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Katie Derthick

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Contemplative Practices & UX Design: Exploring Possibilities for Form

What is technology? Who am I? How are these related? What else is possible? These questions motivate this Fall 2016 DRG in Contemplative Practices & UX Design.

This DRG is about exploring possibilities, not solidifying answers. In it, we will explore how contemplative practices such as meditation, aimless wandering, and mindful listening and speaking relate to the practice of UX design, the products we create, the society we inhabit and shape, and the people we are. We will explore our own individual and society’s entanglement with technology through practices and projects that ask us to contemplate and demonstrate our human-technology entanglement. With an eye toward developing a more nuanced understanding of how UX design is shaped by our assumptions and values (realized and unrealized), and how, consequently, our assumptions impact others through our designs, we will begin at home: with ourselves. The basis for our exploration of these themes will be your own personal exploration of what and who you are. Join us and explore possibilities for form: for yourself, and for technology. More may be possible than you ever knew.

You will come away with a set of contemplative practices you can use as a part of your life and your design practice, as well as portfolio pieces that demonstrate a careful investigation into the nature of technology and how technology and humans interrelate.

We will meet 2 hours/week (time TBD). Enrollment is capped at 10 students, BS or MS. No previous meditation experience required. Completion of HCDE courses is a plus. Registration is for 3 credits; however, if you need more, we can negotiate extra deliverables. 

Note: This DRG has been canceled for Fall 2016.

This DRG is designed for students. However, if you are an instructor interested in contemplative practices and design or other creative work, please email if you would like to be informed of offerings designed specifically for teachers interested in incorporating contemplative practices.

Katie Derthick is a PhD candidate in Human Centered Design & Engineering whose research focuses on contemplative practices and UX design education. She has taught many courses for HCDE, including multiple sections of UX Design. She is also a meditation leader at the Seattle Shambhala Meditation Center, soon-to-be-graduate of the Karuna Training program in contemplative psychology, and former UX researcher at Microsoft.