Our Year With the Glass: Expectations, Letdowns and Ethical Dilemmas of Technology Trials With Vulnerable People

Vines, John, McNaney, Róisín, Holden, Amey, Poliakov, Ivan, Wright, Peter and Olivier, Patrick (2017) Our Year With the Glass: Expectations, Letdowns and Ethical Dilemmas of Technology Trials With Vulnerable People. Interacting with Computers, 29 (1). pp. 27-44. ISSN 0953-5438

Text (Article)
iww017.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (376kB) | Preview
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1093/iwc/iww017


In this paper, we reflect upon the ethical dilemmas faced during our research exploring the potential of Google Glass as a self-care technology for people with Parkinson's. Our project involved two stages of research: an initial study that explored the overall acceptability and responses of people with Parkinson's to the technology; and a follow-up study that examined participants’ experiences of the technology in more depth through further trials and a series of co-design activities. While our first trials were successful, leading to publication and subsequent local and national publicity, our follow-up trials were hampered by technical problems that were often out of our control. We highlight how participants’ heightened expectations prior to the second trial, as a result of public discourse around the project, were difficult to meet. This led to our participants articulating their frustrations, feelings of lowered self-confidence, and in some cases a reduced sense of self-worth. We reflect on how the decisions and actions taken during the project led to these dilemmas, and how these relate to contemporary challenges in human-computer interaction research where there is increased focus on in the wild studies of technology use and a pressure to publicly disseminate the findings of research. In doing so, we offer an open and honest account of how a set of ethical dilemmas emerged while conducting technology field trials with a potentially vulnerable group, and offer guidance to future researchers finding themselves in similar circumstances.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J900 Others in Technology
W200 Design studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Design
Depositing User: Ay Okpokam
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2018 12:05
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2018 12:15
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/32959

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Policies: NRL Policies | NRL University Deposit Policy | NRL Deposit Licence