skip to main content


Title: Why do we Need Norm Sensitive Design? A WEIRD Critique of Value Sensitive Approaches to Design
The article argues that mainstream value-sensitive approaches to design have been based on narrow understandings of personhood and social dynamics, which are biased toward Western Educated Industrialized Rich and Democratic cultures and contradicted by empirical evidence. To respond to this weakness, the article suggests that design may benefit from focusing on user behaviours from the joint perspective of values and norms, especially across cultural contexts. As such, it proposes Norm Sensitive Design as a complement to value-sensitive approaches when designing and implementing new technologies. Versus values, norms serve as more accurate predictors or descriptors of behaviours and can thus support valuesensitive approaches to realize the aspiration of informing user behaviour via design. The article makes two key contributions. On the theoretical side, it promotes the consideration of norms in design. On the practical side, it offers designers and instructors prompts for reflecting on design ethics from the perspective of norms.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2124984
NSF-PAR ID:
10451693
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Global philosophy
Volume:
33
ISSN:
2948-1538
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. The purpose of this paper is to discuss problems related to value-sensitive design frameworks, especially in cross-cultural and international environments, and why “norm-sensitive design” would be a better alternative. To do so, this paper is divided into three parts. First, it begins by discussing the nature of value-sensitive design and why it might appear to be fruitfully applied to global contexts. Next, this paper moves on to explain problems with this move – in other words, problems related to value-sensitive design, especially from international and cross-cultural perspectives. Finally, it finishes by describing norm-sensitive design, what is meant by this term and why it would be better than value-sensitive design. The account here is not meant to be either exhaustive or definitive but exploratory, raising questions and encourage debates within this space, bringing different disciplinary perspectives to the discussion 
    more » « less
  2. HCI scholarship is increasingly concerned with the ethical impact of socio-technical systems. Current theoretically driven approaches that engage with ethics generally prescribe only abstract approaches by which designers might consider values in the design process. However, there is little guidance on methods that promote value discovery, which might lead to more specific examples of relevant values in specific design contexts. In this paper, we elaborate a method for value discovery, identifying how values impact the designer's decision making. We demonstrate the use of this method, called Ethicography, in describing value discovery and use throughout the design process. We present analysis of design activity by user experience (UX) design students in two lab protocol conditions, describing specific human values that designers considered for each task, and visualizing the interplay of these values. We identify opportunities for further research, using the Ethicograph method to illustrate value discovery and translation into design solutions. 
    more » « less
  3. Parental control applications are designed to help parents monitor their teens and protect them from online risks. Generally, parents are considered the primary stakeholders for these apps; therefore, the apps often emphasize increased parental control through restriction and monitoring. By taking a developmental perspective and a Value Sensitive Design approach, we explore the possibility of designing more youth-centric online safety features. We asked 39 undergraduate students in the United States to create design charrettes of parental control apps that would better represent teens as stakeholders. As emerging adults, students discussed the value tensions between teens and parents and designed features to reduce and balance these tensions. While they emphasized safety, the students also designed to improve parent-teen communication, teen autonomy and privacy, and parental support. Our research contributes to the adolescent online safety literature by presenting design ideas from emerging adults that depart from the traditional paradigm of parental control. We also make a pedagogical contribution by leveraging design charrettes as a classroom tool for engaging college students in the design of youth-centered apps. We discuss why features that support parent-teen cooperation, teen privacy, and autonomy may be more developmentally appropriate for adolescents than existing parental control app designs. 
    more » « less
  4. This article describes findings from a workshop that initiated a dialogue between the fields of user-centered design (UCD) and language archives. One of the challenges facing language archives is the fact that they typically have multiple user groups with significantly different information needs, as well as varying cultural practices of data sharing, access and use. UCD, informed by design anthropology, can help developers of language archives identify the main user groups of a particular archive; work with those user groups to map their needs and cultural practices; and translate those insights into archive design. The article describes findings from the workshop on User-Centered Design of Language Archives in February 2016. It reviews relevant aspects of language archiving and user-centered design to construct the rationale for the workshop, relates key insights produced during the workshop, and outlines next steps in the larger research trajectory initiated by this workshop. One major insight from the workshop was the discovery that at present, most language archives are not meeting the needs of most users. Representatives from all user groups expressed frustration at the current design of most language archives. This discovery points to the value of introducing a user-centered approach, so that the design of language archives can be better informed by the needs of users. 
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    Multiple methods have been used to study how social values and ethics are implicated in technology design and use, including empirical qualitative studies of technologists’ work. Recently, more experimental approaches such as design fiction explore these themes through fictional worldbuilding. This paper combines these approaches by adapting design fictions as a form of memoing, a qualitative analysis technique. The paper uses design fiction memos to analyze and reflect on ethnographic interviews and observational data about how user experience (UX) professionals at large technology companies engage with values and ethical issues in their work. The design fictions help explore and articulate themes about the values work practices and relationships of power that UX professionals grapple with. Through these fictions, the paper contributes a case study showing how design fiction can be used for qualitative analysis, and provides insights into the role of organizational and power dynamics in UX professionals’ values work. 
    more » « less