How Social Media Changes !User-Centred DesignINUSE SeminarMay 16, 2013Mikael JohnsonD.Sc. (Tech)Aalto University, Finlandhttp://people.aalto.ﬁ/mikael_johnson
Introduction! Concern for current state of user-centred design methods“Research that assesses usability evaluation methods has been in a crisisfor over a decade.” (Woolrych et al. 2011)• Developments• UX broadening scope of usability: consumers, fun, leisure• Value as co-created with users andbusiness partners, instead of thinking it asproduced and sold• Relating users to their social networks andcommunities instead of understandingthem as isolated entities• Emerging empirical research ondevelopers’ practice• Challenges• “factors (contexts and situations) thatshape the use of particular resources andtheir combinations within usability work”• Social media confusion• User involvement after market launch• Theories for understanding “community”• Process guidance: “project” and informalengagement
Weak Signals… (Holzapfel’s mini cases 2008)UCD here: user research, personas, scenarios,!prototypes,!testing.!
How Social Media ChangesUser-Centred DesignCumulative and Strategic User Involvement withRespect to Developer–User Social DistanceD.Sc. Thesis by Johnson, 2013 at http://is.gd/johnson_2013_thesis
Study Setup: How Social MediaChanges User-Centred Design• Research questions1. How do users’ actions in and around a social media service shape its design?2. How do social media developers’ user involvement practices evolve over time?3. How does user categorisation change with social media?• Method: explorative case study• Real life software design, Case-based qualitative inquiry• Both users and developers, Long-term commitment• Reﬂective HCI: seeks means from social and behavioral sciences to address so farunaddressed aspects of human-computer interaction• Here: Science and Technology Studies, Biography of Artefacts
Case Habbo• Social game and online community for children and teenagers,launched in 2000• A place to hangout with friends, meet new people, play, and have fun• Johnson has followed Habbo’s development 2003–2010 in severalresearch projectsQuick Habbo Facts (Feb 2012)- 11 language versions- Customers in over 150 countries- Registered users: 250 000 000- Unique visitors: > 10 000 000 / month- Page impressions: 1 730 000 000 / month- Age distribution: 90% between 13-18 years old- Average visit: 41 minutes / sessionwww.sulake.com/habbo
What is Habbo?DevelopersUsersMediaIt’s a gameIt’s acommunityIt’s a graphicalchatIt’s a socialvirtual worldGames researchersIt’s NOT agameIt’s a socialnetworking siteI hang outwith myfriends thereI can meetnew peoplethereIt’s abusinesssuccessIt’s a crimesceneIt lures childrento consumeIt’s a place foryouth workIt’s a popculture arenaIt’s a means foronline securityeducationIt’s MacromediaDirector, Lingo, Javaserver, Shockwave,Flash, FuseIt’s a newICQI collect andtrade “furni”thereI can makeup my owngame thereNeither myparents nor myteacher arethereIt’s where I goafter schoolParentsTeachersI use it inmy classI don’t knowIt’s wherethe kidshang outYouth workersJohnson (2013), Appendix ABoard of educationWe organize a“language bath”AdvertisersGoodchannel toreach 10-15y.-oldsIt’s where themoney comes fromIt’s a virtualhotel
Social Media is as ComputerizationMovement and Design Context• Commonalities among social networking sites, virtual worlds, graphical chats,discussion forum services, blog services, MUDs, CVEs…• Social media as a computerization movement (Kling & Iacono): technologicalframes – public discourse – organisational practice.• Other CMs: urban information systems, artiﬁcial intelligence, personal computing, oﬃceautomation, computer-based education…• Design Context key characteristics• Speciﬁc software business (Low cost, non-trad. revenue models)• Group communication features (à) (more than groupware)• Active user communities (dialogue, interaction, production)A collectionof groups|||||One group|||||One personLow – – Real-Time Workspace Awareness – – HighUsenetNewsgroupsIRC NetworkDiscussionList (E-mail)Chat RoomPersonal software:word processor,spreadsheetMultiplayerGames,MUDsSocial Network Sites:FacebookVirtual Worlds:Second LifeSharedWorkspace
Research Strategy• Sustained search for appropriate social science researchmethodologies to capture service developments and pick upparticular emerging issues• Co-construction of the user: Thesis Article III!Johnson M 2007. Unscrambling the "Average User" of Habbo Hotel, Human Technology, 3 (2), 127–153.• Theories of consumption: Thesis Article IV!Lehdonvirta, V, Wilska T-A, Johnson M 2009. Virtual Consumerism: Case Habbo Hotel. Information,Communication & Society, 12 (7).• Subcultures: Thesis Article V!Johnson M, Sihvonen T 2009. On the Dark Side: Gothic Play and Performance in a Virtual World, Journal ofVirtual Worlds Research, 1 (3).• Symbolic interactionism: Thesis Article VII!Johnson M, Hyysalo S, Tamminen S 2010. The Virtuality of Virtual Worlds, or What We Can Learn fromPlayacting Horse Girls and Marginalized Developers, 603-633. Symbolic Interaction 33 (4).
