OZCHI Zeitgeist: Systems design, not HCI

On the second day of OZCHI I’d completely discharged my technical chair responsibilities and was able to enjoy the conference from the beginning of the day.

Unusually, day two of OZCHI had two keynotes, Elizabeth Churchill of Yahoo in the morning and and Jacob Buur of SPIRE, the strategic research centre at the university if Southern Denmark, to close the day. Both were wide-ranging, touching on multiple projects with multiple approaches. Designing *systems* more so than interactions seemed to be the over-arching theme.

Where JSB challenged us to think about people, Churchill and Buur showed us ways to engage with the complex and multi-faceted contexts in which people live and work. And where Churchill showed wonderful artifacts and technologies for *action*, Buur showed us examples of design for reflecting *on* action.

The systems design theme carried over into the paper sessions with some really great and interesting work across a remarkably broad scope from sustainability concerns to considerations on the role of ethnography in HCI/design.

For such a small community, OZCHI is remarkably able to be on the leading edge of trends. The recent push for service design is, I think, going to go further and service design will become as much a part of “design” as industrial, landscape, or interaction design. If my discussions with colleagues are any indication, service is only the beginning of a shift in design toward considering systems as well as artifacts.

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