Vegas: Day Four!

I’m at Day Four of the HCI International Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. At this point in the conference, we have completed our tutorials and the first day of poster presentations. In order to make my blogs a little more readable, this blog will just focus on the tutorials, and I will do another blog post on the poster presentations next week.

The tutorials were a great experience. My first one was Usability and UX: An Integrated Approach to Design and Evaluation. The presenter was Nigel Bevan, a usability consultant from the United Kingdom. His presentation will be a great resource in my future HCI work, as he had a lot of input on questionnaires and surveys. He had a plethora of tools to ensure that the user’s experience was properly relayed and recorded for the designers.

The second tutorial I took was Culture-Centered HCI Design with Rüdiger Heimgärtner, a User Interface consultant from Germany. The workshop was small and required the participants to design a product that could be adapted for use by many different cultures. This was interesting, because there were a few different countries represented in the room, including Japan, USA, Germany, and South Africa. This workshop helped me understand how designing for a different culture (or multiple cultures at once) can be much more difficult, although it can also be more enjoyable

The third tutorial was HCI in Sci-Fi Movies and Television with Aaron Marcus. Aaron is well-known for user interface design and interactive media. His workshop was a ton of fun. We dissected various Sci-Fi movies and their use (or lack!) of HCI design. He made some really good points about how HCI and the film industry could combine efforts to learn from each other in order to create more quality work. As a fan of Sci-Fi movies, I was really entertained.

My final tutorial was Eye Tracking in User Experience Design with Aaron Schall. This was the most hands-on workshop! Not only did we get to see examples, we got to actually use an eye tracker! Eye trackers are used a lot to test whether a design is working the way the designers intended. A small device hooks up to a computer and tracks where the eyes are looking while on a website or mobile app. In this workshop, I learned that most eye-trackers have a really difficult time with glasses, so I couldn’t effectively have my eyes tracked. All is not lost, however! There are some HCI enthusiasts working on solving this problem.

Because the HCI conference was international, we were able to meet a variety of people. In the Eye Tracking tutorial, I met someone from Sweden who worked on eye tracking in traffic, and a Frenchman who has been passionate about eye tracking for awhile but hadn’t been able to use the equipment until this conference. I also met a PhD student from India, a German woman from the communications industry, and a Chinese Master’s student. My communication skills have improved a little in the past three days, and I hope to meet many more interesting people as the conference continues on.

Next blog, I’ll post some pictures and talk about our poster presentation!