about

David Hendry is an Associate Professor in the Information School, University of Washington and holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering. With Prof. Batya Friedman, he co-directs the Value Sensitive Design Lab.

Also with Batya Friedman, in 2019, he published a comprehensive account of value sensitive design, an approach to design pioneered by Batya in the 1990s and widely taken up in recent years.

Image of the book cover.

Using our technical and moral imaginations to create responsible
innovations: theory, method, and applications for
value sensitive design (1)


For the last decade, David worked on a series of community-based projects on youth, homelessness, and digital technology, investigating how youth employ technology and how technology might be designed to improve the well-being of youth.

We asked one twofold question: How do youth use technology in their daily lives and how, if at all, might technology be designed to help youth escape homelessness?

Working closely with non-profit organizations in Seattle, Washington, U.S. and working with brilliant students and colleagues, including Jill Woelfer and Batya Friedman, David applied and extended value sensitive design theory and method to this extraordinary socio-technical context.

The answer to the first part of the question is: In extraordinary and simultaneously ordinary ways. To the second: Yes, in deeply interactional and social ways, tied to life and to work (2).

David is currently at work on new ideas related to skillful practice and value sensitive design, developing design-oriented educational case studies in Tech Policy. This work tackles these questions:

  1. In design situations of moral and technical imagination, what is skillful practice?
  2. What knowledge and sensibilities do expert designers employ when jointly considering policy and technical elements?
  3. How can students be positioned to learn the theory and practice for value sensitive design and become responsible innovators?

More broadly, with others in the value sensitive design community, he is supporting the diffusion and appropriation of value sensitive design.


Photograph of Dave (Autumn 2018)

David received his B.A. and M.Sc. in Computing and Information Science at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada and his Ph.D. in Computer Science at The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland, learning from Tom Carey, TGR Green, and David J. Harper. I was so very fortunate to study alongside these thinkers.

He has worked on topics in end-user programming and search (3). Since his first programming experience in 1978 with optical marked cards, a simulated assembly language, and three-day batched turn around times he has spent many stimulating hours learning about notations. A big challenge: We need new ideas for what counts as “progress?”


(1) Batya Friedman and David G. Hendry. (2019). Value Sensitive Design: Shaping Technology with Moral Imagination. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. [MIT Press | Amazon]

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