Julie Kientz Research Group

Winter 2020

Family Informatics Solution for Parent-Child Asthma Management

Asthma is the most common chronic condition of childhood, affecting nearly 10% of US children.  During the school years (7-11 years), parents and children struggle to share asthma management responsibility.  Over the past year we have used HCD to co-design a family informatics solution for parents and kids that includes a wearable for kids (MVPs fabricated) and companion mobile web app.  This DRG will focus on refinement of our web app prototype by conducting usability sessions with parent-child dyads while concurrently working with a developer to build and refine the full-scale app.  We will also review relevant family informatics literature (technology and health-related). 

We are looking for 2-3 highly motivated students interested in family informatics who have UI or UX design experience. 


  • Attend weekly meetings – tentatively Tuesdays 3:30-5pm in Sieg Hall
  • User research, UI/UX design, project management, or other relevant experience
  • Complete UW Human Subjects training (project is grant funded)

If you are interested, please apply for the group by using this survey by December 18, 2019. Applicants will be notified by December 20.

This research group will be led by Assistant Professor Jennifer Sonney (Nursing), with guidance from Professor Julie Kientz (HCDE).

Winter 2020

Interactive mobile app to support individuals with tuberculosis (TB)

TB is an urgent global health threat and the world’s deadliest infectious disease despite it being largely curable. Treatment success rates remain below the standards set by the World Health Organization and there is need for improved individual support and monitoring to ensure treatment success and cure. 

In this DRG, we will build on our prior work to refine/reenvision the design specifications for the mobile web app that links a paper-based drug metabolite urine test strip modified for home use. The redesigns may be used for next stage incorporation of current functioning app being piloted in Argentina. Activities will include redesigning based on pilot study feedback, co-design with new collaborators, and designing for low literacy, limited data plans, and low resource settings. 


  • Able to participate in study sessions in Winter 2020
  • At least one team member must have an advanced Spanish language level to interact with Spanish speaking collaborators/colleagues and for translation of the text within the app
  • User research / UI experience / design and project management 
  • We will tentatively meet on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. (but this can be modified for group needs) 

If interested in applying, please complete this catalyst survey by December 18, 2019. We are seeking between 3-4 students. 

This research group will be led by Assistant Professor Sarah Iribarren (Nursing), with guidance from Professor Julie Kientz (HCDE).

Winter 2020

Children's Digital Media and Technologies Design Toolkit

Led by Ph.D. student Saba Kawas and Professor Julie Kientz

Meeting Time: Monday From 10 a.m.–12 p.m. 

Registration: Research Group Course Credit: 2-4 CR/NC 

Application deadline: 12/12/2019 (Decisions 12/13/2019) 

Research Group Overview

We are looking for a few students who are interested in applied research to help inform the UX design process of interactive technologies for children. In this DRG, we will prototype and evaluate design toolkits that translate academic research findings into actionable insights that can be easily used by UX designers in the industry. Our goal is to come up with toolkit designs with content presented in an easily-digestible format such as a set of cards or an online resource library. We are also planning to run co-design sessions with professional UX designers to design, create, and evaluate several Children’s Digital Design Toolkit examples.


Include translating Interaction Design & Children's research findings with practical relevance into actionable design tips and guidelines; prototyping the designs of the toolkit features; evaluating the toolkit with UX design professionals; and revising the toolkit based on feedback.

This research group will be led by Ph.D. student Saba Kawas, with guidance from Professor Julie Kientz. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please email us at


This DRG is open to undergraduate and graduate students in all fields.
Students will be expected to register for 2 credits of HCDE 496/596.
We will meet on Monday mornings (between around 10 am–12 pm) in Winter 2020.

Interested? Please complete this form by Dec. 12 »   

Winter 2020

Mobile Health as an Avenue to Reduce Health Disparities – Systematic Literature Review

mHealth (mobile health) tools are proliferating as a means for parents to track their child’s development from the comfort of their phone. These tracking apps can support parents assessing their child’s progress on their own, or alongside their child’s doctor. mHealth technologies have the capacity to reduce health disparities between affluent and at-risk populations. Historically, these applications are utilized by both populations, increasing the disparity or not improving it at all. Researchers have encouraged designers to address socioeconomic barriers within the design of these tools. Currently, there exists no clear documentation of trends among these design processes, and thus no clear frameworks for designers to work with when using mHealth as an intervention. Through a systematic literature review, we will understand the state of health equity in mHealth technologies, creating a foundation for design opportunities.

In this DRG, we will explore emergent themes from the literature that assess functional mobile applications, while considering health interventions from a health equity perspective. This project serves to assess development tracking apps and support the future work of researchers and designers in this domain.

