Human-computer interaction: Gender HCI, Feminist HCI, Sustainable HCI, ...

From Open Source Bridge Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

References for Supporting diversity with a new approach to software

HCI, for human-computer interaction, is the field of studying how people interact with computers. Several subdisciplines of HCI are particularly relevant to creating software that works better for everybody

  • Gender HCI: focuses on the differences in how different genders interact with computers
  • Feminist HCI is concerned with the design and evaluation of interactive systems that are imbued with sensitivity to the central commitments of feminism—agency, fulfillment, identity and the self, equity, empowerment, diversity, and social justice.
  • Post-colonial HCI centers on the questions of power, authority, legitimacy, participation, and intelligibility in the contexts of cultural encounter, particularly in the context of contemporary globalization.
  • Human-Computer Interaction for Development (HCI4D) focuses on understanding how people and computers interact in developing regions, and on designing systems and products specifically for these contexts
  • Humanistic HCI is a term used by Jeffrey and Shaowen Bardzell “to refer to any HCI research or practice that deploys humanistic epistemologies (e.g., theories and conceptual systems) and methodologies (e.g., critical analysis of designs, processes, and implementations; historical genealogies; conceptual analysis; emancipatory criticism) in service of HCI processes, theories, methods, agenda setting, and practices

Gender HCI

Who needs it the most? People who process new information comprehensively (gathering fairly complete information before proceeding, as opposed to “selective” styles of following the first promising information, then backtracking if needed) are risk-averse, have low self-efficacy, prefer not to tinker, and/or don’t like technology for its own sake. (At least in the US, these have a strong correlation to gender.)

Who else benefits? Everybody.

Gender HCI is a subfield of human-computer interaction (HCI) that focuses on the differences in how different genders interact with computers. Work to date has focused primarily on the differences between males and females in problem-solving software, and has identified differences in several “facets”: motivation, information-processing style, computer self-efficacy, risk aversion, and tinkering. The GenderMag method is a structured approach for using personas in a walkthrough to identify issues.

High-level recommendations

  • Consider gender difference throughout the process - including design, usability testing, and other feedback mechanisms
  • Leverage existing gender HCI materials such as GenderMag profiles
  • Introduce all developers, testers, tech writers, and product managers to gender HCI basics, including facets and examples of making software more gender-inclusive
  • Remember that gender isn't just male and female, so support flexible and optional self-identification of gender)


GenderMag, A Method for Evaluating Software’s Gender Inclusiveness, Margaret Burnett et. al. “The users who tend to be best supported by problem-solving software tend to be those best represented in software development teams (e.g. relatively young, able-bodied, males), with other users’ perspectives often over-looked.”

Is your software gender inclusive? A talk by Margaret Burnett

Finding Gender-Inclusiveness Software Issues with GenderMag: A Field Investigation, Margaret Burnett et. al

Are you sure your software is gender-inclusive?, Gayna WIlliams, ACM

And lots more. See the publications list near the bottom of the EUSES Gender HCI page, and their older bibliography.

Baking Gender Into Social Media Design: How Platforms Shape Categories for Users and Advertiser, Rena Bivens and Oliver Haimson.

HCI as heterodoxy: Technologies of identity and the queering of interaction with computer, A. Light

Machine Translation: Analyzing Gender, from Stanford’s Gendered Innovations project. "State-of-the-art translation systems like Google Translate or Systran massively overuse masculine pronouns (he, him) even where the text specifically refers to a woman (Minkov et al., 2007)"

Feminist HCI

Feminist HCI looks at interactive systems "that are imbued with sensitivity to the central commitments of feminism — agency, fulfillment, identity and the self, equity, empowerment, diversity, and social justice" and "entails critical perspectives that could help reveal unspoken values within HCI’s dominant research and design paradigms and underpin the development of new approaches, methods and design variations" (Bardzell, 2010)

Open Source Bridge presentations

Feminist Point of View: Lessons From Running the Geek Feminism Wiki, Alex Bayley (2014)


Feminist HCI: Taking Stock and Outlining an Agenda for Design, Shaowen Bardzell

An Archive of Their Own: A Case Study of Feminist HCI and Values in Design, Fiesler, Morrison, and Bruckman, CHI 2016. Here’s an overview from Casey Fiesler.

Feminist HCI for Real: Designing Technology in Support of a Social Movement, Jill Dimond (Ph.D Thesis, looking at Hollaback)

A theoretical agenda for feminist HCI, Jennifer A. Rode, 2011

Feminist HCI Meets Facebook: Performativity and Social Networking Sites, Nancy van House, Interacting with Computers", 2010

Towards Trans Inclusion in Feminist HCI, Haimson and Hayes, 2014

Lauren Klein, “Feminist Data Visualization: Rethinking the Archive, Reshaping the Field”, Dave DeCamp's summary of Lauren's talk

Software Design, a deconstructive feminist approach, Doris Althusser, 2012. Althusser's Mind Scripting: a Method for Deconstructive Design describes a method for analyzing processes of the co-materialization of gender and technology as a tool to support cooperative, reflective work practices. Anchored in critical design approaches

Storytelling as a nexus of change in the relationship between gender and technology: a feminist approach to software design, Justine Cassell (1998) suggests principles of a feminist approach to software design

  • Transfer design authority to the user
  • Value subjective and experiential knowledge in the context of computer use
  • Allow use by many different kinds of users in different contexts
  • Give the user a tool to express her voice and the truth of her existence
  • Encourage collaboration among users

Post-colonial Computing


Post-Colonial Computing: a Lens on Design and Development, Lilly Irani et al, CHI 2010. After looking in detail at several case studies The authors propose an alternate formulation of design work – engagement, articulation, and translation - that broadens notions of what counts as design work and suggests an alternate sensibility for evaluating such work

Post-Colonial Computing: A Tactical Survey, Kavita Philip, Lilly Irani, and Paul Dourish, Science Technology and Human Values

Postcolonial language and culture theory for HCI4D, Samantha Merritt and Shaowen Bardzell, CHI 2011

Sustainable HCI


Sustainable Interaction Design: Invention & Disposal, Renewal & Reuse, Eli Blevis, CHI 2007

Environmental sustainability and interaction, Jennifer C. Mankoff et. al., CHI 2007

Mapping the Landscape of Sustainable HCI, Carl DiSalvo, Phoebe Sengers, and Hrönn Brynjarsdóttir, CHI 2010

Next steps for sustainable HCI, M Six Silberman et. al., ACM Interactions, 2014

And ...

Digital Security and Privacy Protection UX Checklist (DSPPUX-Checklist) provides suggestions to promote digital security and privacy for people who are designing and developing tools for targeted communities.