Last week I could attend Interact2009. I was really thrilled by the huge variety in the program, six tracks in parallel - quite hard to not miss the most interesting talks;)
Anyway, at least the keynotes were in the plenary and not to miss:
First Krista Höök talked about the lasting challenge of coming up with new interfaces for new environments. She set out her talk with the confession that HCI research in the past would have lost it's relevance. As it has left the ground of reality needs.
The challenge - according to her - was to design interfaces in the wild for strange environments, e.g. video dj applications that allows to stream videos from various mobile phones' cameras of the audience to the big display . At that point I was not sure whether Krista was pointing a way out of the crisis or rather wanted to illustrate the status of the HCI crisis.
She emphasized the difficulties of designing something new which might be even hard to describe in words, e.g. body expression. She proposed explanatory design, a playful way of associating technology with habits. She was talking about reptile owners that treat their animals as a living exhibition and she taking that as a motivation for designing a living wallpaper that gave birth to a flower fertilized by images the users had been uploading. Krista strongly voted for the ludic society, as social would be all life is about. Later in the discussion she even clearly outlined that supporting playful entertainment would be more important than solving a murder.
I really enjoyed when she was talking about the malleable experience and introduced Mobile2.0 , an environment that allows everybody to become a designer of pervasive games. She used the notion of "digital handicraft for all".
Finally, she mentioned the importance of the eco-systems of drivers, namely mobile network operators vs. google vs. application design. She proposed to start with the consumers' needs when designing applications. Interestingly, she didn't want to call the users 'users' but rather 'actors', as those themselves should apps in short cycles, as they know their problems best.
That was a nice message to follow, however, I didn't really see in the examples she gave herself following that advice.
 Engström, A., Esbjörnsson, M. and Juhlin, O. (2008). Mobile Collaborative Live Video Mixing. In Proceedings of MobileHCI 2008. ACM Press, pp. 157-166.
 Holmquist, L. E. 2007. Mobile 2.0. interactions 14, 2 (Mar. 2007), 46-47.