Planned Activities: In the DRG, we develop a coding scheme for themes across relevant papers. Each week, students will be assigned papers to review and to extract information from and come prepared to discuss. We look forward to working with students interested in mobile health interventions, systematic literatures reviews as a method, and cultural relevance/equitable approaches to designing for at-risk populations in health. If warranted, students will have an opportunity to collaborate on future projects in this domain.

Required availability:

Attend our 2-hour meeting each week: Mondays, 1:30pm – 3:30pm.
Dedicate at least 4 hours to work each week outside of meetings.
Register for 2 to 3 credits of HCDE 496/596.

This DRG will be led by HCDE PhD student Akeiylah DeWitt, with guidance from Professor Julie Kientz. This DRG is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. If you are interested, please answer this survey by December 15, indicating a brief statement of your interest, skills and planned credits. We will review the applications and notify you of your status shortly after. If you have any questions, please contact Akeiylah DeWitt via email:

Winter 2020

Location-Based Gaming and Mental Health

Co-led by: Julie Kientz, Jin Ha Lee (iSchool), Travis Windleharth (iSchool), Jason Yip (iSchool), Cecilia Aragon, Arpita Bhattacharya

Design of games influence mental wellbeing of players both positively and negatively. With location based games — such as Pokemon GO, Harry Potter Wizards Unite (HPWU), and Ingress — boundaries between online and offline gaming worlds have been merging. While for some players, gaming might be a way to experience a virtual world different from their current identity or circumstances, for others, game design can scaffold players to initiate and practice behaviors in real world contexts. For example, some players described experiencing higher positive mood and sense of belonging after being motivated by Pokemon GO to take walks in parks. Additionally, data obtained from prior work on location based games revealed cases where these games helped players face agoraphobia, overcome social anxiety, re-engage with public spaces after sexual assault, and facilitate socialization of children with autism. Game design focussed on collaboration (e.g., HPUW) and competition (e.g., Ingress) also have implications on emotional states and social relationships of players. In-built features in the game which are designed for continuous and high engagement can lead to binge-playing, injuries, sleep deprivation, and reduction of self-care practices.

In this project, we will be working on designing and conducting a research study to understand the mental health experiences of players of location based games and work towards building design implications and meta-data to balance tensions in supporting mental wellbeing in gaming. 

Activities: In the DRG, we expect to read and discuss relevant literature in the area of gaming and health, sketch and brainstorm design ideas, design study protocols,and collect data through surveys and interviews. Readings and discussions will be based on what will help the team learn related work and relevant skills. We look forward to working with 2-3 students who have an interest in the topic, have prior experience in research methods such as HCDE 313/418/518, and/or have worked on projects on gaming and/or mental health. Depending on progress, students may have the option to continue on this project after the quarter ends.

Time: We will decide a time based on the team’s availability. All participants must attend weekly meetings for 90 minutes. Work outside of the meetings will include reading, contributing to design of study materials, conducting focus groups, interviews, analyzing survey and interview results, and writing results to share. You can register for 1–3 credit hours in HCDE 496/596; for each credit you should expect to spend about three hours of work per week outside of meeting times.

If you are interested, please answer this survey by Dec 1, indicating brief statement of your interest, skills, and planned credits. We will be reviewing the applications and getting back to you shortly after.  If you have any questions, please contact

Winter 2020

Co-design with older adults and designers

Co-led by PhD student Dawn Sakaguchi-Tang and Professor Julie Kientz

Note: This DRG is no longer accepting applicants for Winter 2020

HCI researchers have investigated the ways aging has been discussed and framed in the field. They found that aging has been described as a problem to be solved. Studies often described older adults as a homogenous group, and designs mainly focused on the decline and deficits of aging. Researchers have called for ways to counter these perceptions by advocating a reframing of aging in HCI and by engaging older adults in the design process. This DRG is aiming to contribute to this work by developing and executing research on how to conduct co-design sessions with designers and older adults to understand ways to facilitate equal collaboration.

We are looking for students interested in participating in this study on co-designing with older adults. Co-design sessions would include student designers and older adults working together in groups to share experiences with technologies, design ideas for new technologies and evaluate existing ones. In the study, you will also be asked to reflect upon your experiences.  We are looking for students who can participate throughout the winter quarter in a weekly meeting and in one co-design session per week. 


  • Attend weekly meetings and one design session every week
    • Weekly meetings will be on Fridays  
    • Design sessions are:
      • Tuesdays 10a- 11:30a (Northgate area) 
      • Fridays 10:30a -12p (Greenwood area)
  • Register between 2-3 credits of HCDE 496/596
  • Interested and excited about participating in an intergenerational design group

Note: This DRG is no longer accepting applicants for Winter 2020

Dr. Kientz's Research Group archive