Thursday, January 9, 2003

On Design

I'm currently designing an online space for federally-funded researchers to engage other researchers, communicate their research results and interact with the people in the public and private sector who need to put this research to good use. The researchers are both content producers and users of the site, and the broader user base is very diverse, and to some extent, hard to know. Being a user advocate in this scenario requires representing many (changing) voices and negotiating the challenges that arise in attempting to do so. And to be honest, it's proving to be more difficult than I originally anticipated. All movements seem to involve two steps forward and one step back, albeit in a very rhizomatic sort of way.

Anyway, this project has given me lots to think about in terms of social computing and notions of interface. I have pages of notes that need to be turned into something coherent, but I'm at the point where I can say something about the differences between theorising and doing social computing. Most of all, I have come to better appreciate the need for a clear understanding of (contextual) social interaction and the value of emergent design practices.

More to follow...

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