  • Does the intervention use technology in an appropriate and novel way?
  • Was relevant prior work properly identified and cited?
  • Were analysis, synthesis, design and evaluation both systematic and sufficient?
  • Was the intervention developed far enough to demonstrate the key ideas?
  • Were genuine stakeholders involved in the process of research, development and evaluation?
  • Were the research process and the involvement of stakeholders ethically appropriate (e.g., were institutional guidelines followed)? Please note that we will check submissions to ensure that ethics has been mentioned, and we will look for confirmation that appropriate ethical approvals have been gained where necessary (e.g. if working with children or vulnerable communities).
  • Did the team explore the entire ecosystem of stakeholders, conditions, and contexts?
  • Was the intervention well-crafted and effectively presented?

Student Team Requirements

Teams must consist of at least two, but no more than five students. There is no limit to the number of teams that may compete from any given University or organization. However, one student cannot be part of multiple teams.

Submissions are invited from all students at all stages of their university careers, from undergraduate to postgraduate. While not a mandatory requirement, it is strongly encouraged that the teams put forward a multidisciplinary, multi-national team.

Preparing and Submitting your Student Design Competition Submission

Student Design Competition submissions must be submitted via the PCS Submission System by January 7 2019 12pm (noon) PST / 3pm EST / 8pm GMT. The submission must have the following four components:

  1. Extended Abstract. Teams will submit a non-anonymized paper (6 pages maximum) written in the Extended Abstracts Format summarizing their design solution and its evolution. Submissions not meeting the page limit or formatting requirements will be automatically disqualified. This document should be submitted as a single PDF and the file must be no larger than 10 Mb in size.
  2. Poster. The poster design should be reduced to one standard letter page in size and submitted in PDF format and the file must be no larger than 10 Mb in size.
  3. Video. Teams must provide a supplementary video (MP4 file, max 5-minutes), with a file-size no larger than 100Mb, illustrating how your solution fits the lives of the users with the help of scenarios. It may also illustrate some details of the interface and the information presented. Please refer to the Video Showcase section for guidelines on the video submission.
  4. Proof of Student Status: submit a note signed by your academic supervisor verifying all of the following information:
    • Your university
    • Whether you were a graduate or undergraduate when the work was done
    • Confirmation that all members of the team are currently registered in an academic program full-time (that at least 50% of your working week is spent following an academic course of study). Participants must be students pursuing an academic degree at the time of initial submission (early 2019). Transcripts or scanned IDs will not be accepted as a proof. All students must provide proof of their student status by the letter mentioned above. Each team must provide one proof package (a single file containing scanned signed letters for each team member) together with their project submission.

The Competition Structure

The competition follows a three-round process. Each round focuses on communicating the team’s ideas through a different mode.

Round One: Extended Abstract, Video and Poster

Teams will submit a short paper in Extended Abstract Format (six pages maximum) summarizing their design solution and its evolution. Teams must provide supplementary material in form of at most 5-minute video. The video may illustrate how your solution fits the lives of the users with the help of scenarios. It may also illustrate some details of the interface and the information presented. Expert reviewers will evaluate submissions and a maximum of 12 teams will be selected to attend the CHI conference.

The Extended Abstract should include:

  • A description of your chosen design focus and proposed solution, with a summary of the approaches taken within your design process, the real life problems that you are solving, and your main claims for your proposed solution with evaluation results
  • Reference to design principles, sources of inspiration, and HCI theory where appropriate and relevant
  • Acknowledgement of partial or incomplete solutions
  • Acknowledgement of any assistance drawn from outside the student team (advisors, faculty, domain experts, existing solutions, users, etc.)

The Supplementary Video Material may include:

  • Examples of significant contextual data and its analysis (primary, secondary research or both)
  • Key creative sources of design inspiration (existing designs and systems)
  • Sketches of the evolving solution
  • Scenarios depicting how the solution fits in the life of users
  • Details of the interface and information design where relevant
  • Highlights of significant evaluation results

All submissions must be in English and must include title and author information, including author affiliations. Please be sure that submissions do not contain proprietary or confidential material and do not cite proprietary or confidential publications. Due to tight publication schedules, revisions to the extended abstract will not be possible. The submitted PDF version should be camera-ready final version.

Round Two: Poster Presentation

Submissions selected for round two of the competition will be evaluated during a poster session at CHI 2019. A scheduled 80-minute poster presentation event will take place during the conference. Accepted teams are expected to attend the conference to give a poster presentation outlining their design, and discuss their proposed solution with a panel of Student Design Competition Judges. Based on the outcome of the poster session, the judges will select four teams to participate in the “Student Design Competition Final”. Teams will also be provided space in the convention center to display posters and discuss their proposed solutions with the CHI 2019 attendees.

Specific guidelines for preparing posters:

  • Each poster will have a display space approximately 8 feet wide and 4 feet high.
  • The poster is expected to follow the International Standards Organization (ISO) poster size format (A0). The dimensions for A0 format are 84cm x 119cm, or approximately 33″ x 47″. Either landscape or portrait orientation is acceptable.
  • Audiovisual and computing equipment will not be supplied. Power outlets will not be available. The participants may include QR codes in the poster to link to supplementary online material (such as scenario videos or interactive prototypes).

The poster must include:

  • The proposed name of the solution, team name, and school affiliation
  • The perspective taken to address the design challenge
  • A concise description of the proposed solution
  • Clear illustrations of key aspects of the proposed solution
  • Compelling, effective visual design

Round Three: Final Presentation

The four teams selected by the judges following the Poster Presentations will present their design process and solution during the “Student Design Competition Final”. This session will be open to all CHI attendees. During this final round, students will have the opportunity to give a short presentation on their research (10 minutes) followed by questions and answers (5 minutes), which will be evaluated by a panel of judges. Presentations must include:

  • The design process that was followed
  • A concise description of the proposed solution
  • Reference to design principles and theory where appropriate
  • Acknowledgement of partial or incomplete solutions

The top four entries to the Student Competition earn a Certificate of Recognition. The winning entry will be recognized during the closing plenary session of the CHI 2019 conference. Winners will be announced during the closing plenary.

Student Design Competition Selection Process

Each team’s short paper submission will be reviewed by both academic and professional design and usability experts.

Round one, the written submission, will be reviewed based on:

  • Use of appropriate design methods such as ethnography, contextual research, phenomenological/autobiographical methods, secondary research, reflection, critique, analysis, and empirical evaluation.
  • Clarity and credibility of design focus, purpose and solution relative to the posed challenge.
  • Originality and quality of the design solution, including claims and their supporting evidence.
  • Innovation within the design process.
  • Quality of design management.
  • Clarity of extended abstract and supplementary material.

Round two, the poster submission, will be judged based on:

  • Clear communication of key aspects of solution
  • Clear communication of design approaches
  • Clear communication of arguments for proposed solution
  • Craft quality of the solution

Round three, the presentation, will be judged based on:

  • Clarity and organization of the oral presentation
  • Relevance and clarity of presentation material (slides, video, etc)
  • Quality of argument used to justify why the solution is worthy of consideration
  • Quality, originality and relevance of design solution

Submissions should not contain sensitive, private, or proprietary information that cannot be disclosed at publication time. Submissions should NOT be anonymous. However, confidentiality of submissions will be maintained during the review process. All rejected submissions will be kept confidential in perpetuity. The title and author information of accepted submissions will be published on the website prior to the conference.