Kun je iets over jezelf vertellen? Wie ben je en wat doe je?
I’m a user experience designer / analyst / researcher / evangelist / idealist / perfectionist / world traveler / chatterbox / bookworm / nerd / <insert title here> and mother of two gorgeous little brats.
After more than a decade working as user experience specialist for a number of large organizations, I resigned my position with Rabobank in autumn 2006. Since then I’ve been reading a lot, attended some interesting presentations and conferences, met (and exchanged thoughts with) fascinating people, did some volunteer work (e.g. for local schools and Chi NL), as well as occasional freelance projects, and spent time with my family.
Thanks to all the contacts I made over the years, I have been fortunate to participate in several fun and exciting projects recently, with talented and inspiring teams across multiple continents, mostly within research and design of innovative ux concepts.
Despite my name, I am an “alochtone”; I was born and raised near the Black Forest, in Southern Germany. Although I can speak and understand French and Dutch fairly well, I find it much easier to write in German or English. This has caused quite some confusion.
Hoe ben je met het vakgebied (CHI / UX) in aanraking gekomen?My childhood dream was to become an architect (of actual houses, not software ;-). I had always been intrigued how people lived and what environments would be both pleasant and practical for them. However, my parents persuaded me to study business and computer science instead, which they considered more fitting and likely to improve my future chances of employment.
During my studies I did a placement at CERN, where I happened to run into Tim Berners-Lee and became fascinated by his work. Nevertheless, I was more interested in the design and usability of applications, rather than their implementation. Thus next to my IT & business degree, I did a Masters in Human-Computer Systems and Artificial Intelligence (where I also acquired a charming Dutch husband :-).
Thanks to my unusual background in Web design we were invited to relocate to San Francisco and work on some of the first ebusiness applications at the time. Later we had the opportunity to move back to London, where I was lucky to become part of - and learn from - a well established and advanced user experience group.
Kun je het in het kort vertellen wat je allemaal doet voor de aanstaande CHI conferentie?
I’m part of the communications team, together with Liou Yamane, Nina Fijen, and Marjolein Kassenaar.
Peter Boersma, whose enthousiasm for the Dutch UX community I greatly admire, had suggested that this might be a good opportunity for me to make contacts and find out more about HCI in the Netherlands. As I am not currently associated with an academic body, and have no prior experience organizing a conference, I was happy to observe and provide “helpende handjes”; maintaining the conference team wiki, setting up the conference group & event on LinkedIn, helping out with the English version of the website, etc.
Het onderwerp van de conferentie is change, wat betekent dat voor jou?
There have been tremendeous changes in the (developed) world over the past decades. Yet basic human needs, worries, premises, and limitations often remain largely the same as they were for hundreds of years. A fact that seems easily forgotten amongst the seductive concepts and shining visions of business- and technology innovations.
Humanity is facing some of its largest - and potentially most disastrous - social, economic, political, and environmental challenges in history.
Most of these problems cannot be solved through HCI and user experience design. But we can apply and improve our skills and expertiese within our area of influence. To this end we need to be more thoughtful and aware, explore new visions and methods, try new approaches, widen our horizon, and boost our creativity with new ideas and stimuli.
Wat verwacht je van de conferentie?
Hopefully it will be a busy, but fun day for the conference team, volunteers, participants and attendants, with many exciting and inspiring impressions, experiences and contacts, in a famous historic setting.
Tot slot, welke sprekers of sessies op het programma mogen we niet missen en waarom?
From what I have seen so far, there will quite a lot of interesting presentations, and I am sorry that I won’t be able to attend them all.
I expect the interaction design track, as well as the prototyping workshop by Jonathan Arnowitz and Dirk-Jan Hoets will probably be rather popular with practitioners and students.
Personally, I’m particularly intrigued by the interactive art exhibition, and very curious about the presentation by Hiroshi Ishiguro about intelligent android robotics. In the past I tried to keep up with MIT’s research on artificial life by Rodney Brooks et al, but this is an area that I don’t yet have much experience with and can hopefully still learn a lot from.