I’m just about to head out to the San Jose airport for my flight home. I’ve been attending the CHI (Computer-Human Interaction) Conference here, which is an annual event for researchers focused on the design of technology and its use by real people. It’s now in its 25th year.
My main contribution has been helping out with judging the student design competition. Having a chance to chat with, and see the work of, 12 groups of students from a diverse set of schools was a lot of fun and an honor for me.
The brief for this years competition was around the relief of traffic congestion through the encouragement of public transport use. A tough one, I think, and wide open to interpretation. The competition was organised by Ilona Posner and Steven Wall, who did an amazing job coordinating everything and keeping the students both excited and on their toes.
There were 3 judges this year including me, from quite diverse backgrounds. Silvia Zimmerman works for the Swiss Usability Center and Apala Chavan for Human Factors International. We found the task of picking a ‘winner’ next to impossible, with so many different focusses, methods and solutions from the different teams.
All the teams should be proud of the work they did. Whittled down from an original total of 54 entries to the 12 teams that actually attended the conference they represented the ‘best of the best’. They then had to man their posters all week, which can be gruelling. The ‘top 4’ were selected from this group on Monday and had to endure a 10 minute presentation to a packed room, which seems like an odd prize to me, before they were ranked 1 to 4.