Critically engaging with embedded values through constrained technology design

Dan Richardson, Bronwyn J. Cumbo, Tom Bartindale, Delvin Varghese, Manika Saha, Pratyasha Saha, Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed, Gillian C. Oliver, Patrick Olivier

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The rise of gig economy platforms has highlighted the impact platform and algorithm design can have upon workers' experiences. This paper reports on an extended series of collaborative design engagements with a private company and an international non-government organisation during the production of an Interactive Voice Response component for a gig economy platform. We present the findings of a design ethnography undertaken during this process, and discuss how design decisions reflect how each party's values, motivations and assumptions are embedded within the final technology. There exists a need for simple methods to assist practitioners to surface and critically engage with the disparate values, priorities and assumptions held by the system's stakeholders. We demonstrate that this can be done during the production of real-world systems through the application of constrained design as a values lever, and discuss how constraint-based values levers can support critical reflection, even in resource-constrained commercial development contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2022 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference
EditorsRan Zhou, Shaun Bangay, Thuong Hoang
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781450393584
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventDesigning Interactive Systems 2022 - Online, Australia
Duration: 13 Jun 202217 Jun 2022 (Proceedings) (Website)


ConferenceDesigning Interactive Systems 2022
Abbreviated titleDIS 2022
Internet address


  • design ethnography
  • values in design
  • digital civics
  • values levers

Cite this