I arrived safe and sound at Lancaster University this afternoon all geared up to attend HCI2007. Didn’t have too much problem finding where I had to go, there were a number of Student Volunteers on hand to direct wayward delegates, like me, to the registration office. After I got the keys to my room and dumped all my things in there, I decided to explore the campus a little and try to get familiar with my surroundings (as well as find some food!). It’s a quite a charming campus and at the moment eerily silent because most of the students are off on the summer holidays.
After grabbing a bite to eat I went to sort out my WIFI access, grmbl grmbl, whilst I have access I can’t use it in my room, only in certain parts of the campus which is a little frustrating. Alan told me there were some problems with getting enough DHCP addresses … which sounded reminiscent of the problems delegates had at XTECH earlier this year.
So after wandering around trying to find one of the designated hotspots and checking my mail, I headed back to my room. On the way I ran into an old friend, Russell Beale, who I haven’t seen or spoken to in almost eight years. Russell, along with Alan, were effectively the guys I worked for at aQtive all those years ago. Needless to say it was great to see him again and to catch up. We both commented on how time flies and how much has happened since we last spoke to each other. Russell is also one of the Co-Chairs for the conference and will be giving some interesting talks over the next couple of days which I’m looking forward to.
Russell reminded me that there was a pre-conference reception this evening for all the delegates and we agreed to meet up and head on down at around seven. The reception was really nice, got to meet lots of very interesting people. Alan and Russell were on hand to introduce me to many of the other delegates … it’s nice to have friends!- except Alan’s been telling some of them stories about me (Fiona if your read this can you sort him out for me? ).
Had some very interesting conversations with researchers like, Fredrik Gundelsweiler who is presenting an interesting paper on “Agile Human-Centered Software Engineering” on Thursday, in which he will attempt to present a cross-discipline UI Design lifecycle that integrates Software Engineering with HCI under the umbrella of Agile Development. I’m particularly interested to see him describe this new methodology since one of the key concerns with Agile that some of us at Talis have are centered around the fact that usability is something we have struggled to factor into our agile process coherently, were still learning how to do it, I’m hoping Fredrik’s talk will give me some ideas.
It’s been a really wonderful evening what strikes me the most is the vibe at this conference. There’s definitely a buzz, you can sense everyone’s excitement, and almost everyone wants to go out of their way to talk about their work or research and share ideas. I was slightly taken aback by how much many of the delegates understood about semantic-web and some of the areas were exploring at Talis, and also how readily they were willing to listen to me try to describe what we do. I’m really excited about some of the talks around interesting ways to visualise and interact with large data sets, I have a feeling I’m going to be learning a lot over the next few days.