About the Workshop

Workshop Topic and Dates

This workshop is intended to foster critical re-thinking of social aspects in the adoption of novel, interactive technologies, which is often embraced by “social acceptance” and “social acceptability”. While these terms have been frequently used in the field of HCI, they have only been sparsely defined, and there are no agreed-upon metrics to measure their effects (yet).
However, we believe that in the context of emerging technologies and their dissemination into all facets of public and personal life there is a need to discuss how social acceptability issues shall be dealt with in HCI research: does an interaction or a technology have to be specifically designed for social acceptance, or will acceptance come naturally over time if the interface is accepted by ‘everyone else’? Should tech companies hire “Social Acceptance Advocates”? What about engaging in technology-driven research resulting in products that might not become socially acceptable in a lifetime?
We speculate that social acceptability might not be a simple, binary decision between “acceptable” and “unacceptable”, but that decisions are also contextual, may be temporary, and influenced through media coverage or greater societal changes. For this reason, we believe it is high time to re-think and reconsider the notion of social acceptability in CHI in an interdisciplinary workshop with researchers and practitioners from academia and industry.

Workshop Date and Location

Saturday, April 21st, 2018
CHI 2018 conference rooms at Palais des Congrès de Montréal, Montréal, Canada.

Workshop Program

Workshop Goals and Activities

We aim for a highly interdisciplinary workshop, bringing together designers, researchers, and practitioners from different domains of CHI to generate a shared understanding of “social acceptance” and “social acceptability”:
  •    We will explore how “social acceptance” and “social acceptability” are understood, encountered, and used in the CHI community and beyond.
  •    We will discuss solution strategies for mitigating risks of social non-acceptance of new HCI technologies and artifacts.
  •    Questions to be discussed during the workshop include, for example:
    • Which emerging technologies and their characteristics are particularly challenging with regard to social acceptability?
    • How can we develop/design for social acceptability?
    • What role does social acceptability play in the overall perception of system quality or user experience?
    • Which factors affect the social acceptability? What role do new interaction techniques play?
    • How would disappearing computers (c.f. Ubiquitous Computing visions) affect acceptance?
    • What are the needs to design for social acceptability; or is it something that is naturally achieved over time once a market gets used to the technology?
  •    We will gather method suggestions for how the social acceptability of an interactive system can be measured and evaluated in a comprehensive way.
  •    We discuss what types of social acceptability research (if any) would be the most useful for those trying to design/develop for social acceptability.


In 1994 Nielsen named social acceptability as essential part of system acceptability [1]. Despite this, HCI research in the past decades mainly focused on creating and improving what Nielsen embraced as practical acceptability, including e.g., usability, and utility. Also, early observations, e.g., Hosokawa’s Walkman Effect [2] were purely descriptive and did not aim to design for social acceptability. Technology acceptance research (e.g., Davis’ Technology Acceptance Model, TAM [3]) has been extended to incorporate social factors (e.g., by Malhotra et al., in 1999), but research and resulting models were influenced through the technology positivism of that time; Potential non-acceptance of (interactive) technologies was not considered, however, has been taken up more recently in various areas of HCI:

[1] Jakob Nielsen. 1994. Usability engineering. Elsevier.
[2] Shuhei Hosokawa. 1984. The walkman effect. Popular music 4 (1984), 165–180.
[3] Fred D Davis. 1985. A technology acceptance model for empirically testing new end-user information systems: Theory and results. Ph.D. Dissertation. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
[4] Jürgen Bohn, Vlad Coroama, Marc Langheinrich, Friedemann Mattern, and Michael Rohs. 2005. Social, economic, and ethical implications of ambient intelligence and ubiquitous computing. In Ambient intelligence. Springer, 5–29.

Workshop Program

The workshop will be held from 9.00-17.00 (Room 513D). It is organized as 1-day workshop with three presentation sessions (detailed program below) and two discussion sessions. We also reserved some time for hands-on demos.

Presentation Format

Presentations slots will be 10 Min: 5 Min oral presentation (modified PechaKucha format) and 5 Min of Q&A.

I'm a presenter. How do I do PechaKucha?
It is easy: each presentation should consist of 15 images or slides, that you show each for 20 seconds. Images or slides typically advance automatically; you just talk along to the images.

