Patient Vulnerability with Video-Based Doctor Appointments
Dongqi Han, School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University

Abstract: We are now seeing the proliferation of video appointments with family physicians. However, we found that doctors and patients could become vulnerable using current smartphone apps for various medical situations. We applied a scenario-based design method and conducted contextual interviews to investigate potential challenges. Results show that video conferencing could raise new forms of vulnerability in conducting varying medical examinations; supporting relationship building; as well as protecting patients’ safety and privacy. This suggests the creation of designs to empower doctors and patients.

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The “Bored” Student and the “Powerless” Teacher: The New Vulnerable in Rural India
Kartik Joshi, Vellore Institute of Technology, Chennai, India
Joanna Sundharam, Avanti Fellows, India

Abstract: Like many other places globally, the COVID-19 pandemic caught villages in India severely unprepared to go fully-digital overnight. We initiated a conversation with students and teachers to decipher this “new normal” through field visits and phone interviews. We discovered that apart from students who are cut-off due to device unavailability and internet inaccessibility, a new group of vulnerable students has emerged – the “bored” students. These students have access to devices and resources for internet packs but don’t enjoy studying online. They don’t find materials (YouTube videos, assignments, and assessments) sent by their teachers engaging and often don’t even open the links. They miss their friends, their teachers, and their school. They crave the traditional classroom chalk-and-talk way. In the pre-COVID world, these students enjoyed studying in physical classrooms where they were taught by their teachers and supported by their friends. In the current scenario, they feel entirely isolated and disinterested in learning. The other vulnerable group that has emerged is the “powerless” teacher. With education moving online, teachers are unable to guide and supervise their students as before. To make learning more interactive for students, we designed an open-source platform called PLIO (Personalized Learning with Interactive and Open content). Using Plio, educators can quickly convert any YouTube video into an interactive lesson by overlaying questions at specific timestamps in a few minutes. We found that merely overlaying questions increased viewer retention in the same videos by five times. In this position paper, we outline our current tool features, present preliminary findings from implementation, and seek feedback on how to build on this work further to empower millions of students and teachers.

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Digital Divide During the COVID-19 Crisis: Lack of Internet Connectivity and Community Mesh Networks
Karina Brown, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC)
Daniel Laguna, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC)
Rushaad Max Wright, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC)

Abstract: The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated existing inequities leading to the creation and amplification of new vulnerabilities. At a time when many services and resources are rapidly transitioning to online formats, access to highspeed Internet connectivity to benefit from online educational, informational, employment and health resources, among others, is arguably more important than ever before. However, significant numbers of people in low-income settings lack reliable and affordable Internet access. This paper develops three intersecting aspects related to internet connectivity: the digital divide and Internet access for low-income families, Internet connectivity during crises, and utilizing mesh networks as a medium to provide connectivity.

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Using Accessibility Practices to Support New Forms of Vulnerability
Anne Ross, University of Washington

Abstract: Accessibility and disability communities have experience with vulnerabilities and challenges similar to those faced by many people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Leveraging the knowledge of these communities can inform how we support newly vulnerable people in navigating medical vulnerability, social connectedness, and access to resources amid an uncertain and evolving pandemic-influenced landscape. Further, the insights from the disabled community can guide us to envisioning a “new normal” beyond the pandemic that is more equitable and accessible.

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Aiding Intimate Violence Survivors in Lockdown
Julia Slupska, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford
Megan Lindsay Brown,
Office of Gender-Based Violence, Arizona State University

Abstract: The global pandemic and associated lockdown measures created new and severe forms of vulnerability for people living in the context of intimate partner violence and coercive control, including being trapped in their homes with abusers and struggling to access advocates as services moved online. This paper outlines innovations used by victim advocates and service providers in reaching survivors in often impossible circumstances, and summarizes lessons from the design of a safety-planning application named “myPlan”. We propose digital security guidelines for products and services which may be used by survivors cohabiting with abusers or using devices which may be under surveillance. We conclude with reflections on whether technology design leads to empowerment: although we cannot overstate the importance of digital security design which is sensitive to the unique vulnerabilities of marginalized people, true empowerment requires a greater commitment to funding accessible housing, mental health support, and advocacy.

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Identifying and Supporting Financially Vulnerable Consumers in a Privacy- Preserving Manner: A Use Case Using Decentralised Identifiers and Verifiable Credentials
Tasos Spiliotopoulos, Business School, Newcastle University, United Kingdom

Abstract: Vulnerable individuals have a limited ability to make reasonable financial decisions and choices and, thus, the level of care that is appropriate to be provided to them by financial institutions may be different from that required for other consumers. Therefore, identifying vulnerability is of central importance for the design and effective provision of financial services and products. However, validating the information that customers share and respecting their privacy are both particularly important in finance and this poses a challenge for identifying and caring for vulnerable populations. This position paper examines the potential of the combination of two emerging technologies, Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) and Verifiable Credentials (VCs), for the identification of vulnerable consumers in finance in an efficient and privacy-preserving manner.

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Pregnancy and the Covid-19 Pandemic: Designing for New Vulnerabilities
Janet Xun Chen, Cornell University, USA

Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced a cascade of vulnerabilities, such as health risks, worsened mental health, and loneliness. Pregnant people, in particular, are especially vulnerable as they navigate challenges like difficulties in accessing healthcare. Notably, pregnant people are experiencing disturbing levels of stress, in part from social isolation. HCI has a key role in understanding how the pregnant population uses technology, and how novel designs can improve their lives. How can we design for pregnant people by building upon existing work, while considering the new constraints of Covid-19? In this paper, we outline three promising design directions and illustrate these areas with design provocatives. The designs focus on technology-mediated touch, connection through self-tracking, and creating rituals to deal with uncertainty. Despite the focus on the pregnant population, we may find avenues to increase social support through technology to other vulnerable communities.

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Context-Sensitive Assessments of Human Wellbeing
Willem van der Maden, Delft University of Technology
Ujwal Gadiraju, Delft University of Technology

Abstract: My Wellness Check is a wellbeing assessment system designed to support information feedback loops within large organizations. The system was designed to help a technical university understand and respond to the needs of its students and staff during the COVID19 pandemic. In this paper, we describe the human-centered design process used to develop this context-sensitive wellbeing feedback system. We share findings from the first feedback cycle, where the assessments were sent to over 30,000 students and staff and used to inform community action. We were successful in informing responsive action at an institutional level and our approach highlights the need for context-sensitive measures of wellbeing in complex systems.

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