Techno-critics of Interactive Services for Life-Changing Events: Discovering Inadequacies of Design Through the Lens of Non-Users

Luca Reut
Mauro Cherubini
ACM Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction(2020) (to appear)
Google Scholar


Life-changing events (or LCEs) can alter a person’s status quo and threaten well-being. Previous research investigated distinct LCEs, where participants already used technology routinely. This paper reports the results of two field studies through which we compared supports people refer to when experiencing different LCEs. Together with users of technology, our sampling included participants who specifically did not refer to online services and tools to seek help during their LCE. We found that popular services people refer to are inattentive to the needs of people experiencing an LCE as they do not allow forms of progressive engagement and disclosure within the service. We also found that popular services are imprudent as their design might expose users experiencing an LCE to more sources of stress. Finally, we found that these services are inapt to support these users as they do not provide direct forms of interactions with experts.