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Digital Ethnography For Social Interaction Design
 

Digital Ethnography For Social Interaction Design

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This was presented at the Yahoo Research Group seminar on December 9, 2009. The talk covers the challenges for studying online communities, or what I refer to as "social interaction design". Social ...

This was presented at the Yahoo Research Group seminar on December 9, 2009. The talk covers the challenges for studying online communities, or what I refer to as "social interaction design". Social search is presented as an example of a social interaction design problem. Then I review several research methods for doing digital anthropology that I've used to gain my understanding of social search.

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    Digital Ethnography For Social Interaction Design Digital Ethnography For Social Interaction Design Document Transcript

    • Digital Ethnography for Social Interaction Design Brynn M. Evans brynnevans.com
    • Who am I? 2 Who am I? My training is in Science and Technology in Society (STS). What this means is the the perspective I bring to research and design span psychology, anthropology, and sociology.
    • Who am I? Science & Technology in Society 2 Who am I? My training is in Science and Technology in Society (STS). What this means is the the perspective I bring to research and design span psychology, anthropology, and sociology.
    • Who am I? Science & Technology in Society I think, therefore I am. psychology 2 Who am I? My training is in Science and Technology in Society (STS). What this means is the the perspective I bring to research and design span psychology, anthropology, and sociology.
    • Who am I? Science & Technology in Society Don’t forget your chores, son! I think, therefore I am. psychology anthropology 2 Who am I? My training is in Science and Technology in Society (STS). What this means is the the perspective I bring to research and design span psychology, anthropology, and sociology.
    • Who am I? Science & Technology in Society Don’t forget your chores, son! I think, Come help me therefore I am. figure out this puzzle! You owe me one, brother! psychology anthropology sociology 2 Who am I? My training is in Science and Technology in Society (STS). What this means is the the perspective I bring to research and design span psychology, anthropology, and sociology.
    • Social Interaction Design (SxD) SXDSALON.ORG 3 My application of this philosophy happens to be in an area called Social Interaction Design (SxD). Sxd is all about psychology, anthropology, and sociology. It’s about design for person- person communication in online mediates spaces. It goes beyond single-user design (a typical HCI approach), and tries to address teh design of communities which must consider unseen elements of the system such as social relationships, power dynamics, and cultural rules.
    • Should we support OpenID or Facebook Connect, or require new users to create an account? Ask: What are you users’ goals? 4 For example, whether you choose to support OpenID, FB Connect, or have users create a new account on your web service will depend on your users goals. Do mint.com customers want to be sharing private, financial information with their FB contacts? But Urban Outfitters customers just might...
    • Should we support OpenID or Facebook Connect, or require new users to create an account? vs. Ask: What are you users’ goals? 4 For example, whether you choose to support OpenID, FB Connect, or have users create a new account on your web service will depend on your users goals. Do mint.com customers want to be sharing private, financial information with their FB contacts? But Urban Outfitters customers just might...
    • Social Search
    • Social search is an SxD problem http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/ 3_flavors_of_social_search_what_to_expect.php PHOTOS BY BREWBROOKS, CLAUDIA LIM, http://whowantstobe.co.uk/bench/faq-en.php 5 On the surface, social search is something about “involving other people in a search task”. But there are at least three distinct “flavors” of social search which meaningfully distinguish between different types of social involvement in search tasks. (See RWW article for more details: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/ 3_flavors_of_social_search_what_to_expect.php).
    • Question- Collective Friend-filtered Answering Social search is of social search Three “flavors” an SxD problem http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/ 3_flavors_of_social_search_what_to_expect.php PHOTOS BY BREWBROOKS, CLAUDIA LIM, http://whowantstobe.co.uk/bench/faq-en.php 5 On the surface, social search is something about “involving other people in a search task”. But there are at least three distinct “flavors” of social search which meaningfully distinguish between different types of social involvement in search tasks. (See RWW article for more details: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/ 3_flavors_of_social_search_what_to_expect.php).
    • Q Q Q A A A Question- Collective Friend-filtered Answering A multi-user problem http://www.slideshare.net/bmevans/designing-for-sociality-in-enterprise-search 6 Social search is a multi-user problem: you’re either designing for implicit interactions with many users or explicit interactions with a direct partner. We have to consider issues of relevance, privacy, expectations, obligations, social capital, etc.
