Translation in personal crises: Opportunities for wearables design

Sarah Bratt, Bryan Semaan, Lauren Britton, Bryan Dosono, Franco Zeno

Research output: Contribution to journalConference Articlepeer-review


This paper reports on a qualitative study exploring personal crises that emerge during transitions. Personal crises, like crises caused by natural disasters, often lead to new behaviors and opportunities for technology appropriation and design. Through interviews with 14 military veterans re-integrating into civilian society, we find that the veterans' transitions involve several impediments related to translation work-the process through which people make sense of the conflicting rules and norms between former and present social realities. We developed guidelines for the design of new wearable devices that can aid veterans in the translation process by proposing a six-fold schema of design criteria for wearables-detection, nudging, portability/proximity, inconspicuousness, connectivity, and reflection-to empower veterans in managing personal crises, fostering resilience, and creating normalcy. Finally, we develop the concept of identity creep to explicate these translation-breakdowns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-279
Number of pages14
JournalProceedings of the International ISCRAM Conference
StatePublished - 2017
Event14th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management, ISCRAM 2017 - Albi, France
Duration: May 21 2017May 24 2017


  • Design
  • Identity
  • Identity creep
  • Personal crises
  • Sensors
  • Transitions
  • Wearables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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