5-8 February 2014, Amsterdam

Curating the conference program

We have seen a tremendous number of submissions this year. There were over 450, and we only have 50 speaker slots. The program committee explains the selection procedure.

The guiding ‘theme’ we gave to the conference is “Languages of Interaction Design”. We see the theme in a very broad, inspirational sense. Clearly, it is not about linguistics, but about exploring the diversity and hybridity of our practice and craft, while getting inspired by other disciplines.

We aimed to shortlist different types of topics and points of view. Initially our list of potential speakers was very long, but the conference theme and the overall motto of IxDA — “Interaction Designers create compelling relationships between people and the interactive systems they use.” — allowed us to narrow it down.

Storytelling, urban design, education and enterprise were some keywords we had included explicitly in our roadmap, and these topics were brought to life through the five personas we developed for Interaction14.

We think the six keynote speakers offer a balance between different points of view, inspiration sources, expertise and experience in various fields connected to interaction design. The keynote speeches will of course be taking place in a context of talks provided by 50+ speakers.

We have seen a tremendous number of submissions this year. There were over 450, and we only have 50 speaker slots. About 100 members of the IxDA community volunteered to become reviewers. This enabled an objective and blind review process, as well as democratic one.

The program committee could focus on the proposals that were pre-selected by the reviewers. The committee’s final editorial choices were guided by the conference theme and by the appeal of content to the personas we had developed. It was quite a long and iterative journey with long nights and many discussions, but so far, reactions of potential attendees via the social networks have been great.

Taking 55 out of 450 — a ratio of roughly 1:8 — means that many speakers who were not selected are disappointed. But it also shows that practitioners are eager to share their insights. We can definitely vow that the quality is very high this year.

This article is adapted from an interview with Alok Nandi, published by Core77 on November 2, 2013.

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