Double Binds and Double Blinds: Evaluation Tactics in Critically Oriented HCI

Status

Khovanskaya, V., Baumer, E.P.S., and Sengers, P. (2015). Double Binds and Double Blinds: Evaluation Tactics in Critically Oriented HCI. in Proceedings of the Fifth Decennial Aarhus Conference on Critical Computing. Aarhus, Denmark.

Abstract

Critically oriented researchers within Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) have fruitfully intersected design and critical analysis to engage users and designers in reflection on underlying values, assumptions and dominant practices in technology. To successfully integrate this work within the HCI community, critically oriented researchers have tactically engaged with dominant practices within HCI in the design and evaluation of their work. This paper draws attention to the ways that tactical engagement with aspects of HCI evaluation methodology shapes and bears consequences for critically oriented research. We reflect on three of our own experiences evaluating critically oriented designs and trace challenges that we faced to the ways that sensibilities about generalizable knowledge are manifested in HCI evaluation methodology. Drawing from our own experiences, as well as other influential critically oriented design projects in HCI, we articulate some of the trade-offs involved in consciously adopting or not adopting certain normative aspects of HCI evaluation. We argue that some forms of this engagement can hamstring researchers from pursuing their intended research goals and have consequences beyond specific research projects to affect the normative discourse in the field as a whole.

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The Practice of Everyday Sustainability: the View from a Farmers’ Market

Status

Baumer, E.P.S., Halpern, M., Khovanskaya, V., and Gay, G. K. (2011). The Practice of Everyday Sustainability: the View from a Farmers’ Market. in Everyday Practice and Sustainability: Understanding and Learning from Cultures of (Un)Sustainability, Workshop at ACM SIGCHI Conference, (Vancouver, BC).

Abstract

Much HCI research has been devoted to encouraging sustainable decisions, but only recently have researchers begun to engage with how users define sustainability. This study explores the definition of sustainability, and its relation to other concerns, among visitors to a farmers’ market. Using cultural probes, we are exploring not only how people define sustainability, but also how the constitute, enact, and practice it in everyday life.

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