Although WhatsApp-based communication is playing an increasingly large role in the professional lives of teachers in low-income schools, the nature of the interactions that occur and how these interactions enable cooperative work is not well understood. We contribute a qualitative analysis of 26 existing WhatsApp groups (35,567 messages) that examines (1) the strategies used to encourage interaction within teacher-focused WhatsApp groups, and (2) how these interactions are sustained by teachers, management, and organizations over a period of time. We use teacher networks and activity awareness model to make sense of WhatsApp-based interactions and show how WhatsApp narrows the gap between management and teachers, leading to additional work and stress for teachers. WhatsApp was also used to circulate polarizing and malicious information, leading to a variety of interesting content moderation strategies. Our findings expand the scope of research on teacher networks to low-income contexts and will inform future interventions that enable cooperative work among teachers.
Configuring community technology to ensure its sustainability has proved challenging. We present a 3-year longitudinal study and evaluation of two independent situated community display networks in rural contexts. We describe how the design of the display systems evolved to reflect the needs and desires of the community. We report on the way stakeholders' perceptions of the displays changed over time, and examine the community dynamics involved in the administration, maintenance and moderation of the systems. Drawing from our findings, we further explore the role of the community champion and their impact on sustainability and scalability. We provide recommendations for the design of community network display technology that supports democratic inter-community politics and governance, and is sensitive to the hidden emotional labor and social resources that are required from communities to fully adopt and sustain display technology.
Online employment resources are now as important as offline personal and professional networks, which have been pivotal in finding employment. However, it is unclear, which specific online resources are key to employment and how job seekers take advantage of them. Therefore, in an online survey of 768 job seekers, we investigated which online platforms, specific job search phases, behaviors, and job search strategies job seekers used in their job search, and which of these were associated with positive outcomes. We examined whether these results correlated with demographic factors and found differences in online platform use among income, gender, years of education, and race. Our results suggest that higher-income job seekers were more likely to use different strategies and more likely to get callbacks than lower-income job seekers. We raise new questions around demographics and technology and discuss the need for practitioners to design for a wider variety of job seekers.
How do people in a precarious profession leverage technology to grow their business and improve their quality of life? Sex workers sit at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities and make up a sizeable workforce: the United Nations estimates that at least 42 million sex workers are conducting business across the globe. Yet, little research has examined how well technology fulfills sex workers' business needs in the face of unique social, political, legal, and safety constraints.
We present interviews with 29 sex workers in Germany and Switzerland where such work is legal, offering a first HCI perspective on this population's use of technology. While our participants demonstrate savvy navigation of online spaces, sex workers encounter frustrating barriers due to an American-dominated internet that enforces puritan values globally. Our findings raise concerns about digital discrimination against sex workers and suggest concrete directions for the design of more inclusive technology.
Crowdsourced design feedback systems are emerging resources for getting large amounts of feedback in a short period of time. Traditionally, the feedback comes in the form of a declarative statement, which often contains positive or negative sentiment. Prior research has shown that overly negative or positive sentiment can strongly influence the perceived usefulness and acceptance of feedback and, subsequently, lead to ineffective design revisions. To enhance the effectiveness of crowdsourced design feedback, we investigate a new approach for mitigating the effects of negative or positive feedback by combining open-ended and thought-provoking questions with declarative feedback statements. We conducted two user studies to assess the effects of question-based feedback on the sentiment and quality of design revisions in the context of graphic design. We found that crowdsourced question-based feedback contains more neutral sentiment than statement-based feedback. Moreover, we provide evidence that presenting feedback as questions followed by statements leads to better design revisions than question- or statement-based feedback alone.
People have scientific questions and folk theories; yet most lack the expertise to investigate them. How might people transform their questions into experiments that inform both science and their lives? This paper demonstrates how online volunteers can collaboratively design and run experiments using a novel social computing system. The Galileo system provides procedural support using three techniques: 1) experimental design workflow that provides just-in-time training; 2) review workflow with scaffolded questions; and 3) automated routines for data collection. We present two empirical investigations: a study and a field deployment with online volunteers across 16 and 8 countries respectively. People generated structurally-sound experiments on personally meaningful topics; three communities ran a week-long experiment each. We identify two key challenges for citizen-led experimentation—supporting different expertise levels and providing recruitment guidance—and provide specific suggestions from the social computing literature. Our results highlight the promise and challenges of citizen-led knowledge work like experimentation.
As cities grow, their people become increasingly distanced from nature except within private and public green spaces. Sensing technologies provide a means to harness curiosity about the animals living in these spaces, and possibly also connect interest to care. Yet little is known as to how people may use these technologies, or the implications for human-nature relations. To learn more, we gave commercial camera traps to ten adult participants to understand how they explored their gardens, what they wanted to learn, and what they did with this knowledge. We discovered trade-offs between control and care; the usefulness of different media and mystery; the temporalities of engaging in natural sensing practice; and a prevalence of sharing media within households. We discuss design for convivial cohabitation with the creatures in our garden. This research contributes to better human-nature relations through citizen sensing, as well as HCI for urban biodiversity conservation.
