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 products. We describe and discuss the application of cooperative – i.e. participatory – analysis and design techniques in a project developing a general hypermedia framework as well as specific cooperative hypermedia applications for the engineering domain. In our project, a single engineering company (Great Belt Link ltd.) managing one of the largest bridge/tunnel construction projects in the world was chosen as the user organization. The paper summarises what happened in observational studies, a future workshop, and cooperative prototyping activities. We demonstrate 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. Mutual challenging characterised the interaction between specific cooperative analysis and design activities and general development activities. Prototypes, scenarios, and concise bullet list summaries are used as the mediating artifacts in this interaction rather than comprehensive requirement and design specifications.
Proceedings of the 3rd Participatory Design Conference, 1994, p. 159-171