Friday, September 17, 2010
I've been working on a paper for CHI2011, one of the (or the?) top conferences in human computer interaction. I'm aiming really high with this and know full well that it's a competitive conference that I can't expect to get into on my first attempt. The way I see it is that I have a 100% chance of not getting in if I don't even try, and if I do get rejected, I'll hopefully receive feedback useful for the next iteration of the paper no matter where I plan to submit it next. Plus, this goal encourages a much better paper than I might have written otherwise, because we're not going to submit something we know isn't good enough for CHI.
To make things even harder on myself, it's the first time I've ever written a paper like this one. I'm proposing that designers use a certain set of useful cognitive theories when creating augmented reality (AR) systems. These theories are also useful for explaining why AR is good and to influence the design of user studies, but for this paper I'm concentrating just on design. It's a theoretical paper, and I don't know how well received it will be by CHI reviewers. But more interestingly, I only learned about cognitive science in a class I took in the fall. After all, I'm a computer scientist and we don't usually talk about these things.
Because I am somewhat out of my element on this paper, I have been noticing a few things that I didn't really think about when writing previous papers. For instance, going through a few iterations has been key. I always get a little stressed before the next meeting to go over issues, but I'm usually relieved by the fact that a lot of the missing elements are things I've had inside my head but not managed to get out onto paper yet.
One of the things I was constructively criticized for was not being assertive enough in my statements. Especially in this type of paper where the contribution is not experimental results, I need to be less afraid to say with confidence that "this is the way it is." At least, that's how I'm interpreting the advice; we'll see how well I can incorporate it as I start my next iteration.
A related issue I've been struggling with is how much I can say without citing something to support it. For example, I want to just describe what I think AR is, but I have been limiting myself to saying it in a way that others have said it. It's kind of stifling so for my next iteration I'm going to try to allow myself more freedom, and see what the others think. I can always backtrack.
With just a week left before the submission deadline, I'd welcome any advice on a such a paper for CHI. With very open arms. Please and thanks. ;)