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Keynote Lecture


Designing for Digital Wellbeing

Raian Ali
Bournemouth University
United Kingdom

Brief Bio
Raian is a professor in Computing at Bournemouth University, UK. He founded and is leading the Engineering and Social Informatics Research Group (ESOTICS), in which the focus is on the inter-relation between technology and social requirements such as motivation, transparency and wellbeing. Raian led several projects, and he frequently provides consultancy and policy advice, nationally and internationally, around the theme. He published over 90 peer-reviewed papers in the communities of software engineering, requirements engineering, information systems and persuasive technology. His research is inter-disciplinary and embraces elements from software engineering, psychology and marketing. For more information, please see http://rali.bournemouth.ac.uk/

There is growing evidence that digital media usage can become problematic and ‘addictive’. Much research has focused on the role of user personal and social context in developing the problem, and little is known around the role of technology design in triggering and exacerbating the issue.
Digital media are equipped with powerful influence and persuasion techniques, which can increase users’ engagement and retention, but at the same time, can be questioned for hurting users’ wellness. Interestingly, technology offers an unprecedented opportunity for tools around assisting behavioural change and promoting a more regulated usage style. It can be designed to capture data around the (digital) behaviour and use them to derive interactive intervention techniques and issue them intelligently. The same approach can be thought for a range of human behaviours online and in real-life.
Challenges and risks in designing such tools are paramount, mainly due to the nature of subjects with problematic behaviour, e.g. denial, trivialisation of issue, the flight into health and relapse, and also due to the conflicting agendas and priorities in the production industry. This keynote will summarise the research around the topic and argue the case for Responsibility by Design concept in which tech companies are asked to empower users and their surrogate parties (social or technical) with data and tools to regulate their digital usage and be meaningfully informed about it and meet the emerging requirement of Digital Wellbeing. The speaker will present recent projects, conducted closely with charities and tech industry in UK and Europe, and the policy change achieved through them.