University of Maryland

CHI 2013 Workshop on “Designing for- and with- Vulnerable People” (Due Jan 11, 2013)

December 4th, 2012 by

27 or 28 April 2013, Paris, France

The workshop will be held as part of CHI 2013 (, the annual ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, that will be held in Paris, France between the 27 April and 2 May 2013.

The workshop will be held on a single day prior to the start of the conference either on the 27 or 28 April 2013.

Important Dates

Submission by: January 11th, 2013

Notification of Acceptance: February 8th, 2013

Workshop days: April 27th or April 28th, 2013

Increasingly ubiquitous technologies coupled with a surge in empirical research on people who face cognitive, emotional, physical and social challenges give HCI and design the potential to enrich the lives of vulnerable people. Designing for people with vulnerabilities requires research approaches that are sensitive to the risks of stigmatizing people and awareness of the challenges that can be involved for those involved.

Prior work related to vulnerability in HCI has included research into homeless mothers, people living with dementia, the financial practices of older people, children with special needs and people with depressive disorders, among many others.

This workshop aims to synthesize and build upon this prior work by bringing together a diverse community to explore shared sensitivities across examples of vulnerability, identify methodological and ethical implications that working with vulnerable individuals have on research, and ascertain opportunities for future research into technology designed with and for vulnerable groups.

This one-day workshop will bring together an interdisciplinary group of researchers, designers and practitioners who are currently working to design technologies with vulnerable user groups in the field of interaction design or health care, or are interested in the topic. We invite the submission of 4-6 page position papers in ACM Extended Abstract

format ( offering perspectives on topics including (but not limited to):

  • Reflections on the notion of vulnerability in HCI and design
  • Empirical studies of research with vulnerable groups
  • Novel designs responding to the needs of a vulnerable group and associated methods
  • Discussions of existing or new frameworks for designing with vulnerable people
  • Participatory research within sensitive contexts
  • Theoretical and inter-disciplinary explorations of the concept of vulnerability both in HCI and generally
  • Reflections on how working with certain groups heightens their vulnerability or makes researchers themselves become vulnerable.

Alongside this, we also ask all submitting authors to provide a 100-150 word bio about their background and their reasons for wanting to participate in the workshop. This will be published online.

Submissions should be sent to by the 11th January 2013. Workshop submissions will be reviewed by the program committee and workshop organizers. Accepted position papers will be made available on the workshop website. We will ask participants to read specific position papers prior to the workshop.

Please also note that all workshop participants must register for both the workshop and for at least one day of the main CHI 2013 conference. The reason for this policy is that workshops are supposed to be a part of the CHI conference, not separate events that happen to be in the same location at the same time. The intention is that people will be attending the conference as well.

Please email John Vines (, Roisin McNaney ( or any of the workshop organiser if you have any questions about the workshop.