Investing care and appreciating effort in personal communication

I co-authored a bid for funding from the Leverhulme Trust with Dr Leon Watts as a follow up to some of my PhD work. I am currently involved as a visiting research fellow at the University of Bath. The grant was confirmed in December 2013 and runs until May 2017.

The aim of the project is to develop a new understanding of those design factors which foster the meaningful investment of personal effort in the production of communication artefacts. Communication artefacts are any object that is generated by a person as part of an ongoing dialogue with another person. The purpose of the research is to test the idea that communication messages can become devalued if they are designed to be trivial to produce, especially if those communications take place in the context of a close personal relationship.

The first year of the project has explored what the meaning of effort is in the context of personal communication and how effort is currently invested in the creation of both digital and physical communication messages. The second year focussed on design and exploring how to embed our theoretical model of effort into communication devices. We are currently building two prototype systems for deployment in the near future. More information can be found on the project website.