Techno-spiritual Practices and Interactions Design

Session Title

Techno-spiritual Practices and Interaction Design


Susan P. Wyche, GVU Center/ GaTech

Session Type: Demo

As questions of faith become more important globally, designers must recognize that religions’ interface with technology transcends the realm of technological oddities and merits serious attention. We present Sun Dial, a mobile phone application that supports Muslims’ prayer practices to demonstrate how understanding techno-spiritual practices can motivate innovative design. Unlike similar systems, Sun Dial relies on graphics rather than text and graphs to communicate prayer times. The sun’s gentle movement through the sky prompts Muslim users to their five daily prayer times. Users’ drove this choice, by telling us that tracking the sun was the most religiously valued method to determine prayer times.

We will describe our design process, detailing how we included Muslim users in every stage of the process to design an application that will soon be available for download at Apple’s iTunes store.


Susan Wyche is an industrial designer finishing her doctoral degree in Human-Centered Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is currently examining how to design technology for religious purposes. Prior to returning to school, she worked as a professional designer in the housewares industry. More recently, she has worked as a design researcher for S.C. Johnson and Son, Microsoft Research, and Intel’s User Centered Design Group. Her research has been published at CHI, UbiComp and DUX conferences. Susan holds an undergraduate degree in Industrial Design from Carnegie-Mellon University.


  1. Carl
    Posted September 18, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    This would make a great contribution to the conference. Its an interesting project, good interaction design, and a great example of how research can inform interaction design in academic settings and have impact beyond academia.

  2. Posted September 21, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Thank you Carl.