Interaction14 (and my trip to Paris)


So I went to Europe for 10 days and didn’t write about it. That’s a problem, don’t you think? I can’t save writing about all these events for breaks from school. I really apologize for my absence. Please know that you, dear viewer, are always on my mind.

So when I last left off I was jet-setting to Interaction14, IxDA‘s international conference for interaction designers in Amsterdam. I was flying in an out by myself, but staying with two people from my program, Sankalp & Faryal, and joining a bunch of other CMU students there. I think there was something like 12 of us from the design program, even more from HCI who I met from my Prototyping class, and a smattering of other majors and alum. We basically came in full force.


I will divide the trip into two parts: Part one was the four days we escaped to Paris. You and I both know my dream is to go to Germany so my expectations were low. But, Sarah, France turned out to be pretty great.

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We did a ridiculous amount of French touristy stuff that I wasn’t expecting. I pretty much just wanted to go to the Louvre and the Pompidou Center but getting to explore was pretty neat.

The Palace of Versailles. The Eiffel Tower. Notre Dame. Sacré-Cœur.  Pompidou. Louvre. We stayed in the Place d’Italie. I had a warm croissant breakfast with all of this:


I know I should have taken the picture with the actually croissant in it. But once the waiter, his name was Haikem, put that toasty, warm croissant that was authentically browned at the top, it was all over. It’s like the world was just me and that croissant and nothing like cameras, cell phones, or instagram did or every would exist…best croissant of my life.

Part Two was the conference in Amsterdam. 

We headed back to Amsterdam where the three of us were staying in a hostel near the tulip market. Since I was at the conference or conference events all day and night I really didn’t get to do anything touristy, but I had a really great time! I didn’t know that Amsterdam had canals. How clueless am I?


On the first night we stayed by Amsterdam Central (beautiful building in its own right) and I after I dropped off my stuff I just went on a two hour walk around the city. Really lovely and the weather was so nice compared to thew polar vortex that was happening in Pittsburgh. Not warm, but that autumn-like weather.

The theme of the conference was ‘Languages of Interaction Design’ and it was like they knew I was going to be there. The first presenter gave a brief history of linguistics and how it related to human-computer interaction. I mean, right? I won’t exaggerate though, I was a little disappointed with the quality of the lectures. I think I wanted to learn more and go deeper. They either didn’t have enough time or I was at the wrong kind of conference.

Here are a few of my favorites from the ones I went to:


Scott McCloud, doing his biz.

Perhaps what I really loved out of all of it was getting to meet a bunch of new people. It was surprisingly fun (as an introvert) and prepared me for Confluence (our design career fair) well. I realized that I like what I’m doing, proud of what I’ve done (or at least what the things I’ve done have taught me), and confident in my design philosophy. Not the worst place to be. 

I mean, I guess there is so much more I could say about the event, but I’ll leave it at that. :)


Oh, and in order to make up for my long absence. I have a joke for you:


Your Turn: