Last thursday, june 8, was the SIGCHI conference and it was really nice to be there. It was also really nice my HKU buddies where present. Personally I really like to be there next year to, perhaps even join the team of SIGCHI as a volunteer.
My talk was for about 50 people, I didn’t have a full crowd probably because at the main stage Bill Scott from Yahoo was having a talk. The good thing was, I talked in a sound voice and my story came across, still my presentation could have been better. These are the things I’ve written down to do better next time.
- Better prepare questions that are to be expected. I focused on preparing my presentation. Answering a question about preventing mis-use I only mentioned the trust factor in social networks. I forgot to mention the Slashdot karma system I like to use for moderation.
- Hype myself up a little more before I start. Get excited, why else would anyone else be.
- Only make jokes that are at least in some way informative and not distracting from the main point. The Kevin Costner joke (view slides (PDF)) was more a students joke that worked well in the pre-mock presentation, less so for this crowd.
- If possible, do the talk in Dutch. Because I wanted to tape the presentation for you (my blog readers), I did the presentation in English. But the whole audience was Dutch, so it was awkward for the audience and for me. It felt a little like cheating. Also, it’s easier to explain something in the native language.
- Eat more breakfast. I was low on energy, I felt it.
- Put more depth in at least one slide. I tried to keep my story as simple as possible, because I only had 10 minutes. But now people probably thought it was lacking depth. So one slide with more depth, even if it was too detailed for people to fully understand, would have been good make to make clear there is more depth in the full story.
- Take the time to set the stage right. There was a problem that my computer screen was blank in front of me so I had to look back at the wall to see what the slide was (see picture below). I should have taken the time to fix this, because now I was ‘talking to the wall’ every time I switched slides.
It was not a bad presentation, I made clear the core of the Helpalot concept and I believe I spoke in a clear voice. Afterwards some people came to me to say they thought it was an interesting presentation, so that was nice.
Too sum it up I think it was a really good experience. I would give myself a 6,5 out of 10 for the talk. Presenting is one of those skills you mostly learn by doing it. I haven’t viewed the tape yet, but I’m sure it will be great learning material. Thanks Adriaan for taping it for me.
The plan is to put the tape online. It will probably take me some time to edit it, as it’s only me in the shots and I need to edit the slides in by hand. Also a small hardware problem (fire-wire cable) has it, that I have to wait a few days before I can start editing.
The rest of the conference
Personally I think Steven Pemberton had the most interesting presentation. It was entertaining and informative, he actually shed some light on a/the future of the web.
My brand new business card, came to good use. I had some nice conversations with people in the field of Interaction design, usability testing and blogging. For me it was great the way it was, but only the future will tell if it perhaps would lead to something more for the Helpalot project.
I quickly was able to swap some words with Jared Spool whom I asked what I thought would be the best way to go about this testing I have ahead of me. He pointed out paper prototyping and also mentioned I should be really aware that a school project has different rules then a real project. I’m overlapping both and I’m aware of this, but it was good advice anyway.
At the end of the day all the speakers where asked to enter the main stage to receive some applause. I’m the second guy from the left, not in the spotlight. You would need to increase the brightness of the picture a lot to see me standing there.
So I have my reserves about my own talk, but in general it was a great day. As a nice surprise the organization of the conference invited all the people who had presented for dinner afterwards. So thanks guys!
I had fun talking with an old school teacher, Bram, who shares my gift for getter too enthusiastic about a topic, leading him wanting to start two sentences at the same time.
At 23.30 I left to catch my train to Utrecht. In the train I had a real discussion about my project and the presentation with people who had seen my presentation. There where two main questions in play in this discussion; How fraud-proof do you think Helpalot will be and how much fraud will you accept? I’ll write in depth about the subject of moderation and preventing game in one of the next items of this blog.