PhD Seminar:
Quality-of-Life as a Transformative Framework
for Human-Centered Design

Time: Monday 30th October, 2017
Venue: TellUs Stage, University of Oulu main campus

Lecturer: Gerhard Fischer,
Center of LifeLong Learning & Design (L3D)
University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

Local contact & organizer: Arto Lanamäki (Interact, ITEE, University of Oulu)

Registration deadline Monday 23rd October, 2017

Participant Details

Questionnaire about “Quality of Life” and “Design Trade-Offs”
in the Context of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)

Quality of Life (QoL)

Context and Observation

Many of us develop technologies that are more usable and more useful in order to make us and other people in the world more efficient and more productive.

But who cares? Do we want to be more efficient and more productive or do we want to increase the “quality of life” for us and all the others?

A QoL framework shouldl help designers to rethink the role and reach of technology in our social practices, human relationships, and everyday lives.

Questions about Quality of Life

Q-1: What does “Quality of Life” mean to you personally?

Q-2: In which sense had / have / will have ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) an influence on the “Quality of Life”?

Positive influence in the past

Negative influence in the past

Positive influence in the present

Negative influence in the present

Positive influence in the future

Negative influence in the future

Q-3: For you personally, how did the following tools impact your “quality of life”:


Smart Phone







Q-4: In your personal life: which ICT tool or socio-technical environment had the biggest positive/negative impact on your "Quality of Life"?



Q-5: Does your research address aspects that are related to a “Quality of Life”?

Design Trade-Offs

Context and Observation

  • A trade-off is a situation that involves losing one quality of something in return for gaining another quality.

  • “Every positive value has its price in negative terms … the genius of Einstein leads to Hiroshima.”  —Pablo Picasso

  • Design is choice; it is an argumentative process with neither optimal solutions nor “right” answers but with the careful choice between trade-offs leading to a solution within a space of possibilities.

  • There is no such thing as a perfect design. Design always requires identifying trade-offs and taking them into account. Our mental horizon shrinks when we stop thinking and exploring alternatives.

Questions about Design Trade-Offs

Q-1: What does the concept of “design trade-offs” mean to you personally? Are the brief statements above reasonable? Which aspects are missing?

Q-2: From your perspective: which are the three most interesting design trade-offs that designers, decision makers, and users of ICTs should take into account? (e.g.: here are some potential candidates: are self-driving cars desirable? Is the loss in privacy worth obtaining personalized information and contextualized advertisements?)

Q-4: Which values and insights can be derived from a design trade-off analysis for the design of future socio-technical environments in the ICT domain?