Gender HCI, Feminist HCI, Post-Colonial HCI, and more

HCI, for human-computer interaction, is the field of studying how people interact with computers. Several subdisciplines of HCI are particularly relevant to diversity and inclusion, including

  • Gender HCI focuses on the differences in how different genders interact with computers
  • Feminist HCI is concerned with the design and evaluation of interactive systems that are imbued with sensitivity to the central commitments of feminism—agency, fulfillment, identity and the self, equity, empowerment, diversity, and social justice.
  • Post-colonial Computing centers on the questions of power, authority, legitimacy, participation, and intelligibility in the contexts of cultural encounter, particularly in the context of contemporary globalization

Even though these are all relatively new areas of research, there are some solid – and very actionable – results.  Here are a handful of key papers for a longer bibliography (including Sustainable HCI and Humanistic HCI as well), see the Human-Computer Interaction page on the Open Source Bridge wiki that Tammarrian Rogers and I put together for our 2016 OSBridge talk on “Supporting Diversity with a New Approach to Software”.

Gender HCI

Dr. Margaret Burnett’s Open Lecture from the IT University of Copenhagen.

Beckwith, Laura, Margaret Burnett, Valentina Grigoreanu, and Susan Wiedenbeck. “Gender HCI: What about the software?.” IEEE Computer 39, no. 11 (2006): 97-101.  An article summarizing early results.

Burnett, Margaret, Simone Stumpf, Jamie Macbeth, Stephann Makri, Laura Beckwith, Irwin Kwan, Anicia Peters, and William Jernigan. “GenderMag: A method for evaluating software’s gender inclusiveness.” Interacting with Computers (2016): iwv046.   “The users who tend to be best supported by problem-solving software tend to be those best represented in software development teams (e.g. relatively young, able-bodied, males), with other users’ perspectives often over-looked.”
Burnett, Margaret, Anicia Peters, Charles Hill, and Noha Elarief. “Finding Gender-Inclusiveness Software Issues with GenderMag: A Field Investigation.Proc. CHI. ACM, New York, NY, USA (2016).
Most work to date on Gender HCI has used a simple binary gender model.  Gopinaath Kannabiran’s Where are all the queers? looks at some of the implications of this.

Feminist HCI

Bardzell, Shaowen. “Feminist HCI: taking stock and outlining an agenda for design.” In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 1301-1310. ACM, 2010.   Feminist HCI looks at interactive systems “that are imbued with sensitivity to the central commitments of feminism — agency, fulfillment, identity and the self, equity, empowerment, diversity, and social justice” and “entails critical perspectives that could help reveal unspoken values within HCI’s dominant research and design paradigms and underpin the development of new approaches, methods and design variations”

Dimond, Jill P. “Feminist HCI for real: Designing technology in support of a social movement.” PhD dissertation., Georgia Institute of Technology, 2012.  Looks at Hollaback through a feminist HCI lens.

Fiesler, Casey, Shannon Morrison, and Amy S. Bruckman. “An Archive of Their Own: A Case Study of Feminist HCI and Values in Design.” In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 2574-2585. ACM, 2016.  Casey Fiesler has also written a short overview.

Haimson, Oliver L., and Gillian R. Hayes. “Towards Trans Inclusion in Feminist HCI.” From Feminism and Feminist Approaches in Social Computing, 2014.

Post-colonial Computing

Irani, Lilly, Janet Vertesi, Paul Dourish, Kavita Philip, and Rebecca E. Grinter. “Postcolonial computing: a lens on design and development.” Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems. ACM, 2010.

Philip, Kavita, Lilly Irani, and Paul Dourish. “Postcolonial computing a tactical survey.” Science, Technology & Human Values 37, no. 1 (2012): 3-29.

Merritt, Samantha, and Shaowen Bardzell. “Postcolonial language and culture theory for HCI4D.” In CHI’11 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 1675-1680. ACM, 2011.