    • Q Q Q •relevance •privacy A A A • expectations of how archived material will be used Question- Collective Friend-filtered Answering A multi-user problem http://www.slideshare.net/bmevans/designing-for-sociality-in-enterprise-search 6 Social search is a multi-user problem: you’re either designing for implicit interactions with many users or explicit interactions with a direct partner. We have to consider issues of relevance, privacy, expectations, obligations, social capital, etc.
    • Q Q Q •relevance, privacy •burdening experts A A A •obligation/debt •social capital •interruption cost Question- Collective Friend-filtered Answering A multi-user problem http://www.slideshare.net/bmevans/designing-for-sociality-in-enterprise-search 6 Social search is a multi-user problem: you’re either designing for implicit interactions with many users or explicit interactions with a direct partner. We have to consider issues of relevance, privacy, expectations, obligations, social capital, etc.
    • Research Methods for SxD experience critical task sampling incident Q. analysis 7 On my path to understanding social search, I’ve taken several different methodological approach, which were appropriate for different research goals. Since there are a lot of challenges with studying online communities (they’re distributed, people multitask, researchers cannot easily “shadow” a participant...), these are some methods I’ve worked with.
    • experience Research Methods sampling play play play play play play play time (one week) 8 Experience sampling is the online equivalent of observation/ethnography. It’s best illustrated by Bolt|Peter’s project working with FarmVille. They wanted to improve the game playing experience, so wrote a Facebook script that would alert them whenever users logged into the game. Users would then see a prompt to participate in a survey or record a screencast (to be shared back with the researchers), and would capture users in their natural interaction with the game.
    • experience Research Methods sampling Social Informavores: Information Discovery on the Social Web TIM, 27 yr LESLIE, 37 yr CHAD, 38 yr 9 My use of experience sampling came with one of my earlier projects that had the very general goal of understanding: what role do social networks play in sharing and disseminating information? I recruited 3 participants who were friends with each other and interacted on a regular basis. They each recorded 30-60 minute screencasts of activities online, while they were reading, socializing, sharing information, etc. And then I manually reviewed the videos and interviewed the participants. Experience sampling was a useful methodology here since I was looking broadly at what was going on in the universe of social information sharing.
    • experience Research Methods sampling Social Informavores: Information Discovery on the Social Web TIM, 27 yr LESLIE, 37 yr CHAD, 38 yr 9 My use of experience sampling came with one of my earlier projects that had the very general goal of understanding: what role do social networks play in sharing and disseminating information? I recruited 3 participants who were friends with each other and interacted on a regular basis. They each recorded 30-60 minute screencasts of activities online, while they were reading, socializing, sharing information, etc. And then I manually reviewed the videos and interviewed the participants. Experience sampling was a useful methodology here since I was looking broadly at what was going on in the universe of social information sharing.
    • Research Methods for SxD experience critical task sampling incident Q. analysis . 10 Next, I was able to pinpoint an interesting use of social information: to help people during search tasks. But now I had to learn a whole lot more about HOW PEOPLE SEARCH.
    • critical Research Methods incident Q. Study 1: Study 2: everyday searches difficult or failed searches 1. When was the last time you searched for information? 2. What were you looking for? 3. What were you doing just before you searched? 4. Did you talk with anyone before you searched? 5. What prompted you to perform the search? 6. What steps did you take to find the information? 7. What did you do just after you searched? 8. If other people were nearby, were you interacting with them or were they influencing your search process? Modification: • write survey for different users • give survey continuously thru development/deployment 11 To do this I ran two detailed, critical incident questionnaires. One was focused around successful searches; the other around difficult or failed searches. Both asked questions about just one episode from the recent past — and explored a lot of issues before, during, and after the search that highlighted critical moments. Critical incident questioning was the right method here because I was trying to understand a particular problem space in more detail and I wanted lots of (qualitative) usage data. (I got 150 replies to both surveys.)
    • Research Methods for SxD experience critical task sampling incident Q. analysis 12 Finally, tasks analysis has been useful to understand the specific role that friends and colleagues will play in augmenting search.
