Sean Munson

Spring 2018

How Do People Architect their Environment to Manage (Addictive) Smartphone Use?

Many people express concern that smartphone use interferes with their productivity, physical and emotional health, and social relationships. Past work has focused on building new tools that support people to limit aspects of their use. Yet people are also the creative architects of their own behavior: they change their phone’s display to grayscale or leave their phone behind in the car when they go to the playground with their child. What other strategies do people use to manage their smartphone use?

In this DRG, we will interview and survey people who are concerned about and actively managing their smartphone use. We will analyze this data together as a small group using affinity diagramming and other methods. Our analysis will inform a system that recommends specific strategies to people who want to better manage their own use.

This research group will be led by PhD student Kai Lukoff, with guidance from Professors Sean Munson (HCDE) and Alexis Hiniker (Information School). Feel free to contact Kai Lukoff ( if you have questions.

We are looking for 3-5 students to participate.  If you are interested please fill out the form linked here:

Time: To be confirmed with interested students 

Credits: 3

Expectations: 2 hour meeting + outside analysis each week

Spring 2018

Design and Development for Crowdsourcing Physical Activity Advice

In this DRG, we are looking for a few designers and developers to work on the design of CrowdFit. CrowdFit is a tool that leverages the potential of people who are remote from each other to provide help for physical activity. CrowdFit enables an online helper, such as a worker from a task marketplace like Mechanical Turk, to create an actionable plan that follows expert techniques and fits the needs of the person they are helping.  CrowdFit has a client interface for the person who receives the physical activity plan and a helper interface for the people who provide the help and support.

The students will work as a team on the website redesign. Students can choose to participate in one of the two roles below, or to work on both aspects.

(1) Design roles: As part of the website redesign, students will perform usability testing, design the brand for this application, create wireframes and assets for the visual and interaction design of the website. Students should have taken HCDE 308 or HCDE 508

(2) Developer roles: Students will develop new features into an existing tool. Students should have taken HCDE 310 or equivalent. Experience is desirable with back end: Python, or Django, and front-end: Javascript, JQuery.

To apply, submit a statement stating why you are interested in participating in this DRG, and your resume. Include a link to your portfolio if you are applying for a design position. Include a link to your github or share example of your development if you are applying for a developer position.  

Apply here:

This course can be taken for 2 credits (2 hours of classroom meeting time + 4 hours of additional work each week). Meeting time TBD based on student’s availability.

Deadline for applications is Tuesday, March 6th. Contact Elena Agapie,, if you have any questions.

Winter 2017

Managing a field study of an app for telling stories with personal data

In this research group, HCDE students will help to run a one-month evaluation of Yarn, a research iOS app for writing stories of accomplishment through personal data like running data, photos, videos, and text. Yarn uses a structured writing experience to help people create content which aligns with their goals for sharing that others would find interesting. Yarn was specifically designed to support two types of stories of personal accomplisment: training for a running race or working on Do-It-Yourself projects. The app design and implementation are complete, and we will begin the evaluation in early January. We are looking for students to help recruit participants, help them install the app, send out intermediate surveys, and interview them about their experiences at the end of the study. Helpful materials, experiences, and skills include:

We are looking for students to sign up for 2 credits (~6 hours total per week). We expect twice-per-week meetings during the first few weeks of Winter quarter, with less frequent meetings as the study gets underway. Meeting time is TBD, but flexible to student's availability. If you are interested in the DRG, please send Daniel Epstein ( your latest resume and/or portfolio and a short description of why you're interested by December 23rd.

Sean Munson's Directed Research Group archive: