From this post on, we will semi-regularly write blogs on things related to our project, interesting articles or designs we’ve come across, or a conference one of us visited. The idea is to give people visiting this website a flavour for the things we do in our projects and related work. I have the honour to kick-off by (belatedly) telling you a bit about my visit to the 2013 Australian edition of the CHI conference, named OzCHI.
Held in Adelaide, OzCHI 2013 started early for me with a presentation at its doctoral consortium, a forum for doctoral students to present their progress and receive feedback from peers and seasoned academics. For me it was the first time I presented my plans for this project in a formal session, and in fact it was my first time presenting at a conference. Of course, I had prepared well by not completely finishing my presentation slides until the previous evening. This is a very bad idea mainly because getting food afterwards is difficult in Adelaide. The more relaxed and quiet attitude of Adelaide (compared to Sydney) extends to its opening hours, or rather, those are not extended at all. Slightly worried I might have to go to bed without dinner, I was lucky to get some fastfood just before closing time.
Next morning I arrived early at the city centre conference venue, thanks to hostel neighbours who consider 6am a perfectly fine waking hour. My presentation was up before lunch and gave me plenty of comments and interesting feedback. Just getting a response from people outside of the project who know what should be in a PhD project is valuable in itself, so I would encourage everyone considering to join a doctoral consortium to do so. Similarly, it helps to see others present and voice their issues.
The rest of the conference was easier for me, as I had no paper to present. I could sample the topics and discussions to spot developments of interest. Popular topics this year included gestural interfaces (e.g., using a Microsoft Kinect or Leap Motion for input), health and fitness interactions, and of course the internet of things is surely becoming ubiquitous at HCI conferences. This year’s edition will take place here at UTS in Sydney, and will be organised by the Faculty of Engineering and IT (we are actually in the Design faculty, located nearby).
Finally, I should make note of Adelaide as a city. Maybe it is because I’m Dutch and culturally predisposed to like places which are mostly flat and give ample room to bikes, but I really did enjoy the place. Go twenty minutes to the West from the center and you can sit on the beach, and even from the center you can spot the hills to the East of the city. It is quite a nice view and I wouldn’t mind going back there. To end my first blog’s on a high I should mention this baby Wallaby: