Social Acceptability in HCI

A Survey of Methods, Measures, and Design Strategies



With the increasing ubiquity of personal devices, social acceptability of human-machine interactions has gained relevance and growing interest from the HCI community. Yet, there are no best practices or established methods for evaluating social acceptability. Design strategies for increasing social acceptability have been described and employed, but so far not been holistically appraised and evaluated. We offer a systematic literature analysis (N=69) of social acceptability in HCI and contribute a better understanding of current research practices, namely, methods employed, measures and design strategies. Our review identified an unbalanced distribution of study approaches, shortcomings in employed measures, and a lack of interweaving between empirical and artifact-creating approaches. The latter causes a discrepancy between design recommendations based on user research, and design strategies employed in artifact creation. Our survey lays the groundwork for a more nuanced evaluation of social acceptability, the development of best practices, and a future research agenda.

The publication received a Best Paper Honorable Mention Award at ACM CHI’20.

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