While the growth of financial technologies (FinTech) is making the flow of money faster, easier, and more secure, such technologies are often unable to serve many countries due to the global political environment. Despite its severe impact, this issue has remained understudied in the HCI literature. We address this gap by presenting our findings from a three-month-long ethnography with the Iranian community in Toronto, Canada. We present their struggles in transferring money to and from their home country - a process that entails financial loss, fear, uncertainty, and privacy breaches. We also outline the informal workarounds that allow this community to circumvent these challenges, along with the associated hassles. This paper contributes to broadening the scope of FinTech in the HCI literature by connecting it with the politics surrounding transnational transactions. We discuss the design implications of our findings and their contribution to the broader interests of HCI in mobilities and social justice.
AI models are increasingly applied in high-stakes domains like health and conservation. Data quality carries an elevated significance in high-stakes AI due to its heightened downstream impact, impacting predictions like cancer detection, wildlife poaching, and loan allocations. Paradoxically, data is the most under-valued and de-glamorised aspect of AI. In this paper, we report on data practices in high-stakes AI, from interviews with 53 AI practitioners in India, East and West African countries, and USA. We define, identify, and present empirical evidence on Data Cascades---compounding events causing negative, downstream effects from data issues---triggered by conventional AI/ML practices that undervalue data quality. Data cascades are pervasive (92\% prevalence), invisible, delayed, but often avoidable. We discuss HCI opportunities in designing and incentivizing data excellence as a first-class citizen of AI, resulting in safer and more robust systems for all.
Head-worn displays (HWDs) offer their users high mobility, hands-free operation, and “see-what-I-see” features. In the prehospital environment, emergency medical services (EMS) staff could benefit from the unique characteristics of HWDs. We conducted a field study to analyze work practices of EMS staff and the potential of HWDs to support their activities. Based on our observations and the comments of EMS staff, we propose three use cases for HWDs in the prehospital environment. They are (1) enhanced communication between different care providers, (2) hands-free access to clinical monitoring and imaging, (3) and improved realism of training scenarios. We conclude with a set of design considerations and suggest that for the successful implementation of HWDs in EMS environments, researchers, designers, and clinical stakeholders should consider the harsh outdoor environment in which HWDs will be used, the extensive workload of staff, the complex collaboration performed, privacy requirements, and the high variability of work.
With a plethora of off-the-shelf smart home devices available commercially, people are increasingly taking a do-it-yourself approach to configuring their smart homes. While this allows for customization, users responsible for smart home configuration often end up with more control over the devices than other household members.This separates those who introduce new functionality to the smart home (pilot users) from those who do not (passenger users). To investigate the prevalence and impact of pilot-passenger user relationships, we conducted a Mechanical Turk survey and a series of one-hour interviews. Our results suggest that pilot-passenger relationships are common in multi-user households and shape how people form habits around devices. We find from interview data that smart homes reflect the values of their pilot users, making it harder for passenger users to incorporate their devices into daily life. We conclude the paper with design recommendations to improve passenger and pilot user experience.
Voice-based Conversational Agents (VCA) have served as personal assistants that support individuals with special needs. Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may also benefit from VCAs to deal with their everyday needs and challenges, ranging from self-care to social communications. In this study, we explored how VCAs could encourage adolescents with ASD in navigating various aspects of their daily lives through the two-week use of VCAs and a series of participatory design workshops. Our findings demonstrated that VCAs could be an engaging, empowering, emancipating tool that supports adolescents with ASD to address their needs, personalities, and expectations, such as promoting self-care skills, regulating negative emotions, and practicing conversational skills. We propose implications of using off-the-shelf technologies as a personal assistant to ASD users in Assistive Technology design. We suggest design implications for promoting positive opportunities while mitigating the remaining challenges of VCAs for adolescents with ASD.
Most children who are blind live in low-resource settings and attend schools that have poor technical infrastructure, overburdened teachers, and outdated curriculum. Our work explores the role digital games can play to develop digital skills of such children in the early grades. Recognizing the critical role of teachers in introducing children to technology, we conducted a mixed-methods study to examine which attributes of digital games teachers find useful for children and what challenges they perceive in integrating digital games in schools for the blind. Our findings indicate that teachers prefer games that align well with curriculum objectives, promote learning, improve soft skills, and increase engagement with computers. Despite being overburdened and lacking technological support, teachers expressed strong enthusiasm to integrate these games in school curriculum and schedule. We conclude by discussing design implications for designers of accessible games in low-resource settings.
Disability professionals could use digital fabrication tools to provide customised assistive technologies or accessible media beneficial to the education of Blind or visually impaired youth. However, there is little documentation of long-term practices with these tools by professionals in this field, limiting our ability to support their work. We report on such practices in a French organisation, providing disability educational services and using digital fabrication since 2013, for six years. We trace how professionals defined how digital fabrication could and should be used through a range of projects, based on pedagogical uses and the constraints in creation, production and maintenance. We outline new research perspectives going beyond 3D printers and its promises of automation to embrace hybrid approaches currently supported by laser cutters, the learning and documentation process, and the production of accessible tactile media at a regional or national scale.