    • task Research Methods analysis Do your friends make you smarter? Exploring social interactions in search Setup: • 8 users given 2 “Google-hard” search tasks • Asked to only use friends and social networks to find answers • talk-aloud protocol, paired with video screencasts SS03 !,!!,!!" !,!),#$" !,#&,$&" !,$#,%(" !,$*,&*" !,%(,!!" !" !,!!,!!" !,!),#$" !,#&,$&" !,$#,%(" !,$*,&*" !,%(,!!" #" TIME $" %" http://www.slideshare.net/bmevans/do-your-friends-make-you-smarter-exploring-social-interactions-in-search 13 &" This method is obviously used in other domains as well. The particular value for me in this stage of'" my research was to learn about the benefits of interacting with just one partner direction (question-answering) compared to engaging with a large network like Facebook or (" Twitter to come about an answer to a problem. I was able to follow up with 15-20 of the )" answerers who helped out my 8 primary participants to learn more about what their perspective of the questioning episode was and why they provided a reply. *" +" #!" ##" #$"
    • Beyond Data Collection Of course, understanding the interactions in a community goes beyond just data collection.
    • Personas Conferring Carl Resourceful Richard Always confers with partners first; then continues the Makes use of social aids multiple times during a search task search alone (e.g., confers with friends, then searches alone, then asks friends again) “I was looking for a real estate lease that I “First I called our corporate office to find needed to review. [I first] talked to [my out what [workman’s comp] coworker] to see where he thought he had documentation needed to be filled out put it and where he had already looked. and when it was last updated. Then I [Then I] looked for PDFs in My Documents, searched on our corporate website but and in the C: drive of the computer used by could not find a working link to the the person who scanned it. [Finally I] documents. After this I called corporate checked PDFs with unrevealing filenames back and asked them to fax me the and found it!” documents.” Persistent Pria Troupe Together Prefers to go-it-alone until he gets stuck; only seeks help Actively collaborates with a partner throughout the search from others after exhausting other options “I was looking for information about “I was looking for a particular type of plug- horse trekking holidays in France as in for use with Movable Type software. part of a conversation I was having First, I tried a number of different search with my wife. We searched on strings with Google. Then I searched the google.co.uk and google.fr with a Six Apart / Movable Type website. Then I range of criteria related to horses, tried perusing and searching several equine holidays, horse trekking, Movable Type hacks/ tips/tutorials france, horse tours, etc. My wife websites. Finally I contacted the author of was prompting me with thoughts for the WordPress plug-in and asked him if he search terms I should use might be able to port it into Movable Type.” throughout.” PHOTOS BY FORACHANCE.WORDPRESS.COM, COOLEY.DEVIANTART.COM, POSIXELENI, R. STEPHEN RAINWATER 14 I’ve created behavioral personas that highlight user strategies and expected social interactions with others. These are, therefore, somewhat more contextualized of personas than merely personas based on demographics.
    • Personas: Conference Carla Conferring Carla Resourceful Richard Conferring Carl Always confers with partners first; then continues the search alone Makes use of social aids multiple times during a search task (e.g., confers with friends, then searches alone, then asks Always confers with partners first; then continues friends again) “I was looking for a real estate lease that I the search alone needed to review. [I first] talked to [my “First I called our corporate office to find out what [workman’s comp] coworker] to see where he thought he had documentation needed to be filled out put it and where he had already looked. and when it was last updated. Then I [Then I] looked for PDFs in My Documents, and in the C: drive of the computer used by “I was looking for a real estate on our corporate website but searched could not find a working link to the the person who scanned it. [Finally I] lease that I needed to review. [I documents. After this I called corporate checked PDFs with unrevealing filenames and found it!” first] talked to [my coworker] toand asked them to fax me the back documents.” see where he thought he had put it and where he had Persistent Pria Troupe Together already looked. [Then I] looked for PDFs in My Documents, Prefers to go-it-alone until he gets stuck; only seeks help Actively collaborates with a partner throughout the search and in the C: drive of the from others after exhausting other options computer used by the person“I was looking for information about “I was looking for a particular type of plug- horse trekking holidays in France as in for use with Movable Type software. who scanned it. [Finally I] part of a conversation I was having First, I tried a number of different search checked PDFs with unrevealing my wife. We searched on with strings with Google. Then I searched the google.co.uk and google.fr with a Six Apart / Movable Type website. Then I filenames and found it!” range of criteria related to horses, tried perusing and searching several equine holidays, horse trekking, Movable Type hacks/ tips/tutorials france, horse tours, etc. My wife websites. Finally I contacted the author of was prompting me with thoughts for the WordPress plug-in and asked him if he search terms I should use might be able to port it into Movable Type.” throughout.” PHOTOS BY FORACHANCE.WORDPRESS.COM, COOLEY.DEVIANTART.COM, POSIXELENI, R. STEPHEN RAINWATER The “Conferring Carl” profile, for example, likes getting feedback from friends and colleagues before embarking on a search alone.
