HCI 2009, the 23rd annual British Computer Society conference on Human Computer Interaction, took place this week at Cambridge University’s Churchill College . It started and finished with two provocative and inspiring keynote talks, and in between were some interesting presentations and discussions. I was there to give a paper on the user research work we’ve been doing as part of the Usable Image project, but I was also wearing my accessibility hat, and while there wasn’t a huge amount of coverage of accessibility or inclusive design there were plenty of other presentations that were definitely of relevance.
As a web accessibility researcher and consultant, a significant part of my job involves finding out what’s going on in the field.
In order to do this, I should spend most of my time reading journal papers and attending academic conferences. These publications are peer-reviewed, and should be rigorous and high quality accounts of relevant investigations into how technology can be used to improve the experiences of disabled people. They’re usually the results of major funded research projects, lasting one or more years, and are indeed generally of high quality.
In academia, this is how the quality of our work is measured – the number of publications we achieve, and more importantly, the quality of the place we publish.