University of Oulu

Paananen, V., Visuri, A., Van Berkel, N., & Hosio, S. (2023). Eliciting empathy towards urban accessibility issues. Proceedings of the 15th Biannual Conference of the Italian SIGCHI Chapter, 1–13.

Eliciting empathy towards urban accessibility issues

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Author: Paananen, Ville1; Visuri, Aku1; van Berkel, Niels2;
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 4.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Association for Computing Machinery, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-10-20


Empathy is an integral part of what it means to be human. Empathy refers to the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what they might be thinking and feeling. Architectural and urban design have identified empathy as a crucial factor in the design process and especially in user-centered participatory methods. Although empathy has been recognized as important for relating to other people’s issues, current research has not explored how urban accessibility issues elicit empathy. We conducted a between-subjects online study where 202 participants observed five scenarios on different accessibility issues. Our results show that empathic traits and previous experience are significant factors in empathizing with accessibility issues. Additionally, storytelling and photos can influence perceptions of accessibility issues. The study highlights the importance of empathic traits and personal experience in understanding and addressing accessibility issues, as well as the potential of storytelling and photos in shaping perceptions of accessibility issues and evoking empathy. Our contribution demonstrates the advantages of incorporating narrative multimedia into design processes for improved urban accessibility.

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ISBN: 979-8-4007-0806-0
Pages: 1 - 13
DOI: 10.1145/3605390.3605416
Host publication: Proceedings of the 15th Biannual Conference of the Italian SIGCHI Chapter CHItaly 2023, 20-22 September 2023, Torino, Italy, and online (www)
Conference: Biannual Conference of the Italian SIGCHI Chapter
Type of Publication: A4 Article in conference proceedings
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: This research is connected to the GenZ strategic profiling project at the University of Oulu, supported by the Academy of Finland (project number 318930), Biocenter Oulu, the Strategic Research Council (SRC), established within the Academy of Finland (Grants 335625, 335729), and Academy Research Fellow funding by Academy of Finland (Grants 349637 and 353790). This work is also supported by the Carlsberg Foundation project “Algorithmic Explainability for Everyday Citizens”.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 335625
Detailed Information: 335625 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
335729 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
349637 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
353790 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2023 Copyright held by the owner/author(s). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0 License.