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.

In 2019, with Batya Friedman, 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 (Friedman & Hendry, 2019)


From about 2007-2018, 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 a 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 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 (1).

Community and service engagements continue, with colleagues and collaborators in the U-District.

More recently, David published a set of instructional case studies in Tech Policy. The case studies position students to consider the deeply interactional processes of human values and technology. Within pedagogical bounds, students engage both technical and policy elements and develop design solutions. For instructors, the instructional case studies have been written so that they can be revised and re-used for varied educational settings.

Design Oriented Educational Case Studies (Hendry, 2020).

David is currently at work on new ideas related to skillful practice and value sensitive design (Hendry, Friedman, & Ballard, 2021). 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, TRG Green, and David J. Harper.

I was so very fortunate to study alongside these thinkers.

I’ve worked on topics in end-user programming and search (2). Since my first programming experience in 1978 with optical marked cards, a simulated assembly language, and three-day batched turn around I have spent many stimulating hours studying notations.

(1) For example work see: Hendry, Woelfer, & Duong, 2017; Woelfer & Hendry, 2011; Woelfer & Hendry, 2010.

(2) For example work see: Hendry & Green, 1994; Hendry, 1995. Hendry & Harper, 1997.


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

Hendry, D. G., Friedman, B. and Ballard, S. (2021). Value sensitive design as a formative frameworkEthics and Information Technology, 2339–44.

Hendry, D. G. (2020). Designing Tech Policy: Instructional Case Studies for Technologists and Policymakers. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Tech Policy Lab. [ online pressbook | PDF ]

Hendry, D. G. (1995). Display-based problems in spreadsheets: A critical incident and a design remedy. In Volker Harrslev (Ed.), Proceedings of 11th International IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages VL’95 (pp. 284-290). Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press.

Hendry, D. G., and Green, T. R. G. (1994). Creating, comprehending, and explaining spreadsheets:  A cognitive interpretation of what discretionary users think of the spreadsheet model. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 40(6), 1033-1065.

Hendry, D. G., and Harper, D. J. (1997). An informal information-seeking environment. Journal of American Society of Information Science (Special issue on human-computer interaction), 48(11), 1036-1048.

Woelfer, J. P., and Hendry, D. G. (2011). Designing ubiquitous information systems for a community of homeless young people: Precaution and a way forward. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 15(6), 565-573.

Woelfer, J. P., and Hendry, D. G. (2010). Homeless Young People’s Experiences with Information Systems: Life and Work in a Community Technology Center. Proceedings of the Twenty-Eight Annual SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1291-1300). New York: ACM Press.

Hendry, D. G., Woelfer, J. P., and Duong, T. (2017). U-District Job Co-op: constructing a future vision for homeless young people and employment. Information Technology & People, 30 (3), 602-628.