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Über dieses Buch

So much technology works, not by good design or by being a good fit to purpose, but because people make it work because they have to for some reason. We humans are incredibly creative and resourceful when it comes to getting something done. There are numerous stories we could all tell of the ingenious work-arounds we've developed to make something do what we want it to; or the enormous amount of time we've spent trying to find out how to make some technology work as we want, e.g., trying to find out how to turn off auto-editing commands in a word processing package when all we want is for it to 'do what we tell it'. A good example of this principle was what motivated me to switch from neural networks to the area of Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) for my PhD research. I had undertaken a case study looking at the deployment of a multi-million dollar health information system throughout a hospital network.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Introduction

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. The Wicked Problem of Design

Abstract
Software design is becoming increasingly complex and difficult. Advances in network technologies mean that not only are computers being connected together but so are people via computers. In considering how we might build applications to support people interacting with computers and with each other over networks, the problems to be solved are no longer just technical, e.g., how to distribute computational load over a number of processors; they are also social, e.g., how do we build systems that meet the real needs of the people who are asked to use them and that fit into their contexts of use.
Geraldine Fitzpatrick

Chapter 2. The CSCW Design Challenge

Abstract
From its early days, the CSCW research community has been multi—disciplinary, involving not just computer scientists, but social scientists such as sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists and cognitive scientists. Our collective understanding of the nature of work and people’s requirements for systems support, and of how to design systems to meet these needs and fit into their broader contexts of use, is drawn from contributions across all these discipline areas.
Geraldine Fitzpatrick

Evolution to the Locales Framework

Frontmatter

Chapter 3. The wOrlds System

Abstract
wOrlds was a computer—based environment developed by the wOrlds project group1 to provide support for collaborative work through shared group spaces. Against the background of work and concepts outlined in Chapter 2, this chapter provides an overview of our experiences developing wOrlds, introducing the background motivation for the system and then giving a brief tour of wOrlds.
Geraldine Fitzpatrick

Chapter 4. Systems Engineers at Work

Abstract
The systems engineers in this study were part of the Computer Support Group, hereafter called CSG. CSG was part of the computer science department of a large university. Its role, as outlined in the departmental guide, was to “operate all the [department’s] general instructional and research computing ... resources.” These resources were used by over 600 undergraduate students, 400 graduate students, 40 academic staff and 30 support personnel. Access to the computing resources was facilitated by over 400 workstations and 100 dumb terminals, hooked into one of 15 networks, and spread across two buildings. The software configuration making up the department’s computing system was extensive, diverse and continually changing. Apart from the PCs used by the clerical and administration staff, it was predominantly a Unix environment running on three different platforms, and offering standard Unix facilities.
Geraldine Fitzpatrick

Chapter 5. How Systems Engineers Accomplish Work

Abstract
The computing environment in which the systems engineers worked was described in the previous chapter as “complex, multi—faceted, and in a continual state of change” and as being “basically unknowable in its totality”. Despite this complexity and unknowability, CSG succeeded most of the time in providing a functional environment for the students and staff in the department, and the systems engineers mostly managed to make sense of the environment and achieve their work together on a daily basis.
Geraldine Fitzpatrick

Chapter 6. Moving from Space to Place

Abstract
One of the motivations for undertaking the systems engineers’ study was to understand their needs in order to populate and tailor a version of the wOrlds system as a collaborative environment to support their work. At a very early stage in the study, however, it became obvious that the spatial metaphor embodied in the wOrlds system did not match the way in which these people worked.
Geraldine Fitzpatrick

The Locales Framework

Frontmatter

Chapter 7. Introduction to the Locales Framework

Abstract
Wicked problem situations involve creative unpredictable people interacting in and with complex and dynamic contexts involving social, organisational, physical, and technical dimensions. These interactions and inter-dependent contexts are not amenable to the simplifying design abstractions that have served systems engineering well in the past, approaches that are more suitable to where problems can be fully articulated and solutions verified as right or wrong. This is not the case with wicked problems. Yet while ethnography and similar qualitative techniques seem better able to account for the complexity of wicked problem situations, they entail a different set of problems to do with communication between understanding and designing. And while a metaphor of space seems to be better than an action-based approach for the design of collaborative systems that address wicked problem situations (because we are all familiar with space and actions do not need to be specified a priori), these too are proving problematic.
Geraldine Fitzpatrick

Chapter 8. Locales Framework Aspects

Abstract
Having laid out the broad background of the Locales Framework, this chapter explores each of the framework aspects in some detail. Together these aspects provide a coherent framework for taking account of the group, the individuals in the group, the broader context, how activities happen over time and how a sense of shared place is enabled. Ultimately though, it is the questions that frame the particular study or design context, and the uniqueness of the situation at hand, that will determine what issues are relevant, and to what extent the Locales Framework will be useful for framing initial thinking or for organising complex research data or for framing design directions.
Geraldine Fitzpatrick

Chapter 9. Locales Framework Approach

Abstract
The Locales Framework has grown out of my own journey with understanding and designing for the support of work. This journey has taken place in the context of the broader community journey where many other people are also grappling with issues around the wicked problem of design for complex human environments. Before going on to explore how to work with the framework, I want to highlight some of the other work going on in the community that was closely related to the Locales Framework at the time it was developed, specifically the Lancaster viewpoints and framework dimensions, Activity Theory, Soft Systems Methodology, ORDIT and Contextual Design.
Geraldine Fitzpatrick

Working with the Locales Framework

Frontmatter

Chapter 10. Distributed Research Work: A Tale of Two Groups

Abstract
In this first study, I wanted to explore using the Locales Framework for sensitising observations of work and structuring data. I started off focussing on one research group called the Internet Exploration Unit (IEU). IEU was a distributed collaborative research unit with members from five organisations spread across four sites located in three cities. I thought the group would be interesting to study because they had recently been given a directive by management to develop more closely coupled collaborations across sites and organisations; this directive was driven by their funding body requirements.
Geraldine Fitzpatrick

Chapter 11. Designing for Telehealth

Abstract
In the IEU study, I wanted to explore the usefulness of the Locales Framework for focussing observations of work. In this study of a telehealth situation, I wanted to explore the usefulness of the framework for guiding solution design.
Geraldine Fitzpatrick

Chapter 12. CSCW Environment Design: Orbit and Tickertape

Abstract
One of the motivations for this work was to find a principled approach to the development of support systems that fit into the workaday world. The previous chapters show the use of the framework in describing and analysing specific work situations. The Locales Framework can also give a language to talk about systems design itself, that is, how computer-based locales can be built to support work, or how computer—based tools can be added to enhance an existing physical and/or virtual locale.
Geraldine Fitzpatrick

Chapter 13. Conclusions, Reflections and Future Work

Abstract
How to engage in understanding and designing for wicked problems has been the framing issue for the discussions in this book. I’ve looked at this issue specifically in relation to CSCW and the design of systems to support people who collaborate together for some shared purpose. Here, the issue was how to understand the nature of this workaday world of collaborative work for the purposes of design and how to design systems that take account of, and fit into the workaday world. I have characterised this issue as the CSCW design problem, an example of a wicked problem where there is no right or wrong answer, only better or worse solutions, and we only understand more about the problem as we work with different solutions.
Geraldine Fitzpatrick

Backmatter

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