Empathic Research Group

We are a human-computer interaction research group at the University of Michigan School of Information, directed by Dr. Gabriela Marcu. Our previous incarnation was at Drexel University’s College of Computing and Informatics in Philadelphia.

We are a diverse and collaborative group of scholars passionate about using our skills for social good. We study behavioral health and social issues, especially as they affect underserved, marginalized, or stigmatized populations. We then apply design thinking, human-centered design, interaction design, iterative prototyping, and innovative mobile computing to affect change. We take action research and co-design approaches, striving to ensure our research involves mutual gain for individuals, organizations, and communities who partner with us.

Our lab is full of post-its and mockups, and we spend a lot of time out in the real world engaging with communities and stakeholders. We work with local organizations and policy makers to make a positive impact on our community. Our methodological specialties include qualitative fieldwork, participatory design, community-based participatory research, and "in the wild" deployment studies.

Inclusion and equity are a focus among our group members as much as they are in our research. From undergraduate researchers, to high school interns, to postdoctoral scholars, we appreciate all perspectives and backgrounds. A diversity of input on our projects empowers our ability to tackle challenging social issues. We also love to broaden our horizons - so far, we have hosted exchange students and visiting scholars from Sweden, China, Germany, Spain, and Mexico.