I know I have said it before, but the CHI conference brings together an amazing combination of people, disciplines, specializations, and interests. It is also the place to watch for the emergence of new interest areas within the broader field of human-computer interaction.
There are several venues within the conference where this happens. It often starts with a special interest group, which is a meeting for an hour or two of like-minded people to discuss an area of common interest, which may in a later year develop into a workshop, which is a more formally organized day-long event.
Since 1997 there has also been the development consortium, which is an event designed to explicitly identify and develop new areas within HCI. In 1997 it was Soft-currency countries, 1998 Teaching, 1999 Seniors, 2000 Beyond the Desktop, 2001 Latin America, 2002 South Africa, and in 2003 it was about Mass Media. (This year is about Eastern Europe and the Middle East.) This issue of interactions is a result of the 2003 Development Consortium.
Even though we are willing to spend plenty of time discussing the placement of light switches or the design of door handles or cookers, at first glance mass media doesn't seem like a topic for discussion within human-computer interaction. But in reality the opposite is true. Much of traditional mass media is becoming more and more digital, even interactive, and in the last decade we have even got another mass mediumthe Webto add to the mix. And even for the traditional forms of mass media there are still ever present issues of information design and presentation.
This issue is the product of the hard work of many people, but one person in particular deserves extra acknowledgment, and that is Nico Macdonald. He not only organized the development consortium, but then turned it into this excellent issue. Thanks Nico!
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