the end of CHI

Wow, this has been a crazy week. So much information to process, people to meet, pictures to take.

Lectures and courses
I’ve been following so many lectures on so many papers. It’s been crazy. Subjects ranged from “A comparison between Heuristics Evalutation Methods” to “User Research using Mechanical Turk”. I’ve been trying to attend to a lot of usability lectures, some of which were really interesting and some of which were plain bad. It was nice to see the difference between academic work and corporate work.
On the general however, it’s just like school. A lot of people sitting and listening to a lecture. Some people taking notes on paper, some taking notes on their macbook pros and some just taking pictures of the projected slides.
I took a course on Wednesday. I figured that if I want to know anything about usability and study this in a psychological fashion, I need to know how to apply it to designs. So I registered for this course by Mike Atwood and Tom Hewett from Drexel University called “A practical approach to interactive system design”. I learned a couple of methods that serve as a basis for designing and evaluating interactive systems. I did this together with two PhD students, Malte and Javed. It was really fun, since when we were putting our skills to the test in the assignments, we did a great job. And we made puns, like ‘snackquisition’, which I still like to be honest. I’m writing it down, knowing that this is typically a “you had to be there”-kinda thing, but I don’t care too much bout that now.

Social stuff
This whole course thing also lead to me going to the google hospitality event. Which basically is a free drink at some expensive ‘Grand Hotel Firenze’ aka standing in line for your drinks for too long with too many people in a place that is too posh. It was however nice to meet some people and talk about geeky stuff. It’s not that different from a gaming weekend to be honest.
I didn’t go to bed too late, since I had to present my poster on Thursday. I was scared that people would come up with some tough questions (which they did), so I decided I needed a good night’s sleep.
Poster presentation
A large part of CHI consists of poster presentations. On Wednesday Brian and Daan presented their researched. I presented a poster I made on a research on Thursday. It was quite nice, because some people even showed an interest in our research, even though it’s nothing applied like the majority of CHI papers. Also funny that most people would read the poster and then touch my upper arm briefly to ask me for comments. (check the poster if you want to know why that’s funny).

The trip back however was hell. Our plane left at 10am, which forced us to be on the airport at around 8am, which forced us to grab a train at 6:30am, which forced us to leave the appartment at around 6am, which forced us to wake up at around 5am. Luckily I did wake up early enough every day, to not be completely deregulated timewise. Anyway, after a week of Florence, Eindhoven is even uglier than it was before and colder too. It’s been a great experience to be at a conference. I did meet a lot of new people and saw people I hadn’t seen in a long time.

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