Carlo Giovannella
pp. 123 - 138, view paper, download
(, Google Scholar

Submitted on 15 May 2022 - Accepted on 15 Feb 2023

Interaction Design and Architecture(s) IxD&A Journal
Issue N. 55, Winter 2023


In this article, we propose a theoretical framework of reference for the design for wellbeing, mainly in large techno ecosystems like smart cities and smart learning ecosystems taken here as examples. Starting from a people/human-centered vision of such ecosystems and the identification of their smartness with the ASLERD pyramids of needs, the mapping on the levels of this latter of the wellbeing – either defined by the living conditions generated by the context and perceived at the individual level due to the involvement in the technologically augmented processes taking place within the ecosystem – is discussed. It is also shown that the multidimensional smartness-wellbeing construct incorporates the perspective of the design for the experience, whatever the focus and the zoom level applied by the designers to the ecosystem under consideration. Finally, we show that the proposed theoretical framework allows the adoption of a bottom-up participatory approach to evaluate the smartness of the ecosystems of interest and, thus, the possibility of comparing ecosystems with similar characteristics and identifying their peculiarities with respect to the proposed framework.

Keywords: Design for Wellbeing, Design for the Experience, People-Centered Smart Cities, Learning Ecosystems, Ecosystems Smartness, ASLERD Pyramid, Participatory Evaluation of Smartness and Wellbeing

Cite this article as:
Giovannella C.: From simplex to complex: designing for wellbeing at scale, Interaction Design & Architecture(s) – IxD&A Journal, N.55, 2022, pp. 123–138, DOI:


