Experiences of Technology Appropriation: Unanticipated Users, Usage, Circumstances, and Design

Guest Editors


Alina Krischkowsky, University of Salzburg, Austria

Nervo Verdezoto, University of Leicester, UK

Manfred Tscheligi, University of Salzburg, Austria

Michael Muller, IBM Research, USA


Important dates


• Deadline: May 15, 2016 -> June 6, 2016

• Notification to the authors: June 20, 2016 -> July 6, 2016

• Camera ready paper: July 20, 2016

• Publication of the special issue: mid September, 2016




Whether in private or professional life, people frequently adapt, adopt, and shape the technology around them based on their everyday practices to ease interaction when accomplishing certain tasks. The major goal of this focus section is to highlight how this form of technology appropriation is used to satisfy people’s communication needs. In particular we focus on technology that was not initially intended to foster communication, but which led to appropriation, driven by people’s communication needs. We argue that it is critical to identify ‘unexpected’ communication needs, to better account for them when designing interactive systems. Thereby, a variety of contexts are of relevance; ranging from private settings (e.g., home) or semi-public spaces (e.g., art galleries) to strictly regulated environments (e.g., production lines or health- and emergency contexts) in which appropriation may be considered as a ‘critical’ matter. In relation to technology appropriation we consider the following four aspects as potential drivers of appropriation: unanticipated usage, unanticipated users, unanticipated circumstances, and designing for the unanticipated.

The aim of this focus section is to invite researchers and practitioners to deeper explore on these (or other) drivers of technology appropriation but also on the challenges, opportunities, lessons learned, and theoretical insights that emerge when researching technology appropriation (practices) to satisfy communication needs. This will broaden the scope of IxD&A and HCI research towards a more holistic understanding of the appropriation phenomenon. 


Topics of Interests


We welcome research papers that contribute to a deeper understanding about how users adapt and shape technology to their potentially ‘unexpected’ communication needs. In order to discuss this question, we invite research papers to address (but not exclusively) the following topics: 

• Examples of successful/unsuccessful technology appropriation for communication needs in different contexts;

• Examples of technology appropriation by unanticipated users (addressing either expected/unexpected communication needs) in everyday or emergent practices;

• Methodological approaches to explore technology appropriation for communication;

• Theoretical accounts to technology appropriation for communication;

• Design of collaborative systems that address expected/unexpected communication needs as a reaction to technology appropriation;

• Design of collaborative systems that enable users to share their adaptations to technology that could be useful for others in the same situation;

• Critical reflections on the design, implementation, and use in relation to technology appropriation practices


Keywords: Technology appropriation; communication needs; unanticipated users, usage, circumstances; designing for the unanticipated


Submission procedure 


All submissions must be original and may not be under review by another publication.

The manuscripts should be submitted anonymized either in .doc or in .rtf format. 
All papers will be blindly peer-reviewed by at least two reviewers. Perspective participants are invited to submit a 8-20 pages paper (including authors' information, abstract, all tables, figures, references, etc.). 
The paper should be written according to the IxD&A authors' guidelines .

More information on the submission procedure and on the characteristics of the paper format can be found on the website of IxD&A Journal the where information on the copyright policy and responsibility of authors, publication ethics and malpractice are published.

For scientific advices and for any query please contact the contact guest-editor:

• alina [dot] krischkowsky [at] sbg [dot] ac [dot] at


marking the subject as: 'IxD&A focus section on: Experiences of Technology Appropriation: Unanticipated Users, Usage, Circumstances, and Design''.