Tag Methods

Seeding social technologies: strategies for embedding design in use

This paper reflects on the changing nature of participation and design in the context of social technologies and, in particular, our evolving understanding of what it means to do design.

When designing social technologies we are effectively creating containers or scaffolds; their shape is formed through participation and user driven contributions and that shape changes over time. In designing successful social platforms around which communities grow, evolve and share, our role as designers extends beyond researching, defining, creating and releasing a product. The facilitation of participation by the ‘future community’ also becomes a central concern.

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What’s the problem? Studies on identifying usability problems in user tests

This is the kind of muttering researchers in a usability lab often hear when users are having trouble performing a given task with the product or prototype being tested./strong>

The activity the researcher is performing in this situation is called conducting a usability test: a test to find out what difficulties people run into when they are trying to use a (newly designed) product. During the usability test and in inter views or analyses afterwards, the researcher will try to figure out why the user experienced a given difficulty and what product characteristics contributed to that. Once the problem is understood, a designer can attempt to redesign the product’s characteristics so that the chance of future users running into the same difficulty is minimized.

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