Thursday, October 12, 2006

Embrace the chaos - designers and systems with emergent behavior

A summary of this month's BayCHI program ...

"Last night's BayCHI panel on the role of design and designers in systems with emergent behavior proved lively, fun, and informative. Tim, Larry, and Joy were great contributors. We touched on a lot in the 90 minutes we had, but even so, I realized we could have spoken for an entire day and not exhausted the subject.

We're designing tools and rules
Tim used the phrase "tools and rules" to describe what it is that we're designing when we're working on systems with emergent behavior. This can be a challenge for designers, particularly those who are trained in the design of form, of artifacts.
As part of this, what we're designing are containers, vessels for our users to fill with their stuff--the "content," their commentary, their metadata. We then design other containers for the system to fill with stuff it's figured out through algorithms -- whether products that people have bought, or photos that might be interesting.

There are no good user research methods of emergent behavior
The standard tools that a user researcher has tend to focus on an individual's interaction with the system. Or, if we do engage with groups, we're limited to the scope of groups we can interact with. So, how can user research inform the design of systems with emergent behavior? We need new methods and approaches that allow us to work with a crowd."    (Continued via peterme)    [Usability Resources]

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