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Kaj Grønbæk

Informing General CSCW Product Development through Cooperative Design in Specific Work Domains

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  • Department of Computer Science
Cooperative analysis and design is often considered only to be applicable in settings where a system is being developed solely for the ’user‘ participants in the process. This paper, however, argues that there are quite good prospects in applying cooperative analysis and design techniques in specific use settings to inform development of general CSCW products. We describe and discuss the application of cooperative – i.e., participatory – analysis and design techniques in a project developing a general cooperative hypermedia framework as well as specific hypermedia applications to support sharing of materials in the engineering domain. In our project, a single engineering company (Great Belt Link Ltd.) was chosen as the user organization. The paper summarizes the process from observational studies, over a future workshop and cooperative prototyping activities, to a pilot installation. We describe how these activities informed the general hypermedia framework and application design. Use scenarios and prototypes with example data from the users‘ daily work were used as sources both to trigger design ideas and new insights regarding work practice. Common participants in specific activities and general development activities supported transfer of work domain knowledge into general features of the product being developed. Mutual challenging characterized the interaction between specific cooperative analysis and design activities and general development activities. Prototypes, scenarios, materials from the work practice, and concise bullet list summaries were used as mediating artifacts in this interaction rather than comprehensive requirement and design specifications.
Original languageEnglish
JournalComputer Supported Cooperative Work
Pages (from-to)275-304
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - 1997

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