Conceptual Clariﬁcations: User-Centred Design• User-centred design is here treated as a speciﬁc form of design practice• a particular way of designing (with the intention of putting users ﬁrst), whichincludes a set of interrelated ideas, guiding principles, methods, andtechniques, as well as what user-centred designers do in practice.• Umbrella concept (Keinonen 2010)• Socio-cultural-material practice bound by time and space: UCD 1986 diﬀerent from UCD1996, diﬀerent regions and organisations have adopted diﬀerent ﬂavours• Turns• Design Based on Usability Evaluation• Turn to the Social and Contextual• From Evaluation to Business Process• A Focus on User Experience• Centering Design on Value(s) and Activity• Where to?• X-centred design is always protest against mainstream design
Conceptual Clariﬁcations: User• Not so relevant as a question of identity: people rarely think about themselves as users• More interesting here: role of users in development• “The user is a complex idea:• on the one hand, it is a category used by engineers and developers to refer to those who mayeventually use their systems, on the other it can refer to a range of other individuals and institutions,imagined and real, some of which begin to develop various kinds of engagement with a technologyover time.” (Stewart & Hyysalo 2008)• Cf. “person interacting with the system” (ISO standards)• Focus also on user representations, not only on actual people and realised computer-mediated activity• E.g., the abstraction processes between user categories used by developers and the everyday lives ofthousands, if not millions, of unique users• Relational category, not entity category• Object-speciﬁc: user of what? Multiple levels of granularity• What can one do? Pay attention to• diﬀerent stakeholders’ capacity to act, who did what• categories that interviewees employ & abstractions in design talk• i.e. social constructionism 3.0 (borrowing from Science and Technology Studies)
Habbo in Everyday Life of Teens Utopia or futile consumption?◦ Neither Brief Consumption Analysis◦ Economic aspects 13% of users spend money!ave. 10€ / month (TS 3.9.2008)◦ Material aspects Habbo characters, rooms, navigation,communication devices, home pages, listof friends, etc. Computer, network, power, etc.◦ Symbolic aspects Habbo fashion, popularity contests,property, groups◦ Productive aspects Room decoration, proﬁle creation, stories& play & games Can be compared to a school yard(for better or worse): play, games,discussion… With Habbo, teens◦ Keep in contact with friends◦ Get current information about what’sgoing on◦ Interact as consumers with commercialstakeholders Habbo is part of popular culture◦ Commenting◦ Irony◦ Socialisation agentJohnson M, Hyysalo S, Tamminen S 2010. The Virtuality of Virtual Worlds, or What We Can Learn fromPlayacting Horse Girls and Marginalized Developers, 603-633. Symbolic Interaction 33 (4).
Imitating TV-show formats!Idols(User Interview 19.10.2005)The Bachelor(Fansite Kriisipalvelu.netSirHamsterPepa: “Realityä”)• Greed, Do you want tobe a millionaire, BigBrother, Survivor,America’s Next TopModel, “Dating”...!
