Online Friction: Studying Sociotechnical Conflicts to Elicit User Experience

Online Friction: Studying Sociotechnical Conflicts to Elicit User Experience

Jörgen Skågeby (Linköping University, Sweden)
DOI: 10.4018/jskd.2009040106
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This article presents conflicts as a central unit of analysis in investigations of online social media sharing. Social media sharing services generate interesting sociotechnical problems as they often make social structures explicit, resulting in observable user experience conflicts. As such, they also present a genre of services where theories of social structure become highlighted and, at times, challenged. Three examples of conflicts, from three different types of networks, are presented. The conflicts were elicited through online, ethnography-inspired, methods. It is argued that the conceptual conflicts help researchers and designers to postulate, find and examine concerns and intentions of users who try to resolve the conflict or move from one end of the conflict to the other. The article also demonstrates three viable ways to communicate analytical conflict insights, intended to inform interaction design, namely use qualities, analytical dimensions and design patterns.

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