I am just wrapping up at the IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing. My paper appears in the proceedings and I presented on Monday. This has been my first Human Computer Interaction (HCI) conference, so I have been exploring the differences and similarities from my AI and FOSS conference experiences. In particular, I spent much of the conference determining what is "in scope" for this community. Most of the presenters answer a sub-question of:
- "How do we solve a problem a [developer|end user] have building software?"
- "How do we educate the general public to think computationally?"
This is a beautiful division for HCI since it attacks the "user problem" from both ends -- supporting users without changing them and helping users become better at computing. Modern design principles require assuming the user is hostile to learning how to use new software, so successes in education will tend to enable the development of more powerful software.