Research in the Inclusive Design Lab
Should we still hope networked technologies will democratize our world? What do HCI practitioners have to offer grassroots activists? In the IDLab, all droids are welcome to pose difficult questions.
The Inclusive Design Lab (IDLab) is a Tech+Design studio where researchers develop and study digital interventions for positive social change. Members of the IDLab at Smith College pursue human-computer interaction projects involving a range of techno-social concerns.
Community engagement
Ethnographic analysis
Interaction design
Live streaming
Mobile development
Pair programming
Physical computing
Social media research
Web services & APIs
Open Research Projects
AnyKey's GLHF Moderation System
Software Engineering for Internet Activism

Harassment, especially of marginalized individuals, on networked gaming and social media platforms is a significant issue, yet few HCI practitioners create interventions tackling toxicity online.

Aligning ourselves with the growing cohort of technology design activists taking an intentional stance on social change, we contribute code to a community-driven moderation intervention called the AnyKey GLHF pledge.

Research assistants engage hands-on with a web application reaching 1.6 million+ users; propose new features with wireframes; program designs in Ruby on Rails; create open source pull requests on GitHub; see their code deployed to production; and study the effects of their software changes.

Explore the GitHub repo | Take the pledge

Inclusive Live Streamers
Marginal Ethnography in Digital Media

Gaming is a historically toxic environment for women, people of color, disabled and LGBTQ+ folks. But on Twitch, minority streamers and their allies are creating safe spaces for their communities and keeping the trolls at bay.

Inspired by their achievements, we began an in-depth ethnographic study in 2018 to explore how these creators effectively moderate their communities and monetize their content, while still maintaining the values of integrity and inclusivity that are at the core of their identities.

Research assistants propose new subcommunities to study (e.g. Black TTRPGers, femme FPS solo queuers, lonely creators); identify & recruit participants; design & conduct interviews; transcribe & analyze data; and contribute to scholarly articles & presentations summarizing our findings.

View slides from MiT talk

Current Team
Dr. Johanna Brewer
Principal Investigator
Johanna is the founder of the IDLab at Smith College, where they are an assistant professor of computer science. As a try-hard indiginerd code whisperer, Johanna was once a top 10 world ranked competitive gamer (in Worms 2) and can program in 40 different languages.
Helen Glover
Special Studies Spring 2023, Special Studies Fall 2023, Special Studies Spring 2024
Helen is studying Environmental Science and Computer Science. She is passionate about the intersection of technology, sustainable development, and cultural integrity. Her research focuses on youth digital rights and moderation in online communities.
Karen Shokobishi
Special Studies Spring 2023, Special Studies Fall 2023, Special Studies Spring 2024
Karen is an Engineering major and a Computer Science minor. She is an international student from Zimbabwe, passionate about improving underserved communities through technology and design.
Alicia Weaver
Special Studies Fall 2023, Special Studies Spring 2024
Hamssatou Almahamoudou Maiga
Special Studies Fall 2023, Special Studies Spring 2024
Hamssatou is a Computer Science and Psychology student from Mali. She is interested in ethical hacking, pen testing and user behavior analytics (an area of cyber security where users' behavior is analyzed to determine anomalous behaviors). She enjoys watching K-drama and anime.
Yurika Nakagawa
Special Studies Fall 2023, Special Studies Spring 2024
Yurika is a Computer Science major and Philosophy minor from Japan. Alarmed by her favorite dystopian novels, she is interested in exploring the ethics around computer science. She is also a passionate language learner; she spends her free time learning foreign languages.
Paola Calle
Special Studies Spring 2024
Paola is a Computer Science and Data Science student from Ecuador (raised in New York) interested in developing technology to provide public access to important data, such as censorship information. She also enjoys weightlifting and running, along with spontaneous walks.
Former Members
Meredith Diamond
Special Studies Spring 2022, SURF 2022, Special Studies Fall 2022, Special Studies Spring 2023
Rhys Z. Vulpe
Special Studies Spring 2022, SURF 2022, Special Studies Fall 2022, Special Studies Spring 2023
Adriana Beltran Andrade
Special Studies Spring 2023
Asher Uman
Special Studies Spring 2023
Brenda Gutierrez
Special Studies Spring 2023
Manar Alnazer
Special Studies Spring 2023
Wakana Ninohira
Special Studies Spring 2022, SURF 2022
Now a Junior Software Engineer at the Japanese American National Museum
Bri Laurenceau
Special Studies Spring 2022
Eleni Partakki
Special Studies Spring 2022
Now a Sales Engineer at Tamr in Cambridge, MA
Ileanna Garcia
Special Studies Spring 2022
Joining the IDLab

Computer scientists and scholars from related disciplines enrolled either at Smith or another one of the Five Colleges are generally eligible to join the lab. However, only students who have taken an intermediate/advanced course with Prof. Johanna Brewer, like software engineering or platform activism, will be recruited as undergraduate research assistants.

The research we conduct in the IDLab requires the hands-on training of upper-level HCI-focused courses, so if you think you are interested in joining us, take CSC223 or CSC356 first!

After successfully completing the prerequisites, aspiring IDLabbers should express their desire to enroll in one of the special studies courses relating to our open research projects. To ensure quality supervision and a comfortable social atmosphere, only a handful of seats will be available each semester. Anyone not initially accepted is always welcome to reapply.

Students who demonstrate an ability to contribute to our ongoing team efforts will be invited to continue their work in the summer during SURF. Those who wish to propose independent research (either as a self-guided special studies or honors thesis) must show they have mastered essential methodologies before blazing trails of their own.

Comfy corner of Bass 105: home to IDLab + HCV Lab
Reach Out & Visit Us
If you'd like to get in touch, feel free to stop by, knock and say hi! Otherwise you can email or direct message Johanna if you have questions or collaborations you'd like to discuss.

Lab Spaces
Bass Hall 105
Young 111A

Mailing Address
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063 USA