May 12, 2021

The Information School has an open posting for a qualified graduate student to serve as a part-time Summer RA for the iSchool’s “Teens’ Meaningful Tech Use,” project. The posting will close Monday, May 17, 2021, at 9 pm Pacific time.

 “The RA will direct the research surrounding the participatory design and field deployment of an app-based intervention aimed at promoting teens’ meaningful smartphone interactions. The ideal person for this position is a PhD student with research interests in youth and technology who has experience with participatory design and field deployment studies in HCI.

 Work already completed: A team of UW researchers has already developed a prototype Android app that aims to support teens’ mindful, reflective engagement with their smartphones and the apps on them. The app functions as a “wrapper” that allows us to control how users enter the individual apps on their phone (e.g., Instagram, YouTube). After tapping on an app to open it, users are prompted by a targeted, personalized question to reflect on their intentions and goals for using the specific app before being taken to it. If users opt to record their answers (this is optional), they will create a record over time of their technology-related goals, providing another opportunity to become more intentional and reflective about their technology use. Users can generate their own reflection questions to personalize the experience. The question prompts can be timed to occur as little as once per day (or week), or as often as every time a user opens an app. We also have the ability to add check in and exit prompts to encourage reflection at different stages of app use.

 Future work: This summer, we will be conducting participatory design sessions with a small group of teens (~5-8) to update the app and prepare it for field deployment. We will then deploy the updated version of the app intervention to a larger group of teens (~50), collecting data to assess their experiences and appropriation, the impact on meaningfulness of engagement, and the directions for further development. This will include both automated data collection on use, as well as qualitative interviews / design sessions with a subset of the participants.”