• HCIL Logo

The Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) 

Director: Niklas Elmqvist & Associate Director: Jessica Vitak

About Us

The Human-Computer Interaction Lab has a long, rich history of transforming the experience people have with new technologies. From understanding user needs, to developing and evaluating those technologies, the lab’s faculty, staff, and students have been leading the way in HCI research and teaching.

We believe it is critical to understand how the needs and dreams of people can be reflected in our future technologies. To this end, the HCIL develops advanced user interfaces and design methodology. Our primary activities include collaborative research, publication and the sponsorship of open houses, workshops and symposiums.

We are jointly supported by the College of Information Studies (iSchool) and the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS). Our faculty come from a variety of departments across campus including computer science, education, psychology, journalism, and the humanities. We are brought together by a core focus on understanding how to design technologies to support positive impact in the world.

Our research focuses on:

  • Accessibility
  • Children as Design Partners
  • Computational Journalism
  • Open Data & Citizen Science
  • STEM Learning through Alternate Reality Games
  • Tech to Engage Communities
  • User Privacy
  • Visual Browser Interface
  • Visualization
  • Wearable Technology


Research Projects


With the popularity of personal tracking devices like the Fitbit Flex and Nike Fuel Band, and the introduction of Google Glass, wearable devices are entering the mainstream.

The Community-Driven Environmental Projects (C-DEP) model is a multi-university research endeavor funded by the NSF AISL program with an objective to engage members of diverse communities in local nature and environmental conservation projects of their choosing.