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Despite the numerous advances that technology has produced over the years, it often appears that swaths of the populace: Human Computer Interaction Research Paper, DBS, Ireland

University Dublin Business School (DBS)
Subject Human Computer Interaction

Despite the numerous advances that technology has produced over the years, it often appears that swaths of the populace are excluded or left behind. In this latest wave of hyper-targeted apps, in particular, critics assert that efforts
are being squandered on entitled audiences, aimed at inane ends, or pandering to some of humanity’s worst qualities. As design professionals, we have choices about what to work on, and consideration about where to expend your talents is something to be developed and honed as carefully as your UX and IDX talents.

Alternatives to this pattern have appeared in many guises; Inclusive Design, Universal Design, and last year’s SDC theme of Assistive Technology represent places where designers can target their efforts to humanitarian ends. The problems that crop up when one heads in this direction aren’t necessarily easy, and the work typically requires deep engagement with an unfamiliar constituency or cultural setting.

After a design target has been identified, creating an intervention of some sort presents further challenges, often with atypical forms of interaction, in unfamiliar circumstances. The possibilities here are myriad, and part of the contest will be choosing wisely. That said, it’s not necessarily about finding an exotic demographic—members of your immediate community may also present possibilities for your efforts.

Picking a constituency or setting where ongoing access and engagement is possible can be a big contributor to the success of your endeavors. Another effective strategy might be to identify specific changes that you want to
encourage or engender, like slowing down, making reasoned decisions, or learning a nuanced skill.

Engaging outside of one’s everyday experience is one time-proven way of uncovering needs where problem-solving will succeed, or discovering opportunities where more experimental and speculative approaches may be fruitful.

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