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This quarterly publication is a
quarterly journal that publishes
refereed articles addressing issues
of computing as it impacts the
lives of people with disabilities.
The journal will be of particular
interest to SIGACCESS members
and delegrates to its affiliated
conference (i.e., ASSETS), as well
as other international accessibility
VID aims to create a new field that understands values and technology in the
early stages of design.
The VID program depends on having sensible definitions for the terms
“values” and “design.” The philosopher
of science Jacob Metcalf provides a useful framing for “values” by comparing it with generally well-understood
concept of ethics. Ethics are a set of
prescriptions (nouns), while values
are tied to action (verbs). VID is a call
to action, an effort in ”verbing” design
work by practical exercises. Exercises
include background readings in computer and information science and information policy literatures. Exercises
also include use of Mary Flanagan’s
Values at Play cards to modify or create
new values-driven computer games,
or Batya Friedman’s Envisioning cards
to reveal social sensitivities during the
design process.e Workshop groups
are split into interdisciplinary teams
that produce a values-driven design in
about one week. Academics and industry experts judge the proposals, which
have ranged from a system to support
community gardening projects and
green space development, to a geocach-ing system that reveals the geographic
routes by which kidnapped women are
trafficked into the sex trade.
The VID effort has been under way
for 15 years since first articulated, 2–4
and for six years at building the cadre
of scholars through workshops. Next
steps are to open the design space
through collaborative interdisciplinary
work; in contrast to customary univer-
sity training that teaches how to work
individually. The world demands skills
in collaboration, and future designers
must work in highly connected and
intellectually fertile environments.
The VID community sees design as a
process in which constraints impose
new directions for innovation, and
values are a source of constraints. The
VID community is rethinking design
to go beyond user studies, marketing,
documentation, programming, and
e http://www.valuesatplay.org/?page_id=6 and
Friedman, B., Nathan, L. P., Kane, S., and Lin,
J. Envisioning Cards. Value Sensitive Design Re-
search Lab. The Information School, Univer-
sity of Washington. Seattle, WA, 2011; http://
Design must be
integrated in ways
what can and cannot
implementation to actual engagement
where the rubber truly hits the road.
Design must be integrated in ways that
challenge assumptions about what
can and cannot be changed. A newly
forming Center for Values in Design at
the University of Pittsburgh’s School
of Information Sciences will explore
and apply these ideas as they emerge
To close, consider the work of theorist, artist, and designer Mary Flanagan
(see http://www.maryflanagan.com/giant-joystick). She has reconceptualized
classic Atari video games by replacing
the single-user, joystick-and-fire button control with a 10-foot high mechanism that requires collaboration and
coordination among several people to
operate the game (see Figure 2). She
subverts design by taking a nontraditional perspective that produces radical reinterpretations of everyday practice. She shows that the social values of
collaboration, cooperation, coordination, and play can transform a taken-for-granted utility, the simple joystick,
into an opportunity for engagement
and discourse about the design of information technologies.
1. Diaz, a. through the google goggles: sociopolitical
bias in search engine design. In Web Search:
Multidisciplinary Perspectives. a. spink and M. Zimmer,
eds., springer new york, 2008.
2. flanagan, M., howe, D., and nissenbaum, h. Values in
Design: Theory and Practice. Working Paper, 2005.
3. friedman, B., and nissenbaum, h. Bias in computer
systems. ACM Transactions on Information Systems
14, 3 (1996), 330–347.
4. sengers, P., Boehner, k., David, s., and kay, J.
reflective design. In Proceedings of the 4th Decennial
ACM Conference on Critical Computing. (2005).
Cory Knobel ( email@example.com) is an assistant
professor at the university of Pittsburgh.
Geoffrey C. Bowker ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is a professor
and senior scholar in cyberscholarship at the university
copyright held by author.