I am an Assistant Professor in the Information School at the University of Washington and director of the User Empowerment Lab. In my work in human-computer interaction, I study the ethical design of ubiquitous technologies, and invent more respectful alternatives. Some of my current projects are listed below and include investigating compulsive technology use, dark patterns, voice interfaces, and arguments online. My past and current research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Sesame Workshop. I am excited to be a 2021 Jacobs Foundation Fellow.

The Information School

University of Washington

Box 352840

Seattle, WA 98195

alexisr@uw.edu

Storyboard sketches of a conversational app

Designing Conversation

Why are disagreements so much more likely to escalate online than in person? How might social media and messaging apps encourage more constructive interactions? Do we pick up new conversational habits from Siri and Alexa? The way we communicate with one another has important consequences for our relationships, and designers play a role in shaping these interactions. My lab investigates the design of systems that encourage constructive conversation.

Mobile phone screen with a notifications inviting the user to open an app

Dark Patterns

What common design approaches undermine users' intentions or make their lives worse? My lab investigates how interfaces manipulate users' decisions and attention. We also design alternative patterns to support users in engaging with technology in ways that are consistent with their values and goals.

Sketch of an iPad screen with a warning preventing usage

Compulsive Technology Use

Have you ever looked up from your phone only to wonder where the last thirty minutes went? My past work documents the "30-minute ick factor" that many people feel after spending time online. My lab studies this experience, builds interfaces that encourage more intentional usage habits, and invents design methods to help practitioners create experiences that are more supportive of users' needs and autonomy.

Cartoon animal and clock

Children's Technology

Ethical design is particularly important in interfaces for children, who are often uniquely vulnerable to exploitation by interfaces. My lab designs experiences that are sensitive to children's developmental needs and platforms that prioritize high-quality content.

Child and robot touch hands

Personified Interfaces

How "conversational" should a conversational agent be? Should personified interfaces have designed personalities? When do these human-like systems become creepy? My lab investigates the ways in which personified interfaces support their users, particularly children and families, and common pitfalls in creating these systems.