I was delighted to be selected for the CHI 2017 Doctoral Consortium. CHI is the premier international conference for human-computer interaction. (HCI researchers study how humans interact with computers and design technologies that let humans interact with computers in novel ways). This year the conference was held in Denver, Colorado.
The Doctoral Consortium was a 2-day event held before the main conference. It was an opportunity for each of the 22 doctoral students attending to present on our PhD work to date and discuss open problems in our research with senior HCI researchers and our peer group.
I focussed my presentation on the timeline tool I’ve built for analysing historical document collections over time (read more about that here). This was a great opportunity to seek feedback from an HCI community perspective.
I’ve come away thinking about:
I also presented a poster as part of the conference poster sessions. See my poster here.
Attending the rest of the conference was very inspiring; there were a great range of creative and innovative visualisations, interfaces and displays presented (including some really wacky and futuristic examples!).
I was particularly interested by the presentation for ‘Finding Similar People to Guide Life Choices: Challenge, Design, and Evaluation’ by Fan Du, Catherine Plaisant, Neil Spring, Ben Shneiderman. This paper discusses designing interfaces when there are non-trivial consequences for users in what they conclude from them; I felt there were parallels with some of my own findings about the importance of trust and control for historians in the interfaces they use. Their study demonstrated that “users are more engaged and more confident about the value of the results to provide useful evidence to guide life choices when provided with more control over the search process and more context for the results, even at the cost of added complexity”. This preference for control in search, even with more complexity, is something to think about in my own work concerning designing interfaces to support scholars.