Inaugural CHI Down Under digitally connects researchers in Australia and NZ

10 June 2020

The start of 2020 brought with it unforeseen challenges, prompting the HCI community to quickly adapt to research operations better suited to a world changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the cancellation of CHI2020, CHI Down Under 2020 was developed as a local, virtual event; in lieu of physical attendance at the global conference.

Between the 21–22 of May, HCI researchers and industry professionals from Australia and New Zealand – alongside guests from across the globe – congregated in Zoom meetings and Mozilla Hub sessions to present, discuss and learn about new developments in Australia and New Zealand’s HCI research community.

With a large turnout and an engaging atmosphere, a range of paper sessions were held using the Zoom conferencing tool. Presenters used a range of screen-sharing, voice sharing and video-sharing features to discuss their work, before audience members were invited to engage with question and answer sessions. At the same time, a number of poster sessions and presentations were held in Mozilla Hubs. Digital avatars of conference attendees were welcome to walk around the VR-enabled CHI Down Under 2020 Hub, and ask questions of presenters and colleagues.

Danula Hettiachchi, PhD Candidate from Human-Computer Interaction, was a member of the organising committee for CHI Down Under. He reflects on the challenges and outcomes of coordinating a virtual event, stating:

This is the first time I was involved in organising a large-scale virtual event. We had to do a lot of planning and testing to finalise the process of running different sessions such as paper presentations, late-breaking work presentations and social events. It was a great team effort from the local HCI research community, and the organising committee is thankful to all contributors, including the presenters and attendees.

Our other members involved in CHI Down Under 2020 were Dr Tilman Dingler, who was also on the organising committee, as well as PhD candidates Madeleine Antonellos, Jing Wei, Difeng Yu and Sophie Freeman, who acted as student volunteers.

CHI Down Under 2020 also featured keynote presentations from Prof Judy Kay and Prof Mark Billinghurst. Their highly-attended sessions were featured across both days of the program, which closed with a final Town Hall session chaired by Prof Vassilis Kostakos and Prof Aaron Quigley. A short preview was also offered for CHI2021, taking place in Yokohama, Japan, which will be the next chance for our researchers to connect on a global scale.

The main conference program for CHI Down Under featured papers which were, originally, selected for presentation and publication at CHI2020. We would like to congratulate the following researchers for their acceptance into CHI2020, as well as their subsequent talks at CHI Down Under. 

CHI Down Under 2020 presentations

(in alphabetical order)

Ronny Andrade, Melissa J. Rogerson, Jenny Waycott, Steven Baker, Frank Vetere. Introducing the Gamer Information-Control Framework. (DOI Paper Link)

Ebrahim Babaei, Namrata Srivastava, Joshua Newn, Qiushi Zhou, Tilman Dingler, Eduardo Velloso. Faces of Focus: A Study on the Facial Cues of Attentional States. (DOI Paper Link)

Sojung Bahng, Ryan M. Kelly, Jon McCormack. Reflexive VR Storytelling Design Beyond Immersion: Facilitating Self-Reflection on Death and Loneliness. (DOI Paper Link)

Paul Dourish, Christopher Lawrence, Tuck Wah Leong, Greg Wadley. On Being Iterated: The Affective Demands of Design Participation. (CHI Best Paper Award Winners) ( DOI Paper Link )

Danula Hettiachchi, Zhanna Sarsenbayeva, Fraser Allison, Niels van Berkel, Tilman Dingler, Gabriele Marini, Vassilis Kostakos, Jorge Goncalves. "Hi! I am the Crowd Tasker" Crowdsourcing through Digital Voice Assistants.

Zhanna Sarsenbayeva, Gabriele Marini, Niels van Berkel, Chu Luo, Weiwei Jiang, Kangning Yang, Greg Wadley, Tilman Dingler, Vassilis Kostakos, Jorge Goncalves. Does Smartphone Use Drive our Emotions or vice versa? A Causal Analysis. (DOI Paper Link)

Follow @CHIDownUnder on Twitter for future updates. Program information and links to papers can be accessed via the CHI Down Under website.