Research

In my work, I examine the ways researchers and designers envision populations that are often marginalized. I then design and build novel interactive systems that push the boundaries of current conceptions of vulnerability, disability, and wellness, and conduct long-term mixed-method evaluations of these technologies. Much of my work to date focuses on understanding and designing for older individuals, particularly individuals with cognitive impairments. My current projects fall largely in the following areas:

Older Activists and Ageism
Broad societal views, such as stereotypes based on age, become embedded in and perpetuated through the design of technologies. I have studied the ways that older adults' preferences for technology challenge some of the assumptions that designers and researchers make about older people, particularly in regard to conceptions around social isolation and physical and cognitive decline. I also study how older adults use technology platforms such as blogs and social media to respond to ageism. In one study, I looked at the ways that older bloggers form a community that espouses anti-ageist interests and share techniques to navigate and change societal views and ageist institutions. I am currently conducting interviews with older activists to understand the ways they use different technological platforms. Relevant publications include: Technology Use and Dementia
Though a dominant view of dementia sees it as a condition that erases individuality and the ability to engage in activity, other ways of viewing dementia take into account the importance of the social context, abilities that persist long into dementia, and stigma that isolates and marginalizes people with this condition. In my work, I explore the use of technology to challenge predominant conceptions of dementia and to support activities such as sharing online. As many of our technologies are designed for a single individual to make decisions, I am currently conducting a study to understand how technologies can be designed to take into account the shared-decision making that takes place between people with dementia, family members, and healthcare professionals. Relevant publications include: