Gary Olson, Dennis Wixon
Many things about the CHI conference work very well, e.g., about 90 percent of attendees report that CHI was worth the time and money. Over the years the papers program has served the research community very well. Attendance took a drop in 2002 after 9/11 and the dot-com meltdown. However it increased year over year in both 2004 and 2005. Many people come back repeatedly, and the meeting is attracting more newcomers. Technical submissions remain strong and of high quality. Interesting plenary speakers are eager to speak before this audience.
Nonetheless, there are worrisome signs. Attendance at tutorials has been dropping dramatically for many years. Some people attend only once finding nothing of relevance and some core HCI professionals stay away from CHI. Our sponsors have expressed concerns about diversity in the conference. Finally, various communities feel underrepresented in the conference.
We have updated the conference to respond to these challenges, while preserving the aspects that work well. Our first response is to reach out to these diverse communities, because we believe that as a multidisciplinary profession, both the research and applied communities rely on each other in symbiotic ways: Research that cannot be applied is potentially irrelevant, and practice that is not based in sound research is potentially dangerous. Despite inherent tensions between communities, we will only succeed as a discipline if we can work together to explore (and hopefully bridge) our differences. We have selected community chairs (see sidebar) to facilitate the submissions from each of these communities. We also have restructured the length of the conference, its flow and dramatically changed the tutorial program. These changes will be deployed for CHI 2006, in Montreal.
Innovations in the CHI Conference
In order provide some continuity for the conference these innovations will be evaluated and continued through CHI 2007 and 2008. The specifics of the innovations are described below.
A free tutorial program: The current tutorial program appears to be running out of steam. Fewer tutorials are being offered, and attendance has declined. We will include tutorials as part the regular registration and anyone registering for the conference will be able to sign up. SIGGRAPH has done this quite successfully. Tutorials will run during the regular conference days, not ahead of time.
Reorganize the flow of the conference: Some important changes in the conference organization: Tutorials will run concurrent with the technical program and are offered at no extra charge; the technical program will occur Monday through Thursday; workshops and the doctoral consortium will be offered Saturday and Sunday; there will be a free special tutorial for newcomers; there will be a job fair Tuesday evening; there will be receptions Sunday and Monday.
Evolving the research track. Full papers at CHI from the research community are thriving. Over the years, we have a maintained a high-quality bar and stimulated the development of a strong research community. We aim to continue and evolve that tradition. This year we have added new category of research submission. Notes are brief and more focused than traditional papers but follow the same reviewing standards and practices.
Experience Reports. We are also adding experience reports which describe HCI practice based on real-world examples described in a way to be of general interest.
Encouraging broad participation. For CHI 2006 we are encouraging a broader range of submissions to, and participation in, all of the venues. To aid in this process, we have recruited distinguished chairs from each of these communities to serve on the conference committee. These chairs will help submitters pick the best venue for their work. We encourage people to contact the community chair that best represents you. Each of these community chairs welcomes participation in all forms from reviewing to submitting to chairing sessions.
CHI 2006 Chair
SIGCHI Vice President for Conferences
About the Authors:
Gary M. Olson is a Paul M. Fitts Collegiate Professor of Human Computer Interaction at the University of Michigan, a professor and the associate dean for research in the School of Information, and a professor in the Department of Psychology. Olson is a member of the prestigious CHI Academy and has published numerous articles and chapters on topics in basic and applied cognitive science.
Dennis Wixon leads a team of over 20 at Microsoft Game Studios, which provides consulting and research to make games fun. He is also a member of the User Experience Leadership Team, a corporate steering group. Dennis previously worked at Digital Equipment Corporation, where his team developed Usability Engineering and Contextual Inquiry. Dennis has been an active member of CHI and has authored many articles on methodology. He co-edited Field Methods Case Book for Software Design with Professor Judy Ramey of the University of Washington.
Sidebar: CHI 2006 Community Chairs
Technical Program Chair: Robin Jeffries
Research Papers Chairs: Tom Rodden and Rebecca Grinter
Research Notes Chairs: Paul Aoki and Ed Cutrell
Design: David Gilmore and Kristina Höök
Usability: Janice Rohn and Stephanie Rosenbaum
Engineering: William Newman and Bonnie John
Management: Austin Henderson and James Euchner
Education: Jim Foley and Jenny Preece
Experience Reports: Jim Miller
For more information about submission and the goals of each community check: www.chi2006.org/index.php
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