research lab







Last updated: Thursday, 06-Jun-2019 13:50:29 EDT
© 2009 Information School and Department of Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington
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Co-Directors: Batya Friedman and David Hendry
Information School, University of Washington

Tools and technologies are fundamental to the human condition. Increasingly, they constitute the infrastructure through which people from diverse communities and nations engage in dialog, educate their children, gain access to resources and systems of justice, conduct business, participate in government, and any number of other activities at the core of human society. At stake is no less than what people in their specific localities and societies experience as fair, as caring, as intimate or personal, as dignity, as property, as community, and so the list goes on. Such tools and technologies are also the result of human imagination. Yet, with our limited view, it is not at all obvious how to design tools and technology so that they are more likely to support the actions, relationships, institutions, and experiences that human beings care deeply about.

Value sensitive design seeks to provide theory and method to account for human values in a principled and systematic manner throughout the design process. Central to a value sensitive design approach are analyses of both direct and indirect stakeholders; distinctions among designer values, values explicitly supported by the technology, and stakeholder values; individual, group, and societal levels of analysis; the integrative and iterative conceptual, technical, and empirical investigations; and a commitment to progress (not perfection).

For the definitive account of the state of the art in value sensitive design, see our new book:

Using our moral and technical imaginations to create responsible innovations: theory, method, and applications for value sensitive design. You can find more information on our book at MIT Press.


The Envisioning Cards

The Envisioning Cards use principles and techiques from value sensitive design to scaffold moral and technical imagination around the design and development of new technologies. You can check them out here.

The Security Cards

The Security Cards bring together insights from value sensitive design with heuristics from security threat analysis to foster a security mindset around the design and development of new technologies. You can check them out here.

The Metaphor Cards

The Metaphor Cards are a toolkit for supporting generative metaphorical design thinking around information systems for international justice. You can check them out at here.