- Dec 2018
Stepping back, one can broadly distinguish among two gen-eral ways that feminism contributes to interaction design: Critique-based and generative. •Critique-based contributions rely on the use of feminist approaches to analyze designs and design processes in order to expose their unintended consequences. Such contributions indirectly benefit interaction design by raising our sensibilities surrounding issues of concern. •Generative contributions involve the use of feminist ap-proaches explicitly in decision-making and design proc-ess to generate new design insights and influence the de-sign process tangibly. Such contributions leverage femi-nism to understand design contexts (e.g., “the home” or the “workplace”), to help identify needs and require-ments, discover opportunities for design, offer leads to-ward solutions to design problems, and suggest evalua-tion criteria for working prototypes, etc.
Contributions of feminist HCI persepctives: 1) critique of interaction design methods and assumptions and 2) generative of new design approaches
The quality of self-disclosure refers to the extent to which the software renders visible the ways in which it effects us as subjects. Self-disclosure calls users’ awareness to what the software is trying to make of them, and it both intro-duces a critical distance between users and interactions, and also creates opportunities for users to define themselves for software.
Quality of self-disclosure -- how technology brackets user identity that is relevant to the software/product and renders the rest of us as invisible
he next stage of this agenda, that is, development on the quality of embodi-ment, needs to push embodiment in the direction of gender commonalties and differences, gender identity, human sexuality, pleasure and desire, and emotion.
Qualities of embodiment -- how technology interacts with emotion, sensations, physical presence, and identity
Extending this notion of material ecology, the quality of ecology in feminist interaction design integrates an aware-ness of design artifacts’ effects in their broadest contexts and awareness of the widest range of stakeholders through-out design reasoning, decision-making, and evaluation. It invites interaction designers to attend to the ways that de-sign artifacts in-the-world reflexively design us , as well as how design artifacts affect all stakeholders.
Quality of ecology -- how artifacts impact the design process, technical systems that work together, and users identity
Material ecology theory emphasizes the extent to which an artifact participates in a system of artifacts [73, 52]. This structural approach considers ways that relationships among artifacts determine their meaning in the system or ecology.
Definition of material ecology
The quality of advocacy engages with this dilemma seri-ously. On the one hand, feminist interaction design should seek to bring about political emancipation and not just keep up with it. At the same time, it should also force designers to question their own position to assert what an “improved society” is and how to achieve it. Participatory approaches just described are a natural ally to this quality, because they distribute the authority and responsibility for such decisions across a polyvocal dialogue among stakeholders.
Qualities of advocacy in design
participatory approach is compatible with empathic user research  that avoids the scientific distance that cuts the bonds of humanity between researcher and subject, pre-empting a major resource for design (empathy, love, care).
Definition of participatory design
The quality of participation refers to valuing par-ticipatory processes that lead to the creation and evaluation of design prototypes.
Definition of participation -- approaches taken in designing technology that users are not substitutable for one another
Pluralist designs are likely to be more human-centered than universalizing designs simply because “human” is too rich, too diverse, and too complex a category to bear a universal solution. Pluralist design en-courages an alternative sensibility to design, foregrounding questions of cultural difference, encouraging a constructive engagement with diversity, and embracing the margins both to be more inclusive and to benefit from the marginal as resources for design solutions.
Qualities of pluralist design
A key feminist strategy is to denaturalize normative conven-tions, both exposing their constructedness as human dis-courses situated in socio-political institutions and exploring alternative approaches. A related strategy is to investigate and even nurture the marginal, for here alternatives to nor-malizing discourses are often most visible. The quality of pluralism refers to design artifacts that resist any single, totalizing, or universal point of view.
Definition of pluralism -- a characteristic of feminist HCI
Resists a universal point of view which imposes a Western perspective on technology design and norms of use
The qualities I propose as a starting point are as follows: pluralism, participation, ad-vocacy, ecology, embodiment, and self-disclosure.
Qualities of feminist HCI
In sum, I see the contribution of feminist theories and methods to HCI in the following ways: •Theory: Feminism can critique core operational concepts, assumptions, and epistemologies of HCI, and at the same time, open up opportunities for the future •Methodology: Interaction designers and researchers can incorporate feminism in user research, iterative design, and evaluation methodologies to broaden their repertoire for different contexts and situations •User Research: The notion of “the user” can be updated to reflect gender in a way that noticeably and directly af-fects design •Evaluation: Feminism can help make visible ways that designs configure users as gendered/social subjects—and what implications these configurations bear for future design work
Contribution of feminist theories and HCI methods
HCI continues to expand beyond the preoccupations with how efficiently a system performs and is becoming increas-ingly concerned with culture [8, 9, 5], society , and interested in the experiential qualities of computing .
Definition of HCI
Science and technology studies (STS) investigate how so-cial, political, and cultural values and assumptions affect technological advancement and scientific research; it also investigates the converse, that is, the influences science and technology have on society.
Definition of STS
Academically, feminism is often seen as a domain of critical theory that examines “the ways in which literature (and other cultural productions) reinforces or undermines the economic, political, social, and psychological oppres-sion of women.” . Feminism integrates a collection of theories, analytical and interpretative methodologies, ethi-cal values, and political positions, which have evolved over the past two centuries.
Definition of feminism
Specifically, I am 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. I also seek to improve understanding of how gender identities and relations shape both the use of interac-tive technologies and their design. Additionally, feminist HCI entails critical perspectives that could help reveal un-spoken values within HCI’s dominant research and design paradigms and underpin the development of new ap-proaches, methods and design variations.
Definition of Feminist HCI.
Application to interaction technologies and design
Critical perspectives to help drive "new approaches, methods, and design variations."
- participatory design
- feminist hci