Julie Kientz Research Group

Summer 2021

Participatory Design with Children and Researchers

We are looking for students for the Summer 2021 to help with running KidsTeam UW, an intergenerational co-design team of children (ages 6 – 12) and design researchers. There is rich work around how to interact with adults and children together in the co-design space, the role of design techniques in co-design, and the different stages and phases of co-design. You have the opportunity to help us understand this space.

Activities of this research group will include interacting as an adult design partner with children in co-design, working with researchers on multiple projects involving children and design, and running overall logistics to support the intergenerational design team. 

This DRG will require you to participate in KidsTeam UW in the summer 2021 for the following dates:

  • Tuesday / Thursdays: July 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29 and August 3 and 5 (90 minute co-design sessions)
  • Wednesdays: June 30, July 7, 14, 21, 28, and August 4 and 11  (60 minute reading sessions)

Students who have completed HCDE 318/418/518 and/or HCDE 417/517 or have relevant experience will be given priority.  Alternatively, students who have experience with youth mentorship, learning sciences, education, and child development will also be considered. 

Prior experience working with children is a requirement (e.g., tutoring/teaching/coaching, child-care, summer camps, etc.)

This research group will be led by Assistant Professor Jason Yip (iSchool), with support from Dr. Julie Kientz (Professor, HCDE), Dr. Jin Ha Lee (Associate Professor, iSchool), and Dr. Alexis Hiniker (Assistant Professor, iSchool).

To apply for this DRG, please fill out the survey by Friday, May 7, 2021.

We will schedule meetings to confirm your availability and experience in the month of May, and make final decisions by the end of May.

For any questions, please email Dr. Jason Yip at

Spring 2021

Designing for an Asynchronous Remote Communities (ARC) tool to support adolescent depression treatment

This DRG will be offered by Julie Kientz, PhD and Jessica Jenness with guidance from Sean Munson, PhD and Elin Björling, PhD

Over 60% of adolescents diagnosed with depression do not receive mental health care and treatment engagement is low among those who do access care. Asynchronous Remote Communities (ARC) are a promising technology-based approach for engaging adolescents in mental health care that capitalizes on the reach and scalability of technology while also providing support, social interactions, and motivation to engage. ARCs use private online platforms (e.g., Slack, Microsoft Teams) to deliver and gather information from adolescents in a format that is lightweight, accessible, usable, and low burden. Our team of researchers including HCDE faculty Juile Kientz, PhD, Sean Munson, PhD, and Elin Björling, PhD and Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine faculty Jessica Jenness, PhD have conducted pilot work to develop a functional Asynchronous Remote Communities (ARC) platform to supplement behavioral activation (BA+ARC) therapy for depressed adolescents using Slack. Our BA+ARC platform included peer and therapist coaching through direct messaging and chat channels, chatbot supported therapy tools, and real-time mood and behavior tracking and visualizations. Mental health clinician and adolescent target users provided critical feedback on design requirements including ARC supplementing versus replacing synchronous therapy sessions and tested preliminary prototypes that adapted core BA elements to a technology platform (BA+ARC). 

We are seeking to adapt our Slack prototype to Microsoft Teams in order to meet certain design criteria including HIPAA compliance and meeting the needs of the clinician’s workflow. We are partnering with Microsoft and Seattle Children’s Hospital engineers to begin the development work and are seeking students to assist in the creation of a design specification document related to this shift from Slack to Teams as well as the addition of automated data collection and visualization tools identified as important by target users.


  1. Understand the design of our current Slack-based prototype that has been developed and feasibility tested with teens and clinicians
  2. Adapt the design of a Slack Prototype for delivering treatment for depression for teens to the Microsoft Teams platform
  3. Create a set of annotated wireframes or an interactive prototype for the new design
  4. Conduct informal usability testing on new ported design
  5. Write a design spec document for communicating that design to a team of developers working at Seattle Children’s and Microsoft by the end of the quarter

Participation Requirements:

  1. Attend our virtual meeting / working session each week, starting the first week of Spring 2021. We will be meeting 4 - 5:20 p.m. PST on Thursdays. 
  2. Experience with prototyping / wireframing and interaction design
  3. Register for 2 HCDE 496/596 in Spring 2021 
  4. This DRG will be offered as Credit/No Credit

To enroll, please complete this form by Friday, March 12. We will let you know if you are selected to join this group by Thursday, March 18.

Spring 2021

The Cost of Culture: Diverse and Multicultural Community Interaction with Financial Technology Applications

Led by: Jay Cunningham, PhD Student | Faculty Sponsors:  Julie Kientz, Daniela Rosner 
2 credits | Virtual via Zoom |  Meeting Day/Time: TBD

This DRG is seeking 3-4  dedicated and enthusiastic students to join in supporting this proposed study. Students from all levels (BS - PhD) are invited to apply and participate in this project. The group will conduct applied research outlined by the study agenda to investigate the relational engagement among low-resourced ethnic minority and multicultural communities and their interaction with financial technology (fintech) applications. This study is concerned with the cultural and communal relativity embodied by financial technology, specifically with diverse underserved populations. 

Participation in assisting with this study will entail surveying, interviewing, collaborating and collecting oral and written histories with participant experts on experiences and circumstances that influence their use of fintech applications. This also includes obtaining consent and assisting with performing all study procedures. Participants will have had coursework in research methods, complete an orientation to human subjects protections given by the UW, and will receive training from graduate student project lead on obtaining consent and debriefing subjects.

Apply Now for Participation - Deadline (March 8)
Contact Jay Cunningham ( with any questions.

Impact & Affordances:
This project will provide researchers with data and stories provided by participants that grant perspective into their choice of personal finance and banking technology services and the impacts of its use in their lives. Findings of this project will guide further research to triangulate the affordances of culturally relative/sensitive technical systems design and highlight consequences of biased financial technology and the impact on low-resourced ethnic minority and multicultural communities. 

Additional Background & Motivation:
This project serves as a preliminary analysis toward examining the role that big tech plays in the position of power, ethics, equity, and sociality in the design, development, and deployment of AI systems. With specific reference to financial technology firms (fin-tech), AI systems are based on statistical and probability models along with predictive analytics to forecast consumer performance. Extensive research has shown that bias in AI systems reflect historical patterns of discrimination and oppression long influenced by a dominant culture; which in the U.S defaults to white, heterosexual, middle-to-upper class men. Thus, when AI tools make decisions based on predominant consumers’ data, fin-tech must urgently consider the effects of low-resourced ethnic minority and multicultural communities and whether the decisions are transparent and explainable. Across the U.S.,these communities are less likely to possess adequate financial literacy, generational and community wealth, and access to financial resources and education. Though previous work in community cultural wealth has examined the relationship between people, equity, and finances, the role of computation in this process remains unclear. We contribute to this work by exploring how a study of fintech practices among diverse underserved populations may foster equity-centered sociotechnical change.


Dr. Kientz's Research Group archive