Passing on and putting to rest: Understanding bereavement in the context of interactive technologies

Will Odom, Richard Harper, Abigail Sellen, Dave Kirk, and Richard Banks

Abstract

While it can be a delicate and emotionally-laden topic, new

technological trends compel us to confront a range of

problems and issues about death and bereavement. This

area presents complex challenges and the associated

literature is extensive. In this paper we offer a way of

slicing through several perspectives in the social sciences to

see clearly a set of salient issues related to bereavement.

Following this, we present a theoretical lens to provide a

way of conceptualizing how the HCI community could

begin to approach such issues. We then report field

evidence from 11 in-depth interviews conducted with

bereaved participants and apply the proposed lens to unpack

key emergent problems and tensions. We conclude with a

discussion on how the HCI design space might be

sensitized to better support the social processes that unfold

when bereavement occurs.

Details

Publication typeProceedings
Published inProceedings of CHI 2010
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc.
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