Seeding social technologies: strategies for embedding design in use

Design Research Society Inc.
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Conference Proceedings - Design Research Society International Conference, 2010, pp. 1 - 12
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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 âfuture communityâ also becomes a central concern. In this paper we present, explore and reflect upon the notion of seeding as a useful concept for approaching the facilitation of participation in social technologies. Seeding is concerned with the process of embedding and connecting design within the real world. It draws our attention to the work that needs to be done for design to become part of peopleâs everyday lives, and our role as designers in creating conditions under which this is likely to occur. The theoretical reflections and arguments presented in the paper are based on empirical research into the impact of social technologies on exploratory design research methods used in the early stages of a design project. We present potential strategies for seeding early in the design process that emerged from our research and reflect on the questions about participation, protocol and practice that they raise.
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