The trialogical criteria have been intensively discussed in the former task force on usability. The discussion has included the following topics:
1) Different approaches for defining the criteria; and,
2) How to test the trialogical practices taking into account the context of use.
The summary of the state of art of the last discussion can be found in KP-Lab wiki: The main issues arising from the topics are:
  • What is the relation between high-level requirements and the trialogical evaluation criteria?
  • What are the trialogical evaluation criteria in relations to the Design Principles?
  • How to arrive from the Design Principles to the trialogical evaluation criteria?

The past collaborative pondering of deriving the criteria from design principles and high-level requirements has resulted in the following preliminary suggestion of criteria: deep customisation, social awareness, appropriation could be included into the trialogical evaluation criteria and be differentiated from the similarly named KP-Lab heuristic categories. Below the present state of definitions of the criteria, are presented.

A. (7.) Deep customisation (tailorability, underneath the interface)

Deep customisation can be defined as support for specific needs. Support can take the form of allowing the user the possibility to add components (e.g. plug-ins/widgets) and functions, as well as new or different possibilities to act.
Deep customisation according to Dourish can be defined as means to accommodate deep structural changes made by the user. It means that the user can change the actions and processes provided by the system. It should support temporal adaptation and evolution, and accommodate different individual styles, organisational roles and work processe (Dourish, 1993)[1].

Examples of deep customisation in Shared Space could be:

  • Pluggability of different components, such as the different views, collaborative semantic modelling component, selection of vocabularies for use,
  • Pluggability and customisation of other “smaller” widgets in different combinations, such as chat, personalisation of different “favourites” lists SSp, wikipages,
  • The preference settings for search, rights assigning, “who is online” options .

B. (10.) Social awareness:

The attempt here has been to leave the clearly visible items of awareness to the KP-Lab heuristics awareness category (see section 8) and present here the issues of awareness that are in tighter relation to the collaborative practices.
A commonly used definition of awareness describes awareness as “an understanding of the activities of others, which provides a context for your own activity(Dourish and Bellotti, 1992)[2]. However, it could be clarified to take into account what has been the content of actions of the others, and semantic relations of the actions.
Gutwin, Stark, and Greenberg (1995)[3] have divided awareness in general to four types. These are workspace, social, task and concept awareness.
Workspace awareness is the up-to-the-minute knowledge a person holds about the state of others’ interactions with the environment, which should reduce efforts needed to coordinate common tasks and actions relative to shared objects.
Social awareness is the social interactions within a group, for example, whether or not another person is paying attention to what one is doing. It is often associated with non-verbal cues and emotional states (such as head nods and facial expressions) and has been approximated by video conferencing systems, explicit facilities through which participants inform each other of their activities or explicit role support, which gives awareness amongst participants of each other’s possible activities.
Task awareness is about how to complete a common task (such as learning assignments) as well as understanding the purpose of the task.
Concept awareness is about how a particular piece of knowledge fits into the students’ existing knowledge (conceptual awareness).(See Mørch, et al., 2005)[4].

All of the above (except concept awareness) have aspects of collaborative use or need of information of others’ actions or others’ understanding of shared items. However, concept awareness can be seen to have features of “social” awareness when the concepts have to be used in collaborative work, since it requires understanding of how the others perceive the concept and what kind of attitudes they have (Cf. Mørch et al. 2005: 41)[4].

It has been suggested to divide social awareness into two types or aspects, namely synchronous and asynchronous.
Also explained as: In semi-synchronous and asynchronous ways of working, passive awareness features should be tied to the place/space of work and to content of work. Synchronous collaborative needs shared feedback, visual presentations of users, and their emotional state. Support for developing the groups own norms and rules for acting in the community (Dourish and Bellotti, 1992[2]. and Mørch, et al. 2005)[4].

Below are attempts to list items into the two aspects.

10a) Social awareness in synchronous collaborative situations

  • • Means to see who is working on which item and content of the work
  • • Emotional clues
  • • Affordances and possibilities to adjust group rules
  • • Floor control manners
  • • Content based chat
(see also Beaudouin-Lafon and Karsenty, 1992[5], for multiple cursors and echoes).

10b) Awareness in asynchronous

  • Interaction histories of shared objects
  • Structuring possibilities of discussion threads,
  • Joint to-do lists, calendars, etc
  • Different means to see semantic tracks on users actions (tag clouds, highlight on often used items or links)
  • Affordances to differentiate individual activities from collaborative activities

