What is wrong with CHI for Deigners (was RE: Fwd: alt.chi 2007 - first call for submissions)
29 Nov 2006 - 2:28am
8 years ago
Both Jon and Alex have good cause to take me to task and ask for more
details about my comments about CHI. Many people on this list and in the IxD
community work hard to bring the CHI conferences to life and criticisms
should not be left to be random or ambiguous and I apologize for doing so.
My "data" is qualative in nature and the sources are indeed not
comprehensive and possibly may not be generalizable. It is what "I'm
hearing" from those I'm speaking with in my "little universe"; but that
being said, I do maybe vainly put a lot of value in my "little universe"
being what it is and whom I have contact with. So here goes ...
Jon points to technical and review processes and while I did have personal
(and heard from others about) problems in both these areas, they were either
minor in the case of technical, or they were unfortunate or subjective in
the case of the review process.
My main complaint is actually in submission process/format. It is still
completely geared towards the academic format. While I do not know yet if my
Experience Report will be accepted yet, it was an arduous task to fit my
presentation into the experience report format.
But even before I got to the point of doing that, I had to find out that the
ER format was the right one for me to submit under and even then I did so
without a lot of confidence. Jon, as you know I contacted you with my idea
and you and discussed in detail how I should go about submitting it. In that
conversation you did not give me a clear answer at all, but 3 suggestions
for possible format types. This left me with the "What?????" feeling that I
think shouldn't be there for anyone submitting.
I have heard from other designers that due to their schedules of being
practitioners that the formats just don't work. They are too restrictive,
too detailed oriented, and the review process surrounding them are still
grounded in academic rigors that don't make sense for practitioners.
This alone has stopped way too many people I've spoken with from even
attempting to submit. Good people. Some might say famous
designers/practitioners who the CHI community are loosing out on an
opportunity to hear from.
To create a true "design community" Jon, you have to reformat the community
track to fit the needs of those you want to bring in. You can't use the same
sructures, same enticements (publication), or the same evaluation processes
as the other communities and slap a content category on it. There are severe
cultural differences in place here.
If I compare this to the IA Summit <disclaimer: I'm on the planning
committee> it is night and day. To submit to the Summit, you put in a 150
word abstract and follow a very flexible template for proposals (new this
year for the first time; previously the abstract was all that was
necessary). This in my experience has led to a much more open barrier of
entry and appropriate format for the practioner community that the IA Summit
Anyway, that is my response.
I have been speaking with Jon a lot over the last few months and I believe
his call for public explanation was appropriate in light of my ambiguous
public "critique" of something he has put a lot of work into (as many others
in this community). At first I wanted to heed Jared's warning to "not go
there" on this list in public, but felt that would not be fair.
I would request though that maybe the best direction for this discussion
would be the creation of a committee of those people who are deeply invested
in the CHI format/culture/community such as Jon and those like myself who
feel estranged and even outside of it, but still feel that creating strong
bridges between UX disciplines is an important part of our practice as UX
professionals. The goal would be to help create an even better Design
Community/Track for CHI2008 or maybe even a supplemental "event" that maybe
could even have a shared IxDA/SIGCHI (add other UX org if necessary)
<disclaimer: I am not speaking officially for the IxDA in this suggestion.>