Design Competition

Why Participate?

An increasing number of participants at Mobile HCI are designers. However we understand the conventional conference publication formats do not necessarily do justice to the ingenious design talents. Design Competition is a special track to allow designers in the industry and academia to shine with their brilliance in front of the Mobile HCI community. The selected entrants will be given a chance to exhibit a poster at the conference. Winners will be given a chance to present their work at the conference, in front of  jury members and all conference attendees. This year we want to highlight the importance of sketches and prototypes in the submission and presentation, hopefully for the community to have a chance to showcase and compare various practices.

Who Can and Should Participate?

The door is open to everyone – students or professionals. If you are a confident designer, but never had a chance to present at Mobile HCI, then this is a perfect challenge for you. If you plan to attend the conference anyway, you may enrich your attendance with an activity other than presenting or listening to talks.

Design brief: The Essence of Mobile Communication and Connectivity.

Mobile technology is very close to everyday lives, for more than half of the world’s population. It is reflected well by the fact that we hear about it very often. However designers, researchers, technologists and journalists alike tend to give too much highlights on what’s new, especially around high-end, so-called ‘Smart phones’. Arguably, smart phones embody the exciting future of mobile connectivity, but they may not reflect the reality of mobile connectivity for majority of users around the world for many years to come, due to affordability, infrastructure, total cost of ownership, and simply, user preference.

Overall, people’s behaviors around mobile communication devices have certainly changed over the past decades. People have experienced a considerable diversity of mobile phones, hence it is logical to assume that what people may consider as essential features of a mobile phone would have been diversified and changed as well.

Thereby we challenge contestants to define the essence of mobile communication and connectivity and demonstrate what, why and how to design it. Most importantly, contestants need to think about a mobile device that is not about extra new features but is rooted on the good design of its core essential functionalities and experience they will create. Perhaps we can think about a phone that uses the exact same hardware features of existing basic phones but with a completely redesigned user experience. Perhaps we can think about a phone that “pushes” some of its intelligence to the cloud. Or a phone that can be operated with voice and that does not require a display.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Define your basic assumptions on the basic phone that your idea is built on.
  • Define your target user. It is up to you whether you select the niche group or a profile that can be applicable to a broad group of population.
  • Justify the chosen definition of ‘essentials of the communication’, demonstrating your understanding of the domain and the eco-system.
  • Choose your design subject according to your target user and definition. For instance, you may choose to redesign a ‘phonebook’ alone, or you may want to design the way we access the phonebook at the same time.
  • You may need to think about the hardware design along with the software design. However, be advised that the hardware changes that you might propose must not lead to an increase of cost for the mass production of the device when compared to the actual cost of basic phones (a.k.a. feature phones).
  • Ground your design on qualitative observations, studying people that use feature phones as their primary communication device.

Dates to Remember (UPDATED!)

  • Submission of IDEA DOCUMENTATION (EXTENDED): May 18, 2011
  • Notification of acceptance & review feedback: June 1, 2011
  • Submission of camera ready material (IDEA DOCUMENTATION + POSTER or PRESENTATION): June 18, 2011

Submission guideline


There are two separate parts of work in order to qualify for the competition.

Part 1: Textual Documentation

A three-page written entry focusing on the Design Brief problem and a summary of the solution. Please use the MobileHCI 2011 Extended Abstracts template for your entry. For accepted entries, the idea document will be published in Extended Abstracts of Mobile HCI 2011. 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.

Part 2: Design Presentation

A free-form PDF document should illustrate the design positioning, rationales, and solutions sufficiently. Design sketches such as wireframe for showing the interaction sequence or scenarios of use must be included in order to demonstrate the participant’s ability to, well, design. The submission should not exceed 16 pages in A4 size, or 1 page in A0 size. The way this design presentation is structured and formulated is a part of the selection criteria. Supporting video material can also be submitted as 1 file. File size limit for the PDF and optional accompanying video file is 20 Mb

All files should be compressed in one .zip file and uploaded through the EASYCHAIR submission system.

If you are selected for poster exhibition or presentation, then the following format of work will be required.


An illustrative poster demonstrating both high level concept and key design details, printed in the size of A0. The program committee before the conference will review the poster. Participants are welcome to showcase the prototype at the poster booth. The poster has to be submitted in PDF format and the file size limit is 20 Mb.


The presentation outline or supporting visual or props, especially demonstrating the prototype should be submitted considering the length of 10 min. A supporting video can also be used but it should not exceed the length of 3 minutes. The program committee will review the presentation in order to ensure the success of the presentation session, engaging the audience as jury members. The presentation should be submitted in PDF format. File size limit for the PDF and optional accompanying video file is 20 Mb.

Choosing the Winners

Based on the idea documentation and design presentation, the program committee will choose the participants who will demonstrate their work at the conference. The following factors will be used in the selection:

50% Design solution: Is the proposed design valid, of quality, and efficient? Is the design solution of value for target users?

30% Design argument: Is the design based on sound arguments and assumptions? Is the design thinking behind the idea backed up by persuasive data points or vision?

20% Presentation: Are the idea and the design solution presented in a compelling and engaging manner?

On stage, during the presentation session at the conference, 3 final winners will be selected. A panel of jury members and the audience of the session will have the 50:50 votes towards selecting these winners.

Winners will get…

3 final award winners will be selected among the design competition presenters:

  • The Gold – Highest votes from audience and jury members
  • The Silver – 2nd highest votes
  • The Bronze – 3rd highest votes

The winners will be announced at the closing plenary of the conference. Awards for winners are:

  • A certificate of acknowledgment presented at the closing session of the conference
  • Acknowledgment on the conference web site
  • Smart phones for the winners

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


Please contact the Design Competition chairs, Younghee Jung and Mauro Cherubini at