Improving student food insecurity interfaces

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    2 Scopus citations


    This research report details how collaborative research teams used a mixed-methods research and design process to iterate and improve student food insecurity online portals and to better position the university to more directly address both student resiliency goals and unsustainable university community behaviors. Earlier student research teams collected data on potential interventions to increase broadly-identifed student sustainability behaviors (behaviors like recycling, using mass transit, and reducing water use and food waste) through two semester-long diary studies. Diary studies revealed student ambivalence about being tasked with documenting personal sustainability behaviors while also trying to improve personal economic and social well-being. In order to foster awareness and improvement of student sustainability, collaborative faculty-staf-student design teams reframed the sustainability intervention prompt into a student resiliency enquiry. Based on lessons learned from the student diary studies and institutional longitudinal attitude surveys, the staf-faculty-student teams designed student resiliency research to investigate the more immediate nutritional needs of at-risk students. Faculty and staf researchers asked student researchers to measure student user perceptions, attitudes, and activity to uncover how students navigate food insecurity. Student research teams processed the longitudinal survey data, collected user research data, and ideated solutions to student food insecurity through sketch-boards and interactive mockups. By turning the tools of UX research and design to locate opportunities for improving student experiences, research teams were able to successfully reframe the problem space in a way that would bypass questions of epideictic moral evaluation, and would instead enlist participants in defning the forensic qualities of the problem. Researchers discovered opportunities to solve scarcity problems that can both be described as rooted in sustainability and resiliency. The iterative, mixed-methods research approach invited greater participant understanding and consent by investigating preferred participant conceptual frameworks, and adopting a framework that acknowledged concerns that predominate participants’ lived experience.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationSIGDOC 2019 - Proceedings of the 37th ACM International Conference on the Design of Communication
    PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
    ISBN (Electronic)9781450367905
    StatePublished - Oct 4 2019
    Event37th ACM International Conference on the Design of Communication, SIGDOC 2019 - Portland, United States
    Duration: Oct 4 2019Oct 6 2019

    Publication series

    NameSIGDOC 2019 - Proceedings of the 37th ACM International Conference on the Design of Communication


    Conference37th ACM International Conference on the Design of Communication, SIGDOC 2019
    Country/TerritoryUnited States


    • Diary study
    • Epideictic
    • Forensic
    • Interface design
    • Mixed methods
    • Resiliency
    • Sustainability
    • User Experience

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Computer Networks and Communications
    • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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