On Thursday 17th March, 2022, TC13 (Human Computer Interaction) staged its annual Open Symposium for TC Committee members and representatives of the local host organisation to present their latest research.
This year was the first time the event has been held since the pandemic (the last one is in Milan in March 2020 was cancelled) and for the first time it was held as a hybrid event. 150 people registered in total, 40 people attending in person at the University of York (UK) and 110 people attending remotely via Zoom. Remote participants came from China and numerous countries across Europe. These numbers are considerably higher than at pre-Covid symposia, so it seems that attending hybrid or remote events is definitely becoming the “new normal”.
To create a greater sense of presence for the remote participants, organisers used “Meeting Owl” technology which transmits an image of the room plus images of anyone who is speaking to remote participants. Although there were a few teething problems, the feedback from remote participants was generally very positive.
The day started with a presentation about TC13, its Working Groups and the INTERACT 2023 Conference, to be held in York. This was followed by eight presentations covering a wide variety of topics in human computer interaction, from interaction with robots to the representation of disabled people in the media and problems of the use of virtual reality to create empathy for disabled people. Feedback was again very positive.
TC13 plans to continue staging its annual Open Symposia in the hybrid format, as it allows for wider participation and provides an opportunity for anyone to sample some recent research in human computer interaction, wherever they are. Work will continue to improve the level of engagement for remote participants at future events.