Designing for Curiosity

An Interdisciplinary Workshop

A CHI 2017 Workshop (One-Day)

May 7, 2017
Denver, CO

Learn More

Designing for Curiosity

Curiosity - the desire to know, to see, or to experience that motivates exploratory behavior directed towards the acquisition of information - is an extensively-studied phenomenon that has broad implications for design. For example, designers (e.g., software or application developers) can potentially leverage curiosity to focus or redirect users' attention, to sustain interactions, and to encourage exploration. Curiosity-inducing designs are relevant in a wide array of end user tools, including educational software and MOOC platforms, video games, crowdsourcing platforms, information seeking tools (e.g., web search engines), persuasive health and quantified self technologies (e.g., fitbit), as well as commercial products (e.g., Hot Wheels Mystery toy car, Kinder Surprise Egg), artistic creations, and interactive museum displays.

Through this workshop, we aim to build a community of academic researchers-such as computer scientists (in human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, robotics), developmental psychologists, behavioral economists, education, marketing, neuroscience-as well as practitioners-such as painters, architects, game designers, screenwriters who have engaged with the term curiosity in their work. This session will enable networking, new collaborations and potentially novel ways of exploiting such research from the perspective of different domains. The workshop will consist of a poster session as well as three interactive panels- Understanding Curiosity, Modeling Curiosity, and Designing for Curiosity-covering the theoretical, computational and design aspects of curiosity respectively, with panelists coming from diverse disciplines.

Important Dates

  • Paper Submission - February 24, 2017 5:00PM EDT *
  • Acceptance Notification - March 3, 2017
  • Workshop: May 7, 2017

*Interested parties who need to make a decision about attending CHI prior to the end of 2016 and will do so based on workshop participation may submit a position paper by December 21, 2016. Those that do will be receive notification by December 26, 2016, as to whether their position paper was accepted, rejected, or deferred for January consideration.


We invite submissions of position papers, at most 2 pages in length in the ACM Extended Abstract format that address one or more of the above topics. Position papers should include a brief biography, and an overview of how the author’s work relates to studies of curiosity. Accepted submissions will be presented as posters during the workshop in order to facilitate an interactive discussion.

Submissions should be sent direct to, where they will be curated by the workshop organizers. At least one author of each accepted position paper must attend the workshop and all participants must register for both the workshop and for at least one day of the conference.

Paper Templates:

Microsoft Word LaTeX PDF Example


Several student travel grants will be available thanks to sponsorship from Microsoft-Inria Joint Research Center. Each grant covers expenses of the travel up to 500 euros, and will be awarded to student authors based on needs and the quality of their submissions. Students can apply for the travel grant by indicating their interest in the submission email.

Tentative Program

Conference Building: Room AA1234


Welcome & Introduction to Workshop Background / Goals

Minute-Madness: Speaker Introductions

Prior to the workshop we will invite key researchers to give 1-minute provocative statements or intriguing research demonstrations. Presentations will cover a range of examples and areas relevant to the community with novel connections to curiosity in different contexts. To encourage engagement attendees will vote for the best minute madness.

Invited Speakers (tentative):

Justine Cassell -- Carnegie Mellon University, Human-Computer Interaction

Kenneth Stanley -- University of Central Florida, Artificial Intelligence

George Loewenstein -- Carnegie Mellon University, Behavioral Economics

Jessica Hammer -- Carnegie Mellon University, Game Design

Russell Golman -- Carnegie Mellon University, Behavioral Economics

Dana Kulic -- University of Waterloo, Robotics

Philip Beesley -- University of Waterloo, Architecture

Yukie Nagai -- Osaka Univeristy, Robotics

Celeste Kidd -- University of Rochester, Cognitive Science

Rob Saunders -- University of Sydney, Design Computing

Vittorio Loreto -- University of Rome, Physics

Simon Colton -- University College London, Design

Interactive Panel #1: Understanding Curiosity

There is a set of closely related concepts with curiosity, e.g., serendipity, interest, intrinsic motivation and goal-setting, creativity. What are the links between these closely related concepts? What are the most relevant theories connecting these related concepts to curiosity? By drawing together theory and practice, we can get a better understanding of what curiosity means, and how theoretical concepts of curiosity can be leveraged in designing systems of human-computer interaction in the real world.

