My CHI 2019 Experience

Posted in: Conferences, EngD

I had a great time in Glasgow at CHI 2019 last week. I met a lot of wonderful people, saw a lot of interesting things, and managed to survive! I did my best to keep up with updates on Twitter, but I would like to share some of my 'best bits' with any of you who may not have seen these.

Courses

I signed up to two CHI courses, which took up the first day and a half. Although I did not get to see any papers on the first day, attending these courses provided a gentle introduction to CHI; I knew where I had to be and didn't have to choose between ten different places! Here's my quick summary of the two courses:

1. How to Write CHI Papers

What better way to kick-off CHI than learning how to write for CHI? The writing course was mainly useful for picking up on CHI-specific guidelines, one of which is to pop in a few guidelines that came out of your research! It was also good to know that other, general information I have picked up before (such as how to structure a paper) is relevant to CHI.

The course featured a lot of sticky notes of ideas as we answered questions like "Why do you want to write at CHI?" and "What problem are you trying to solve?". Here are a few of my contributions:

2. Rapid AR/VR Prototyping

As many of my followers will know, I have already had a go at developing some example AR applications, but the course sounded ideal when I saw the title.

Our task was to come up with an idea for a way to attend CHI remotely using virtual reality (VR). The discussions I had on my table were fun, though we took a while to converge on a particular aspect of 'attending CHI', because it is so broad.

I was hoping for something a bit more hands-on, and unfortunately we didn't get to a point where we produced a working prototype. However, I picked up some pointers for tools that are out there, and was exposed to a different way of thinking about prototyping for AR/VR applications.

If anyone is interested, check out the course leader's paper to find out how to create VR and AR prototypes using paper!

Meet-Ups

During all of the coffee breaks, lunches, and evening events, I managed to fit in a good bit of networking, which is arguably one of the most important aspects of attending conferences.

I was keen to meet with some researchers whose work I had read before attending the conference. There had been two workshops in previous years that focused on dementia, so I got in touch with one of the organisers, who then set up a breakfast meet-up. About ten people turned up (kudos, because it was an 8 AM meeting!), and we exchanged ideas about our work. It was great to put some faces to names, and talk about my own work with more-experienced researchers.

I also met some like-minded people at the DEN/CDE dinner on Sunday, at the accessibility-focused Lunch@CHI on Monday, and at the special-interest-group on participatory design on Thursday, so a big shout out to you: I hope we keep in touch!

Motivation

After making it through my first CHI, it will be much easier to navigate any large conferences that I will attend in future. I am grateful for the opportunity to have experienced CHI this early in my project and my mind is racing with ideas of what to do next. CHI 2019 has boosted my motivation for getting on with the project and I hope to share my work at forums like CHI very soon.

I better get started, because the first deadline is in September...

Posted in: Conferences, EngD

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