picture is worth a thousand words.

  • Surprisingly, scientific papers with embedded videos or animations graphics are rarely published. Instead, venues may allow authors to submit a separate video that accompanies their article. This is somewhat primitive, equivalent to submitting a deck of figures that accompany a paper instead of embedding the figures directly into the article. While the technology to embed and render animated content within a PDF document has not been readily available until recently, it is now possible and fairly easy to embed videos and interactive content into a PDF—the status quo digital format for scholarly publications. New Web-based multimedia technologies such as HTML5 allow us to further think more broadly about the presentation of scientific articles that break the current constraints of existing distribution formats. Importantly, the consumption of scientific content has transitioned away from physical paper toward modern electronic-based media, which can display inline animated content. Given the ubiquity of these technologies, it is time to rethink how we disseminate scholarly research, and in particular, research that involves interactive content or dynamic systems.

    While this topic is relevant to all fields of scholarly research, we feel no community is better suited to pursue this new vision than the community of HCI researchers, UX practitioners, and interaction designers, whose roots are in the design and development of technologies that facilitate the communication of digital content between humans and machines. No community would better understand that extra care and precautions are needed to ensure an aesthetically pleasing reading experience. To that end, we propose the use of animated figures, continuously looping videos that minimize disruptions to the typical reading experience.

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