Banner photo: geometric pattern/wall, Ryerson University Student Center

getting started

Welcome to UIST 2021! These instructions assume that you’ve already registered for the conference, so if you haven’t then please first read the registration content and register for the conference!

If you participated in UIST 2020, then much of how the conference is organized in 2021 will be familiar to you. If not, here’s a quick overview:

  • There is an online program that provides access to all of the conference content, and eventually the conference schedule (coming soon!).
  • Conversations, discussion, and socializing will take place on the UIST Discord server. This is the same server that was used for 2020 and there are some community channels that are open to everyone who chooses to join. Other channels for discussing live content and particular papers are restricted to registered attendees only.
  • Papers, demos, posters, keynotes and other live content will be accessed through Zoom. Please make sure you have the most up-to-date version of Zoom installed so that you can access all of the features. Links to the rooms will be provided closer to the conference.
  • Select social events will take place on the Ohyay platform. More details about this will be provided closer to the conference.

The remainder of this document will cover how to use these technology platforms to get the most out of your conference experience. This is a living page, and we expect to update it continuously as the conference gets closer and more details become available.

Start Your Conference Early with Paper Preprints

Because of the virtual nature of the conference, we thought that it might be useful to make paper content available earlier so that attendees and authors have more opportunity to engage around the exciting new research presented at UIST. For this reason, we have released preprints of most papers in advance of the conference, only available to registered attendees.

Get Set Up with

If you have already registered for the conference as an ACM member, and as instructed used the e-mail address associated with your ACM account with your registration, then you may already have access to the preprints.

If you registered for the conference as an ACM non-member and don’t yet have an ACM account, then you will need to create an account to access the preprints. Go to the program website, tap the login link, and then tap one of the three items (most likely the “Free” item) in the left column labeled “Sign up to SIGCHI” to create an account. Make sure to use the same e-mail here as you used in your conference registration.

SIGCHI programs website: login page.

From the time of your registration and the creation of your account, it may take 1-2 hours for our automated system to grant you access to the preprints. If it has been longer than a couple hours, then please reach out to the #helpdesk channel on Discord for help (see Discord instructions below).

You will know that you have access to the preprints when you view a paper in the UIST program and both “preprint” and “Discord” links appear immediately below the paper title. More details about how to navigate the program site can be found below.

SIGCHI programs website: paper detail page.
Get Set Up with Discord

Discord is an online chat platform, similar to Slack, which offers several ways for users to interact in both a synchronous and asynchronous manner. It is used at UIST 2021 as the main method for attendees to have conversations, and initially to allow authors and attendees to engage around the preprint paper content.

First, you will want to download the Discord software to your device of choice. The software is available for multiple platforms and there is also an in-browser version, but we suggest downloading the desktop client for Mac or PC. As you will see later, the Discord links available on our Program web site only work with the desktop Discord client.

Next, you will want to join the UIST Discord server by simply clicking this invitation link.

Once you’ve joined the server, there are several steps that you’ll need to take to get full registered access. The server has bots that will walk you through the process, but we will quickly list the four steps here:

  • Set your nickname to be your full name. To do this, right-click on the server icon in the leftmost column, select “Change Identity”, and then update your nickname. UIST Discord: dropdown menu from UIST icon, 'Change Identity' option highlighted. UIST Discord: 'Change Identity' dialog open, nickname in example screenshot updated to Jeff Nichols (UIST 2021 GC).
  • Agree to the Code of the Conduct by liking the post in the #start-here channel. UIST Discord: #start-here channel.
  • Optionally select any social channels that you may wish to become a part of in the #choose-channels channel. UIST Discord: #choose-channels channel.
  • Post your full name and registration confirmation number in the #registration-desk channel. UIST Discord: #registration-desk channel.

The first two steps will gain you initial access to the server, and should happen nearly instantaneously. The final step requires a human to verify your registration and grant you full attendee access, and this may take up to 24 hours.

Navigating the Program and Discord

Once you’ve gotten registered, installed the software, and gotten logged in on the program web site, it’s time to start browsing the conference content!

First, note that there are programs for a number of conferences featured on the program website, so make sure to pick UIST 2021. If you get lost, you can click the SIGCHI logo at the top to get back to the list of conference programs, where you can pick UIST 2021. If your window is small enough, or you’re on a mobile device, the logo may be hiding in the hamburger menu in the upper left.

From the main conference page, there are several ways to browse the papers, all accessible from the left sidebar.

SIGCHI programs website: UIST 2021 conference page, selected through the top option on the left sidebar. Includes a 'View Index' button.

The Index is a simple list of the papers, whereas the Gallery displays the papers in a grid view and includes a few extra links and information. You can also browse by author in the Authors section.

SIGCHI programs website: index page listing a number of papers.

In either the Index or the Gallery, if you click on a paper then you’ll be taken to the paper detail page.

SIGCHI programs website: paper detail page.

The paper detail page has several features that are important for the pre-conference experience.

First are the icons directly to the right of the paper title. The rightmost icon is the “Add to Reading List” button. This is a way to save papers that you are interested in, and you can refer back to these papers in the “My Reading List” area in the left sidebar. We highly encourage you to use this feature! We will be using anonymized data from the reading list feature as one of several inputs into the talk scheduling process.

ONLY IF you have registered for the conference, below the title you will be able to see the “Discord” and “Preprint” buttons. The “Preprint” button allows you to download the pre-print PDF now to read the papers well ahead of the conference. Note that a small portion (~12%) of the papers are not available in preprints because of opt-outs for intellectual property and other reasons.

If you have installed the Discord software and got access via the invitation link, clicking the “Discord” button will take you directly to the individual channel for this paper. Alternatively, you can always search for the channel directly in Discord using a few words from the title of the paper.

UIST Discord: paper channel.

Once in the channel, start asking questions and engaging with the authors!

Getting Help

If you run into difficulties, there are several ways that you can request help.

  • If you’re able to access Discord, then the best option is to ask your question in the #helpdesk channel. This channel is monitored by a number of people and should guarantee the quickest response. The channel is also available no matter how far you’ve been able to progress in the Discord registration process.
  • Otherwise, please send e-mail to
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