Human and Value Sensitive Aspects of Mobile App Design: A Foucauldian Perspective

Balbir Singh Barn, Ravinder Barn

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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Value sensitive concerns remain relatively neglected by soft- ware design processes leading to potential failure of technology acceptance. By drawing upon an inter-disciplinary study that employed par- ticipatory design methods to develop mobile apps in the domain of youth justice, this paper examines a critical example of an unintended conse- quence that created user concerns around Focauldian concepts including power, authority, surveillance and governmentality. The primary aim of this study was to design, deploy and evaluate social technology that may help to promote better engagement between case workers and young people to help reduce recidivism, and support young people’s transition towards social inclusion in society. A total of 140 participants including practitioners (n = 79), and young people (n = 61) contributed to the data collection via surveys, focus groups and one-one interviews. The paper contributes an important theoretically located discussion around both how co-design is helpful in giving ‘voice’ to key stakeholders in the research process and observing the risk that competing voices may lead to tensions and unintended outcomes. In doing so, software developers are exposed to theories from social science that have significant impact on their products.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event30th International Conference on Advanced Information Systems Engineering - Tallinn, Estonia
Duration: 11 Jun 201815 Jun 2018


Conference30th International Conference on Advanced Information Systems Engineering
Abbreviated titleCAiSE 2018
Internet address


  • governmentality
  • value sensitive design
  • co-design

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