Therapeutic Strategies -
a Challenge for User Involvement in Design

Workshop at NordiCHI 2010, 17 October 2010, Reykjavik, Iceland

----> Proceedings can be found here <----

Background and Purpose

As more and more interactive technologies are used in various therapeutic fields, such as rehabilitation, home care, chronic disease care, Psycho theraphy etc, it becomes increasingly important to consider the possibilities and challenges when end-users, such as patients, are involved actively in the design process.

We need a better understanding of the asymmetries that occur when involving designers, therapists/medical professionals and patients in design, in particular an understanding of the relation between design activities and therapeutic interventions, and the role of therapeutic strategies in relation to the process as well as the product. New methods are needed to answer to these new requirements; to what degree can we involve users and what ethic and medical considerations have to be made? Can user involvement in some cases even be harmful for the users and can we expect less resourceful users to be able to actively engage in design activities while struggling to overcome e.g. a life-threatening situation?

Such design situations challenge the basic perspectives of traditional participatory design because equal dialog and co-determination is not possible. Still, these users participation can be crucial for the outcome and letting e.g. a therapist or relative speak on the patients behalf can be contra-productive.

The workshop will contribute to the discourse on user involvement in design of technologies in general as well as for therapeutic contexts specifically, and on quality of life perspectives on ICT. Furthermore, it will elicit the specifics of new application domains where therapeutic strategies play an important role.

Structure of the workshop

Accepted submissions are circulated to the participants before the workshop. The workshop will begin with a brief introduction of the participants and the submitted work. All participants will bring a poster representing their work. The posters will be posted in the plenary room and used as collective memory during the workshop.

The workshop will be conducted based on the submitted papers. The main part of the day will be spent on thematic discussions, in alternating formats ranging from plenary discussions to work in small groups. The organization of this part depends on the submitted works and the number and combination of participants.

The day will be concluded with a synthesizing session where the challenges and possibilities of user involvement when designing for therapeutic strategies and contexts.

The position papers from the workshop will be published as an issue of one of the organizers university publication series. Depending on the quality, character and number of submissions, a special issue of a journal or a book will be produced.

How to participate

We welcome participants from all parts of HCI and related disciplines, researchers as well as practitioners, e.g. therapists, nurses, doctors, who wish to contribute to the establishment of discourse on how therapeutic strategies may come to play a role in design. The workshop will accommodate between 8 and 24 participants selected on the basis of submitted position papers.

We invite workshop papers up to 4 ACM pages long, reporting on recent experiments, studies of the field and theoretical accounts. We also invite position papers up to 2 ACM pages stating the submitters' interest in the field.

(the ACM sigchi publication format, available at

Submit the position paper in PDF format by email to no later than 31st August, 2010. If you submit by the extended deadline please notify us as soon as possible.


Proceedings can be found here

About the organisers

Madeline Balaam is a Post-Doc in the Interact Lab at the University of Sussex. She has used participatory design techniques to create bespoke technologies that motivate stroke patients to complete rehabilitation exercises in the home. Madeline has organised a number of workshops, including workshops at BCS/HCI, AIED, and HCT

Olav W. Bertelsen is an associate professor in human-computer interaction at the Computer Science Department of Aarhus University. He is involved with the Centre for Pervasive Health Care. He has organized numerous workshops at HCI conferences such as CHI, NordiCHI and BCS/HCI.

Geraldine Fitzpatrick is a Professor at TU Wien in the Informatics Faculty. She has worked on a number of health-related projects among others, including the Motivating Mobility project looking at stroke rehabilitation at home. She has organized numerous workshops at HCI-related conferences, including CHI, ECSCW, Pervasive, and BCS/HCI.

Erik Grönvall is a Post-Doc in human-computer interaction and Pervasive health at the Computer Science Department of Aarhus University. He is a project leader for projects related to the topics of the workshop and have published a number of publications and previously organized international workshops related to this field of research.

Kristina Höök is a professor at Department of Computer and Systems Science, Stockholm University/KTH since February 2003. She is a senior researcher in the Mobile Life Centre and upholds a part-time position at Swedish Institute of Computer Science (SICS). Her research focus is on affective, bodily and social interfaces for empowerment.

Last update: 08. July, 2011