The Association for Computing Machinery – an organization with 100,000 members worldwide and a rather gangly name – announced this year’s Fellows. And I’m one of them!
As a practitioner, I never thought I could even be considered for this enormous honor and, as a friend noted, there aren’t a lot of Fellows who are practitioners. I’ll have to look at the list again, but I think I’m the only one in HCI.
This honor has made me nostalgic because the things it celebrates are no longer fresh memories. They were things – like participating in the founding of SIGCHI in 1982, being the 5th consultant in HCI back in 1993, doing the first large international ethnographic study to guide product development in 1994, designing HP’s first digital camera at a time when these were a brand new animal in a point-and-shoot world and then testing the design internationally and so on….things in a distant past when the profession was young (and so was I). Our mission – and it truly felt like a mission – was to make technology that would work for people, be intuitive so discovery (and training where necessary) would be easy – and even fun. I guess that’s still my mission today.
Today, the way I am “working my mission” is through projects being done for profession more broadly as well as mentoring specific talented young people, including many women, both in the US, where they are mostly women of color, and also internationally, again concentrating on women in the so-called “Global South.” In a sense, this macro and micro level work is woven together by helping create capacity for community- and profession-building that, in turn, helps make all products more “intuitive.”
I am thrilled and honored to be named a Fellow – and deeply humbled by the rarified group of folks in this category, a rather intimidating lot. As I look ahead at my joint goals of regional capacity building AND individual mentoring, I am excited to be heading into a new future where we are bound to listen more to other cultures in the so-called “.Global South” as these communities emerge and grow. I am convinced we will find many ways to work together and to learn from each other. This was my goal before I got this news and it remains so to this day.