Julie Kientz

2016 Seminar Series

Considerations for the Connected Family

Societal ideas of family life and healthy child development increasingly include notions of the ways in which families should and should not engage with information and communication technologies. In this talk, I will discuss results from a series of studies from my research lab in which we investigate families’ current practices, values, aspirations, and fears in relation to their use of connected technologies. Computing can support families in a variety of ways, and novel systems to support family health and wellness can improve child-development outcomes and family well-being. Research from my lab has also found that families have a sense of ambivalence about their use of technology, driven in part by social narratives that portray it as a negative and intrusive presence in family life. I will close the presentation with twelve considerations for designing for connected families.

2014 Seminar Series

Designing Technology to Support Self-Experimentation for Health

People can currently access countless applications, websites, and sensing technologies intended to improve their health. Despite the overwhelming number of options, we have not yet seen widespread, sustained adoption nor the promised health benefits of these technologies. Some of the issues Professor Kientz and her research team have uncovered in previous work is that people often do not understand what data to collect to help their specific problem and lack scientific rigor in analysis of the data they collect with these devices. Analysis is often done without the consultation of a medical professional and without sufficient understanding of data trends and causal relationships. To help address this issue, Kientz is working to develop an approach and set of technology tools that will allow people to conduct self-experiments to better answer their health questions. Her approach consists of guiding people through the process of developing hypotheses, testing those hypotheses through single case study designs, and then helping people interpret the data to make better decisions about their health. In this talk, she will discuss the problem space, describe her design approach, and present prototypes for tools she is in the process of developing. Kientz will also discuss her application of this approach to two domain areas: tracking food triggers for irritable bowel syndrome and helping people understand what impacts their sleep.

2013 Seminar Series

Understanding and Reducing the User Burdens in Applications for Health and Wellbeing

The use of interactive technologies to improve health and wellbeing has grown dramatically over the last two decades. However, there are many reasons why people still do not adopt different types of health technologies, including physical, mental, time, emotional, financial, and privacy demands. In Professor Kientz's research, she has been seeking to understand and characterize these user burdens and design novel applications that can help to reduce them and improve access to healthcare. In this talk, Julie will first give an overview of studies seeking to understand the emotional, physical, and privacy burdens of interactive technologies. Professor Kientz will then describe the design and evaluation of three wellness applications her lab has developed in conjunction with health experts in which they have sought to reduce these burdens: 1) ShutEye, a mobile awareness display for promoting healthy sleep behaviors; 2) Lullaby, an at home capture and access system for monitoring the sleep environment; and 3) Baby Steps, an ecosystem of interactive tools for helping parents track developmental progress in young children. Finally, Professor Kientz will discuss future directions in helping to understand and reduce the user burden of health technologies.

About Julie Kientz

Julie A. Kientz (pronounced like “Keentz”) is an Associate Professor in the department of Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in The Information School and Computer Science & Engineering and is active in the Design, Use, Build (dub) alliance. Dr. Kientz's primary research areas are in the fields of Human-Computer Interaction, Ubiquitous Computing, and Health Informatics. She directs the Computing for Healthy Living & Learning Lab, which focuses on designing, developing, and evaluating future computing applications in the domains of health and education. In particular, Dr. Kientz has worked on designing and evaluating mobile, sensor, and collaborative applications for people with sleep disorders, parents of young children, and individuals with autism. Her primary research methods involve human-centered design, technology development, and a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods. Dr. Kientz received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008, was awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2009, and was named one of MIT Technology Review's top 35 Innovators Under 35 in 2013.