Reflections on ACM SIGCHI
As the new Executive Committee takes over, the outgoing President offers some thoughtful reflections on the SIGCHI organization
Looking back, looking ahead
I write this as I'm entering the last week of my term as President of ACM SIGCHI. It seems an apt time for reflection on what the past three years or so have meant -- to me, to SIGCHI, and to human-computer interaction as a field. Personally, I'm proud to have had the opportunity to serve as your elected leader. I'm sure there are times when I've failed, but I tried my best to be responsive to every member that contacted me (whether for information, to make a suggestion, or for any other reason). For all the technology we develop, no matter how good the user interface, I deeply believe that person-to-person interaction will remain an important part of living productive and meaningful lives. I hope I've treated each of you humanely.
SIGCHI as an organization has taken several key steps in the past three years. We have nearly recovered from substantial financial troubles, and in the process we have improved not only our finances, but also our services. Today's CHI conference, thanks to tremendous efforts from many volunteers, has opened up new venues for participation by HCI practitioners, more fully embraced the community of design, and yet at the same time expanded the venues for high-quality, archival research. SIGCHI led a substantial formative review of interactions magazine, leading to changes we hope improve its interest, design, and usefulness. Chapters around the world continue to thrive; I've been privileged to meet with many of them and each visit leads to new insights on how our members--our volunteers--eagerly and capably craft experiences that advance the skills and professional opportunities of so many chapter members and guests.
Of course, there is more. But as I look back, I can't help but recognize how the world of HCI is changing even as we've been working to change SIGCHI. In my recent visit to India, I discovered a level of maturity in user interface design that had not yet taken hold even four years ago. And I saw new models of training people to become UI designers, including an educational system that trains them in design schools, not computer science or psychology programs. Chapters across Asia are booming. And indeed, our field is booming.
I don't have the foresight to tell you where our field will be even five years from now. I deeply believe that user-centered approaches to research and design will prove valuable in even more domains. And I believe that we will continue to strive to join together science, engineering, and design in the service of humane technologies.
As we move forward, SIGCHI is in very good hands. Julie Jacko, and her team of officers, are both capable and motivated to continue pushing SIGCHI forward. I have no doubts that she will be able to keep the organization moving even as the field moves around us.
Finally, I want to offer a few words of thanks. First, I want to thank the volunteer leadership that has served SIGCHI with me. It has been a wonderful three years, and any achievements we made were widely shared. Second, I want to thank the outstanding staff at ACM headquarters, and in particular Erica Johnson who is leaving ACM to pursue other professional opportunities. Erica has been an integral part of the team that has allowed us to transform the CHI conference, and to manage SIGCHI. Thank you. Finally, I'd like to thank all of you who have volunteered your time for the organization in any way, whether as a conference volunteer, a reviewer, a chapter leader, or just someone who follows SIGCHI activities and keeps us honest. Without you, none of this would happen.
Joseph A. Konstan President, ACM SIGCHI