Conors CHI 2011 round-up

I think I’ve just about recovered from this years CHI conference! A few of us who went to the conference are going to summarise what we saw – both in terms of the talks and other events.

This year the organisers chose to focus on a number of themes that they hadn’t paid a lot of attention to previously. Two of these themes – ‘Health’ and ‘Games and Entertainment’ are very relevant for my own research interests – so I was kept busy attending talks, panel discussions and Special Interest Groups on these topics.

Most of the Health highlights for me were presented on the Monday:
Maitland & Chalmers – Designing for Peer Involvement in Weight Management.
Lee et al – Mining Behavioural economics to design persuasive Technology for Healthy Choices.
Kim et al – Using Interface Cues in Online Health Community Boards to Change Impressions and Encourage User Contribution.
Hailpern, et al. – ACES: Promoting Empathy Towards Aphasia Through Language Distortion Emulation Software.
Cramer et al. Classroom-based Assistive technology: Collective Use of Interactive Visual Schedules by Students with Autism.

The exception was the session on Thursday in which David Coyle and Mark Matthews presented some inspirationally rigorous work on using HCI for interventions for mental health.
Coyle et al – Exploratory Evaluations of a Computer Game Supporting Cognitive behavioural Therapy for Adolescents.
Matthews et al – In the Mood: Engaging Teenagers in Psychotherapy Using Mobile Phones.

I’m sure Ben will write a post about games, so I’ll stick to mentioning the most useful games session for my own interests – which was the panel discussion on the Thursday, led by Dan Cook. I’d recommend anyone designing educational games – or any kinds of games – to follow Dan’s blog. Interestingly, much of the discussion at this session focused on using games for education and the methods that entertainment games used to teach.

Speaking of using games for education, I presented a full paper on this topic on the Wednesday. The paper was titled Practical, Appropriate, Empirically-Validated Guidelines for Designing Educational Games. There was a good crowd at the talk (probably due to the ‘Honourable Mention’ award that the paper won) and I had a huge amount of questions and suggestions afterwards from both academics and professional games designers.

Myself and Ben had a fierce battle over the Mayorship of CHI on Foursquare all week. As I was the Mayor on the last day I presume that means I’m the Mayor until next year?

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