NJIT’s Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction, SIGCHI, is dedicated to sparking interest in the field of human-computer interaction, HCI. Students who have any interest in design, technology, research or psychology can find a fitting spot in this club!
Sarah Ryu, club president and fourth-year human-computer interaction major, describes HCI as a way to analyze how technology and people engage with each other using research, education and practical applications. “What brings us together is a shared understanding that designing useful and usable technology is an interdisciplinary process, and when done properly, it has the power to transform persons’ lives,” she said.
During some of its meetings, members can participate in learning new digital tools and tackling design challenges. Other times, meetings are knowledge sessions in which members give presentations on trending topics regarding user experience design, UXD, or user research, UXR.
“Our goal is to create a community at our school to encourage discussions and develop skills related to the fields of HCI, UXD and UXR,” Ryu added.
The club’s events usually consist of inviting a guest speaker from the design or research industries to give insight into their respective fields. One such event took place on March 4, when Steven Wakabayashi, a freelance creative director, spoke to students about the tech industry, especially within UXD.
“He touched many hearts on the same day, speaking about his journey, the challenges he’s faced and mental health,” said Sherwin Dewan, first-year human-computer interaction major. “We constantly hear about computer science, information technology and engineering; it’s rare to hear someone speak about the industry you are most interested in since HCI is a small major.”
NJIT SIGCHI also hosts social events for members to get to know each other better. First-year human-computer interaction major Jhanvi Pai mentioned that her favorite event so far was a trip to Branch Brook Park because they “got to bond with members, take nice pictures and drink boba!”
She is glad to have found a community of genuine people who share a love for design and accessibility. “I was hoping to learn some basic tutorials on how to use UX software – since I’m a complete beginner – and that’s exactly what we did during general body meetings,” she said.
Dewan shared that one of the biggest accomplishments she has had in this subject is presenting her progress in the NJIT Pipeline Redesign. “The feedback definitely helped me to tremendously recognize what I need to work on for the project and how to improve the user interface and experience,” she said. “That is exactly what I was looking for: to help each other succeed.”
Ryu enjoys the design and research challenges in the club. “It has been fun working with the Eboard to brainstorm intriguing problem statements for members to tackle. It always blows me away to see each member’s unique perspective and insight shine in the work they share!” she commented.
The club invites students from any discipline to join NJIT SIGCHI, especially if they have an interest in better understanding how technology impacts people’s lives and developing solutions to improve their experiences with it. The meetings take place weekly in Central King Building’s Room 330 on Wednesdays from 3-4 p.m. Feel free to contact the club at email@example.com.