Designing with care: Self-centered research for interaction design otherwise

My PhD dissertation is about a pathway towards interaction design otherwise amid a world in crisis. It recognizes the role of digital materials in social injustice and systemic inequality. I explore the implications of this by designing in intimate settings of care. This includes situations that are often difficult to quantify and where an unintended consequence of technology can be revealing, shameful, or devastating. I draw upon a feminist ethics of care and posthumanism to implicate myself and unsettle bodily boundaries for a more careful design of technology.

Karey Helms. 2023. Designing with care: Self-centered research for interaction design otherwise. PhD Dissertation. KTH Royal Institute of Technology. PDFDiVA

I offer four contributions for interaction designers and design researchers. The main contribution is the research program designing with care. Within this programmatic framework, I contribute extended articulations of wickedness and generosity. The third contribution is the synthesis of four methodological approaches: auto- design, spatial orientations, leaky materials, and open speculations. Each is a generative and analytical pathway towards five careful designs as prototypes of what interaction design otherwise might be like: technologies of human waste, spying on loved ones, leaky breastfeeding bodies, scaling bodily fluids, and a speculative ethics. From these, I discuss disciplinary resistances and personal struggles to reflect upon implicating oneself within more-than-human care, and consider the benefits and limitations of designing with care in moving beyond self-centered research towards more sustainable worlds.