Technology and Mastery: Exploring Design Sensitivities for Technology in Mountaineering

Keith Cheverst, Mads Bødker, Florian Daiber

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


The idea of man’s ’mastery over nature’ is ubiquitous in western philosophy and in western thinking and technology has been widely used in support of this end.
Given the growing interaction design opportunities for personal digital technologies in supporting outdoor and recreational nature activities such as mountaineering it is timely to unpack the role that technology can play in such activities. In doing so it is important to consider the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations at play for the individual and the accepted social norms or ‘rules’ that are associated with the activity through its community and passed on through its community of practice. Technologies that may be considered as a form of ‘cheating’ when first introduced (such as handheld GPS) can later become accepted through common practice, although the rules are often nuanced. For example, it is widely regarded that GPS should not replace the skill of map reading and navigation. In this position paper we consider different forms of mastery over nature that technology can support and reflect on the design sensitivities that these provide.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2018
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventThe ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI 2018 - Palais des Congrès de Montréal, Montréal, Canada
Duration: 21 Apr 201826 Apr 2018
Conference number: 36


ConferenceThe ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI 2018
LocationPalais des Congrès de Montréal
Internet address


  • User experience
  • Design sensitivity
  • Outdoor
  • Nature settings
  • Climbing
  • Mountaineering
  • Interaction design

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