User-Owned Fansites• Habbo’s amateur media world• news, gossip, opinions, hints, events,competitions, fun• Development• 2000: ﬁrst user created sites• 2001-2003: Ofﬁcial site bydeveloperswww.kultakalankuvalehti.com• 2004: ofﬁcial fansite competition• 4-5 ofﬁcial fansites: lifecycle ~3 years• in Finland: ~200 fansites, most reallysmall (Dec 2004)• 2006-7: Sulake-hosted groups• 2009: 130 fansites globally• Fansite roles• tell the visitors about the socialworlds around Habbo• complement the ofﬁcial site: e.g.fashion• inﬂuence norms of behaviour inHabboImportant “nodes” in the Habbo service ecology
Important in Habbo• One’s own avatar• clothing styles, characterdescription• One’s own room and furniture• collecting, trading, decorating,browsing the furniture catalogue• Habbo homepage• one’s avatar’s homepage that isvisible to anyone on the web• Friends• school, hobbies, new friends,dating, distant friends• Play• beaty contests (popularity), TVshows, games of chance, Habbo-sports, insider clubs, roleplay,playing with the spatiality of thevirtual world• Career• celebrities, getting rich, popularroom, in a game or gang, being afansite author, being a Habbo guide• Testing boundaries and rules• expressing self, treating others (e.g.,cheating, bullying), ﬁnding andusing glitches in the hotelarchitecture
Data: Both Users & Developersresearchtimelinedevelopmenttimelineusetimeline2000 2003 2006 2009pilotvisitorproﬁlesurveyfan!websites!studyuser!interviewsdeveloperinterviewsuser feedback!method setcommunitymanagerinterviewsfollowing fansites!and new featureskeeping uptodate
Service EvolutionConcept! Beta! Expansion! Complexity! Competition!1999-2000!Mobiles Disco!Lumisota!HotelliKultakala!2001-2003!Habbo Hotel!proﬁt modeltests!2004-2005!~10 new hotelcountriesduring oneyear!2006-2007 socialnetworkingservice!2008-2010 vs. Facebook!!resources! minimal! small! medium! medium! medium!tech maturity! proto! basicfunctionalitycompleted!packagedproduct!new features!rebuilding!integrationwith otherservices!marketcompetition!small! small! medium! high! high!users / month! <10000! < 1 mill.! 1-5 mill.! 5-10 mill.! 10-15 mill.!hotels! 1! 4! 16! 19! 12-18!Johnson M 2010. User Involvement, Social Media, and Service Evolution: The Case of Habbo. 43rd HawaiiInternational Conference on System Sciences. Kauai, Hawaii, 5–8 January 2010. (Nominated for Best Paper Award).
Sulake/Habbo User InvolvementNB. Change over time, variety in deployedmethods, multiplicity of rhythms, user contribs…
Signiﬁcant Changes in Developer–User Relationship• With an increasing number of users, more features, andgeographic expansion of the service, also the diversity of usepractices increased.• The younger demographic of the users brought increasingdifferences between developers and users.• Developers’ active participation in use communitiesdecreased, and volunteer users’ participation in developmentand moderation waned.• The role of the fansites changed as certain discussions aboutHabbo could be carried out in the developer-provided forums.
Developer–User Social Distance• Degree of uncertainty and unfamiliarity of the other group’spractices, resulting from a combination of changes in• Diversity of use practices• Differences among developers and users• Direct developer participation in use practices and vice versa• Indirect contact between developers and users through bothsocial and technical mediators• Points: development/design as relational, include developer-self and experience, informal engagement ok in certainsituations.
Shifts in Developer–User Social Distance• Previously: developers’ own use of a product and resulting ﬁrst-hand experiencepoorly considered• ‘Bad guys’: developers are not representative• ‘Heroes’: some developers know what users want, without asking• Missing ‘factor’ in method advice• Here: nuanced middle ground• Depends on how familiar developers are with the users and the use practices, what I calldeveloper–user social distance• Self-centred design adequate, but within limits• Small distance: informal engagement• Broad distance: more bridging activities• Developer–user social distance changes over time• Start: small or broad• User involvement activities (participation) modiﬁes• Previously: focus on use context or development context, here more relational
Implications! “Start condition” for user-centred design?! Method advice! First question: not “where in the project are you”?, but ﬁndout developer–user social distance, how familiar are thedevelopers with the users?! Diversity of user practices! Social, cultural, and professional differences! Previous direct user involvement! Other indirect sources of information about users?
What do we want UCD to be? (cf. Holzapfel’s mini cases 2008)Adopting sth. like“Developer–UserSocial Distance,might turn theseinto Yes.…whichoverlappeduser needsWhat aboutlaterdesign?
How Social Media Changes UCD• Different methods repertoire => different strategicchoices• Consider:• Developer–user social distance• Cumulation of user knowledge• Key rhythms in development• Broader applicability to other design contexts
DevelopersUsersRoom divided into sections with bar desks New ﬂoorplan with pre-made sections New ﬂoorplan with “island” sectionDevelopers createfurniture and ﬂoorplans.Users make rooms froma ﬂoorplan and furniture.Bar desk in room created by developers Bar desk components for users to furnish their rooms.With a bar desk onecan divide a room inparts,which allows for mazes.Let’s do more furniturethat can divide rooms.Bar desks and doorsalso afford spaces,with access only forthe few and selected.ForumsUsers spread the word, mazes become a big thing.Popular roomsUsers visit these to learn about!the latest trends.CatalogueUsers choose a!ﬂoorplan and furniture!from the catalogue.Interaction arenaLet’s make ﬂoorplanswith pre-made sections.v1v2v3