Wildlife calls are the best witnesses to the health of ecosystems, if only we know how to listen to them. Efforts to understand and inform restoration of healthy ecosystems with environmental audio recordings languish from insufficient tools to learn and identify sounds in recordings. To address this problem, we designed and playtested the Bristle Whistle Challenge prototype with ten players. We explored how to design delightful interactions with audio for gaining awareness of nature sounds and supporting wildlife conservation through citizen science. We found that rather than presenting audio alone, it was necessary to connect sounds to other senses and experiences in creative ways to impart meaning and enhance engagement. We offer recommendations to design creative and contextual interactions with media to build awareness of nature’s wonders. We call for greater efforts in interaction design to engage people with nature, which is the key to turning around our environmental crisis.
How to handle gender with machine learning is a controversial topic. A growing critical body of research brought attention to the numerous issues transgender communities face with the adoption of current automatic gender recognition (AGR) systems. In contrast, we explore how such technologies could potentially be appropriated to support transgender practices and needs, especially in non-Western contexts like Japan.
We designed a virtual makeup probe to assist transgender individuals with passing, that is to be perceived as the gender they identify as. To understand how such an application might support expressing transgender individuals gender identity or not, we interviewed 15 of them in Tokyo and found that in the right context and under strict conditions, AGR based systems could assist transgender passing.
Crowdsourcing enables the completion of large-scale and hard-to-automate tasks while allowing people to earn money. However, 3.6 billion people – a workforce comprising 46.4% of the world population – who could benefit most from this source of income lack the access and literacy to use computers, smartphones, and the internet. In this paper, we present, Karamad, a voice-based crowdsourcing platform that allows workers in low-resource regions to complete crowd work using low-end phones and receive payments as mobile airtime balance. We explore the usefulness, scalability, and sustainability of Karamad in Pakistan through a 6-month deployment. Without any advertising, training, or airtime subsidies, Karamad organically engaged 725 workers who completed 3,939 tasks (involving 43,006 components) including translations, dataset generation, and surveys on demographics, accessibility, disability, health, employment, and literacy. Collectively, the workers produced a valuable service market for potential customers and included female, unemployed, non-literate, and blind users.
Feedback is an important aspect of design education, and crowdsourcing has emerged as a convenient way to obtain feedback at scale.
In this paper, we investigate how crowdsourced design feedback compares to peer design feedback within a design-oriented HCI class and across two metrics: perceived quality and perceived fairness. We also examine the perceived monetary value of crowdsourced feedback, which provides an interesting contrast to the typical requester-centric view of the value of labor on crowdsourcing platforms.
Our results reveal that the students (N=106) perceived the crowdsourced design feedback as inferior to peer design feedback in multiple ways. However, they also identified various positive aspects of the online crowds that peers cannot provide. We discuss the meaning of the findings and provide suggestions for teachers in HCI and other researchers interested in crowd feedback systems on using crowds as a potential complement to peers.
This paper describes results from a study examining how musicians have been affected by the restrictive environments imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the corresponding technological implications. Through a survey of 29 musicians and additional interviews with 7 professional improvisation musicians, we observe the challenges musicians face in 1) finding the technological infrastructure and shared spaces necessary for dynamic, remote creative collaborations, 2) producing the mindset, free time, and sources of inspiration necessary for initiating creativity during times of stress, and 3) maintaining (and potentially expanding) the social connections and creative community vital to creative practice. We also report on how some musicians have creatively leveraged the radical changes in their lives to drive new artistic practices and styles of music. Collectively, these data illustrate the resilience of certain existing remote collaboration and creative tools, while suggesting ways other digital tools could more flexibly accommodate new use cases. The data also suggest the value of tools and services that help people creatively cope with radical changes to their lives and livelihoods.
Cake customization services allow clients to collaboratively personalize cakes with pastry chefs. However, remote (e.g., email) and in-person co-design sessions are prone to miscommunication, due to natural restrictions in visualizing cake size, decoration, and celebration context. This paper presents the design, implementation, and expert evaluation of a social VR application (CakeVR) that allows a client to remotely co-design cakes with a pastry chef, through real-time realistic 3D visualizations. Drawing on expert semi-structured interviews (4 clients, 5 pastry chefs), we distill and incorporate 8 design requirements into our CakeVR prototype. We evaluate CakeVR with 10 experts (6 clients, 4 pastry chefs) using cognitive walkthroughs, and find that it supports ideation and decision making through intuitive size manipulation, color/flavor selection, decoration design, and custom celebration theme fitting. Our findings provide recommendations for enabling co-design in social VR and highlight CakeVR's potential to transform product design communication through remote interactive and immersive co-design.