Ongoing Projects

Fearless Cards: Addressing Emotional Barriers to Computer Learning among Extremely Marginalized Populations

We have developed Fearless Cards, a novel design to help under-served communities overcome emotional barriers to learn computer and internet use. In our work with Hispanic day laborers experience strong emotional barriers in addition to lacking technical skills: fear, anxiety, and lack of self-confidence; their task is made more difficult given their limited English language skills.

Through an iterative process of design and testing we created the Fearless Cards, a set of basic, easy-to-use instructions to help extremely under-served populations learn to use computers and overcome their fears and lack of self-confidence.


Fearless Cards help reach the deep pockets of exclusion and allow extremely marginalized populations such as immigrant day laborers gain self-confidence and overcome emotional barriers that prevent them from starting to use computers and the internet to meet their daily needs.


The Cards

The Fearless Cards Starter deck complete with bilingual instructions is available for free at the Gallery and Download for examination, testing and feedback.



We explored the ICT uses and information needs among day laborers affiliated with Casa Latina, a social service agency in Seattle, WA. Our study identified the barriers to using ICT and jointly defined the need for more appropriate computer training materials that are extremely basic, step by step, familiar, easy to use, task-oriented, bilingual, modular, incremental, and inexpensive.

We then developed and tested a prototype for Fearless Cards, using an iterative process of design thinking (empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test). The prototypes were refined and tested in subsequent training opportunities, and validated through interviews and small group discussions with staff and day laborers at Casa Latina.

In the final phase, we developed and performed usability testing and incorporated feedback for our intended user population in the release of the Fearless Cards Starter Deck.

Click the image below to view a project presentation:




Conference Proceedings:

Baron, L.F., Neils, M. & Gomez, R. (2013). Jobs and Family Relations: use of computers and mobile phones among Hispanic day laborers in Seattle. Paper presented at iConference 2013. Link.

Bayo, I., Gomez, R., Silva, M., & Laplante, S. (2013). Creating Community: counter-narratives and disrupting the mainstream. Paper presented at Shepard Symposium on Social Justice.

Gomez, R., Abokhodair, N., Bayo, I. & Park, M. (2013). Computer Training to Empower Day Laborers: A Heat Map to Address Emotional Barriers and Technical Skills. Paper presented at HICSS-46, Maui, Hawaii. Link.

Gomez, R., Bayo, I., Reed, P., Wang, C., & Silva, M. (2013a). Fearless Cards: computer training for extremely marginalized populations. Poster presented at iConference 2013 (Honorable Mention).

Gomez, R., Bayo, I., Reed, P., Wang, C., & Silva, M. (2013b). Fearless Cards: Addressing Emotional Barriers to Computer Learning among Extremely Marginalized Populations. Work in Progress, presented at CHI 2013.

Journal Papers:

Baron, L. F., Neils, M., & Gomez, R. (2014). Crossing new borders: computers, mobile phones, transportation and English language among Hispanic day laborers in Seattle. JASIST - Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 65 (1), 98-108. Link.

Gomez, R., Bayo, I., Reed, P., Wang, C., & Silva, M. (2013). Fearless Cards: a low-tech solution to help overcome emotional barriers to ICT adoption among marginalized populations. EJISDC - Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 56 (1). Link.


All Cards

Fearless Cards Starter Deck


Individual Card Images


Fearless Team

At University of Washington iSchool, we make information work. Whether we doing serious academic research, developing creative solutions, or creating cool applications, we always think about the human aspect. The diverse Fearless Team consists of researchers, designers and enthusiasts who come together and bring fearless learning experience to people.

cross-culture / digital inclusion / ICT training / language learning /
community development / user experience design

Ricardo Gomez
Associate Professor

Ivette Bayo Urban
Information Science Doctoral Student

Philip Reed
Information Science Doctoral Student

Picture of Ricardo