Putting Phenomenological Theories to Work in the Design of Self-Tracking Technologies

Sarah Homewood, Anna Vallgårda

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Existing self-tracking devices have been criticized for perpetuating a dualist, rather than phenomenological, understanding of the self as a separated mind and body. In this paper we answer calls for a phenomenological approach to the design of self-tracking devices. Ambient Cycle is a menstrual cycle tracking device that provides a continuous display of data in the home through coloured light. Through its design and long-term deployment, we found that a phenomenological approach facilitated; 1. the documentation of a diversity in subjective experiences of the enigmatic menstrual cycle; 2. the tracking of positive as well as negative aspects of the menstrual cycle, which challenges wider understandings of the body in society, and 3. novel uses of self-tracked data. We also expand on existing uses of phenomenological theories within HCI to include those that address interactions with the insides of our bodies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDIS '20: Proceedings of the 2020 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date3 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Putting Phenomenological Theories to Work in the Design of Self-Tracking Technologies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this