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Papers and Notes

 

Object-Oriented Publics

Social computing or computing in a social context has largely concerned itself with understanding social interaction among and between people. This paper asserts that ignoring material components including computing itself as social actors is a mistake. Computing has its own agenda and agencies, and including it as a member of the social milieu provides a means of producing design objects that attend to how technology use can extend beyond merely amplifying or augmenting human actions. In this paper, we offer examples of projects that utilize the capacity of object-oriented publics to both analyze the conditions and consequences around existing publics and engage with matters of concern inherent to emerging publics. Considering how computing as an actor contributes to the construction of publics provides insight into the design of computational systems that address issues. We end by introducing the idea of the object ecology as a way to coordinate design approaches to computational publics.

Mariam Asad
Georgia Institute of Technology
Carl DiSalvo
Georgia Institute of Technology
Tom Jenkins
Georgia Institute of Technology
Christopher Le Dantec
Georgia Institute of Technology
Thomas Lodato
Georgia Institute of Technology

 

Data, Design and Civics: An Exploratory Study of Civic Tech

Civic technology, or civic tech, encompasses a rich body of work, inside and outside HCI, around how we shape technology for, and in turn how technology shapes, how we govern, organize, serve, and identify matters of concern for communities. This study builds on previous work by investigating how civic leaders in a large US city conceptualize civic tech, in particular, how they approach the intersection of data, design and civics. We encountered a range of overlapping voices, from providers, to connectors, to volunteers of civic services and resources. Through this account, we identified different conceptions and expectation of data, design and civics, as well as several shared issues around pressing problems and strategic aspirations. Reflecting on this set of issues produced guiding questions, in particular about the current and possible roles for design, to advance civic tech.

Kirsten Boehner
Georgia Institute of Technology
Carl DiSalvo
Georgia Institute of Technology

 

Designing for Transient Use: A Human-in-the-loop Translation Platform for Refugees

Refugees undergoing resettlement in new countries post exile, face disruptive life changes. They rely on a network of individuals in the host country to help them rebuild their lives and livelihoods post migration. We investigated whether technology could contribute to minimizing the vulnerabilities resettling refugees face. We designed Rivrtran, a messaging platform that provides human-in-the-loop interpretation between individuals who dont share a common language. We report the findings from the deployment of Rivrtran to mediate communication between resettling refugee families in the United States and the American families they are paired with who serve as their mentors. Our findings suggest that scaffolding communication in such a way provides refugees one means of accessing diversified help outside their cultural group. And human-in-the-loop interpretation may help to mitigate the effects of cultural barriers between those communicating. We establish the notion of designing for transient use in the development of systems to scaffold communication for short-term use by resettling refugees.

Deana Brown
Georgia Institute of Technology
Rebecca Grinter
Georgia Institute of Technology

 

An Archive of Their Own: A Case Study of Feminist HCI and Values in Design

Rarely are computing systems developed entirely by members of the communities they serve, particularly when that community is underrepresented in computing. Archive of Our Own (AO3), a fan fiction archive with nearly 750,000 users and over 2 million individual works, was designed and coded primarily by women to meet the needs of the online fandom community. Their design decisions were informed by existing values and norms around issues such as accessibility, inclusivity, and identity. We conducted interviews with 28 users and developers, and with this data we detail the history and design of AO3 using the framework of feminist HCI and focusing on the successful incorporation of values into design. We conclude with considering examples of complexity in values in design work: the use of design to mitigate tensions in values and to influence value formation or change.

Casey Fiesler
University of Colorado Boulder
Amy Bruckman
Georgia Institute of Technology
Shannon Morrison
College of Charleston

 

Recovery Amid Pro-Anorexia: Analysis of Recovery in Social Media

Online communities can promote illness recovery and improve well-being in the cases of many kinds of illnesses. However, for challenging mental health condition like anorexia, social media harbor both recovery communities as well as those that encourage dangerous behaviors. The effectiveness of such platforms in promoting recovery despite housing both communities is underexplored. Our work begins to fill this gap by developing a statistical framework using survival analysis and situating our results within the cognitive behavioral theory of anorexia. This model identifies content and participation measures that predict the likelihood of recovery. From our dataset of over 68M posts and 10K users that self-identify with anorexia, we find that recovery on Tumblr is protracted – only half of the population is estimated to exhibit signs of recovery after four years. We discuss the effectiveness of social media in improving well-being around anorexia, a unique health challenge, and emergent questions from this line of work.

