Tech break ups: A research method for understanding technological attachment

Elizabeth M. Gerber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

1 Scopus citations


An understanding of attachment gives designers a strong springboard for creating new technologies with increased functionality, usability, and lifespan. Research through design, observing people in situ with working prototypes is a useful method for understanding attachment to a context and designing new technologies for that context. A simple letter format can help people express strong emotions they might not have been able to articulate in a survey or interview. In an effort to use rich communication to understand product attachment, the authors have created a new method called Tech Break Ups. In it, participants improvise breakups with an ex-technology, speaking directly to their former product or service as if it were a person. The survey found three key reasons why relationships with products collapse, and each has to do with personal change, changes in self-identity, creative process, and creative ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages5
Specialist publicationInteractions
StatePublished - Sep 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction


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