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APCHI conference starts tomorrow

APCHI 2004 starts tomorrow

An international conference hosted by Waikato University’s Computer Science department and featuring computer experts from 17 countries starts tomorrow (Tuesday 29 June 2004).

The Asia Pacific Computer-Human Interaction (APCHI) 2004 conference is the sixth biennial gathering of computer-human interaction experts and the first time the event has come to New Zealand.

Conference co-chair and computer science Senior Lecturer, Dr Matt Jones, says the conference will bring people together from all around the world, with a strong showing from many of the Asia-Pacific countries.

The theme of the four-day conference is usability, which is all about reducing the frustration and confusion often associated with technology.

“Usability is becoming an increasingly important area of study. Something is usable if it allows you to focus on achieving things, like writing an email or recording a TV programme, without the technology getting in the way. When you go to use your mobile phone or spreadsheet package – or any other system that has a computer in it – you should find the experience satisfying rather than irritating,” says Matt Jones

One of the keynote speakers at the four-day conference is Professor Don Norman, author of The Design Of Everyday Things, which has been credited with changing the way a generation of designers see the world. A former vice president of Apple Computers, he is a co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, a consulting firm that helps companies produce human-centred products and services.

“Don is one of the leading computer experts in the world, and he will point out important new trends, showing why developers need to consider emotional aspects as well as the more traditional notions of efficiency and effectiveness.”

Eighty papers will be presented and there are also full-day and half-day tutorials, such as designing mobile applications, an area where New Zealand is leading the way.

Some of the projects currently being developed in the Waikato University Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research group, based in the Computer Science department, include large information display surfaces (LIDS), map and photograph browsing on handheld computers and mobile phones, and the constructive use of mobile phones in classroom teaching.

“The Human-Computer Interaction research group at Waikato University sees part of its role as being one of nurturing and developing the research and practice of usability and human factors in this country. We are delighted to have this opportunity to bring this important event to New Zealand,” Matt Jones says.

APCHI will be held at the Royal Lakeside Novotel in Rotorua from Tuesday 29 June – Friday 2 July.

Visit http://www.apchi2004.org.nz for more information.

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