As digital technologies become increasingly ubiquitous in our lives, how they are designed can have significant impact on society. The 2014 Obermann Working Symposium, Designing the Digital Future: A Human-Centered Approach to Informatics, November 7-8, 2014, showcased a human-centered approach to technology. This bottom-up approach gives those affected by technologies a voice in their design, seeking to empower rather than replace people. It is a growing multi-disciplinary area within the larger field of informatics that intersects with narrative, the arts, collaborative learning, dance, diversity, social justice movements, values sensitive design, visual thinking, and more.
At this “working symposium,” our speakers discussed their current research, in addition to engaging with the audience in exploring current trends in the fields of human-computer interaction and informatics. The event included panels of UI artists, scholars, and researchers whose work falls under the broad umbrella of informatics, but who represent less expected areas, including projects from the arts and humanities.