    • Personas: Persistent Pria Conferring Carla Resourceful Richard Persistent Pria Always confers with partners first; then continues the search alone Makes use of social aids multiple times during a search task (e.g., confers with friends, then searches alone, then asks Prefers to go-it-alone until he gets stuck; only friends again) “I was looking for a real estate lease that I needed to review.helptalked to [my seeks [I first] from others after exhausting other “First I called our corporate office to find out what [workman’s comp] coworker] to see where he thought he had options put it and where he had already looked. documentation needed to be filled out and when it was last updated. Then I [Then I] looked for PDFs in My Documents, “I was looking for a particularsearched on our corporate website but type and in the C: drive of the computer used by the person who scanned it. [Finally I] of plug-in for use with Movable not find a working link to the could documents. After this I called corporate checked PDFs with unrevealing filenames Type software. First, I tried a back and asked them to fax me the and found it!” number of different search strings documents.” with Google. Then I searched the Six Apart / Movable Type website. Persistent Pria Troupe Together Then I tried perusing and Prefers to go-it-alone until he gets stuck; only seeks help searchingcollaborates with a partner throughout the search Actively several Movable Type from others after exhausting other options hacks/ tips/tutorials websites. “I was looking for information about “I was looking for a particular type of plug- Finally I contacted the author of horse trekking holidays in France as in for use with Movable Type software. First, I tried a number of different search the WordPress plug-in and asked of awife. We searched on part with my conversation I was having strings with Google. Then I searched the him if he might be able to port it google.co.uk and google.fr with a Six Apart / Movable Type website. Then I range of criteria related to horses, tried perusing and searching several into Movable Type.” equine holidays, horse trekking, Movable Type hacks/ tips/tutorials france, horse tours, etc. My wife websites. Finally I contacted the author of was prompting me with thoughts for the WordPress plug-in and asked him if he search terms I should use might be able to port it into Movable Type.” throughout.” PHOTOS BY FORACHANCE.WORDPRESS.COM, COOLEY.DEVIANTART.COM, POSIXELENI, R. STEPHEN RAINWATER The “Persistent Pria”, however, strongly prefers to search alone before turning to others for help. These social strategies inform us of what users want and expect for social support in a search system.
    • Tell a story 15 http://www.scribd.com/doc/22133391/Papel-the-Paper-Cup It’s also important to frame your use cases/personas in realistic scenarios. Tell a story that addresses some of the contextual & sociological issues that affect behavior in the social ecosystem you’re designing for. I did this for thebetacup.com, by recounting the life and times of a paper cup named “Papel.”
    • Bodystorming Background: This is a play-acting or bodystorming exercise,goal was to2009, to illustrate thethe problems in the Starbucks coffee culture. The from July bring awareness to need for moving away from non-recyclable paper cups and towards more system- wide, renewable options. http://www.vimeo.com/5968946 16 Bodystorming (like play-acting) is another way to illustrate the many moving parts and influential factors of a social system. I did this at the Overlap Conference in July 2009 with thebetacup.com team to model what a coffee goer’s experience was like, with the goal of understanding what consumers would want in a reusable travel mug.
    • Bodystorming Background: This is a play-acting or bodystorming exercise,goal was to2009, to illustrate thethe problems in the Starbucks coffee culture. The from July bring awareness to need for moving away from non-recyclable paper cups and towards more system- wide, renewable options. http://www.vimeo.com/5968946 16 Bodystorming (like play-acting) is another way to illustrate the many moving parts and influential factors of a social system. I did this at the Overlap Conference in July 2009 with thebetacup.com team to model what a coffee goer’s experience was like, with the goal of understanding what consumers would want in a reusable travel mug.