This site is under construction, and the model is a draft. I will add more below about each of these parametres – questions that may trigger creative possibilities in shaping spaces for conversation – but as for now I only show pieces of the picture. Stay tuned, and please contact me if you have thoughts or input on the model!
Strategic design of conversational interfaces
Design parametres with creative potential
A model for seeing creative possibilities
This model is intended to help designers shape concepts for online spaces for conversations, based on what the purpose for the conversation is, who we wish to include and what values this conversation should build on. The strategic parametres in the middle square (purpose, strategy, values, context and needs) builds a foundation for the choices in the circle. In many cases the designer can't control all these parametres – let's say that you just want to make a simple Facebook group for debate (which doesn't really require a designer). Then you still have some other parametres you can work on to build culture (e.g. invitation model, trigger, rules, moderation and guiding). The design here lies in the conscious intent behind the choices of shaping a digital conversation.
In order to think creatively, metaphors of real life conversation can be of help. What are the designed parametres of a party, a meeting, an informal dinner, a TV-debate? What are the props that indicates the atmosphere of the room, whose voices matters and which possibilities we are given to express ourselves? Is the digital conversation suit & tie, or jeans & t-shirt? A literature debate or a pubtalk? Take a step back when designing for conversations, and ask if "thumbs up" is the best reward and if open comment fields is the best input option for the conversation you are designing for - or if there can be choices we haven't discovered yet, when designing for conversations and culture.
How can real rooms for conversations be creative inspiration for designs of digital conversations? What are the props that indicates what conversation this is, what is the content of the conversations in this space, how does the design shape an atmosphere, how does pulpits and chairs indicate whose voices that matters, and which possibilities are people given to express themselves? How are we being rewarded in real conversations and how do we know who to trust in these spaces?
How do users enter the space? Who are there from the start? How did they behave? Are they particularly invited to each discussion due to their knowledge or interests? Are people invited due to geography (all norwegians, all within a local newspaper), interest (politics, news, skiing or knitting), position (doctors or teachers), or perhaps ideology? Or are they invited due to their ways of expressing themselves (respectful or provocative)? Are people invited to contribute by being tagged? Or perhaps everyone with a name starting on letter A is invited to contribute on one particular day?
What invitation model can you imagine that would match your strategy, purpose and values best? Are people invited to act on different levels and privileges (see reputation system)? Perhaps some users are invited to comment openly (input option), but others can only debate through scales, polls and predefined emojis (see input options)? Is this invitation model manifested in the design with visual cues/buttons (see Medium example)? Are people tagged into the conversation? Or no formal invitation, but by accident? Or perhaps you take it a step further and invite people to your social media party with beautiful paper-invitations in the mail…?
A reputation system can facilitate for trust. How will others know each other? How can you gain a reputation in this space, and according to whome is this gained? How should users reputation in the system be visible? In the two screenshots from NRK P3 Filmpolitiet (a forum for discussing films), users got informal labels describing how active they were. Does the measurement of activity support your specific strategy and values? Or does it do the opposite…? What value can labels, ratings or points shape for how users see each other in the system? Will they rate/label each other, or can they define themselves? What can self-proclaimed information do, that labeling from others can’t do (and vice versa)? How does the design facilitate for this? What doe these labels describe? Nuanced, entertaining, provocative, respectfull or engaging?
How does the system of trust and reputation, relate to the reward system? If labeling people as "nuanced", how can that affect what we reward and how we reward actions and opinions? Is there a hierarchy of reputation, levels you can achieve, levels of privileges that provides you with more access? If so, are those levels achieved by quantitative or qualitative information? Can people already marked as nuanced, have more freedom in input options, or be less prone to moderation? Is it a self-organizing or user generated system? Back in the "old" days, before IMDB.com, there where video rentals where employees recommended films, where each person could have their own style that provide another value than ”everybodies” opinion. If the values of the space is about e.g. individuality, perhaps the recipient could select and lift some particular voices as interesting ones?
Lenker forskningsartikler? See also: Resnick, P., Kuwabara, K., Zeckhauser, R., & Friedman, E. (2000). Reputation systems. Communications of the ACM, 43(12), 45–48. (veldig marked/salg-orientert, men viktig)