About Will Odom

I am an interaction designer and researcher interested in systems, services, and products that can shape people, societies, and cultures in profound ways. I'm invested in design that positively shapes the human condition in terms of (i) supporting personal growth, enjoyment and meaning making (ii) as well as facilitating systemic change capable of crafting viable human and environmental futures. I'm interested in designing for complex environments that are in constant states of negotiation and change, such as 'the home' or urban settings. My background spans interaction design, informatics, and anthropology. I have completed two fantastic internships at Microsoft Research Cambridge in the Socio-Digital Systems group. Before that, I was a Fulbright Scholar in the design department at the Queensland College of Art in Brisbane, Australia. I am currently in my last year as PhD candidate in the HCI Institute at Carnegie Mellon University where I work with John Zimmerman & Jodi Forlizzi, and several esteemed people in the Living Environments Lab. I also studied interaction design at Indiana University.

About This Site

This site features my research and design projects.
Curriculum Vita
Take a look at my CV
Design Portfolio
See some of my older design projects (from 2006-2008)


19 February 2014 Invited Talk at Georgia Tech

I'll be giving a lecture on the slow technology design space in human-computer interaction research as a part of the Nokia Invited Lecture Series on Mobile and Future Technologies. This talk draws on a two design projects I've been working on, including a fourteen month deployment of slow technology prototypes in people's homes. It is from 1-2pm in the School of Literature, Media and Communication.

15 October 2013 Exhibit at IDEATE at Carnegie Mellon

I have an invited exhibit at the curated IDEATE event held at Carnegie Mellon this year. IDEATE is a new integrative design, art and technology collective at CMU. This event is being held in conjunction with the Remaking Cities Institute (RCI)'s international congress. 300 of the top urbanists in North America and Europe are attending! It is in the Center for Fine Art's Great Hall at 7pm. Stop by if you are in town!

2 October 2013 Invited Talk at the Pacific Northwest College of Art

I'll be giving a lecture on how design research can nurture the emerging slow technology design space in human-computer interaction research. This talk draws on a few recent projects I've been working on, including a fourteen month deployment of slow technology prototypes in people's homes. It is from 9-10:30am PST in the Collaborative Design department of PNCA.

17 July 2013 Dissertation Proposal

I am proposing my dissertation research at 10am EST in the Gates-Hillman Center room 6115 on Carnegie Mellon campus. My proposal will describe several projects I have done over the past several years that combine qualitative fieldwork in sites around the world as well as new methods to help explore what people's future practices could be with their virtual possessions. My esteemed committee members are John Zimmerman, Jodi Forlizzi, Sara Kiesler, and Abigail Sellen. Feel free to stop by and check it out if you are in town!

11 June 2012 Slow Technology workshop in Newcastle, UK

I'm co-organizing a workshop at DIS this year along with a several esteemed collaborators. Interactive technologies are being designed, produced, used, re-purposed, discarded and destroyed more rapidly than ever before. With these shifts, new concerns have steadily emerged across the design and HCI communities over how the growing presence of interactive technologies in people's everyday lives—and the values embedded in their design—might shape people's current experiences and practices as well as the lives of future generations. The core goal of this workshop is to critically reflect on the work that has emerged since Slow Technology was originally proposed, in order to forge understanding of the challenges, limitations and opportunities characterizing the contemporary design space. Please submit something!

6 May 2012 Technology Design for the End of Life workshop in Austin

I'm co-organizing a workshop at CHI this year along with a host of folks I've been collaborating with for years now. This workshop focuses on how technologies might be designed to support the many social processes that occur when a loved one passes away -- from how the emotional realities of such experiences to how the departed's digital legacy might be passed down and managed in the future. Please consider submitting something!

5 May 2012 Visual Thinking and Digital Imagery CHI workshop in Austin

I'm co-organizing a workshop at CHI this year along with several talented colleagues. This workshop focuses on exploring the centrality of visual literacy and visual thinking to HCI. Drawing on emerging critical perspectives, the workshop will address visual literacy and visual thinking from an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary design-orientation, foregrounding the notion that imagery is a primary form of visual thinking. We will address how a broader framework for visual thinking and imagery in HCI can play a role in raising the visual standards of HCI research and practice. Workshop participants will investigate possibilities for developing a culture of curatorial gaze in HCI, in order to (i) promote collection of digital images as a method appropriate for a design-oriented discipline, (ii) invite others to contribute to a genre of working and corpus of imagery unique to HCI, and (iii) to expand the approaches that design-oriented HCI may productively and creatively draw upon. Please consider submitting something!

