Designing for Legibility of Computational Black Boxes (PhD Defense + Panel Discussion)

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Please join us for Holly Robbins’ defense on 18 October 2018. This dissertation explores how to make complex technologies more legible by blending design research, philosophy of technology, and anthropology.

“Legibility” should not exclusively be understood in usability terms or as “transparency.” Instead this thesis is motivated by questions of how to make technologies more accessible to the people who are making use them, to promote agency, and understand-ability of them. This fundamentally is about using design in order to promote avenues to empower people in their relationship with their technologies. This is motivated by a greater value of shaping the role that these technologies play in our society.

Directly following the defense there will be a panel featuring some of the members of the committee as well as some special guests. This event will highlight the differing expertise of its panelists and their varying perspectives on design research. This event will be held at the Teaching Lab from 13:30 – 15:00h.


  • Thomas Binder – The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
  • Marcel Schouwenaar – The Incredible Machine
  • Irina Shklovski – IT University of Copenhagen
  • Ron Wakkary – Simon Fraser University, Technical University of Eindhoven
  • Heather Wiltse – Umea University