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Stacy Branham (UC Irvine)

Wednesday, January 30, 2019 at 4:00 P.M.
Computer Science and Engineering Building (CSE) 1202 on the UCSD campus

Abstract: 

Marginalized People are “Expert” (not “Other”) in Design

The technologies we build often have unanticipated consequences. These can be particularly deleterious for people from marginalized populations––people considered non-normative “others.” A conspicuous wearable device that helps navigate a person who is blind may make them a target for street robbery or harassment. An algorithm that automatically detects a person’s gender may offensively misgender someone or “out” a transgender person. In this talk, I draw from my research with the blind and transgender communities to argue that members of marginalized populations are experts. For example, a blind person is an expert in voice interaction; imagine what their expertise might lend the design of voice interfaces like Amazon Echo. When we center these communities in technology design, rather than treating them as special interest groups of secondary concern, we can be innovative, we can be inclusive, and we can assert our collective interdependence.

Biography: 

Stacy Branham is an Assistant Professor in Informatics at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Her research investigates how technologies mediate interpersonal relationships, often with people who are blind. Her recent and ongoing studies explore how technology can engender safety as people with disabilities get across town and through buildings, as blind parents care for their children at home, and as transgender people navigate violence in digital spaces. Common threads through her work include interdependence, agency, empowerment, disability, gender, social justice, intimacy, personal safety, and ethics in design research. Her research has been recognized with Best Paper Awards at ASSETS, CHI, and DIS. She is currently serving as a Papers AC for CHI and DIS 2019, as well as the Diversity and Inclusion chair for DIS/C&C and SIGCSE 2019. She received her BS and PhD in Computer Science from Virginia Tech. www.stacybranham.com

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