Toward Human-Centered Algorithm Design

Status

Eric P. S. Baumer. (2017). Toward Human-Centered Algorithm Design. Big Data & Society, 4(2).

Abstract

As algorithms pervade numerous facets of daily life, they are incorporated into systems for increasingly diverse purposes. These systems’ results are often interpreted differently by the designers who created them than by the lay persons who interact with them. This paper offers a proposal for human-centered algorithm design, which incorporates human and social interpretations into the design process for algorithmically based systems. It articulates three specific strategies for doing so: theoretical, participatory, and speculative. Drawing on the author’s work designing and deploying multiple related systems, the paper provides a detailed example of using a theoretical approach. It also discusses findings pertinent to participatory and speculative design approaches. The paper addresses both strengths and challenges for each strategy in helping to center the process of designing algorithmically based systems around humans.

DOI

Comparing Grounded Theory and Topic Modeling: Extreme Divergence or Unlikely Convergence?

Status

Eric P. S. Baumer, David Mimno, Shion Guha, Emiy Quan, and Geri Gay. (2017). Comparing Grounded Theory and Topic Modeling: Extreme Divergence or Unlikely Convergence? Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST), 68(6): 1397–1410.

Abstract

Researchers in information science and related areas have developed various methods for analyzing textual data, such as survey responses. This article describes the application of analysis methods from two distinct fields, one method from interpretive social science and one method from statistical machine learning, to the same survey data. The results show that the two analyses produce some similar and some complementary insights about the phenomenon of interest, in this case, nonuse of social media. We compare both the processes of conducting these analyses and the results they produce to derive insights about each method’s unique advantages and drawbacks, as well as the broader roles that these methods play in the respective fields where they are often used. These insights allow us to make more informed decisions about the tradeoffs in choosing different methods for analyzing textual data. Further- more, this comparison suggests ways that such methods might be combined in novel and compelling ways.

DOI

Post-userism

Status

Eric P. S. Baumer and Jed R. Brubaker. (2017). Post-userism. in Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI). (Denver, CO).

Abstract

HCI is focused on improving the interactions we have with technology and innovating new types of interactions, as well as expanding the types of people for whom those interactions are designed. Central to these efforts is the simultaneously empowering and contested construct of the “user.” This paper examines what the construct of the user highlights, as well as what it conceals. We introduce post- userism, a perspective that simultaneously acknowledges the limits of, and proposes alternatives to, the central construct of the user as proxy for the “human” in HCI. Drawing on developments across the historical trajectory of HCI, we articulate how the user is enacted across four different levels of representation—systems, interface, design process, and the ideology—and identify situations where the user breaks down. Synthesizing prior work, we offer a series of strategies for grappling with such situations. In doing so, we seek to overcome the limitations imposed by the user and develop a language that will aid in evolving the foundations of HCI by asking what, exactly, we place at the center of our scholarship and design.

DOI

When Subjects Interpret the Data: Social Media Non-use as a Case for Adapting the Delphi Method to CSCW

Status

Eric P. S. Baumer, Xiaotong Xu, Christine Chu, Shion Guha, and Geri K. Gay. (2017). When Subjects Interpret the Data: Social Media Non-use as a Case for Adapting the Delphi Method to CSCW. in Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing (CSCW). (Portland, OR).

Abstract

This paper describes the use of the Delphi method as a means of incorporating study participants into the processes of data analysis and interpretation. As a case study, it focuses on perceptions about use and non-use of the social media site Facebook. The work presented here involves three phases. First, a large survey included both a demographically representative sample and a convenience sample. Second, a smaller follow-up survey presented results from that survey back to survey respondents. Third, a series of qualitative member checking interviews with additional survey respondents served to validate the findings of the follow-up survey. This paper demonstrates the utility of Delphi by highlighting the ways that it enables us to synthesize across these three study phases, advancing understanding of perceptions about social media use and non-use. The paper concludes by discussing the broader applicability of the Delphi method across CSCW research.

DOI

Imagined Facebook: An exploratory study of non-users’ perceptions of social media in Rural Zambia

Status

Susan P. Wyche and Eric P. S. Baumer (2016). Imagined Facebook: An Exploratory Study of Non-Users’ Perceptions of Social Media in Rural Zambia. New Media & Society.

Abstract

This article describes an exploratory study of Facebook non-users living in rural Zambia. Drawing on evidence from 37 group interviews with mobile phone owners, we discovered that the majority of our participants were aware of, or ‘imagined’ Facebook, despite never having seen or used the site. Our analysis of how participants perceive Facebook suggests that they are interested in the communication and income-generating possibilities access to the site may provide, but that barriers prevent them from acting on these interests. This study contributes to social media research by making visible the experiences of a population whose non-use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) results from economic, infrastructural, and linguistic sources, as well as from other, hitherto less-explored areas. We discuss the practical significance of these findings, offer future research suggestions, and comment on what our respondents have not yet imagined about Facebook.

