Designing for e-Social Action: An Application Taxonomy

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Andy Dearden & Ann Light, 2008. Designing for e-Social Action: An Application Taxonomy. In David Durling, Chris Rust, Lin-Lin Chen, Philippa Ashton and Ken Friedman (editors) Proceedings of the Design Research Society Conference, Undisciplined!, 16th – 19th July 2008, Sheffield Hallam University, 16th - 19th July, 2008 UK.


Designers of technology for social action can often become embroiled in issues of platform and technical functionality at a very early stage in the development process, before the precise social value of an approach has been explored. The loyalty of designers to particular technologies and to ways of working can divide activist communities and, arguably, has weakened the social action world’s performance in exploiting technology with maximum usefulness and usability.

In this paper, we present a lexicon for discussing technology and social action by reference to the intention and relationship to use, rather than to detailed functionality. In short, we offer a language to support discussions of social function, and thus to avoid premature commitment or argument about architecture or implementation details.

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