CHI 2013 Video Previews are live!

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CHI 2013 logoYou might remember a while ago, we solicited some examples of videos for the Video Preview program for CHI 2013. Well, it took a while, but the CHI 2013 Video Previews web site is now live.

The Video Previews are a new feature for the CHI Conference series, replacing the long-running CHI Madness daily plenary session to save time in the over-crowded schedule. But really, the Video Previews is more than just a reason to sleep in a little longer: the goal is to make it easier to understand what the presentations are about, before, during, and after the conference.

The previews were intended to serve multiple purposes:

  • To provide a preview of what will be presented at the conference, so that attendees could plan their schedule
  • To be played on-site on large displays throughout the conference venue to give people an idea of what’s coming up next
  • To be distributed to attendees as part of the electronic proceedings on the USB stick, and on the iPhone and Android apps.

A bit of help…

To help navigate the conference schedule, we’ve introduced some TLC (Three Letter Codes!) that identify each session and each presentation within a session. You’ll see them everywhere: in the e-proceedings, in conference schedule, on the big screens, in the apps, and, of course, on the previews site, where they look like this:

Previews page showing several three letter codes

Closeup of the sidebar in the previews pageThe closeup of the side bar, on the right, shows the “jump to” field, into which you can type a code to jump to that entry. The playlist field (into which you can also type) appears below. Clicking on the TLC will add it to the playlist; clicking on the code associated with the session (SCC, above), will add all the papers to the playlist. You can then view or share the playlist without having to select videos individually. To view a particular video, click on the black “play” button that follows the title.

… and Many Thanks

The Video Previews were the result of efforts of many people: first, the authors who put together more than 550 videos that make up the program. Making a video is hard work, and we didn’t make it easier for them! Videos had to be about 30 seconds long, and needed to be intelligible both with and without audio, on your iPhone and on the large public displays you’ll find at the conference.

Once we had the videos, we had to organize them both the USB stick that people will receive at the conference, and for the web site. Ideally, these videos would be linked directly to the electronic proceedings, but that was not possible due to time constraints and politics. Instead, we built a set of pages linked to the electronic proceedings on the USB stick, and put up a related set of pages on the web. In the last minute, we even managed to put in a playlist feature, thanks to the efforts of Wes Willett. Tony Dunnigan played a vital role in homogenizing and down-sampling all the videos; without him, I would still be trying to figure out FFmpeg syntax.

In the end, as with all time-constrained projects, this iteration was a compromise. We didn’t get it to look like we wanted, it didn’t have all the features we wanted (but you will tell us what you think we are missing!), and I am sure it has a number of bugs and other design flaws. But it seems like a good start, and I am sure next year’s effort will be much better.

So on behalf of my co-organizer Gonzalo Ramos, and on behalf of CHI 2013, I would like to invite you to look, listen, enjoy, tweet, and critique. And join us for the “Interacting with CHI” session at the conference on Wednesday from 11 to 12:20.

Merci Beaucoup!

PS: Oh, you want to look at the site? :-)