Below are some active research projects I am working on.

Civic engagement in public policymaking

Technology-enabled civic engagement ought to increase the efficacy and democratic authenticity of public policymaking. In practice, however, efforts to use social media for citizen policy consultations often fall far short of their knowledge-generating and democracy-reinforcing goals. In this project, we explore ways in which online spaces can be designed to support not only more participation but rather better participation that will benefit both the policymakers seeking input and the citizens who participate in the discussion. This includes supporting deliberative discussion in which individuals learn about the policy issues, engage with each other, voice questions and recount experiences, and collaborative content-creation, summarization of the knowledge that has emerged in discussion and the development of consensus around key points.

Some publications from this project:

McInnis, B., Nam, C., Cosley, D., & Leshed, G. (2016). Taking a HIT: Designing around rejection, mistrust, risk, and workers’ experiences in Amazon Mechanical Turk. Proceedings of CHI 2016, San Jose, CA, 2271-2282.

McInnis, B., Murnane, E., Epstein, D., Cosley, D., & Leshed, G. (2016). One and done: Factors affecting one-time contributors to ad-hoc online communities. Proceedings of CSCW 2016, San Francisco, CA, 609-623.

Epstein, D. & Leshed, G. (2016). The magic sauce: Practices of facilitation in online policy deliberation. Journal of Public Deliberation: Vol. 12: Iss. 1, Article 4.

Busyness and information technology

This project examines busyness and overwork as cultural values in American society. A growing sense among Americans of being rushed, stressed, and overloaded, both at work and at home may be exacerbated by technological solutions. Initially designed for efficiency and productivity, technologies raise the standards for how much individuals should accomplish, helping us save time – so we can do more. A key question is whether technologies can be designed to help individuals reflect on their busyness and consciously decide if they want to get less done, slow down, pause, reflect, and be spontaneous. We carry out field studies to examine how people use time and task management tools such as planners, to-do lists, and calendars, to organize their everyday busyness. we also design web and mobile technologies to help people be more reflective about their time and task management behaviors and values.

Some publications from this project:

Leshed, G., Håkansson, M., & Kaye, J. J. (2014). “Our life is the farm and farming is our life”: Home–work coordination in organic farm families. Proceedings of CSCW 2014, Baltimore, MD, 487-498.

Leshed, G., & Sengers, P. (2011). “I lie to myself that I have freedom in my own schedule”: Productivity tools and busyness experiences. Proceedings of CHI 2011, Vancouver, Canada, 905-914.

Cheng, J., Bapat, A., Thomas, G., Tse, K., Nawathe, N., Crockett, J. & Leshed, G. (2011). GoSlow: designing for slowness, reflection and solitude. CHI 2011 Extended Abstracts (alt.chi), Vancouver, Canada, 429-438.

Accessibility of social technologies

Social technologies — technologies that allow individuals to connect and socialize — are present in the lives of billions of people worldwide. However, people with disabilities, such as blind people or people with dyslexia, might find it difficult to access these technologies and as such, they may be left out of important everyday experiences and interaction opportunities. In this project, we examine the practices, challenges, and strategies of people in various disability groups in accessing, using, and experiencing social technologies such as social networking services and texting applications. Based on these understandings, we offer designs that enhance access to social technologies for all users, with and without disabilities.

Some publications from this project:

Voykinska, V., Azenkot, S., Wu, S., & Leshed, G. (2016). How blind people interact with visual content on social networking services. Proceedings of CSCW 2016, San Francisco, CA, 1584-1595.

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