This site serves as an artefact for my thesis research as a Master of Design Candidate at the Department of Art, Art History + Design at the University of Washington. You can read more about my work and process

Thanks for visiting!
Stephanie Tang Waldrop

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With many thanks to

Thesis Committee
Audrey Desjardins, Assistant Professor, Interaction Design, University of Washington
Jayme Yen, Adjunct Faculty, Visual Communication Design, University of Washington
James Pierce, Assistant Professor, Interaction Design, University of Washington

Web Development
Xiaohan Hannah Liao

developer website
This website was designed to engage the public with the idea of cognitive labor and create a broader understanding of this invisible, yet ubiquitous, facet of household work.

Each section highlights aspects of the research process undertaken to complete the project.
It can be a source of tension between couples. Given this work’s invisible nature, individuals may believe their efforts are unappreciated, causing friction in the home.

Being cognizant of this type of labor is important so we can better account for the inequities that exist within the home and to work towards a more equitable division of labor in the home.
This is a gendered phenomenon where, oftentimes, women take on more of the cognitive labor than their partner.
Ciciolla, L., Luthar, S.S. Invisible Household Labor and Ramifications for Adjustment: Mothers as Captains of Households. Sex Roles 81, 467–486 (2019)
The laundry needs to be taken out of the wash and dried today.
I need to food prep dinner this morning so it won’t take as long tonight when we all get home.
Also referred to as the mental load, it can be described as the non-physical tasks that are difficult to pinpoint, mentioned in passing and imprecisely defined.
I need to move some money over to
our savings account so we can have that reserve for our upcoming trip.
Shoot. The birthday party is next week. I need to choose a gift and make sure it arrives in time.
We’re running low on coffee. Might as well buy this one while I’m here at the store since it’s on sale.
I can’t forget to call the doctor’s office and schedule my check-up.
This store is out of creamer but I bet I can find it at their other one because it’s never as crowded and busy.
We didn’t finish the grapes. We should buy apples instead this week.
Did we add the pasta to the grocery list for this week’s run?
It can feel like a never-ending mental checklist of things you need to do or remember.
Cognitive labor in the context of the home is the mental work it takes to run a home.

How can we better recognize and value the invisible work it takes to manage a home? This project is an inquiry into how to make the invisible dimensions of household work visible and tangible for people in their homes.
of cognitive labor
The invisible weight