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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.3/66630
- Engineering the social: the role of shared artifacts
- Paay, Jeni; Sterling, Leon; Vetere, Frank; Howard, Steve; Boettcher, Anne
- This paper presents a multidisciplinary approach to engineering socio-technical design. The paper addresses technological design for social interactions that are non-instrumental, and thereby sometimes contradictory or surprising and difficult to model. Through cooperative analysis of cultural probe data and development of agent-oriented software engineering (AOSE) models, ethnographers and software engineers participate in conversations around shared artifacts, which facilitate the transition from data collected in a social environment to a socially oriented requirements analysis for informing socio-technical design. To demonstrate how this transition was made, we present a case study of the process of designing technology to support familial relationships, such as playing, gifting, showing, telling and creating memories. The case study is based on data collected in a cultural probes study that explores the diverse, complex and unpredictable design environment of the home. A multidisciplinary team worked together through a process of conversations around shared artifacts to cooperatively analyze collected data and develop models. These conversations provided the opportunity to view the data from the perspective of alternative disciplines that resulted in the emergence of novel understandings and innovative practice. The artifacts in the process included returned probe items, scrapbooks, videos of interviews, photographs, family biographies and the AOSE requirements models. When shared between the two communities of practice, some of these artifacts played important roles in mediating discussions of mutual influence between ethnographers and software engineers. The shared artifacts acted as both triggers for conversations and information vessels-providing a variety of interpretable objects enabling both sides to articulate their understandings in different ways and to collaboratively negotiate understandings of the collected data. Analyzing the interdisciplinary exchange provided insight into the identification of bridging elements that allowed 'the social' to permeate the processes of analysis, requirements elicitation and design.
- Publication type
- Journal article
- International Journal of Human Computer Studies, Vol. 67, no. 5 (May 2009), pp. 437-454
- Publication year
- Agent-oriented software engineering; Cultural probes; Design; Ethnography; Models; Photography; Probes; Requirements engineering; Shared artifacts; Social technical environment; Software agents; Software engineering
- Academic Press
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2009.
- Peer reviewed