C. Appropriation support

Appropriation has been defined in many ways. Below some of the definitions are presented before an attempt to define appropriation somewhat in semiotic terminology with a goal to fit it to the theories behind trialogical learning and to the system supporting it (just a start/very draft!).
Colloquially appropriation is often defined as any unanticipated uses of an artefact as seen from the tool designer's perspective, or as a primarily social phenomenon that includes negotiation between participants.
According to Eglash (2004)[6] ppropriation takes place in such cases in which the users are able to resist the power imposed on them by transforming the artefacts to serve unexpected purposes of use.
According to Mackay and Gillespie (1992)[7] from sociological perspective appropriation emphasis technology users' active, and creative processes which form a different view to design, and training, etc. provided by the developers.
Dourish (2003)[8] has defined appropriation in the following way “Appropriation is the way in which technologies are adopted, adapted and incorporated into working practice. This might involve customisation in the traditional sense (that is, the explicit reconfiguration of the technology in order to suit local needs), but it might also simply involve making use of the technology for purposes beyond those for which it was originally designed, or to serve new ends” (p. 467).
Furthermore, DeSanctis and Poole (1994)[9] define appropriation as the “atmosphere” of technology, which refers to the “official way of to use it, and users’ faithful following of it or not following it.
Garfinkel (1967)[10] describes that people only orient according to the guidelines given for the intended use rather than execute the use word for word. Appropriation, from the activity theoretical point of view is a process in which mediation is restructured and as a result, a new/different role is given to a tool in an activit (Wertsch, 1998)[11].
In summary of the above definitions it can be said that there are two different perspectives into appropriation:
  • To take appropriation to occur only when the tool/artefacts is changed or
  • When the meaning and/or use of the artefact/tool is changed

Appropriation could be said to occur when users are interpreting signs e.g. elements in user interface, and form habits of actions based on the interpretation and share these habits that have been proved to be good. From this perspective, it could be said that to be able to share the habits /conventions of interpretation and use the users need a common ground – somewhat like collective zone of proximal development(cf:. Dourish 2004: 172)[12].
Since the signs can be interpreted in different ways forming different kind of habits, it is possible (there is potential) that the sharing of them forms new habits of actions. However, to be able to share the interpretations and habits the users need a place/space and place/space that is intertwined with the content and context of use. Therefore, to enable the sharing and collaborative development of new habits (uses) it means that the system should provide:

  • A space to share the habits and interpretations (space for communicating and place to store descriptions and examples of uses)
  • This should not be separate from the actual use of system but tied to it
  • Because, otherwise it requires too much extra effort and is not seen as worthwhile

Experimental testing and evaluation

To be added together.

[#5]Beaudouin-Lafon M, Karsenty A. (1992). Transparency and awareness in a real-time groupware system. In Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST’92,. Green M. and Mackinlay J. (eds.), pp. 171–180. Monterey, CA, USA: ACM Press.

[#9]DeSanctis, G. and Poole, M.S. (1994). Capturing the complexity in advanced technology use: adaptive structuration theory. Organization Science 5(2), 121-147.

[#1]Dourish, P. (1993). Designing for Change: Reflective Metalevel Architectures for Deep Customization in CSCW. Technical Report EPC-1993-102. Retrieved January 31, 2007, from

[#8]Dourish, P. (2003). The appropriation of interactive technologies: some lessons from placeless documents. Computer Supported Cooperative Work 12(4): 465-490.

[#12]Dourish P. (2004). Where the action is? England: The MIT Press Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London.

[#2]Dourish, P. and Bellotti, V. (1992). Awareness and Coordination in Shared Workspaces. In Proceedings of the AMC Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW’92), Greenberg S. ed., 107-114. Toronto, Canada: AMC Press.

[#6]Eglash, R. (2004). Appropriating technology: an introduction. In Appropriating Technology: Vernacular Science and Social Power, Eglash, R., Croissant, J.L., Di Chiro, G., Fouché, R. (eds.), pp. vii-xxi. University of Minneapolis Press, Minneapolis, MN.

[#10]Garfinkel, H. (1967). Studies in ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

[#3]Gutwin C, Stark G, and Greenberg S. (1995). Support for workspace awareness in educational groupware. In Proceedings of the ACMConference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL’95), 147–156. Bloomington, Indiana, USA: ACM Press.

[#7]Mackay, H. & Gillespie, G. (1992). Extending the social shaping of technology approach: ideology and appropriation. Social Studies of Science 22: 685-716.

[#4]Mørch A., Jondahl, S. and Dolonen, J. (2005). Supporting conceptual awareness with pedagogical agents. Information System Frontiers 7(1): 39-53.

[#11]Wertsch, J.V. (1998). Mind as action. Oxford University Press, New York, NY.

This page is a category under: usability and under CategoryOfEvalutionCriteria

the "Deep Customization" issue. One of the promises of the Semantic Web is that personalization can be supported both in terms of describing the user (in terms of ontologies) but also describing the structure of applications (again in terms of corresponding schemas) so that users can subscribe to "parts" that interest them and are allowed to, thus giving the flexibility to really personalize the components available. Additionally each component can have a set of properties (again in the Semantic Web this would be a schema) that the user can set so as to personalize that component. In terms of KP-Lab this would require a substantial re-engineering of everything in order to support it and I do not know many implementations done that way - at least in their full extend. But the trend is that way, e.g. Microsoft is also going for a subscription based version of the office, etc.

--Dimitris, 22-Aug-2007

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