DOI

How Non-use Experiences Influence the Likelihood of Social Media Reversion: Perceived Addiction, Boundary Negotiation, Subjective Mood, and Social Connections

Status

Eric P. S. Baumer, Shion Guha, Emily Quan, David Mimno, & Geri Gay. (2015). How Non-use Experiences Influence the Likelihood of Social Media Reversion: Perceived Addiction, Boundary Negotiation, Subjective Mood, and Social Connections. Social Media + Society.

Abstract

This article examines social media reversion, when a user intentionally ceases using a social media site but then later resumes use of the site. We analyze a convenience sample of survey data from people who volunteered to stay off Facebook for 99 days but, in some cases, returned before that time. We conduct three separate analyses to triangulate on the phenomenon of reversion: simple quantitative predictors of reversion, factor analysis of adjectives used by respondents to describe their experiences of not using Facebook, and statistical topic analysis of free-text responses. Significant factors predicting either increased or decreased likelihood of reversion include, among others, prior use of Facebook, experiences associated with perceived addiction, issues of social boundary negotiation such as privacy and surveillance, use of other social media, and friends’ reactions to non-use. These findings contribute to the growing literature on technology non-use by demonstrating how social media users negotiate, both with each other and with themselves, among types and degrees of use and non-use.

Open Access

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

Status

Vera Khovanskaya, Eric P. S. Baumer, and Phoebe Sengers. (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.

DOI

Reflective Informatics: Conceptual Dimensions for Designing Technologies of Reflection

Status

Eric P. S. Baumer (2015). Reflective Informatics: Conceptual Dimensions for Designing Technologies of Reflection. in Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) (pp. 585–594). Seoul, South Korea.

Abstract

Despite demonstrated interest in designing for reflection, relatively little work provides a detailed explication of what exactly is meant by reflection or how to design around it. This paper fills that gap by reviewing and engaging with conceptual and theoretical models of reflection, organized by the disciplinary and epistemological perspectives each embodies. Synthesizing across this theoretical background, the paper identifies three dimensions of reflection: breakdown, inquiry, and transformation. Together, these dimensions serve as the foundation for reflective informatics, a conceptual approach that helps bring clarity and guidance to the discussion of designing for reflection. The paper distinguishes reflective informatics by demonstrating how it both differs from and complements existing related work. Finally, the paper provides a critically reflexive consideration of its own latent assumptions, especially about the value of reflection, and how they might impact work on designing for reflection.

ACM

Testing and Comparing Computational Approaches for Identifying the Language of Framing in Political News

Status

Eric P. S. Baumer, Elisha Elovic, Ying Qin, Francesca Polletta, & Geri K. Gay. (2015). Testing and Comparing Computational Approaches for Identifying the Language of Framing in Political News. in Proceedings of the Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics – Human Language Technologies (NAACL – HLT) (pp. 1472–1482). Denver, CO.

Abstract

The subconscious influence of framing on perceptions of political issues is well-document in political science and communication research. A related line of work suggests that drawing attention to framing may help reduce such framing effects by enabling frame reflection, critical examination of the framing underlying an issue. However, definite guidance on how to identify framing does not exist. This paper presents a technique for identifying frame-invoking language. The paper first describes a human subjects pilot study that explores how individuals identify framing and informs the design of our technique. The paper then describes our data collection and annotation approach. Results show that the best performing classifiers achieve performance comparable to that of human annotators, and they indicate which aspects of language most pertain to framing. Both technical and theoretical implications are discussed.

pdf (ACL)

Data Set – This includes all 75 annotated articles, as well as descriptions of the format and instructions on use.

On the Importance and Implications of Studying Technology Non-use

Status

Eric P. S. Baumer, Jenna Burrell, Morgan G. Ames, Jed R. Brubaker, & Paul Dourish. (2015). On the Importance and Implications of Studying Technology Non-use. interactions, 22(2), 52–56.

EXcerpt

Quit Facebook Day. Paraguayan children indifferent to their OLPC “XO” laptop. Digitally disconnected residents of Sub­Saharan Africa. Facebook pages of the deceased. Each of these in some way draws attention to technology non­use. While researchers have explored questions around non­use for some time [1,2], the dominant discourse in HCI still focuses primarily on technology users. […] So what do deceased Facebook users have in common with children in Paraguay who could care less about their XO laptops? To explore this question, we convened a workshop at ACM’s CHI 2014 conference. […] Here, the workshop organizers reflect on key topics, themes, and questions raised by participants, discussing how they might provide feedback to the broader HCI community. […] this article serves two purposes. First, it provides a sense for the scope and variety of research being conducted related to non­use, drawing in part on examples from workshop participants. Second, it draws inspiration from discussions that occurred during the workshop to suggest some possible broader implications of, as well as important future directions for, work in this area.

ACM