Human Factors

HUG me I’m a Geek!

[...] a geek is a person who is inordinately dedicated to and involved with technology to the point of sometimes not appearing to be normal. Being a geek also implies a capability with the technology.

The Plain English Geek Glossary

Consider three persons H, U and G watching commercial for a long awaited new smartphone of a famous brand A. This is what they think:

H: Wow, this a cool thing; beautiful design; if I own it, all my friends would admire me.

U: Looks like this phone is very intuitive to use. And has lots of functions to support my daily activities.

G: I want a screwdriver, open it, understand how it works and modify it.

H’s attitude is called hedonistic – oriented towards pleasure and identity. U’s attitude is usability-oriented, emphasizing utility and efficiency. Both these styles of product perception are well known from numerous studies and have become canonical for evaluating quality of interactive products.

But, is the HU model really sufficient? See how G’s attitude differs. G exhibits a deeper relation with technology, being more a creator of technology than a mere consumer. The goal is to find out more about people having such an intimate relation to technology:


Can geekism be thought of as a personality structure?


What drives a geek?


How would one measure geekism?


How would one design products for geeks?

Possible assignments surrounding this topics include:


Doing a qualitative interview study to build a theory of Geekism.


Run a priming experiment to measure Geekism in the lab.


Develop and validate a scale for Geekism.


Relate Geekism to existing personality scales.

Interested? Ask Martin Schmettow (