GHC14: Winning at the Game of Office Politics – Part 2

This is the second part of my first post here about winning at the game of office politics by Jo Miller. So, let’s talk about it.

This third option which Jo presented to win at the game of office politics, is to Become positively politically savv…

I Will Survive … A Grad Cover Version You Must Sing!

I had a blast at the Graduate School Survival Skills GHC session. It was about surviving, but most of all thriving in graduate school! I have posted session notes here. We ended the session with this version of I will survive (It’s a must go-to karaoke…

Student Opportunity Lab

Last week at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (I can’t believe it’s already been a week!!), I attended the Student Opportunity Lab session. This session was geared towards undergrad and grad students looking for advice from resumes to…

HCI Presentations at Grace Hopper Celebration 2014

Caitlin Colgrove presenting on extremes in mobile design.

Of the 6 HCI talks presented on the last day of GHC, 3 were website-related and 3 were mobile device-related. I know these two areas (websites & mobile devices) have a strong presence in our everyday lives and there’s still much to learn and actually execute in terms of their usability – especially as technology continues to evolve. However, I would have liked to have seen at least one presentation related to some other type of human-computer interaction – automobile dashboards, airport kiosks, gas pumps, etc. Rather than try to cover all 6 presentations in this post, I’ll focus on my favorite and then end with my biggest takeaway from each.

The 3 website-related presentations were:

  • Designing for a Digital City: Advancing the Online Presence for a Municipal Government, by Carolyn Pang
  • Accessible Web Sites Are Always Ugly and Other Myths by Christine M. Ingalls
  • Web Accessibility for Everyone by Ramya Sethuraman

The 3 mobile device-related presentations were:

  • Hitting Authentication on the Nose: Using the nose for as an alternate authentication input, by Ann-Marie Horcher
  • Distractedly Intimate – Your Users on Mobile, by Cate Huston
  • Everyday Extremes: Designing Mobile for Anyone, Anywhere by Caitlin Colgrove

My favorite presentation was Everyday Extremes by Caitlin Colgrove because she touched on HCI concepts I find most fascinating: context. She encouraged us not to view mobile as “just a miniature version of a desktop” and to consider the extreme conditions that mobile users encounter on a daily basis. The case studies she brought up highlighted the importance of observing how environment impacts usage. One great example was when her team was tasked with deploying an interface law enforcement officers would use in their cars. They noted the laptops in the officers’ cars had hard-to-press, pressure-based touch screens that were even harder to press when the vehicles were moving. They noticed that officers would brace the screen with their one hand (usually right hand) and use their thumb to press. So, they designed for this, putting the interface’s navigation controls in the upper right.

Another great example – which became really relevant to me immediately following the presentation – was the issue of designing for slow and no internet connectivity, not just good and great connectivity. She discussed the need to:

  • let users know what’s going on when tasks aren’t responding due to a slow connection
  • enable users to do something offline when there’s no connection
  • allow users to take action during a slow connection or to recover from a lost connection (allowing retries or cancellations, setting reasonable timeouts, etc.)

She also advised us to check out the blog post “Design for Realtime” by Dominic Nguyen.

This hit home when, following the presentation, I decided to continue my note-taking outside where it was warmer. I kept my laptop open, walked out the closest door and sat out front of the convention center. I finished up my notes in the wiki, hit Save and … eeek … a “no connection” screen. I didn’t realize that I’d lost connection to the conference center wifi went I walked outside. I hit the Back button, but it was too late – all my notes were gone. Luckily, I’d done an earlier save of my wiki notes into a Word doc so I was able to repost everything.

My top takeaways from the other talks:

  • We have a dominant nostril that changes several times a day. From the quite interesting and entertaining talk “Hitting Authentication on the Nose” by Ann-Marie Horcher.
  • The discussion of the Couple app (which I loved using during my 2 years of long-distance dating my now husband!) and how it allows you dedicate a “space” on your device for the person you love, similar to how you might dedicate a particular ringtone. From “Distractedly Intimate” by Cate Huston.
  • When we think about making websites more accessible, imagine we’re fixing a site for Stephen Hawking or for our future older selves. Great perspective from “Web Accessibility for Everyone” by Ramya Sethuraman.
  • There are a lot of myths in accessibility design! From the very digestible and insightful talk “Accessible Websites are Always Ugly and Other Myths” by Christine Ingalls
  • Cities are only just now exploring how digital technologies can connect them to their citizens. From “Designing for a Digital City” by Carolyn Pang.

Great talks overall. I’ve posted my notes and look forward to seeing the speakers provide slides. Maybe next year, I’ll have to be the one to present my observations on gas pumps!

GHC14: Communicating for Impact and Influence Workshp

Blogging from GHC14 session: Communicating for Impact and Influence Workshop, Facilitated by Denise Brosseau (For detailed workshop description please see end of post) Nothing seems more important in today’s workplace than having great communication skills. The difficulty lies with the fact that not everyone is a great communicator, as well, men and women tend to communicate differently. This can […]

Don’t let the networking die!

Today marks a week since Grace Hopper began. Have you followed up on the connections you made? I’ll be the first to admit I have no problem meeting new pals, I sometimes have issues following up with them. Please don’t let those good ole times spent bonding over waiting to get your caricature drawn or stalking the snack areas go to waste! 

 

I have their business card..

I recognize it may be a little weird making the first move but people do it all the time. Deep breath and send that email! 

Things to include: 

  •     A reintroduction 
  •     How you guys met
  •     What you’d like to do with your new found personal/professional friendship. 

 

This: 

    Dear Miss Piggy, 

        I certainly hope you got home safely and you enjoyed the remainder of your time at Grace Hopper. I had a lovely time meeting you and discussing your thoughts on the future of wearable technologies while we waited for the panel to start. I wanted to take the time and connect with you via email in hopes we could continue exchanging ideas about where fashion and tech could collide next. Warmly, Vanessa 

Not this: 

    Dear Kermit, 

        I’m Vanessa and we met at Grace Hopper. I wanted to follow up with you in hopes you’d send me some recently published articles about how I can catch flies better. Thanks again, Vanessa 

I forgot how/where we met…

    In a crowd of 8000 people there’s a countless number of possible interactions. It’s perfectly normal to not recall how or where you met exactly. I’ve found touching base on a higher level is normally the best option. 

 

    This: 

    Dear Miss Piggy, 

    Can you believe it’s been a week since Grace Hopper began? It most certainly feels like yesterday to me, I can hardly contain myself. I wanted to touch base and see how your flight home was. I’d also like to connect with you via Linkedin/Twitter/email. As a recent grad, I’ve learned one of the best things I can do is surround myself with successful women and I’d love to have you in my network. Kindest Regards, Vanessa 

 


People to follow. 

This year may have been my 4th year attending Grace Hopper but boy did it leave a lasting impression on me. This by no means is a complete list but I managed to track down a few people on Twitter. Feel free to follow them. 

Cate Hudson 

Clint Zeagler

Jennifer Arguello  

Jo Miller 

Matt Wallaert 

Megan Smith 

Michelle Six

Patty Lopez 

Rose Robinson

Ruthe Farmer 

Telle Whitney


Below are some communities you’d want to follow if you’d like to be more involved or stay up to date with the happenings of Grace Hopper. 

Systers Community

Grace Hopper Community 

Anita Borg Institute 


We can’t wait to see you in Houston!