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Values in technology and practice: Using Activity Theory to consider the role of values and technology in everyday activities

Values in technology and practice: Using Activity Theory to consider the role of values and technology in everyday activities
Values in technology and practice: Using Activity Theory to consider the role of values and technology in everyday activities
We have incorporated technology in many of our everyday activities like working, socialising, eating and exercising. These technologies alter how we behave, and often do so quite deliberately in service of aspirations such as fitness or weight loss. Moreover, they frequently impinge upon the things that we think are important in our lives, our values; things like family, intimacy, privacy or the environment.

A design methodology called Value Sensitive Design [68] aims to account for values in technology design. However, VSD often focusses on the level of technological artefacts [49,140] rather than the broader 'context of use' that a piece, or pieces, of technology might be deployed in. this limits the kind of values that it can consider, and the influence that artefacts have on the broader human activities in which they are embedded. To make it easier to consider values in contexts of use, it could be helpful to combine VSD with theories about how human activity is structured. One such theory, often used with HCI, is called Activity Theory [41,100]. However, values are not explicitly accounted for within Activity Theory, which complicate its applicability to VSD.

In this thesis, I report on investigations in two domains; privacy, and wellbeing; both of which bring values and everyday behaviours together, Through these investigations, I identify ways that Activity Theory can account for the observed practices, propose ways in which values can be made explicit within Activity Theory, and consider some design implications that arise. In doing so, I contribute a theoretical account of human activity in which values are explicit, which may be used as a model for conducting VSD at a 'context of use' level.
University of Southampton
Gomer, Richard C.
71c5969f-2da0-47ab-b2fb-a7e1d07836b1
Gomer, Richard C.
71c5969f-2da0-47ab-b2fb-a7e1d07836b1
Schraefel, Monica
ac304659-1692-47f6-b892-15113b8c929f

Gomer, Richard C. (2018) Values in technology and practice: Using Activity Theory to consider the role of values and technology in everyday activities. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 226pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

We have incorporated technology in many of our everyday activities like working, socialising, eating and exercising. These technologies alter how we behave, and often do so quite deliberately in service of aspirations such as fitness or weight loss. Moreover, they frequently impinge upon the things that we think are important in our lives, our values; things like family, intimacy, privacy or the environment.

A design methodology called Value Sensitive Design [68] aims to account for values in technology design. However, VSD often focusses on the level of technological artefacts [49,140] rather than the broader 'context of use' that a piece, or pieces, of technology might be deployed in. this limits the kind of values that it can consider, and the influence that artefacts have on the broader human activities in which they are embedded. To make it easier to consider values in contexts of use, it could be helpful to combine VSD with theories about how human activity is structured. One such theory, often used with HCI, is called Activity Theory [41,100]. However, values are not explicitly accounted for within Activity Theory, which complicate its applicability to VSD.

In this thesis, I report on investigations in two domains; privacy, and wellbeing; both of which bring values and everyday behaviours together, Through these investigations, I identify ways that Activity Theory can account for the observed practices, propose ways in which values can be made explicit within Activity Theory, and consider some design implications that arise. In doing so, I contribute a theoretical account of human activity in which values are explicit, which may be used as a model for conducting VSD at a 'context of use' level.

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Published date: April 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 421035
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/421035
PURE UUID: ed80f76e-1232-4812-945b-7c05da054344

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 21 May 2018 16:30
Last modified: 21 May 2018 16:30

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Contributors

Author: Richard C. Gomer
Thesis advisor: Monica Schraefel

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