Dr. Dhaval Vyas is an ARC DECRA Fellow (2018-2021) and a Senior Lecturer in the Co-Innovation Group, School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, at the University of Queensland. His research spans across the areas of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). In particular, he focuses on designing IT tools for underserved communities. He has worked in academia and industry for over 15 years. He received a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction from University of Twente, the Netherlands; a master’s degree in Computer Science from Lancaster University, UK; and an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Gujarat University, India.

Grounded Design: An approach to design for underserved communities

Working and designing ‘with’ underserved communities requires ethical, sensitive and long-term engagement with people from those communities. Over the past 10 years, I have developed a design approach – called Grounded Design that enables developing technologies appropriate for marginalized and underserved communities. Grounded Design is a bottom-up approach that focuses on people’s needs, values and everyday practices and informs technology design by working ‘with’ communities over different phases of design. In this talk, I will discuss this approach using examples from three distinct communities: 1) a Brisbane-based low socioeconomic status community; 2) a Sri Lankan under-banked community, and 3) a Logan-based e-waste maker community.

I contend that inclusion and empowerment are central to designing technologies for underserved communities. By using strengths-based approaches (where the focus is given to the positive aspects of people’s lives) over deficit-based approaches, researchers can enable agency in community members during the design process as well as bring about positive social impact, among other outcomes