Stevie Chancellor
Georgia Institute of Technology
Munmun De Choudhury
Georgia Institute of Technology
Tanushree Mitra
Georgia Institute of Technology

 

This Post Will Just Get Taken Down: Characterizing Removed Pro-Eating Disorder Social Media Content

Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram remove content that is against community guidelines or is perceived to be deviant behavior. Users also delete their own content that they feel is not appropriate within personal or community norms. In this paper, we examine characteristics of over 30,000 pro-eating disorder (pro-ED) posts that were at one point public on Instagram but have since been removed. Our work shows that straightforward signals can be found in deleted content that distinguish them from other posts, and that the implications of such classification are immense. We build a classifier that compares public pro-ED posts with this removed content that achieves moderate accuracy of ~69%. We also analyze the characteristics in content in each of these post categories and find that removed content reflects more dangerous actions, self-harm tendencies, and vulnerability than posts that remain public. Our work provides early insights into content removal in a sensitive community and addresses the future research implications of the findings.

Stevie Chancellor
Georgia Institute of Technology
Munmun De Choudhury
Georgia Institute of Technology
Zhiyuan Lin
Georgia Institute of Technology

 

Discovering Shifts to Suicidal Ideation from Mental Health Content in Social Media

History of mental illness is a major factor behind suicide risk and ideation. However research efforts toward characterizing and forecasting this risk is limited due to the paucity of information regarding suicide ideation, exacerbated by the stigma of mental illness. This paper fills gaps in the literature by developing a statistical methodology to infer which individuals could undergo transitions from mental health discourse to suicidal ideation. We utilize semi-anonymous support communities on Reddit as unobtrusive data sources to infer the likelihood of these shifts. We develop language and interactional measures for this purpose, as well as a propensity score matching based statistical approach. Our approach allows us to derive distinct markers of shifts to suicidal ideation. These markers can be modeled in a prediction framework to identify individuals likely to engage in suicidal ideation in the future. We discuss societal and ethical implications of this research.

Glen Coppersmith
Qntfy
Munmun De Choudhury
Georgia Institute of Technology
Mark Dredze
John Hopkins University
Emre Kiciman
Microsoft Research
Mrinal Kumar
Georgia Institute of Technology

 

Understanding Social Media Disclosures of Sexual Abuse Through the Lenses of Support Seeking and Anonymity

Support seeking in stigmatized contexts is useful when the discloser receives the desired response, but it also entails social risks. Thus, people do not always disclose or seek support when they need it. One such stigmatized context for support seeking is sexual abuse. In this paper, we use mixed methods to understand abuse-related posts on reddit. First, we take a qualitative approach to understand post content. Then we use quantitative methods to investigate the use of “throwaway” accounts, which provide greater anonymity, and report on factors associated with support seeking and first-time disclosures. In addition to significant linguistic differences between throwaway and identified accounts, we find that those using throwaway accounts are significantly more likely to engage in seeking support. We also find that men are significantly more likely to use throwaway accounts when posting about sexual abuse. Results suggest that subreddit moderators and members who wish to provide support pay attention to throwaway accounts, and we discuss the importance of context-specific anonymity in support seeking.

Nazanin Andalibi
Drexel University
Munmun De Choudhury
Georgia Institute of Technology
Andrea Forte
Drexel University
Oliver Haimson
University of California Irvine

 

Information Seeking Practices of Parents: Exploring Skills, Face Threats and Social Networks

Parents are often responsible for finding, selecting, and facilitating their childrens’ out-of-school learning experiences. One might expect that the recent surge in online educational tools and the vast online network of information about informal learning would make this easier for all parents. Instead, the increase in these free, accessible resources is contributing to an inequality of use between children from lower and higher socio-economic status (SES). Through over 60 interviews with a diverse group of parents, we explored parents ability to find learning opportunities and their role in facilitating educational experiences for their children. We identified differences in the use of online social networks in finding learning opportunities for their children based on SES. Building upon these findings, we conducted a national survey in partnership with ACT, an educational testing services organization, to understand if these differences were generalizable to and consistent among a broader audience.

