By Blair Subbaraman
UIST 2022 was my first UIST and first in-person HCI conference! While I appreciate the accessibility of virtual & hybrid conferences, I really saw the benefits of in-person communication at UIST. I presented a demo of my system to control 3D printers from a creative coding environment. The demo environment at UIST was super energetic and fun, and I was able to have productive conversations with many conference attendees. My academic world immediately feels quite a bit larger by expanding my network of colleagues across states and continents.
Compared to larger HCI conferences like HCI, the UIST program had two tracks on the schedule. The small format meant that I was able to see almost all the talks I wanted to. It was particularly helpful to attend talks in research areas slightly outside of my principal area. The session on Programming Toolkits, for example, offered many inspiring concepts and ideas that I might have not otherwise been directly exposed to. An in-person conference also meant I was able to chat with many professors who have just been names on papers to me. This was one of the main benefits of the in-person conference to me, to see ‘famous’ professors chatting and mingling just like any other conference attendee.
Altogether, UIST 2022 was a success. While UIST is not my target venue for current research projects, I found that discussing my work to UIST attendees was very useful to receive feedback from researchers of a different background. I found this discussion refreshing and productive for future research.