Participatory Design is positioned to be a democratized approach to design which centers and amplifies community voices that may otherwise be neglected. Researchers, scholars, and practitioners alike have begun to look to this approach as a way to solve societal problems alongside the communities that are impacted. The Denizen Designer Project is an ethnographic exploration of best practices and use cases of participatory design as a methodological framework. This project highlights individuals who are leveraging design as a practice or framework to work towards change in marginalized communities. Using ethnographic interviews, we are collecting accounts of local community members who are engaging in participatory design work with community. As a result, the Denizen Designer project will highlight design work in local communities and identify perspectives on design’s access and reach for those outside of the university.
Participatory Design is a popular method used by researchers who want to engage end-user populations in the conceptualization of solutions to address societal challenges. The core aim of participatory design is to be more democratic in the engagement of end-users and designers. Despite this, inclusive design methods are difficult to implement in the design approach because there is a significant need for tailoring and customization when working with populations that are not commonly included in design. As many researchers move to be more sensitive to the needs of marginalized populations and their participation in design, we are working on a review to examine participation and the ways engagement has been facilitated in this design approach. This project is a survey of participatory design literature focusing on projects that have engaged marginalized and vulnerable populations in the HCI space.
Older African Americans experience chronic health conditions and diseases at a disproportionate rate in comparison to the overall population, which may pose additional challenges related to one’s management of health in the home. With costs of medical care steadily increasing and posing a strain on many marginalized Americans, individuals have begun to look to in-home information communication technologies (ICTs) as convenient tools to seek, share, and track personal health information. We are currently exploring the ways that this population searches for health information and their perceptions of existing health information tools such as in-home conversational assistants.
HCI research in the area of pervasive and ubiquitous computing systems to address the health and functioning of the aging population has grown exponentially over the past decade. Much of this literature has focused on supporting older adults aging in the home with a broad consideration of the needs that are related to successful technologies. As a way to understand the landscape of pervasive computing solutions that are designed to support health and wellbeing for older adults, we are conducting a systematic review of HCI and design literature with researchers at Indiana.
Speculative Design uses design research to address complex problems, and how it may influence our culture and community, in anticipation for the future. Focusing on critical thinking and forming dialogue through collaboration, we can rethink our technological future by acknowledging the current problems we face in today's society. Our lab will be using design probes and user-centered design methods, to develop a prototype that will support a preferable future for marginalized communities.