Hardware Hopes is part of my doctoral research investigating how the emotional value of a possession relates to how and where it is kept, and the implications for designers.

Research aims

Hardware Hopes explores the emotional side of computer obsolescence, by talking to people about how they use, value and feel about their computer hardware. I am investigating the ways in which emotion is present (or absent) in our relationships to computers, and how it influences our decisions to keep them, or throw them away. The project is part of my doctoral research investigating how we keep things in our homes, where products grow (or evade) personal meaning.


Key research questions include:

  • What factors influence the keeping of a device beyond its expected lifespan?
  • What feelings accompany the decision to keep or get rid of a device (e.g. frustration, desire, sense of burden, ambivalence)?
  • How do relationships to the digital content of computing devices (eg software or stored data) influence how the hardware is kept and valued?
  • Do practices of repair, hardware upgrading and personalising influence the emotional value of a device?
  • How could design support more authentic, caring and active relationships with devices?

Please contact me if you would like to discuss this research

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© Julia Keyte 2013