Tuesday, May 7, 2013

CHI 2013

... was, of course, great. I student-volunteered, which meant I didn't get to see a ton of talks; nevertheless, here are a few things I particularly liked:

Stories of the Smartphone in Everyday Discourse: Conflict, Tension & Instability, by Ellie Harmon and Melissa Mazmanian. They looked at the stories people tell themselves about their mobile phone use; it oscillates between the "integration" story ("get a smart phone, be a super connected techno future hero") and the "dis-integration" story ("unplug, de-stress, get back to the real world"). This causes tension and makes people uncomfortable. Interestingly, these are kind of the only stories being told, and they're overly simplistic.

Indoor weather stations: investigating a ludic approach to environmental HCI through batch prototyping, by Bill Gaver et al. They put little devices in people's homes that would playfully reflect indoor environment conditions (like slight wind, etc); people didn't find them practical or particularly fun, but still felt some attraction to them; "it's like there's a ghost in the house."

Slow Design for Meaningful Interactions, by Barbara Grosse-Hering et al. They described principles they used to design a juicer. Most interesting: it's okay to make some things slower. It can be good, in fact, as long as they're the key parts of the process. People don't mind spending a little more time juicing; they mind spending a long time cleaning the thing afterwards.

Some cool gadgets you can wear: WatchIt (watch band interaction) and NailDisplay (goes on your fingernail; I wasn't sold at first, but then it grew on me throughout the presentation).

Finally, and most entertainingly, don't use seven segment displays. See you all next year in Toronto!

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