Can I bring a hands-on demo to complement my talk?
Yes, that would be great. We reserved some time for after-lunch demos.

Lunch, and coffee breaks will be organized as follows:
  •    Coffee Breaks: 10.45-11.15 and 15.30-15.45, Location: on site
  •    Lunch: 12.00-13.00, Location: we'll pre-order and have it on site (have a look at Copperbranch for food choices)

Detailed Program


Welcome, Intro & Ice breaking activity


Session 1: Social acceptability in-the-wild


Session 2: Socially (un)acceptable Applications and Interfaces


After-Lunch Demo Session


Session 3: Methods, Models and Theories

14.45-15.30 and 15.45-16.30

Discussion Sessions

In the afternoon, we reserved time for discussions. Discussion Sessions will be moderated and organizes following the Lean Coffee format.


Wrap-up & Closing

Call for Participation

What does social acceptance mean with respect to modern HCI?
How to design for social acceptability and how to evaluate it?
Where has research in the CHI community succeeded or failed in designing for social acceptability?

The concepts of technology acceptance and social acceptability are central in the long development of human-centric understanding of interactive technology. However, considering the variety of modern ICT, the early definitions and theories related to the social and societal aspects of technology acceptance seem outdated and narrow. We invite academics and practitioners to discuss how social acceptance and acceptability are understood nowadays. In this workshop at CHI 2018, we will discuss how to re-conceptualize the relevant concepts and outline new research agendas for this unsung topic.

Important dates

Submission deadline: Jan 27th, 2018 Feb 3rd, 2018 (extended deadline)
Notifications: Feb 22nd, 2018
Camera-ready Versions: Mar 15th, 2018

Submission via Easy Chair

We invite two alternative types of submissions:

Possible contributions include, but are not limited to:
  • Experiences, case studies, and lessons learned from designing socially (not) acceptable interactive systems.
  • Methodological contributions: conceptualizations, evaluation measures, design considerations, etc.
  • Design/system contributions: interactive systems that provide socially acceptable qualities, provocative designs or breaching experiments.
  • User Studies about social aspects of technology acceptance.

The workshop participants will be selected based on the submissions’ relevance to the workshop topic and their potential to engender insightful discussion at the workshop.
Please note that at least one author of each accepted position paper must attend the workshop. All workshop participants must register for both the workshop and for at least one day of the conference.

Questions? Contact us at socialacceptabilityworkshop@uol.de


Marion Koelle

University of Oldenburg

Marion is a research associate at the University of Oldenburg. She is currently working on finishing her dissertation on designing body-worn cameras that intelligently adapt to social contexts.

Halley Profita

University of Colorado Boulder

Halley recently completed her PhD at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU). She researches e-textile and wearable technologies, accessibility, and the social acceptability of on-body device use.

Thomas Olsson

University of Tampere

Thomas is an associate professor at the University of Tampere, focusing on the experiential and social implications of information technology and research through design. His research includes designing socially aware and acceptable information technology, and enhancing social interaction with the help of emerging technologies.

Julie Williamson

University of Glasgow

Julie is a Lecturer of Human Computer Interaction at the University of Glasgow. Her research explores how tangible performative interactions can be embedded into public places, focusing on ways of attracting users, encouraging playful behaviour, and evaluating user experience without intervening during users’ interactions.

Robb Mitchell

University of Southern Denmark

Robb is assistant professor, in Social Interaction Design at University of Southern Denmark. He has led hands-on workshops at TEI, DRS, Participatory Innovation, and Service Design conferences, and had founding roles in several making oriented interdisciplinary collectives including The Electron Club, and The Chateau, Glasgow.

Shaun Kane

University of Colorado Boulder

Shaun is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he directs the Superhuman Computing Lab. His research explores the design of mobile and wearable assistive technology, including how to empower end users to create and customise their own assistive devices.

Susanne Boll

University of Oldenburg

Susanne is full professor for Media Informatics and Multimedia Systems at the University of Oldenburg (UOL). Susanne Boll is a lead researcher in a number of international and national research projects in the field of intelligent user interfaces, and leads the Human- Machine Cooperation Competence Cluster, which drives the activities of the OFFIS research institute in this field.