Multi-lifespan Information System Design

Some problems are unlikely to be solved within a single human lifespan. The Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal is the first large-scale proof of concept project conducted under a multi-lifespan information system design framing. We believe these historically significant materials will be of interest to Rwandans, to the international justice community, and to the global public, now and a hundred years from now. In addition to contributing to peace-building, justice and reconciliation in Rwanda as well as to international justice, this project will contribute rigorous information system design knowledge, methods and heuristics for identifying visions, institutional policies, infrastructure, plans, and actions that can be implemented in the near-term to enable a long-term vision about information integration and access.



Friedman, B. and Yoo, D. (2017). Pause: A multi-lifespan design mechanism. In Proceedings of CHI 2017, 460-464. New York, NY: ACM Press.


Friedman, B., Nathan, L. P., and Yoo, D. (2016). Multi-lifespan information system design in support of transitional justice: evolving situated design principles for the long(er) term. Interacting with Computers, iwv045.

Yoo, D., Derthick, K., Shaghayegh, G., Hakizimana, J., Gill, B., and Friedman, B.(2016). Multi-lifespan design thinking: two methods and a case study with the Rwandan diaspora. In Proceedings of CHI 2016, 4423-4434. New York, NY: ACM Press.


Yoo, D., Lake, M., Nilsen, T., Utter, M. E., Alsdorf, R., Bizimana, T., Nathan, L. P., Ring, M., Utter, E. J., Utter, R. F., and Friedman, B. (2013). Envisioning across generations: A multi-lifespan information system for international justice in Rwanda. In Proceedings of CHI 2013, 2527-2536. New York, NY: ACM Press.


Nilsen, T., Grey, N. C., and Friedman, B. (2012). Public curation of a historic collection: A means for speaking safely in public. Extended Abstracts of CSCW 2012, 277-278. New York, NY: ACM Press.


Nathan, L.P., Grey, N.C., Lake, M., Nilsen, T., Utter, E., Utter, R.F., Ring, M., Kahn, Z., and Friedman, B. (2011). Multi-lifespan information system design: Investigating a new design approach in Rwanda. In Proceedings of iConference 2011. New York: ACM Press, 591-597.


Friedman, B. and Nathan, L. P., Multi-lifespan information system design: A research initiative for the HCI community. In Proceedings of CHI 2010. ACM Press (2010).

Friedman, B., Nathan, L.P., Lake, M., Grey, N.C., Nilsen, T., Utter, R.F., Utter, E., Ring, M., and Kahn, Z., Multi-lifespan information system design in post-conflict societies: an evolving project in Rwanda. Extended Abstracts of CHI 2010 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2833-2842. New York: ACM Press.

Nathan, L. P., and Friedman, B. (2010). Interacting with policy in a political world: Reflections from the Voices of the Rwanda Tribunal project. ACM interactions, 17(5), 56-59.

In the News

Seattle researchers document Rwanda tribunal - Associated Press, Jan. 27, 2009.

Project Team

Principal Investigator

Professor Batya Friedman, University of Washington

Information Science

Professor Bob Boiko, University of Washington
Professor Batya Friedman (PI), University of Washington
Shaghayegh Ghassemian, University of Washington
Professor Brian Gill, Seattle Pacific University
Professor Tadayoshi Kohno (Co-PI), University of Washington
Karl Koscher, University of Washington
Trond Nilsen, University of Washington
Daisy Yoo, University of Washington

Law and Human Rights

Judge Robert Alsdorf
Milli Lake, University of Washington
Elizabeth Utter


Nell Carden Grey
Bryce Newell, University of Washington


Ian King, University of Washington
Dean Paul Constantine, University of Washington

Project Outreach and Administration

Daisy Yoo, University of Washington

Project Alumni

Maxwell Andrews
Patricia Boiko
Alexei Czeskis
Donald J Horowitz
Zoe Kahn
John Lin
Stephanie Lim
John McKay
Lisa P. Nathan
Nic Pottier
Mark Ring
Eric Saltzman
Ronald Slye
Molly Utter
Robert Utter
Margaret Young

Partner Organizations

We work closely with the following organizations:

  • Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities
  • Hope After Rape
  • Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre
  • Never Again Rwanda
  • Seattle University School of Law
  • The Shoah Foundation
  • University of British Columbia
  • UW Center for Human Rights

Advisory Board

Theoneste Bizimana
(Coordinator, Healing and Rebuilding our Communities, RWANDA)

Vinton Cerf
(Vice President, Google, USA)

Paul Dourish
(Professor, UC Irvine, USA)

Gerhard Fischer
(Professor, University of Colorado, USA)

William Gaver
(Professor, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK)

Kristina Höök
(Professor, Stockholm University/KTH, SWEDEN)

Tom Ikeda
(Founder and Executive Director, Densho Project, USA)

Freddy Mutanguha
(Director, Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, RWANDA)

Lisa Nathan
(Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia, CANADA)

Joseph Nkurunziza
(Founder and Executive Director, Never Again Rwanda, RWANDA)

Terry Winograd
(Professor, Stanford University, USA)

Volker Wulf
(Professor, University of Siegen, GERMANY)