Betsy DiSalvo
Georgia Institute of Technology
Parisa Khanipour Roshan
Georgia Institute of Technology
Briana Morrison
Georgia Institute of Technology

 

Participatory Design through a Learning Science Lens

Participatory design is a growing practice in the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI). This note is a review of how participatory design activities are a form of learning. The premise of this exploration is that participatory design is more than asking participants for their help in design. Instead, participatory design is a set of methods and practices used to scaffold the design experience, increasing participants reflection of their own knowledge and accounting for their previous knowledge so they can more fully engage in the design process. This active reflection and considerations of pervious experiences are closely tied to metacognition and a number of learning theories. Exploring previous studies provides examples of how learning theories are enacted through participatory design and how a greater awareness of these theories can inform the practice of participatory design.

Betsy DiSalvo
Georgia Institute of Technology

 

Designing Speculative Civics

As human computer interaction design research continues to expand domains, civics is emerging as an important subject through which to explore how computation shapes our public lives. In this paper we present and reflect upon a series of research through design (RtD) projects that investigate speculative civic contexts. From this, we identify and discuss tactics that can be employed in RtD projects: RtD as Representations of Systems Yet-to-Come, RtD as Prototyping Systems and RtD as Use of a System. Then we identify and discuss thematic interpretations of civics that emerged through our designs: Mediated Civics, Computed Civics, and Proxied Civics. This work contributes to discourses of speculative design, research through design, and those of civics in human computer interaction design research.

Carl DiSalvo
Georgia Institute of Technology
Tom Jenkins
Georgia Institute of Technology
Thomas Lodato
Georgia Institute of Technology

 

Care Partnerships: Toward Technology to Support Teens Participation in their Health Care

Adolescents with complex chronic illnesses, such as cancer and blood disorders, must partner with family and clinical caregivers to navigate risky procedures with life-altering implications, burdensome symptoms and lifelong treatments. Yet, there has been little investigation into how technology can support these partnerships. We conducted 38 in-depth interviews (15 with teenage adolescents with chronic forms of cancer and blood disorders, 15 with their parents, and eight with clinical caregivers) along with nine non-participant observations of clinical consultations, to better understand common challenges and needs that could be supported through design. Participants faced challenges primarily concerning: 1) teens limited participation in their care, 2) communicating emotionally-sensitive information, and 3) managing physical and emotional responses. We draw on these findings to propose design goals for sociotechnical systems to support teens in partnering in their care, highlighting the need for design to support gradually-evolving partnerships.

Matthew Hong
Georgia Institute of Technology
Daniel Machado
Georgia Institute of Technology
Thomas Olson
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
Stephen Simoneaux
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
Lauren Wilcox
Georgia Institute of Technology

 

The Ins and Outs of HCI for Development

We present an empirical analysis of HCI for development (HCI4D), a growing research area aimed at understanding and designing technologies for under-served, under-resourced, and under-represented populations around the world. We first present findings from our survey of 259 HCI4D publications from the past six years and summarize how this research has evolved, with an overview of the geographies it covers, technologies it targets, and its varied epistemological and methodological underpinnings. We then discuss qualitative findings from interviews we conducted with 11 experienced HCI4D researchers, reflecting on the ground covered so far – including computing and research trends, community-building efforts, and thoughts about ‘development’ – as well as challenges that lie ahead and suggestions for future growth and diversification. We conclude by summarizing the contributions our paper makes to HCI researchers inside the HCI4D community as well as those outside of it, with the goal of enriching discussions on how HCI can further benefit populations around the world.

Nicola Dell
Cornell Tech
Neha Kumar
Georgia Institute of Technology

 

Universal Design Ballot Interfaces on Voting Performance and Satisfaction of Voters with and without Vision Loss

Voting is a glocalized event across countries, states and municipalities in which individuals of all abilities want to participate. To enable people with disabilities to participate accessible voting is typically implemented by adding assistive technologies to electronic voting machines to accommodate people with disabilities. To overcome the complexities and inequities in this practice, two interfaces, EZ Ballot, which uses a linear yes/no input system for all selections, and QUICK Ballot, which provides random access voting through direct selection, were designed to provide one system for all voters. This paper reports efficacy testing of both interfaces. The study demonstrated that voters with a range of visual abilities were able to use both ballots independently. While non-sighted voters made fewer errors on the linear ballot (EZ Ballot), partially-sighted and sighted voters completed the random access ballot (QUICK Ballot) in less time. In addition, a higher percentage of non-sighted participants preferred the linear ballot, and a higher percentage of sighted participants preferred the random ballot.

Seunghyun Lee
Georgia Institute of Technology
Yilin Liu
Georgia Institute of Technology
Ljilja Ruzic Kascak
Georgia Institute of Technology
Jon Sanford
Georgia Institute of Technology