CHI 2019

Design for Wellbeing – Tools for Research, Practice and Ethics

This course was held as part of the 
ACM Computer-Human Interaction Conference CHI 2019
Tuesday May 7 in Glasgow, Scotland.
A huge thank you to all those who participated and made it a success! 

As requested, here are our 


Any move towards more ethical design and technologies that genuinely improve our lives requires that those technologies respect our psychological needs. Currently, there is no systematic integration of wellbeing science into tech development, and the many technology-induced harms to mental health, reported in the media daily, attest to this deficit. But the status quo is changing.

A demand for more “Humane Technologies” is forcing companies to rethink digital business as usual.  Fortunately, recent research has uncovered new ways to make psychologically respectful technologies possible. Just as we can design ergonomically to support physical wellness, we can design psycho-ergonomically to support psychological health.

By integrating well-evidenced theory and methods from multiple disciplines, we can design and develop new technologies to “do no harm” and even increase psychological wellbeing. In this course we will introduce frameworks for designing technologies that respect human values and wellbeing  together with ethical frameworks within which to situate this design for flourishing. We also provide practical tools for ideation, design, and the evaluation of the psychological impact of products.

This includes strategies for supporting wellbeing determinants such as autonomy, relatedness, meaning, and compassion. By ensuring respect for human psychological needs, we take a critical first step towards a more ethical design process and a future in which all digital experience supports thriving.

Learning Outcomes

You will gain:

  • Theoretical foundations – An understanding of theory and evidence from multiple disciplines that inform the design, evaluation, and philosophical grounding of wellbeing-supportive technology.
  • Practical frameworks and tools for integrating psychological wellbeing into planning, ideation, analysis, and evaluation of new technologies.
  • Scenarios and case studies that provide examples of the ways technology use can impact wellbeing. 
  • Group-generated design strategies and ideation for better supporting wellbeing in your current and future projects.
  • A copy of the resource text Positive Computing for reference.
  • A set of activity cards for facilitating well-being supportive design.


Rafael Calvo is Australian Research Council Future Fellow, Director of the Wellbeing Technologies Lab at the University of Sydney and Visiting Professor at Imperial College, London. He is Associate Editor of Frontiers in Psychology – Human-Media Interaction and JMIR Human Factors and former Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing and IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies. He is a Senior Member of IEEE with over 200 publications in the fields of affective computing, health and learning technologies, and computational intelligence including the book Positive Computing (MIT Press) and the Oxford Handbook of Affective Computing. He is also a member of the IEEE committee on the Ethics of Intelligent and Autonomous Systems.

Dorian Peters is a designer, author, and Creative Leader at the Wellbeing Technologies Lab at the University of Sydney and Visiting Fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at the University of Cambridge. She collaborates with technologists, social scientists and users to co-create human-centred technologies that respect psychological needs.  She also researches new ways design can foster wellbeing and its determinants. Her books include Interface Design for Learning (New Riders) and Positive Computing (MIT Press). At the Centre for the Future of Intelligence, she's working on bridge Design Ethics research to everyday design practice.

Other wellbeing opportunities at CHI