GHC 2015 with Grace Kampa

Going to Grace Hopper, I didn’t know quite what to expect. I could access the whole schedule online, but there’s only so much a short blurb can tell you about a talk. Some talks were more interactive, some you just sat there and were actively listening the entire time. Most of the talks I went to were focused on human-computer interaction, because that’s where my interests are.

There was one talk in particular that surprised me. Before attending a talk on accessible design, I was just excited to go because I wanted to learn about how to design while keeping users with disabilities in mind. The talk ended up being an interactive discussion about how we could make common digital products more accessible, and we even got to play around with the screen reader on our phones. If you haven’t already, I highly suggest it. It will make you a lot more conscious of how difficult it is to even send someone a simple text message.

That’s just one example of how I was reminded to keep an open mind. I thought I was usually pretty good at designing interfaces around the user, but I forgot that sometimes I can get stuck in my own world. The Grace Hopper Conference had such an amazingly diverse population of people attending, and it reminded me of how many different experiences there are.

The one common factor I noticed amongst the conference attendees, though, was their willingness to help you grow into the professional you want to be. Never forget that you have support, and don’t be afraid to reach out to someone new to gain a different perspective. You will learn something new, I guarantee!