N. 23, Winter 2014

Table of contentsAuthor index



Preface to the Focus Section


The self-management of a chronic condition can be quite complex. Patients and carers living with chronic conditions must deal with, for example, symptoms and signs of the condition, the disability induced by the disease, the challenge of accepting their current situation, as well as the issues of finding appropriate care and managing multiple health professionals. Self-care technologies have helped patients and carers in diverse ways and situations, including tracking illness symptoms and signs, obtaining feedback from clinicians, and connecting with other people living with the same condition. Nevertheless, self-care technologies often fail to integrate themselves into people’s everyday life.

Designing self-care technology for everyday life requires knowledge about the condition, as well as an in-depth understanding of the self-care strategies people use, the contexts in which they live, and the tools they have at their disposal to support their everyday self-care management. Acquiring such broad understanding demands new approaches to the design of self-care technologies that not only consider the medical perspective, but also people’s experiences with the conditions outside the clinical setting.

This focus section follows the NordiCHI 2014 Workshop of Designing Self-care for Everyday Life [1, 2], held in Helsinki (Finland) on the October 27th 2014. During the workshop, participants and two people with Parkinson’s (from the Finnish Parkinson’s association) discussed the challenges and opportunities of designing self-care technologies that could fit everyday life. Overall, there was a consensus that further research is required to understand and integrate the complexities of everyday life (with a chronic condition) into technology design.

This focus section invited extended contributions from authors of the above mentioned Workshop, as well as from other researchers in HCI or related communities. The focus section received 15 manuscripts from 9 different countries, namely:  Canada, China, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom, and the United States of America. The peer-reviewed process consisted of two rounds with two or three reviewers and one meta-reviewer. After the two rounds, three research articles were accepted based on technical quality, maturity, and alignment with the objectives of the focus section. The acceptance rate was 20%.

The accepted articles bring attention to different forms of self-management, with different levels of patient involvement, and distinct uses of persuasion or reflection strategies. For instance, the first manuscript by Maathuis, Jones and Oudshoorn [3] present a set of guidelines for involving users in early phases of technology development, drawing on scenario-based design and a case study of the design of a COPD telecare system. In particular, this article argues that the suggested guidelines can help designers to account and reflect on three different forms of self-management (patients’ role as “compulsory compliance”, “proto-professionals”, closed collaboration and concordance with clinicians) by creating scenarios that highlight the key features of the design of telecare systems.

In the second paper, Turnhout et al. [4] explore the use of persuasive technology and personal informatics to motivate older adults to engage more in physical activities. Through a co-design process, authors understood that older adults participants were concerned with living a healthy live, but not really into setting or tracking goals. Furthermore, the study reported that older adults were more motivated to exercise together with others than by themselves. Through the implementation of two persuasive designs, this study shows how persuasion is not always limited to technology design, but could also occur when people commit with others to perform together a specific self-care activity such as physical exercising.

In the last paper, Jimenez Garcia et al. [5] introduces ESTHER 1.3, a mobile application that facilitates micro-cycles of self-reflection about physical activity in the working environment. The study highlights how participants became more aware of their physical activity level as the system encouraged self-reflection on different self-care strategies, especially for the non-physically active participants.

Overall, the articles in this focus section call for attention to new perspectives on how technology could be integrated into people’s everyday life, and towards a more holistic approach to self-care technology design. The focus section also shows that technology design has focused too much on the individual behavior change rather than in the everyday situations of people’s lives. This might require considering the individual motivations of for example older adults in relation to their everyday social settings and routines.

Last, but not least, we would like to thank all the reviewers for their extensive and constructive comments that enable authors to improve their work during the two stage review process. In particular, we are grateful to: Afsaneh Doryab, Alison Burrows, Ana Correia de Barros, Anja Thieme, Attila Reiss, Barbara S. K. Wong, Christopher Frauenberger, Claudia Müller, Elizabeth Buie, Florian Güldenpfennig, Gabriela Marcu, Hilda Tellioglu, Ian Li, Jonas Moll, Katharina Spiel, Kelly Caine, Lizbeth Escobedo, Madeline Balaam, Mads Frost, Marc Busch, Maria Wolters, Naveen Bagalkot, Özge Subasi, Olav Bertelsen, Paula Alexandra Silva, Petr Slovák, Stefan Rahr Wagner, Tariq Osman Andersen, and Tone Bratteteig.

In addition, we would also like to thank the IxD&A scientific editor for all the support during the whole process.


Nervo Verdezoto, Francisco Nunes, Geraldine Fitzpatrick, and Erik Grönvall



[1] Verdezoto, N., Nunes, F., Grönvall, E., Fitzpatrick, G., Storni, C., & Kyng, M. (2014). Designing self-care for everyday life. In Proceedings of the 8th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Fun, Fast, Foundational (pp. 821-824). ACM.

[2] Verdezoto, N., Nunes, F., Grönvall, E., Fitzpatrick, G., Storni, C., & Kyng, M. (2014). Proceedings of Designing Self-care for Everyday Life. Workshop in conjunction with NordiCHI 2014, 27th October 2014, Helsinki, Finland. DAIMI Report Series, 41(597).

[3] Maathuis, I., Jones, V. M., & Oudshoorn, N. (2014). Telecare and self-management: a guideline for anticipating future care in scenario-based design

[4] Turnhout, K., Jeurens, J., Verhey, M., Wientjes, P., & Bakker, R. (2014). The Healthy Elderly: Case Studies in Persuasive Design

[5] Jimenez Garcia., J., Romero, N., Keyson, D., & Havinga, P. (2014). Reflective Healthcare Systems: micro-Cycle of Self-Reflection to empower users