Critical technical practice as a methodology for values in design

Critical Technical Practice (CTP) is an approach to identifying and altering philosophical assumptions underlying technical practice. In this paper, we propose CTP as a useful method for developing value-sensitive design, complementing existing ethics-based approaches in HCI. CTP, originally proposed by Phil Agre, tightly binds technology development (as practiced in computer science) with critical reflection (as practiced in critical studies and design research), thereby uncovering and altering hidden values and assumptions in technology design. HCI, due to its interdisciplinary constitution and reflective nature, is a particularly fruitful domain for critical technical practice. We demonstrate through four case studies how critical technical practice supports the identification of values underlying design as well as the development of concrete technical alternatives.

Boehner, K., David, S., Kaye, J., & Sengers, P. (2005). Critical technical practice as a methodology for values in design. In CHI 2005 Workshop on quality, values, and choices.