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Case Studies

Quick Facts


Important Dates:


Submission Details:


Submission Format: 4-10 pages (excluding references), describing your case study. 
  • Authors are strongly encouraged to include an illustrative Video (5 minutes maximum, recommended 2-3 minutes) in 1080p H264 mp4 format to better explain what they did and what they learned. 
  • Submissions are not anonymous and should include all author names, affiliations, and contact information.


Selection process: Juried
Chairs: Haley MacLeod, Stefan Manojlovic (
At the conference: Accepted Case Studies will be presented at the conference in 15-minute time slots assigned by the conference committee. Authors should share their video as part of their presentation (up to 5 minutes) and plan to spend roughly half of their time answering questions and participating in discussion about their case study. Authors might be asked to focus on particular aspects of their case study (e.g., surprises, learnings, implications for practice) during their presentation to maximise the benefits of the presentation to conference attendees.
After the conference: Case study extended abstracts will appear in the Extended Abstracts proceedings in the ACM Digital Library.


Best Case Study Award

Based on reviewer recommendations, these submissions have been nominated for the Best Case Study Award:
  • 4730 "Onboarding Materials as Cross-functional Boundary Objects for Developing AI Assistants"
  • 9116 "Merging SaaS Products In A User-Centered Way --- A Case Study of Overleaf and ShareLaTeX"

What is a Case Study?

Case Studies are compelling stories about HCI practice based on real-world experiences that will be instructive and of interest to other members of the community. Based on the concrete cases of research and design, HCI practitioners and researchers will learn how HCI principles and methods can be applied in practical HCI work.
Case Studies should describe how a problem was addressed by HCI work carried out. They should describe the challenges experienced and how they were tackled, reflect on the experience, what could have been improved, and describe why the case study is of importance to the HCI community. Case Studies can also inspire HCI researchers to further investigate issues that arise from practical research and design work. Case Studies can illustrate, explore, report, analyze, summarize, challenge, or simply describe practical HCI work carried out to address a problem. They might focus, for instance, on the following topics:
  • Design to support a specific type of experience, discussing its rationale and lessons learned
  • Research of a specific domain, user group, or experience, discussing its insights and lessons learned
  • Domain-specific topics, especially lesser known but important domains of interest
  • Management and strategy of research (either academic research or user research) and design in organizations
  • Pilot studies preceding and informing larger-scale investigations
  • Application, critique, or evolution of a method, process, or tool
  • Innovation through Research or Design (disruptive or otherwise)
  • Practical issues associated with HCI Teaching and Learning in education, training, or knowledge sharing


Case Studies differ from archival research papers in that Case Studies do not need to define themselves as part of the potentially longer-term body of academic research. Case Studies are not considered academic archival publications, but can be republished as such, as appropriate. They might not have as extensive a literature review as archival research papers, or might not explicitly add to HCI theory within an academic school of thought.


Best Case Study Award

The SIGCHI "Best of CHI" awards honor exceptional submissions to SIGCHI sponsored conferences. Based on reviewer recommendations, the CHI Case Study chairs nominates submissions for the Best Case Study Award, as appropriate.


Preparing and Submitting your Case Study

A Case Study must be submitted via the PCS Submission System. The Case Study submission must have an extended abstract, and can also have supplementary material. We strongly encourage including a video as supplementary material.
  1. Extended Abstract (the paper). The primary submission material consists of an extended abstract in the ACM Master Article Submission Templates (single column; 4-10 pages). Note that we eliminate the old CHI extended abstract format (landscape) and use the same format as full papers. The extended abstract should describe the authors’ experience, focusing on the lessons you want readers to take away from the presentation. Your extended abstract must stand alone; readers must be able to understand the Case Study with only this material.
  2. Supplementary material. You may augment the extended abstract with additional material. Typical supporting materials include videos, documents (e.g., pictures beyond those included in the extended abstract) or interactive media (e.g., interactive prototypes). Authors who submit supplementary materials should also include a list of the supplementary items in their submission. This should explain the nature and purpose of each item submitted. (The list is not part of the extended abstract.)


Authors are strongly encouraged to work on improving the accessibility of their submissions, using recommendations found in the Guide to an Accessible Submission.


Case Study Selection Process

The evaluation of submissions will not be constrained by traditional academic expectations, but will be based on the significance of the Case Study’s contribution to the field of HCI practice and on how compellingly the story of the Case Study is told. Accepted submissions will be chosen on the merit and contribution of the report, not only on the quality of the outcome that it describes. This means that a valuable lesson learned from a poor outcome is just as acceptable as a valuable lesson learned from a good result.
Submissions will be reviewed by an expert panel of HCI practitioners and practitioner researchers. Authors will receive the reviews of their submissions after the decisions are announced, and should keep in mind that the Case Studies program is a Juried contribution and thus does not follow the strict peer-review process as applied to Papers. In particular, the Case Study review process does not allow authors the opportunity to submit rebuttals.
Specifically, the review criteria will be the extent to which the case study report accomplishes the following:
  • tells a convincing story of a real-world experience of HCI practice that will be instructive and of interest to other members of the HCI community
  • reflects on the experience, and describes why the case study is of importance
  • advances the state of the practice
  • clearly outlines any limitations of the report as well as of the activity described.


The extended abstract should contain no sensitive, private, or proprietary information that cannot be disclosed at publication time. Submissions may NOT be anonymous. However, confidentiality of submissions will be maintained during the review process. All rejected submissions will be kept confidential. All submitted materials for accepted submissions will be kept confidential until the start of the conference, with the exception of title and author information which will be published on the website prior to the conference.


On Acceptance of your Case Study

Accepted submissions will include instructions on how to prepare and submit the publication-ready version. All authors are strongly encouraged to use the instructions for accessible pdfs to add accessibility to your final generated pdf.


At the Conference

Participants will be given a slot for presenting their case study during a scheduled session. Each accepted case study will be given 15 minutes including questions for their presentation. Authors might be asked to focus on particular aspects of their case study during their presentation to maximise the benefits of the presentation to conference attendees.
Please see the Guide to a Successful Presentation for information about standard computing and A/V equipment that will be made available to presenters at CHI 2021. The Best Case Study award will be announced at the conference.


After the Conference

Accepted Case Studies will be distributed in the CHI Extended Abstracts, available in the ACM Digital Library. Videos will be attached.
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