Technology has become increasingly pervasive in the creative and experimental environment of the avant-garde fashion runway, particularly in relation to its garments. However, several disciplines are often necessary when exploring technologies for the construction of expressive garments (e.g. garments that respond to their environment), creating a barrier for fashion designers that has limited their ability to leverage new technologies. To help overcome this barrier, we designed and deployed Brookdale, a prototyping system for wearable technology consisting of new plug-and-play hardware that can be programmed using drag-and-drop software. Brookdale was created using a 24-week participatory design process with 17 novice fashion-tech designers. At the end of the 24 week process, designers showcased their Brookdale-enhanced garment collections at an avant-garde fashion-tech runway show in New York City. We report on the experiences, outcomes, and lessons learned throughout this process, and describe results from interviews with the fashion-tech designers 16 weeks after the fashion show, demonstrating the lasting positive impact of Brookdale.
The industry for children’s apps is thriving at the cost of children’s privacy: these apps routinely disclose children’s data to multiple data trackers and ad networks. As children spend increasing time online, such exposure accumulates to long-term privacy risks. In this paper, we used a mixed-methods approach to investigate why this is happening and how developers might change their practices. We base our analysis against 5 leading data protection frameworks that set out requirements and recommendations for data collection in children's apps. To understand developers' perspectives and constraints, we conducted 134 surveys and 20 semi-structured interviews with popular Android children’s app developers. Our analysis revealed that developers largely respect children’s best interests; however, they have to make compromises due to limited monetisation options, perceived harmlessness of certain third-party libraries, and lack of availability of design guidelines. We identified concrete approaches and directions for future research to help overcome these barriers.
Repeated exposure to poor air quality in indoor environments such as office, home, and classroom can have substantial adverse effects on our health and productivity. The problem is especially recognized in closed indoor spaces shared by several people. We have studied the evolution of carbon dioxide level in office-meeting spaces, during 1007 meeting sessions. The collected data is employed to examine machine learning models aimed to indicate the CO2 evolution pattern and to forecast when fresh air should be supplied. In addition, to gain insight into the relations and interdependencies of social factors in meetings that may influence the users' perception of an interactive solution, we have conducted a series of online surveys. Building on the results of the two studies, a solution is proposed that predicts the evolution of air quality in naturally-ventilated meeting rooms and engages the users in preventive actions when risk is forecast.
It is well documented that people living with mental health conditions are more likely to experience financial difficulties. When explaining this association, emphasis has often been placed on financial capability, i.e. the capacity of those living with poor mental health to manage their money. This paper challenges such capability-based explanations by reporting on a diary study and interviews with 14 people who self-identify as living with a mental health condition. We focused on their experiences of financial technology use, and explored the role technology played in their strategies to minimise the impact of mental health on their economic circumstances. Rather than lacking capability, participants’ practices revealed shortcomings of existing financial technologies and how they sought to work around these. We conclude by providing a set of design directions for technologies that engage those living with poor mental health not as vulnerable targets for financial inclusion, but as full financial citizens.
Smart Donations is a blockchain-based platform that offers users ‘contracts’ that donate funds to certain causes in response to real-world events e.g., whenever an earthquake is detected or an activist tweets about refugees. We designed Smart donations with Oxfam Australia, trialed it for 8-weeks with 86 people, recorded platform analytics and qualitatively analysed questionnaires and interviews about user experiences. Temporal qualities emerge when automation enforces conditions that contributed to participants’ awareness of events that are usually unconscious, and senses of immediacy in contributing to crisis response and ongoing involvement in situations far-away while awaiting conditions to be met. We suggest data-driven automation can reveal diverse temporal registers, in real-world phenomena, sociality, morality, and everyday life, which contributes to experiencing a ‘right time’ to donate that is not limited to productivity or efficiency. Thus, we recommend a sensitivity to right time in designing for multiple temporalities in FinTech more generally.
Running is a widely popular physical activity that offers many health benefits. As runners progress with their training, understanding one's own body becomes a key concern in achieving wellbeing through running. While extensive bodily sensing opportunities exist for runners, understanding complex sensor data is a challenge. In this paper, we investigate how data from shoe-worn sensors can be visualised to empower runners to improve their technique. We designed GraFeet-an augmented running shoe that visualises kinesiological data about the runner's feet and gait. We compared our prototype with a standard sensor dashboard in a user study where users ran with the sensor and analysed the generated data after the run. GraFeet was perceived as more usable; producing more insights and less confusion in the users. Based on our inquiry, we contribute findings about using data from body-worn sensors to support physically active individuals.