Notes from the SIGDOC Chair

Brad Mehlenbacher

Dear SIGDOC Members,
Dear ACM SIGDOC Members,

Happy holidays all! I wanted to take a moment to update you all on our recent conference in Pisa, Italy, to briefly recap our last four or five years of conferences, to quickly summarize our 2011 ACM SIGDOC Board meeting and, finally, to share my holiday list of recently published books written by authors who have presented at ACM SIGDOC conferences in the past. I hope these Notes find you healthy, working on what you love, and enjoying life when you’re not working.

ACM SIGDOC 2011: Highlights

The ACM SIGDOC 2011 conference ( was held in Pisa, Italy, late this past Semester. The Proceedings of the 29th ACM International conference on Design of Communication are now available via the ACM-DL (Digital Library) at I’d like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to our conference organizers, in particular Aristidis Protopsaltis and Nicola Spyratos (Conference Co-Chairs), Carlos Costa and Carlo Meghini (Program Co-Chairs), and Francesca Borri (Local Arrangements). The arrangements provided by the Hotel Continental in Tirrenia were first rate and comfortable, the weather was perfect, and the conference large enough to invite a broad range of papers and small enough to encourage lively conversations and collaborations.

Our conference team brought together two excellent guest speakers for the conference. Dr. Pamela M. Kato (University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands) presented on serious games and how they can be used for education and training. Dr. Kato played a critical role in the design, development, and evaluation of the Re-Mission video game for young cancer patients ( and is currently serving as an Advisory Board Member for the European “Games for Health Europe” Commission. Dr. Constantine Stephanidis, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Crete, Director of the Institute of Computer Science, Head of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, and of the Center for Universal Access and As-sistive Technologies, and Head of the Ambient Intelligence Programme at ICS-FORTH. spoke about natural interaction in ambient intelligent environments. Ambient Intelligence (AmI) environments emphasize the diversity of user needs, the dynamic nature of context, and the multifaceted characteristics of interactive technologies. AmI environments highlight the importance of important issues such as privacy, accessibility, security, and safety.

SAP was the 2011 recipient of the prestigious Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Design of Communication (ACM SIGDOC) Diana Award. The Diana Award is named after Diana Patterson, past President of ACM SIGDOC. Every two years, the ACM SIGDOC gives the Diana Award to an organization, institution, or business that has made an outstanding life-time contribution to the field of communication design. Previous Diana Award winners include Adobe, IBM, RPI, W3C, Carnegie Mellon’s Communication Design Center, Apple, MIT Press, and Xerox Parc. The contributions that single SAP out for the award were numerous. SAP’s history of providing creative support for users of their enterprise software applications includes, for example, offering comprehensive training for its customers and improved user interfaces back in the 1980s, expanding and collaborating to meet the localized needs of different countries and corporations in the 1990s, taking the lead on e-business solutions and tailored company portals at the turn of the century and, up to the present, winning numerous awards as best place to work while developing 360 customer environments that continue to engage their growing customer base.

We were honored, at ACM SIGDOC 2011, to have two representatives from SAP, Dr. Anja Kellerman and Dr. Sven Leukert, receive the Diana Award and to talk about communication design challenges and opportunities for the future. Dr. Anja Kellerman has a background in language training and linguistics and holds a PhD in sociolinguistics. She joined SAP in 1997 as a technical writer documenting financial business applications and has since moved into managing documentation projects and teams of technical writers and translators in various development areas of SAP. Today she is head of the knowledge management team in the development of areas that drive innovation and standardization for SAP. Dr. Sven Leukert has been with SAP since 1998, after completing his PhD in mathematics at UNC Chapel Hill in North Caroline (USA). At SAP, he started out in a product management role and, since, has moved into a management role, focusing on knowledge management, documentation, and translation. He is currently responsible for the technical documentation in the Technology and Innovation Platform board area, leading team around the globe.

For a more detailed view of the ACM SIGDOC 2011 conference schedule, see We had an excellent blend of professionals and academics and a wide range of international topics and projects were shared and discussed.

ACM SIGDOC Conferences: Recap

Our most recent ACM SIGDOC 2011 conference was held in Pisa, Italy and, the year before, our ACM SIGDOC 2010 conference was held in Sao Carlos, Brazil ( Before that, in 2009, our ACM SIGDOC 2009 was held in Bloomington, Indiana, USA ( and, in 2008, ACM SIGDOC 2008 was held in Lisbon, Portugal (

EuroSIGDOC, our ACM SIGDOC European Chapter, has also been very active during the last few years. In 2010, they held their first OSDOC 2010 conference, focusing on open source and design of communication issues and, last year, they held the second OSDOC 2011 workshop. Planning is in the works for a third OSDOC 2012 conference, to be held in Lisbon, Portugal; a preliminary website is available at

ACM SIGDOC: Your Board

In my Notes from the ACM Chair (September 2011:: Volume 12, Number 3), I mentioned our annual board meeting agenda and outlined some of the issues that the board planned to address. Our board met the day before our Pisa, Italy conference began and several topics were discussed. In addition to general planning issues related to our upcoming ACM SIGDOC 2012 Conference in Seattle, WA, USA ( and ACM SIGDOC 2013 Conference in Kyoto, Japan, we discussed plans for redesigning the new ACM SIGDOC website. Feedback we had collected on our current support of members and on future strategies for involving and supporting you (see Notes from the ACM SIGDOC Chair (December 2009:: Volume 10, Number 4), suggests that you have a strong interest in communicating more with each other via interactive web features (e.g., via blogs, wikis, asynchronous discussion boards, and comments capabilities), and our design efforts are focused on supporting those interests.

