Departments

XIX.1 January + February 2012
Page: 89
Digital Citation

SIGCHI


Authors:
Gerrit van der Veer

As we prepare for CHI 2012, slated for May 5-10 in Austin, TX (submission deadline is January 9; check http://chi2012.acm.org for updates), the Conference Management Committee, chaired by Scooter Morris, is building our future. In 2013 we are solidly booked for Paris; 2014 will welcome us in Toronto; and for 2015, Southeast Asia awaits. We promise CHI will eventually return to the U.S. (2016 is still open!). The SIGCHI Asia workshop, initiated by Zhengjie Liu and John Karat, is now having its third meeting (in Kunming, China). A regional SIGCHI community is being considered and a local conference initiative will be elaborated. Be aware that this region is widespread, with our colleagues working in a variety of different cultures and many different languages used in local academic and industrial practice.

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Singapore, where Henry Duh arranged for me to meet colleagues at three university institutes. I was impressed by the quality of the research and jealous of the facilities. Henry also introduced me to a group of interaction designers, most of whom were affiliated with both the Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA) and SIGCHI (our executive vice president, Elizabeth Churchill, regularly meets with UPA’s president—we collaborate on optimally serving our mutual members). In this part of the world, any university HCI department or design company seems to be strikingly international, and everybody understands, writes, and speaks English, though each (like me) clearly has a local accent.

Our globe is not covered when we consider only North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia. SIGCHI’s next step may well be in Latin America: John Karat and Zhengjie Liu are collaborating with an energetic group of locals from various countries in that region to prepare a workshop early next year. Again, we will have to learn about languages, cultures, travel opportunities, and needs for SIGCHI support.

SIGCHI cares about the future, so we invest in educating the next generation. Jenny Preece and Elizabeth Churchill are leading a project to investigate HCI education needs, opportunities, and issues worldwide. So far, more than 50 of our colleagues have been interviewed, and 200 surveys have been answered. Our sample covers students, academics, and practitioners in equal numbers. The main topics for education are (as we expected) analysis and design, but we also found important unsolved issues regarding curriculum diversity and the need for different specializations. In computer science, a clear distinction seems needed between understanding relevant HCI concepts, design principles, and theories, and experience with tools and techniques. In psychology there are today several different domains (cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and social psychology) that need a focused HCI component in their curriculum.

A generic problem across all types of education is the gap between research and practice and the related need for preparing students for their future jobs. As the project continues, the Web and social media will be used to conduct further interviews and to broaden participation in the discussion, while current participants will be asked for feedback on our developing understanding.

Finally, Dan Olsen’s initiative for communities is now implemented at http://www.sigchi.org/communities. Communities are collections of people associated with SIGCHI who share a common interest. The first group to sign in (and to be officially approved by me) is UIST. Are you regularly talking to or meeting with colleagues with a shared interest in a special topic in HCI, or who live in the same region or would follow up on the same concerns? Identify five colleagues with an ACM or SIGCHI membership (which allows a free ACM Web account), and hit the “Start a Community” button. Subsequently, anyone can join, though voting rights are restricted to ACM or SIGCHI members. I look forward to your proposals.

        —Gerrit C. van der Veer
        President, ACM SIGCHI

©2012 ACM  1072-5220/12/0100  $10.00

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