Looking for Betsy: A Critical Theory Approach to Visibility and Pluralism in Design

  • Author / Creator
    Radzikowska, Milena
  • Drawing on previous research on Critical Design (Dunne and Raby), Feminist HCI (Bardzell and Bardzell & Bardzell), and Rich-Prospect Browsing Theory (Ruecker), this dissertation strengthens the theoretical basis for further research into the development and application of a critical and reflective approach, emergent from the humanities, to the design of graphical user interfaces.Specifically, critical and feminist engagement with GUIs produced as part of an interdisciplinary project to design interfaces aimed at facilitating human decision-making within a manufacturing context resulted in three contributions. The first contribution is a conceptual framework for the interrogation of existing and the construction of new HCIs that includes the following six principles: challenge existing practices, aim towards an actionable ideal future; look for what has been made invisible or under represented; consider the micro, meso, and macro; privilege transparency and accountability; and expect and welcome being subjected to rigorous critique. Second, I provide an extension to RPB theory in the form of four new principles and three new tools: Principle of Participation, Principle of Association, Principle of Contexuality, and Principle of Pluralism; and the Connections Tool, the Structure Tool, and the Pluralist Tool. Finally, I challenge the current ontology of
    constraints and offer an expansion of the constraint category to include not just parts and materials, but also people (individuals, groups, and communities), environments (machines, working spaces, surrounding spaces, and electronic spaces), and processes (steps, time, decisions, upsets, consequences, factors, communications, relationships, and dependencies).

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2015
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.