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December 18, 2004

Weighed down by what we know

I was sorting through some old and priceless documents, such as the five year-old proceedings of a CHI (Computer Human Interaction) conference. In it I encountered a thesaurus that lists 137 terms that crop up in the papers selected for the event. The list runs from agents, to work analysis, and includes, in-between, such subjects as augmented reality, cognitive models, ethnography, help desks, input devices, metaphors, predictive interfaces, story-telling, tactile inputs, and usability engineering. As I said, 137 entries. Now CHI is for and about designers who care passionately about people - but you have to ask: is it possible to stay on top of this kind of burgeoning knowledge-base and still find time to get out of the house and mix with....real people?

Posted by John Thackara at December 18, 2004 07:28 PM


Many of the India CHI conferences seem to smack of North American-style CHI research, or reflect on fairly residual topics.

http://www.iesup.org/ihci is one example..
they've had 3 events till date, and after attending the first two, i somehow couldnt convince myself to walk into the third last month

http://www.chi-southindia.org is another..it has been running chi conferences for 5 years now and none of their events have a *theme*...the organizers suggested it was a strategic move so people could present everyhing from 'ubicomp' to 'e-learning'. A sad state of affairs. I'd of course pinged them heavily to invest in Doors and try and raise their own independent game instead of depending on the parent software organization for support.

its a little sad to see many second and third tier academics and researchers land up at these conferences and confuse the IT audience further, which probably came to the event wanting to learn about remote usability, hci offshoring, or in some genuine cases, new product development.

Posted by: Amit at December 19, 2004 08:33 PM

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