As well, it has long been an interest to revitalize our newsletter/journal and our board discussed this topic at length. Part of the overall website design will be to redesign our existing newsletter after the fashion of two popular ACM newsletter/journals: the SIGMOD Record ( and the interactions magazine ( The board is currently discussing appropriate names for our new newsletter/journal: our favorite so far is Communication Design Quarterly Review.

ACM SIGDOC members also indicated a tremendous interest in volunteering for activities and, to that end, I enthusiastically encourage you to contact me ( if you are interested in starting and managing a Volunteer Coordination Committee for the SIG. You would solicit volunteers, coordinate with the ACM SIGDOC Board to develop and initiate volunteer activities, and support volunteer efforts and engagement.

ACM SIGDOC: Holiday Shopping Book List

Finally, once again this year I just finished my annual pre-holiday library run; I picked up a few books written by some names you might recognize and colleagues I have met and had the pleasure of working with over the years through ACM SIGDOC, reminding me that it’s a fantastic organization in many respects. Some holiday reading you might want to add to your gift list include

  • Michael Alber’s (2010) “Usability of complex information”
  • Carol M. Barnum’s (2010) “Usability testing essentials”
  • Brad Mehlenbacher’s (2010) “Instruction and technology: Designs for everyday learning” (for the kids!)
  • Carolyn R. Miller and Stuart A. Selber’s (2010) co-edited “Rhetorics and technologies”
  • Donald Norman’s (2010) “Living with complexity”
  • Ray Siemen’s (2008) co-authored “A companion to digital humanities”
  • Clay Spinuzzi’s (2008) “Network”
  • Jason Swart’s (2007) “Together with technology”
  • J. R. Talburt’s (2010) “Entity resolution and information quality,” and
  • Mark Zachry’s (2007) “Communication practices in workplaces and the professions.”

Warmest to you and yours this holiday season and looking forward to working with you in 2012!

Brad Mehlenbacher, Chair, ACM SIGDOC Associate Professor, Distance Learning (LPAHE) Primary Area Faculty Member, Human Factors & Ergonomics (PSYCH), Affiliated Faculty, PhD in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media (ENG/COMM), and the Digital Games Research Center (CSE) NC State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7801 | 919.515.6242 (ph) (e-mail) | (url)

Notes from the SIGDOC 11 conference co-Chair

The ACM SIGDOC 2011 conference ( was held in Pisa, Italy, early this past October. I’d like to thank our conference organizers, in particular co-chair Nikolas Spyratos, the program chairs, Carlos Costa and Carlo Meghini, the local arrangement chair Francesca Bori and the distinguished program committee members, the keynote and award speakers, and the many presenters who contributed to a strong technical conference program. Thanks as well to our conference hosts and sponsors, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Serious Games Institute – Coventry University, University of Paris, Instituto Superior de Ciencias do Trabalho e da Emresa (ISCTE) – Universitario de Lisboa.

Also, I would like to thank our two distinguished speakers, Professor Constantine Stephanidis and Pamela Kato which contributed enormously to the success of the conference with their talks and the two SIGDOC 2011 Diana award recipients Dr. Anja Kellermann and Dr. Sven Leukert who received the award on behalf of SAP.

The reputation of ACM SIGDOC and of our conference program chair and program committee members contributed to our tradition of bringing together an impressive submission rate for the conference as well, with 70 submissions, and a final program that consisted of thirty-six (36) research and technical full papers, nine (9) short papers, three (3) posters, and one (1) workshop on topics covering the communication design spectrum from serious games and social media to Information Design and Information Architecture, Open source and collaborative writing through accessibility and user interface opportunities to virtual instruction and learning environments.

Our plans for the 30th International Conference on Design of Communication, ACM SIGDOC 2012, are underway as well. If you are interested in contributing your ideas or energy to our conference in Seattle, Washington, USA, from October 3rd to 5th, 2012, please contact our conference chair, Mark Zachry, ( or our conference program chair, Clay Spinuzzi, (

Warmest wishes for the holidays and a very fruitful new year.

Dr Aristidis Protopsaltis ACM SIGDOC 2011 co-chair The Serious Games Institute Coventry University, Technology Park Office tel: +44 (0) 24 7615 8252 Email:;

ACM SIGDOC 2011 Conference proceedings You can use this link to download the conference proceedings:

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