Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

’Play’ model of information system design makes teammates of users and designers

12.01.2006


"Play" or back-and-forth dialogue between users and designers can lead to IT systems that are more responsive to the subtleties and ambiguities of users’ different perspectives, say Penn State researchers.



And because it makes users and designers teammates during the development process, the "play" model also can reduce the multiple upgrades and updates that plague enterprise-wide or "Newspeak" solutions, says Frederico Fonseca, assistant professor in the School of Information Sciences and Technology (IST).

Too often, system designers aim for the "killer application" with the assumption that it will work well for every user and address every business or organizational need. But users are not homogeneous, and enterprise-wide or "Newspeak" solutions don’t take into account users’ different perspectives. The consequence: updates and upgrades are needed.


"For example, departments in banks interpret the term ’loan date’ differently," Fonseca said. "One department views it as the date when the loan was applied for, another when the loan was approved and yet another when the money was released."

Rather than forcing bank personnel to accept one definition, IT designers should create systems that can accommodate the different definitions. Such systems would have broad organizational use, thereby avoiding multiple systems or the "Tower of Babel problem."

"Users can interpret the same set of data differently, and systems need to be able to handle that," Fonseca said.

That argument is explained in a paper titled "Play as the Way Out of the Newspeak-Tower of Babel Dilemma in Data Modeling," presented by Fonseca and co-author James Martin recently at the 26th International Conference on Information Systems in Las Vegas. Martin is a professor emeritus of the Penn State psychology department.

The researchers draw on the work of several philosophers--notably Heidegger and Gadamer--to support their contention that "play" or back-and-forth dialogue between designers and users can reveal the subtle inconsistencies between users with different perspectives.

Sometimes the "play" yields a common understanding or fusion of views, and the IT designer’s job is made easier. Other times the dialogue leads only to acknowledgment of differences or inconsistent views.

"The communication itself is as important as finding common ground," Fonseca said. "Because fusion isn’t always reached, a successful IT system has to reflect inconsistent or incompatible views."

Designers also have to recognize that when users have difficulties with systems, users aren’t the problem. "User error" is a misnomer, Fonseca said. The problem occurs because the system is designed as "one size fits all."

Next for Fonseca and Martin is to apply their theory to developing methods for the design of information systems.

Margaret Hopkins | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ist.psu.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Who can find the fish that makes the best sound?
28.02.2017 | Technische Universität Wien

nachricht Many Android password managers unsafe
28.02.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Sichere Informationstechnologie SIT

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A better way to measure the stiffness of cancer cells

01.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Exploring the mysteries of supercooled water

01.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Research team of the HAW Hamburg reanimated ancestral microbe from the depth of the earth

01.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>