Two weeks ago, almost everyone from the DESIGN group travelled to the NordiCHI conference held in Gothenburg 23-27th October. NordiCHI has become one of the largest European conferences in the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). This year, more than 420 people from 34 countries participated in the conference. Since University of Oslo will be the host of the next NordiCHI in collaboration with the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, this trip was not only a great opportunity to learn and refresh our skills, but also provided a good basis for our own conference. This was also the first design conference experience for our four new PhD candidates: Alice Frantz Schneider, Diana Saplacan, Rebekka Soma, and Trenton Schulz.
NordiCHI’16 was hosted by Chalmers University of Technology (Eva Erickson) and the IT faculty at University of Göteborg (Steffan Björk). This year’s program was filled with interesting events and presentations. The main program consisted of 15 paper sessions, as well as three keynotes by Erik Stolterman, Jacob Sherson, and Anna Rosling Rönnlund, and a performance by Palle Dahlstedt. The conference contributions that were presented covered both theoretical and practical themes and discussed new types of human-machine interactions (physical, movement-oriented, floating, robots, big data to name a few). NordiCHI has traditionally focused on design-processes and the use-context (how the design outcome should work in its intended context).
However, a conference does not only consist of paper sessions, and there were thus many other kinds activities such as workshops and tutorials, posters and demos, industry experiences, as well as design cases and future scenarios. One of our PhD-candidates, Rune Rosseland, attended a tutorial on sketching, where the participants were challenged in sketching out the main concepts of their own research. Many of the members of the DESIGN group participated in a workshop concerning how public services can be an arena for UX-design, a workshop hosted by one of our PhD-candidates Andrea Gasparini together with Heli Kautonen from the University of Helsinki. Their workshop was merged with our associate professor Alma Culén’s workshop on how to engage youth in design and innovation projects (http://www.innovationhcid.net/).
The social events are also important at a good conference—good coffee breaks, tasty lunch, welcoming reception, and a nice conference dinner. Most importantly, conferences facilitate great opportunities for meet and greets with both known and unknown researchers and colleagues within the field. Our associate professor, Maja van der Velden, found it especially interesting that we all got a chance to meet the researchers from KTH (Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm) and Daniel Pargman who has also written a blog post about his experiences at NordiCHI (http://danielpargman.blogspot.no/2016/10/hci-and-un-sustainable-development.html). Few of the DESIGN participants also shared their excitement surrounding the growing focus on sustainability at this year’s conference.
The 10th NordiCHI conference will be held in Oslo in 2018. The hosts will be Tone Bratteteig from our research group and Frode Eika Sandnes from the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences. The theme for the 2018 conference is “Revisiting the life cycle” and is inspired by two current research trends:
- The pre-occupation with user-involvement in design in Nordic countries (“use before use”) and blurring of the lines between use and design. Today, we often notice that products and designs facilitate for users to continue designing digital things and systems they have acquired (“design after design”) and that the line between use and design is further blurred in the use-phase of a technology.
- The second trend, which is gaining more and more interest, are sustainable digital systems and technologies. In addition to the “green” and environmentally friendly production of digital technologies (materials, reparation, waste, etc.), we also strive toward designing technologies that will actually be used. This requires good planning and organization beyond the IT-projects, such as operation and maintenance.
Since so many of us travelled to this conference, we took the opportunity to have a nice group dinner together and we share many good memories from our trip. We are already looking forward to when NordiCHI will come to Oslo!