D. Yvette Wohn, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of HCI at New Jersey Institute of Technology.
My research focus is understanding long-term use of technology through a lens I call “soft sustainability.” While sustainability research in HCI has emerged from interest in the hardware aspects of environmentally-friendly technology, my focus is on the human, or social component of sustainability. Much of extant HCI research investigates technology adoption and short-term usage, but understanding why people continue to use interact with technology over a long period of time involves different socio-psychological mechanisms. This has serious implications when designing a system intended for long-term use.
I have a three-prong approach for understanding what contributes to sustainability: conscious motivations, non-conscious habits, and self-identity. These three factors have different implications and interactions with technology design. I have studied these factors in many different contexts, including social media, education, games, and cultural content, Soft sustainability is especially important when trying to understand and improve technology that requires continued use for long-term benefits, which may include healthy living, psychological well-being, and community/relationship maintenance.