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CN20: Introduction to Research & Design for Sustainability

Quick Facts

Time: Wednesday, 14 April 2010, 14:30 to 18:00
Units: 2
Organizers: Daniela Busse, Eli Blevis


Research and Design for Sustainability is increasingly recognized as an essential focus for the CHI community, but the topic presents unique challenges in its definition, its concrete impact on User Experience as a discipline and field of research, and its tactical implementation in day to day practitioners’ work. User Experience professionals and HCI researchers both who are new to Sustainable Research and Design, as well as those who are more experienced with it will benefit from this course and its introduction to the topic, its analysis of common problems, and its illustration and discussion of pointers to solutions and approaches to achieve Sustainability. In this first part of the course [Part 2 (“Advanced R&D for Sustainability”) submitted separately], we will give an in-depth introduction to the domain of User Experience/HCI Research and Design for Sustainability. We will both discuss existing findings and approaches, as well as many of the intellectually fascinating open questions of this topic; we will also focus on practical strategies that practitioners can use to address them.


This course targets both beginners and experienced researchers as well as practitioners alike, who are working or are interested in the field of Research and Design for Sustainability. Even though the course will touch on industrial/product design for sustainability, its main focus will be on software products and holistic experiences. For this first part of the course, no prior experience in researching or designing for sustainability is necessary.


This is a new course.


Key questions we will address in the teachings of this course:
  • What are the challenges for sustainable design and development and how can HCI/UX help address them?
  • How can sustainability be taken into account in various aspects of HCI practice, including requirements gathering, design, prototyping, development, and evaluation?
  • How can we define success in sustainable experience design, and how can designs or systems be critiqued, evaluated, measured, or otherwise assessed for sustainability?


Both authors have been working on the topic for a number of years, one in a research and educational setting (at Indiana University), the other in a practitioners’ environment (at SAP Labs). Eli Blevis presented the original paper on Sustainable Interaction Design at CHI 2007, co-authored a panel at CHI 2008, and a workshop on the topic at CHI 2009. He leads the SID research group at Indiana. He is the contributing editor for the Sustainably Ours forum in ACM Interactions. Daniela Busse attended the CHI 2009 workshop and is organizing a follow up workshop to take place at Creativity & Cognition in the fall of 2009. She also has been working on various Sustainability projects (e.g. on Energy Management, Carbon Labeling, Business Design for Sustainability) as part of her role as UX Director at SAP since 2006.