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Join Us at the 64th Annual Meeting of HFES! A Special Message from Program Chair, Ron Boring, Ph.D.

  • 1.  Join Us at the 64th Annual Meeting of HFES! A Special Message from Program Chair, Ron Boring, Ph.D.

    Posted 08-21-2020 16:47
    Ronald Boring, PhDJoin Me at the 64th Annual Meeting of HFES! As the Chair of the 64th International Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, it is my pleasure to invite you to join me at HFES 2020!

    This also happens to be our first virtual Annual Meeting. Several months ago, as COVID-19 first appeared, we had to anticipate what the world might look like in October at the time of the Annual Meeting. Foremost, we worried for the health of those who might attend the in-person meeting in Chicago. We also considered potential legal limits on meeting sizes (the Annual Meeting is a big event!) and the possible ramifications of the financial health of the Society in the event of a last-minute cancellation. After reviewing various alternatives, the HFES Crisis Management Committee and the Technical Program Committee agreed to organize the Annual Meeting as an all-virtual activity.

    Many dedicated volunteers have been working for months now to create a great virtual meeting experience. We have worked to capture the essence of the Annual Meeting-a quality technical program coupled with many opportunities for networking with old friends and new colleagues. We hope that you will feel as inspired, engaged, and connected online as you would during the in-person conference. By examining what has and has not worked in other online conferences, we have assembled an exciting event worthy of your attendance.

    In addition to the all-virtual format, there are several key changes in the program this year:

    • The main technical program occupies a full week, Monday, October 5 through Friday October 9, 2020.
    • Activities such as Workshops, the Student Forum and Student Career Day, and Technical Group and business meetings will take place the week prior to the main meeting (September 28 through October 2, 2020).
    • A number of special sessions will now become standalone HFES webinars over the next half year.
    • The increasingly popular ErgoX Symposium will convene Monday and Tuesday following the Annual Meeting (October 13 and 14, 2020). Separate registration for ErgoX applies and I encourage you to attend!
    Why did we spread out these events? COVID-19 has changed the way many of us work. Many are working from home, perhaps engaged in the tug-of-war between back-to-back virtual meetings and home life. Since we are not traveling away from work and home, it's hard to set aside time to attend the meeting. To help strike a balance, we aim to make it easier for you to focus on the part of the conference that is the most relevant to you. For example, the technical program during the main week of the Annual Meeting only has three sessions within eight tracks each day, with breaks between. Where possible, we clustered Technical Group content so you can prioritize the day or two that is most relevant to you. (But we hope you will attend more than that!)

    There are several advantages of the online format:

    • With more than 500 presentations, you won't be able to catch everything! But, for the first time, the presentations will be archived, and you will be able to go back and watch sessions you might have missed in the face-to-face format. No more needing to pick the best one of eight interesting parallel talks to attend during a particular session. You can go back and view them on-demand later! Have to miss a session because of an important meeting at work? You can go back and catch that session later!
    • The online meeting platform we selected has great capabilities for flexibly building your personal schedule and navigating the program. Yes, it is easy to session hop if you want! No one will see you slip in or out of the room. Moreover, you can access the speaker's paper right there while watching the talk or even message the speaker and start a conversation.
    • By going virtual, HFES is able to reduce the cost of registration significantly.
    • You can have access a week or possibly more prior to the meeting to explore the platform, read about the sessions, and build your personal schedule.
    • And, let's not forget that attending the Annual Meeting in your pajamas has never been possible (or at least socially acceptable) like it is this year!
    Which brings me to a final point. The Annual Meeting has some seriously good technical content, but we also built fun into the program. Early registrants will get HFES logo drink cups mailed to their home that you may use when you join us for the nightly happy hours. We scheduled meetup times so you can join your old classmates and meet promising new students from your alma matter. Partake in one of the scheduled mindfulness sessions to learn some new ways to de-stress or reserve a spot in one of the "master class" workshops during the pre-conference week and learn from the foremost experts in human factors. You can even catch one of the guaranteed interesting topical debates between Society Fellows during the Student Forum.

    This is just a sneak peek! Forgive us, because we will be filling your inboxes with many more details in the coming weeks. I hope you share my excitement in exploring this new online format for the Annual Meeting. Although I wish we could meet in person, this year's Annual Meeting promises to be a great event! I look forward to seeing you online!

    Ron Boring, Ph.D.
    Chair, HFES 2020

    Ron Boring, Ph.D.
    Chair, HFES 2020