Designing for Emotional Wellbeing – IJHCS Special Issue is now published

Designing for Emotional Wellbeing

International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Volume 72, Issues 809, pages 627-688 (August-September 2014). For more information and access to all papers visit:

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Cfp: International Journal of Human Computer Studies

Special issue: Designing for Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing
Guest editors:
David Coyle, Anja Thieme, Conor Linehan, Madeline Balaam, Jayne Wallace & Siân Lindley

Good mental health and emotional wellbeing are fundamental to our quality of life, enabling people to experience life as meaningful, handle daily stresses, work productively, and to have stable and fulfilling relationships. Beyond this direct impact on the individual, the World Health Organisation identifies emotional wellbeing as vital for society as a whole. It is an essential component of peace and stability in the living environment, contributing to social cohesion and the economic development of society. Researchers in mental health and emotional wellbeing are thus faced with two fundamental questions. Firstly, what steps can be taken to maintain, strengthen and nurture positive emotional wellbeing? Secondly, how can we provide more effective support for people who are experiencing mental health difficulties?

A growing body of research suggests that the HCI community – working collaboratively with healthcare researchers – has a valuable role to play in helping to address these challenges. For example, a number of systems have recently been developed specifically to support mental health interventions, including online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy interventions, therapeutic computer games, virtual and augmented reality exposure therapies and relational agents designed to provide emotional support. There is also rapidly growing interest in passive and non-passive techniques to monitor emotional wellbeing and provide information that can increase emotional awareness, support positive behaviour and enable richer expressions of emotional states. Examples include physiological monitoring systems and affective diaries. Empowering and supportive relationships also play a vital role in emotional wellbeing. This raises many intriguing questions about the role and potential of social networking technologies, which the community has begun to address. Researchers have also begun to consider the differing emotional needs of distinct communities, the importance of emotional needs in physical healthcare and wellbeing more generally, and the design of systems that can provide ongoing support for lifelong or chronic conditions, e.g. bipolar disorders, chronic pain.

Research on technologies to support mental health and emotional wellbeing can draw on key themes in HCI research, including cognitive functioning, human memory and reminiscence, social connectedness, behaviour change, designing for reflection and affective computing. However there is a need to provide empirical evidence as to the effectiveness of different systems, approaches and design strategies. This special issue will build on the CHI 2012 workshop on Interaction Design and Emotional Wellbeing and the DIS 2012 workshop on Designing Wellbeing. It will provide a high impact forum in which to consolidate and extend knowledge in this rapidly evolving area. We will welcome high quality, thought provoking and original articles that address issues including, but not limited to:

  • Empirical studies of systems designed to support mental health interventions or emotional wellbeing.
  • Empirical studies of systems that take account of the interconnected nature of physical and emotional wellbeing.
  • Studies of systems that target specific populations, e.g. children, adolescents or older adults.
  • Evidence-based, theoretical and conceptual frameworks for understanding and guiding the design of technologies to support emotional wellbeing.
  • Strategies for evaluating technologies that support emotional wellbeing, including specific methods and tools for evaluating/measuring emotional wellbeing.
  • Considerations of ethical requirements and the potentially negative impact of new technologies on mental health and emotional wellbeing, and recommendations to mitigate such effects.

In keeping with the aims of the International Journal of Human Computer Studies, the special issue will focus on papers providing concrete research contributions with a user-centric and/or engineering element. Review papers and papers which are purely theoretical are normally not considered, although in rare cases exceptions can be made. If a paper has been published elsewhere, the new version must be substantially different (50% or more) from contributions people have sent to conferences, journals or magazines.
Submissions to the special issue will be made through the online submission system: for further information and questions about this special issue please contact Dave Coyle (

Timeline for submissions/ Expected notification to authors
Submission open: January 2013
Submission deadline: 31< March 2013 15th April 2013
Review completion date: June 2013 July 2013 (Notification of 1st review)
Re-Submission by: 1 August 2013 October 2013
Final Acceptance: November 2013 (Notification of 2nd review)
Final Version due: December 2013

Reviewing Panel
Tim Bickmore, Northeastern University, US
Simon Bowen, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
Willem-Paul Brinkman, Delft University of Technology, NL
John F. Canny, University of California Berkeley, US
Kate Cavanagh, University of Sussex, UK
Gavin Doherty, Trinity College Dublin, IRL
Abigail Durrant, Newcastle University, UK
Geraldine Fitzpatrick, Vienna University of Technology, AT
Jettie Hoonhout, Philips Research, NL
Shaun Lawson, Lincoln University, UK
Mark Matthews, Cornell University, US
Cecilia Mascolo, University of Cambridge, UK
John McCarthy, University College Cork, IRL
Cecily Morrison, Imperial College London, UK
Patrick Olivier, Newcastle University, UK
Paul Resnick, University of Michigan, US
Corina Sas, Lancaster University, UK
Steve Whittaker, University of California at Santa Cruz, US
Peter Wright, Newcastle University, UK

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Call for Participation

This two-day workshop will bring together an interdisciplinary group of researchers, designers and practitioners who are currently working on wellbeing in the field of interaction design or health care, or are interested in the topic.

Wellbeing is defined as positive mental health, it is not only the absence of mental illness but the presence of positive psychological functioning. The workshop aims to establish a foundational agenda for interaction design research around this concept of wellbeing. It will provide a platform to share experiences and resources, create new ideas for design and build valuable future collaborations. The workshop will further include activities that allow for the experience of different aspects of wellbeing. Moreover, workshop attendees will be invited to collaboratively create design concepts that have the potential to support peoples’ wellbeing and will develop first prototypes using Microsoft .Net Gadgeteer.

Topics of Interest
We invite authors to submit their 1-2 page workshop papers (DIS paper format) describing research or experience in all areas of designing wellbeing. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • theoretical foundations and definitions of wellbeing;
  • discussions of challenges in designing wellbeing;
  • design concepts or developments of wellbeing enhancing technologies;
  • user or case studies of how interaction designs have been appropriated to support wellbeing;
  • guidelines, implications or lessons learned for engaging users in the design process or evaluation of wellbeing supporting designs;
  • methods and tools for measuring wellbeing.

Authors are invited to include a 100-200 word definition of their understanding of wellbeing to stimulate discussion.

Important Dates
Submission by: March 16th, 2012 March 23rd, 2012
Notification of Acceptance: April 16th, 2012
Workshop days: June 11-12th, 2012

Submission and Review
Submissions should be send to Workshop papers will be reviewed by a program committee and the workshop organizers.

All workshop participants must register for both workshop days and for at least one day of the main conference. Accepted papers will be made available here.

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