This paper is about the kind of tools and techniques that are accessible to resource weak groups for use in design and evaluation of computer support. "Resource weak" means in this connection, that the economic power and the ability to control the "local environment" of the group is limited. The human resources of such groups are often (potentially) strong, but restrained by the organization of work and society; and although the tools are cheap the activities are demanding in terms of human resources. This kind of work should be seen as a supplement to participation in design processes controlled by others. When end users participate in projects set up by management, these "lay" designers often lack familiarity with the tools and techniques, they lack the power and resources to influence the choice of questions to be considered, and they are not the ones deciding how to utilize the results of a design project when actually changing the workplace. To give the context of the work on which the paper is based, I first describe the Scandinavian tradition of trade union based end user participation in systems development. Then I discuss some of the issues involved in improving the conditions for independent end user design activities. I go on by presenting a set of "cheap tools" and techniques, including the use mockup's. This set covers the issues of establishing the possibility of alternatives, of creating visions of new and different uses of technology, and of designing computer support. A central question in relation to the tools and techniques, is their accessibility to end users, and I discuss this based on the notions of family resemblance and "hands-on" experience.
Cscw '88 Proceedings of the 1988 Acm Conference on Computer-supported Cooperative Work, 1988, p. 178-188
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ACM conference on Computer-supported cooperative work. CSCW '88, 1988