Alarith UHDE - Tokyo College
Postdoctoral Fellow

Alarith UHDE

Research interests Technology-mediated Experiences in Social Contexts Website
01 Description of Research

User experience design has become the most successful paradigm for designing interactive technologies, and it has made them more human-friendly. Some approaches such as “design for well-being” have explicitly focused on promoting the user’s well-being and happiness, rather than focusing on technical functionality and efficiency alone.

At the same time, interactive technologies like smartphones have flooded into all our social spaces, from public transport, to parks, living rooms, pubs, shopping malls, and offices. In such spaces, several “users” interact with many devices, which not only shape their own situated experiences and activities, but also everyone else’s. We have all witnessed an annoying phone call on a train, been blocked by a car parked where it shouldn’t be, or “just quickly checked” our own phone during a conversation with a friend and got distracted. These “side-effects” of technologies on our social lives as communities and societies are still not appropriately considered during technology design. In addition, existing research mostly frames effects of technologies in social spaces as something negative, as I did in the examples above.

In my work, I try to understand how social situatedness of interactions with technology influences people’s experiences and social life. I have published a few articles that critically reflect on the somewhat dominant concept of “social acceptability” as it is currently framed, and tried to provide some evidence of potential positive effects that are often overlooked. I also work on an alternative conceptual framework of socially situated, technology-mediated experiences, which de-centers from the user and focuses on co-located interactions performed by different people.

This research can contribute to our understanding of social and experiential impacts of technologies, especially when performed in social situations. At Tokyo College, I plan to work together with designers to use this understanding for new design approaches, which de-center from individual users. Through alternative and more positively-oriented designs, I want to address current social problems that affect local communities (e.g., parking and public space distribution, smartphones and annoyance, widespread loneliness and alienation, harrassment) and open up new opportunities for positive ways of living together.

02 Short Biography
2023 – Postdoctoral Fellow, Tokyo College
2017-2023 Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction, University of Siegen
2017 M.Sc. in Educational Technology, Saarland University
2013 B.Sc. in Psychology, Saarland University
03 Publications and Other Research Activities

A full list of my publications with download links can be found on my homepage:

Selected publications related to my work at Tokyo College:

Uhde, A., zum Hoff, T., & Hassenzahl, M. (2023). Beyond Hiding and Revealing: Exploring Effects of Visibility and Form of Interaction on the Witness Experience. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction (MobileHCI), 7, 23 pages.

Förster, A. Uhde, A., Komesker, M., Komesker, C., & Schmidt, I. (2023). LoopBoxes – Evaluation of a Collaborative Accessible Digital Musical Instrument. Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME’23), 10 pages.

Uhde, A., zum Hoff, T. & Hassenzahl, M. (2022). Obtrusive Subtleness and Why We Should Focus on Meaning, not Form, in Social Acceptability Studies. Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia (MUM’22), 11 pages.

von Terzi, P., Tretter, S., Uhde, A., Hassenzahl, M., & Diefenbach, S. (2021). Technology-mediated Experiences and Social Context: Relevant Needs in Private vs. Public Interaction and the Importance of Others for Positive Affect. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 18 pages.

Klapperich, H., Uhde, A., & Hassenzahl, M. (2020). Designing Everyday Automation with Wellbeing in Mind. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 24, 763-779. https://10.1007/s00779-020-01452-w

Uhde, A., Mesenhöller, M., & Hassenzahl, M. (2022). Social Practice Cards: Research Material to Study Social Contexts as Interwoven Practice Constellations. Contribution to the CHI Workshop InContext: Futuring User-Experience Design Tools, 4 pages.

Uhde, A. & Hassenzahl, M. (2021). Towards a Better Understanding of Social Acceptability. Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Extended Abstracts, 6 pages.

Uhde, A., Tretter, S., von Terzi, P., Koelle, M., Diefenbach, S., & Hassenzahl, M. (2021). Interaction in the Public: Aesthetics, Social Acceptability, and Social Context. Workshop at Mensch und Computer, 3 pages.

Uhde, A., & Hassenzahl, M. (2021). Simulating Social Acceptability With Agent-based Modeling. Contribution to the CHI Workshop on Emergent Interaction, 4 pages.