Published on September 17, 2016

Communication Design Quarterly (CDQ), the peer reviewed publication of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)’s Special Interest Group on the Design of Communication (SIGDOC), is soliciting article proposals for an upcoming special issue that will examine communication design practices related to wearable health and medical technologies. This special issue will be published in December 2017.


Wearable medical technologies–from activity monitors such as the FitBit to medical devices like insulin pumps–are increasingly influencing how we think of and communicate information about the body. And their use is growing rapidly. According a 2014 PwC consumer survey, a growing segment of individuals believes wearable health and medical technologies will lead to dramatic changes in how we think about healthcare and medical communication. The success or failure of wearable technologies, however, is likely dependent on the usability of wearable interfaces and whether they can be seamlessly integrated into users’ daily lives. As one recent UX prediction frames it: “The more information that’s known, the more customized the experience can be” (O’Connor, 2015).

This special issue seeks to examine how factors of communication design and user-centered design relate to and affect the development, design, and use of wearable devices. The guest editors invite proposals for papers on applied research or theory, case histories/studies, commentaries, teaching approaches, and annotated bibliographies that address questions, including but not limited to the following:

  • How do the designs of interfaces affect the use of wearable technologies? How do they, for example, enable or disable actions, behaviors, and processes for users?
  • How do mobile technologies challenge us to think differently about effective approaches to user experience/user experience design (UX/UXD) and other communication design issues?
  • What compelling contexts for, usability studies of, and case studies of specific wearable medical technologies or categories of wearable technologies (health-related, activity-tracking, GPS-tracking, etc.) can help us rethink critical UX issues like accessibility, adaptability, and sustainability?
  • What are the comparative benefits or drawbacks of the communication design of current wearable devices?
  • How might open architectures or application program interfaces (API)s that make wearable data more accessible also be fertile sites of exploration for communication designers?
  • What use cases (fashion, gaming, healthcare, sports, etc.) are fertile sites of exploration for an investigation of the interfaces and other communication design elements of wearable technologies?
  • Do the do it yourself (DIY) and maker movements offer an alternative approach to designing interfaces and interactions with wearable technologies?
  • How do the specific interfaces and communication design choices of wearable devices exclude or serve underrepresented individuals or groups?


Send 250–300-word proposals and a CV for each author by October 15th, 2016, to Catherine Gouge ( and John Jones (

All proposals should include

  • The submitter’s name, affiliation, and email address
  • A provisional, descriptive title for the proposed article
  • A summary of the topic/focus of the proposed article
  • An explanation of how the proposed topic/focus connects to the theme of the issue
  • An overview of the structure/organization of the proposed article (i.e., how the author will address the topic within the context of the proposed article)


15 October 2016 – Proposals due
15 November 2016 – Decisions on proposals sent to submitters
30 February 2017 – Initial manuscripts due
15 April 2017 – Reviewer comments to authors
15 July 2017 – Revised manuscripts due
15 August 2017 – Final publishing decisions to contributors
December 2017 – Publication of special issue


Completed proposals should be sent to both Catherine Gouge ( and John Jones (

Questions about proposal topics or about the focus of this special issue should be sent to both Catherine Gouge ( and John Jones (