Matt Thomas, Interaction Designer and Developer at Bresslergroup, ends his tenure at the end of this month as PhillyCHI‘s Chairman. PhillyCHI is the Philadelphia region’s chapter of the ACM SIGCHI, an interdisciplinary academic and professional group interested in human-computer interaction, user experience, usability, and other related disciplines. From 2012-2013, Matt acted as the group’s Vice Chairman. He was elected Chairman after running on a platform of expanding the organization’s exposure of HCI and UX beyond the Web in areas such as ubiquitous computing.
“We have a strong Web industry in Philadelphia so I think Philadelphia-based UX pros typically interpret UX design as Web or mobile app design,” says Matt. “But as the Web has informed a lot of other emerging technologies, there are some great opportunities for UX pros to leverage their skills in more digital — as well as physical — spaces.” With the perspective of an interaction designer who sees daily how the skills of a UX pro can be leveraged in an industrial design environment, he sought to expand the region’s understanding of UX design and of the work of an HCI professional.
The thread of ubiquitous computing ran through PhillyCHI’s 2013 events, including a Tech & Design Quizzo; a design slam focused on designing for the home of a user suffering from a degenerative disease; and the Defining UX panel, to which Matt brought the product development/industrial design point of view. He looks forward to seeing the next PhillyCHI board and officers continue the important work of strengthening the local UX community and burnishing Philadelphia’s rep as an influential tech and design hub, especially in the areas of usability and user experience.