1. Calvo R. A. and Peters D.: Positive Computing: Technology for Well-being and Hu-man Potential, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2014)
2. Desmet P. MA and Pohlmeyer A. E: Positive design: An introduction to design for subjective well-being. International journal of design 7, 3, pp. 5–19 (2013) Available Online at: (Retrieved on March 2023)
3. Hassenzahl M. Experience design: Technology for all the right reasons. Synthesis lectures on human-centered informatics 3, 1, pp. 1–95 (2010)
4. Giovannella C.: Is complexity tameable ? Toward a design for the experience in a complex world. Interaction Design and architecture(s) IxD&A Journal, N. 15, pp.18-30 (2012)
5. Giovannella C., Carcone S., Camusi A.: What and how to monitor complex educative experiences. Toward the definition of a general framework, Interaction Design and ar-chitecture(s) IxD&A Journal, N. 11-12, pp. 7-23 (2011)
6. Lee S. H., Han J. H., Y. Leem T. and Yigitcanlar T.: Towards ubiquitous city: concept, planning, and experiences in the Republic of Korea. In Knowledge-Based Urban De-velopment: Planning and Applications in the Information Era, pp. 148-169 (2008)
7. Deakin M. and Al Waer H.: From Intelligent to Smart Cities. Journal of Intelligent Buildings International: From Intelligent Cities to Smart Cities. 3 (3) pp.140–152 (2011)
8. Giffinger R., Fertner C., Kramar H., Pichler-Milanovic N. and Meijers E.: Smart cities. Ranking of European medium-sized cities. (2007) retrieved on August 2022.
9. Giffinger R. and Gudrun H.: Smart cities ranking: an effective instrument for the posi-tioning of cities? ACE: Architecture. City & Environ, 4 (12) pp. 7–25 (2010)
10. Hewett T. T., Baecker R., Card S., Carey T., Gasen J., Mantei M., Perlman G., Strong G. and Verplank W.: ACM SIGCHI Curricula for Human-Computer Interaction. Associa-tion for Computing Machinery, New York, United States (1992) Abs .
11. Giovannella C., Dascalu M. and Scaccia F.: Smart City Analytics: state of the art and future perspectives. Interaction Design and architecture(s) (IxD&A) Journal, N. 20 pp. 72-87 (2014)
12. Giovannella C.: Smart Territory Analytics: toward a shared vision. SIS, CUEC Ed. (2014)
13. Giovannella C.: Territorial Smartness and Emergent Behaviors. ICSCS 2013, IEEE publisher pp. 170-176 (2013)
14. Giovannella C., Gobbi A., Zhang B., Elsner J., Del Fatto V., Pérez-Sanagustín M., Avouris N. and Zualkernan I.: Villard-de-Lans: a Case Study for Collaborative Peo-ple-Centered Smart City Learning Design. ICALT 2013, IEEE publisher pp. 459-460 (2013)
15. The Human Smart Cities Cookbook. Planum n. 28 (2014) retrieved on August 2022
16. Human Smart Cities. Rethinking the Interplay between Design and Planning. G. Con-cilio and F. Rizzo Eds., Springer (2016)
17. Giovannella C.. Smartness as complex emergent property of a process. The case of learning eco-systems. ICWOAL 2014, IEEE publisher pp. 1-5 (2014)
18. (Retrieved on March 2023)
19. Czisikszentmihalyi M.: Flow – The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Harper & Row (1990)
20. Maslow A.H.: A theory of human motivation, Psychological Review, 50 (4) pp. 370–396. (1943)
21. Giovannella C., Andone D., Dascalu M., Popescu E., Rehm M., Roccasalva G.: Evalu-ating the Resilience of the Bottom-up Method used to Detect and Benchmark the Smartness of University Campuses. ICS2 2016, IEEE publisher pp. 341-345 (2016)
22. Ryan R. M. and Deci E. L.: Self-Determination Theory: Basic Psycho-logical Needs in Motivation, Development, and Wellness. Guilford Press, New York (2017)
23. Peters D., Calvo R. A, Ryan R. M.:Designing for motivation, engagement and wellbe-ing in digital experience. Frontiers in psychology 9, 797 (2018) retrieved on August 2022.
24. Vygotsky L.: Adolescent Pedagogy The development of thinking and concept for-mation in adolescence (1931) (Re-trieved on March 2023)
25. Leoste J., Heidmets M., Ley T., Stepanova J.: Classroom Innovation Becoming Sus-tainable: A Study of Technological Innovation Adoption by Estonian Primary School Teachers. Interaction Design and Architecture(s) Journal (IxD&A), 47 pp. 144-166 (2020)
26. Rogers E.M.: Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York: Free Press (2003)
27. Davis F.D.: A Technology Acceptance Model for empirically testing new end-user information systems: theory and results. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1985)
28. DePietro R., Wiarda E., Fleischer M.: The context for change: organization, technology and environment. In Tornatzky, L.G. Fleischer, M. (Eds), The Process of Technological Innovation, Lexington Books, Lexington, MA (1990) 151-175
29. V. Venkatesh, M.G. Morris, G.B. Davis, F.D. Davis. 2003 User acceptance of infor-mation technology: Toward a unified view. MIS Quarterly, 27(3) pp. 425–478 (2003)
30. Giovannella C.: Between Awareness and Acceptance: a more mature School Teachers’ Perspective on Integrated Learning one year after the pandemic outbreak. Interaction Design and Architecture(s) (IxD&A) Journal, N. 52, pp. 23-43 (2022)
31. Giovannella C.: An Organic Process for the Organic Era of the Interaction in HCI. In Educators 2007: Creativity3 – Experiencing to educate and design. Univ. of Aveiro press, pp. 129-133 (2007) ISBN: 978-972-789-227-3
32. Giovannella C., Andone D., Dascalu M., Popescu E., Rehm M., Roccasalva G.: Smart-ness of Learning Ecosystems and its bottom-up emergence in six European Campus-es. Interaction Design and Architecture(s) (IxD&A) Journal, N. 27 pp. 79-92 (2015)
33. Giovannella C.: Participatory bottom-up self-evaluation of schools’ smartness: an Italian case study. Interaction Design and Architecture(s) (IxD&A Journal), N. 31 pp. 9-18 (2016)
34. Galego D., Giovannella C., Mealha O.: An investigation of actors’ differences in the perception of learning ecosystems’ smartness: the case of the Aveiro University. In-teraction Design and Architecture(s) – (IxD&A) Journal, N. 31 pp. 19-31 (2016)
35. Giovannella C.: Participatory evaluation as starting point to design for smarter learn-ing ecosystems: the UTOV case history, In “Citizen, Territory and Technologies: Smart Learning Contexts and Practices”, Springer publisher pp. 64-74 (2017)
36. Meahla O., Giovannella C., Delgado F.: School Smartness augmented by educational community members: a pilot contribution from K9 students, in D’Andrea Fabio and Baldi Vania (eds.) “Codice e luoghi. Abitare le relazioni nel rea-le/digitale”, Roma, Meltemi Editore pp. 143-164 (2019)
37. Giovannella C., Passarelli M., Persico D.: The Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Italian Learning Ecosystems: the School Teachers’ Perspective at the steady state. In-teraction Design and Architecture(s) Journal (IxD&A), N. 45 pp. 264 – 286 (2020)
38. EUROSTAT: Quality of life, (Retrieved on March 2023)
39. Jolliffe I.T.: Principal Component Analysis, Springer Series in Statistics, 2nd ed., Springer, NY (2002)
40. Hotelling H.: Analysis of a complex of statistical variables into principal compo-nents. Journal of Educational Psychology, 24 pp. 417–441, and pp. 498–520 (1933)
41. Giovannella C., Cianfriglia L., Giannelli A. The Italian School Ecosystems two years after the lockdown: an overview on the “digital shock” triggered by the pandemic in the perceptions of schools’ principals and teachers. In “Polyphonic Construction of Smart Learning Ecosystems. Springer publisher (2022), pp. 47–76
42. Dourish P.: HCI and environmental sustainability: the politics of design and the design of politics Proceedings of the 8th ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems. ACM, New York, NY, USA (2010)
43. Tomitsch M., Fredericks J., Vo D., Frawley J., Foth M.: Non-human Personas: Includ-ing Nature in the Participatory Design of Smart Cities, Interaction Design and Archi-tecture(s) (IxD&A) Journal, 50, pp. 102-130 (2021)
44. Turing A. M.: Computing Machinery and Intelligence, Mind, 59 pp. 433-460 (1950)
45. Hayes P., Ford K.: Turing Test Considered Harmful, in Proceedings of IJCAI 1995, pp. 972-977 (1995)
46. Coeckelbergh M.: AI Ethics, MIT Press (2020)
47. Ethics By Design and Ethics of Use Approaches for Artificial Intelligence, European Commission, (2021) (Retrieved on March 2023)
48. Crampton Smith G.: Educating Interaction Designers, in John Maeda, Creative Code, Thames & Hudson London (2004)
49. Moggridge B.: Designing Interactions, MIT Press (2007)
50. Giovannella C.: Scuola, ecco perché le macchine non possono (ancora) sostituire i docenti, AgendaDigitale (2022), (Retrieved on March 2023)
51. Self-Determination Theory in HCI: Shaping a Research Agenda, CHI 2022 Workshop, (2022) (Retrieved on March 2023)
52. Callois R.: Les Jeux et les Hommes : le masque et le vertige, Gallimard (1967)
53. Saffer D.: Designing for Interaction: Creating Smart Applications And Clever Devic-es, New Riders, Berkeley (2007)
54. Roto V., Law E., Vermeeren A., Hoonhout J., (eds): User Experience White Paper. Outcome of the Dagstuhl Seminar on Demarcating User Experience, (2011) Available at (Retrieved on March 2023)

back to Table of Contents