Coffee Break and Poster Session
Interactive Panel #2: Modeling Curiosity

From robots to embodied agents, what are the various ways to model systems that exhibit artificial curious behavior? How do users typically respond to artificial intelligent systems that act curiously? How do we model curiosity in end-users of everyday application? What observable actions or characteristics do we use as proxies of curiosity (e.g., information seeking behavior, engagement) and what are the advantages and pitfalls of each of those proxies?

Interactive Panel #3: Designing for Curiosity

From art, literature, film, architecture, game design, to education, how do practitioners use the concept of curiosity to draw their audience in? How do we transfer these techniques to design curiosity into end-user applications?

Coffee Break and Poster Session
Breakout Session

A session for finding common interests among participants, fuel for discussion, and setting up future collaborations.

Closing Notes: Looking Forward

Wrap up of the work- shop summarizing directions and challenges identified and creation of future plans and joint actions and of a mailing list / attendance list / facebook group for organizing further discussions.


Edith Law
Edith Law is an assistant professor at the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at University of Waterloo and co-director of the Human Computer Interaction Lab. Her research focuses on studying incentive mechanisms in crowdsourcing systems and developing new ways to combine humans and machines to address problems in science and medicine. Previously, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. She graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2012 with Ph.D. in Machine Learning, M.Sc. in Computer Science at McGill University, and B.Sc. in Computer Science at University of British Columbia. She co-authored the book ``Human Computation" in the Morgan & Claypool Synthesis Lectures on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, co-organized the Human Computation Workshop (HCOMP) Series at KDD and AAAI from 2009 to 2012, and helped create the first AAAI Conference on Human Computation and Crowdsourcing. She founded CrowdCurio, a research infrastructure for studying technology-mediated crowdsourcing in citizen science and digital humanities.
Pierre-Yves Oudeyer
Pierre-Yves Oudeyer is Research Director at Inria and head of the Inria and Ensta-ParisTech FLOWERS team (France). Before, he has been a permanent researcher in Sony Computer Science Laboratory for 8 years (1999-2007). He studied theoretical computer science at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon, and received his Ph.D. degree in artificial intelligence from the University Paris VI, France. After working on computational models of language evolution, he is now working on developmental and social robotics, focusing on sensorimotor development, language acquisition and life-long learning in robots. Strongly inspired by infant development, the mechanisms he studies include artificial curiosity, intrinsic motivation, the role of morphology in learning motor control, human-robot interfaces, joint attention and joint intentional understanding, and imitation learning. He has published a book, more than 80 papers in international journals and conferences, holds 8 patents, gave several invited keynote lectures in international conferences, and received several prizes for his work in developmental robotics and on the origins of language. In particular, he is laureate of the ERC Starting Grant EXPLORERS. He is editor of the IEEE CIS Newsletter on Autonomous Mental Development, and associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Autonomous Mental Development, Frontiers in Neurorobotics, and of the International Journal of Social Robotics. He is also working actively for the diffusion of science towards the general public, through the writing of popular science articles and participation to radio and TV programs as well as science exhibitions.

Alex Williams
Alex Williams is a Ph.D. student, advised by Edith Law, in the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. His research examines topics at the intersection of curiosity, citizen science, and instructional agents. Alex is the lead architect of CrowdCurio, a general-purpose crowdsourcing platform for people-powered science and research. Before coming to Waterloo, he was a research scientist at the University of Oxford where he worked on the Zooniverse's Ancient Lives project and studied how every-day citizens can help unravel the history of ancient Egypt. He hold an MS and BS in computer science from Middle Tennessee State University.
Mike Schaekermann
Mike Schaekermann is a Ph.D. student at the University of Waterloo. His current research focus is at the intersection of machine learning and human-computer interaction. His work in this space revolves around the analysis of medical time series data using the power of the crowd. Prior to this, Mike received a B.Sc.E. from Salzburg University of Applied Sciences and a medical degree from the University of Marburg where he worked in a brain imaging group.

Ming Yin
Ming Yin is a computer science Ph.D. student at Harvard University, supervised by Professor Yiling Chen. Her research interests lie in the emerging area of human computation and crowdsourcing, and her goal is to better understand crowdsourcing as both a new form of production and an exciting opportunity for online experimentation. Her work is published in top venues like AAAI, IJCAI and WWW, and she has received Best Paper Honorable Mention at the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2016). Before graduate school, Ming obtained a bachelor degree from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.

Need more information?

If you have any questions regarding the workshop, please send us an email.