CHI’24 – Grand Challenges in SportsHCI, and CyclingHCI Workshop

Last week, I had the pleasure of participating in CHI 2024 in Hawaii, attending virtually for the first time—albeit just for one workshop. This year, I was fortunate to be involved in three papers (abstracts and links below). The first is a full paper titled “Grand Challenges for SportsHCI,” which emerged from our SportsHCI Dagstuhl seminar last summer. The second is a workshop paper for the “CyclingHCI: Learning from Cycling, Discovering Lessons Learned from CyclingHCI” workshop, focusing on inclusivity in cycling and the importance of designing technologies that cater to users who cycle for enjoyment rather than fitness. The final paper, also for the CyclingHCI workshop, examines the typical chest-worn heart rate monitor strap as a “lens” to explore inclusivity in sports technology, highlighting how such devices are often designed for specific body types and use cases.

Below, you will find the abstracts and links to each of the papers.

Full Paper – Grand Challenges in SportsHCI

The field of Sports Human-Computer Interaction (SportsHCI) in- vestigates interaction design to support a physically active human being. Despite growing interest and dissemination of SportsHCI literature over the past years, many publications still focus on solv- ing specific problems in a given sport. We believe in the benefit of generating fundamental knowledge for SportsHCI more broadly to advance the field as a whole. To achieve this, we aim to identify the grand challenges in SportsHCI, which can help researchers and prac- titioners in developing a future research agenda. Hence, this paper presents a set of grand challenges identified in a five-day workshop with 22 experts who have previously researched, designed, and de- ployed SportsHCI systems. Addressing these challenges will drive transformative advancements in SportsHCI, fostering better athlete performance, athlete-coach relationships, spectator engagement, but also immersive experiences for recreational sports or exercise motivation, and ultimately, improve human well-being.

Don Samitha Elvitigala, Armağan Karahanoğlu, Andrii Matviienko, Laia Turmo Vidal, Dees Postma, Michael D Jones, Maria F. Montoya, Daniel Harrison, Lars Elbæk, Florian Daiber, Lisa Anneke Burr, Rakesh Patibanda, Paolo Buono, Perttu Hämäläinen, Robby Van Delden, Regina Bernhaupt, Xipei Ren, Vincent Van Rheden, Fabio Zambetta, Elise Van Den Hoven, Carine Lallemand, Dennis Reidsma, and Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller. 2024. Grand Challenges in SportsHCI. In Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’24).

Workshop Paper #1 – Cycling for Fun, Not Fitness: Sports Tracking Is Not All About Performance

In the summer of 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a ransomware attack took Garmin’s Connect platform offline when athletes relied on it for motivation and social connectivity. Rather than lamenting the loss of support, the downtime prompted some cyclists to re-evaluate and reduce their reliance on tracking, providing a unique opportunity to investigate their motivations for tracking and the implications for design. Our investigation into online discussions during the outage reveals that cyclists stopped, or changed, tracking when the focus on performance undermined their enjoyment or conflicted with their intrinsic motivations, such as fun, adventure, and socialisation. This paper argues for the need to align tracking platforms with the motivations of diverse athletes, advocating for technologies that support, rather than dictate, athletes’ goals. We present the overarching lesson that technology should be inclusively designed with the needs and aspirations of a broader range of athletes, moving away from a performance-centric focus to embrace broader motivations including enjoyment. This approach can enable platforms to flexibly support a broader range of cyclists’ objectives, enriching the CyclingHCI literature and promoting a more inclusive narrative that prioritises “fun over fitness”.

Daniel Harrison. 2024. Cycling for Fun, Not Fitness: Sports Tracking Is Not All About Performance. In CyclingHCI: Learning from Cycling, Discovering Lessons Learned from CyclingHCI. A CHI 2024 Workshop, May 11th, 2024. 5 pages.

Workshop Paper #1 – Cycling for Fun, Not Fitness: Sports Tracking Is Not All About Performance

Inclusivity and access challenges in sports are widespread, particularly in cycling, which can result in excluding those outside of the narrow view of a “typical cyclist”. Unfortunately, these challenges appear to be equally common in the design of sports technologies, but despite this, there has been relatively little examination of inclusivity in sports from an HCI perspective. Partly inspired by a major manufacturer’s early- 2024 announcement of a new “women’s” heart-rate monitor, this paper looks towards chest-worn heart rate monitors, common in sports tracking, as a narrative case study to explore inclusivity in CyclingHCI. Despite their ubiquity and relative affordability, traditional chest straps often fail to cater to diverse bodies, resulting in issues around fit, comfort and accuracy for many women and other groups. Online commentary highlights many women, trans, non-binary and cyclists of size reporting problems from discomfort, to inaccurate readings that impact training, which can further contribute to feelings of exclusion and barriers to cycling. We argue that non-inclusive design can negatively impact general engagement, so drawing on our research and experience of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), we highlight the importance of considering inclusivity from the outset when designing sports technology. Ultimately, the case of chest-worn heart rate monitors demonstrates the real-world impact of inclusivity not being prioritised, presenting an opportunity to envision a more inclusive future for sports technology.

Daniel Harrison and Faye Green. 2024. Skipping a Beat: Inclusion in Sports Technology, The Case of Heart Rate Monitoring. In CyclingHCI: Learning from Cycling, Discovering Lessons Learned from CyclingHCI. A CHI 2024 Workshop, May 12th, 2024. 4 pages.

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