Articles  |    |  April 7, 2014

Value Sensitive Design: Applications, Adaptations, and Critiques

Book chapter by Janet Davis and Lisa P. Nathan.
Published in Handbook of Ethics, Values, and Technological Design.

Value sensitive design (VSD) represents a pioneering endeavor to proactively consider human values throughout the process of technology design. The work is grounded by the belief that the products that we engage with strongly influence our lived experience and, in turn, our abilities to meet our aspirations. We, the authors of this piece, are members of the first cohort of scholars to receive doctoral training from the founders of VSD at the University of Washington. We do not claim to represent an officially authorized account of VSD from the University of Washington’s VSD lab. Rather, we present our informed opinions of what is compelling, provocative, and problematic about recent manifestations of VSD. We draw from contemporary case studies to argue for a condensed version of the VSD constellation of features. We also propose a set of heuristics crafted from the writings of the VSD lab, appropriations and critiques of VSD, and related scholarly work. We present these heuristics for those who wish to draw upon, refine, and improve values-oriented approaches in their endeavors and may or may not choose to follow the tenets of value sensitive design.