5 August 2011 Invited Talk at the Newcastle University Culture Lab

I'll be giving a lecture on different design methodologies involving prototyping to explore potential futures in which technology may (or may not) be appropriate. This talk draws on two recent projects I have been working on. My talk is scheduled for 5 August, 1pm-2pm at the Culture Lab.

7-8 May 2011 HCI, Politics and the City CHI workshop in Vancouver

I'm co-organizing a two day workshop at CHI 2011 along with some fantastic colleagues. The workshop focues on grassroots movements and how they shape our cities, cultures and politics. We invite HCI researchers, activists and artists to engage with the processes, materials, challenges, and goals of grassroots communities in Vancouver, the city hosting CHI’11. Our workshop will facilitate a dialogue around the practical and active engagement of HCI research with grassroots communities. Working together with local organizations, workshop participants will conduct explorations of urban spaces and activist headquarters, participatory design sessions, reflection, critique and creative design of political artifacts. We hope these activities result in concrete design strategies, opportunities for technical interventions and future collaborations in the domain of political computing. Please read more about our workshop themes and visit our call for submissions. Submit something!!!

18 August 2010 Designing Interactive Systems Conference

I'll be presenting 3 papers at the DIS 2010 conference in Aarhus, Denmark. See you in Scandinavia!

10 April 2010 CHI workshop

I'm organizing a workshop at CHI this year along with some colleagues from the UK and Canada. We're planning to engage with a range of issues having to do with the persistence of digital data, issues of ownership (beyond the life of the original owner) and the new design spaces this suggests. An area of particular interest is how forms of digital residua of one's life might be treated in the design of technologies that might become imbued with sentimental or reminiscent value over time. The workshop is scheduled for April 10th in Atlanta. You should submit something!

1 May 2009 Lecture in Curtin University of Technology

I'll be giving a lecture on notions of endurance from a design perspective and strategies for designing enduring interactive products at Curtin University of Technology in Perth. My talk is part of the School of Design seminar series and scheduled for May 1st, 11am-12pm in the SoD lecture hall.

6 March 2009 Upcoming Lecture at The University of Melbourne

I'll be giving a talk on sustainability-oriented HCI research and opportunities suggested by product and interaction design perspectives. It's a part of the the University of Melbourne Interaction Design Group's weekly research seminar and scheduled for March 6th, 3-4pm in the IDEA lab (4th floor). Come check it out!

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May 14 - DIS

2 Papers and 2 Pictorials
accepted at DIS 2014!

February 14 - DIS

I am an AC for the Experience subcommittee of DIS 2014 and Co-Chair of the Pictorials track

January 14 - CHI

Paper accepted to CHI 2014!
*we received a best paper award!*

October 13 - CHI

I am an AC for the Understanding People subcommittee of CHI 2014

Janurary 13 - CHI

2 Papers accepted to CHI 2013!
*we received a best paper nomination!*

Dec 12 - CSCW

MSR folks and I had a paper accepted to CSCW 2013

June 12 - DIS

2 Papers accepted to DIS 2012
*we received a best paper award!*

May 12 - CHI

3 papers accepted to CHI 2012

Feb 12 - Methods of Design

Two methods I helped develop are in the Universal Methods of Design!

Sept 11 - UBICOMP

Paper accepted to Ubicomp 2011
*we received a best paper award!*

June 11 - MSR Cam

Interning in the SDS group again!

Jan 11 - CHI

2 papers accepted to CHI 2011
*we received a best paper award!*

April 10 - DIS

3 papers accepted to DIS 2010!

Dec 09 - CHI

Paper accepted to CHI 2010
*we received best paper nomination!*

Aug 09 - HCII CMU

Made the move to PA to start my PhD

June 09 - MSR Cam

Interning in the SDS group

May 09 - Fulbright Finito

Finished up a great run in OZ