Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > When the Good Turns Ugly

Electronic data

  • widdicks2020when

    Accepted author manuscript, 467 KB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY

View graph of relations

When the Good Turns Ugly: Speculating Next Steps for Digital Wellbeing Tools

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNConference contribution/Paperpeer-review

Publication date25/10/2020
Host publication11th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Shaping Experiences, Shaping Society (NordiCHI ’20)
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Concerns surrounding technology use in society has led to the HCI community creating tools for ‘digital wellbeing’. These aim to improve users’ relationships with technology, but these positively motivated tools may initiate further negative impacts for users e.g. on their privacy or autonomy. Using Pierce’s speculative design concepts of ‘foot-in-the-door’ technologies and focusing on three common digital wellbeing features (time limits and prompts, social ‘do not disturb’ modes, app and service blocking), I highlight how these tools are a small step away from being used to manipulate users which could enact slow shifts in users accepting such manipulation. Through this and the discussion, I accentuate that positively motivated designs may not explicitly lead to positive interactions by default. I hope this paper will facilitate speculative design and discussion in the digital wellbeing community, to ensure that our designs continue to mitigate negative impacts from technology now and in the future.