My career is marked by varied combinations of design, engineering, art, and science; my current research interests (communicative surfaces – how people interact with architectural-scale displays) derives from three enduring research themes: the study of media, the study of design activities, and building tools to support design activities that employ novel media. I am currently exploring this through the development of new genres of display and interaction that anticipate the time in the next decade when almost any surface in the built environment can be an interactive display. I am developing courses and research at the intersection of art and engineering ("Cyber Art") that will engage new disciplines in this investigation and also moving traditional human-computer interaction research towards a more designerly approach.
Previously while working at Xerox PARC, I expanded the academic study of design from a strictly single-person cognitive model to a richer, more socially-centered description; I created the seminal CSCW system known as the Media Space as well as developing shared drawing tools (VideoDraw, WhereWereWe, and the DrawStreamStation); and initiated methods for teaching and understanding the socio-technical meaning of interactive devices. XFR: eXperiments in the Future of Reading, employed those innovative research and design methods to create a traveling exhibition employing PARC technology to help people envision the potential of ubiquitous and embedded computation. This resulted in design awards and patents, used and enjoyed by over 600,000 visitors to numerous science and technology museums, and a redefinition of PARC research as “reading research”.
I am an architect (licensed in California) and worked for many years at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.
I am the co-Director of the Social Informatics area of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction and the Director of the Graduate School's Human-Centered Design program in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program.
copyright Steve Harrison 2015