Mirko Tobias Schäfer / Assistant Professor
University of Utrecht Department for Media and Culture Studies

Software-design

Date September 2007 / Category Publications

with Bernhard Rieder: Beyond Engineering. Software Design as Bridge over the Culture/Technology Dichotomy, in: Pieter E. Vermaas, Peter Kroes, Andrew Light, and Steven A. Moore (eds.), Philosophy and Design: From Engineering to Architecture, Dordrecht: Springer, 2008, pp. 152-164.

Tags Article culture Software-Design Technology

Date December 2006 / Category Publications

with Patrick Kranzlmüller: RTFM! Teach-Yourself Culture in Open Source Software Projects, in Hug, Theo (ed.): Didactics of Microlearning, Berlin, New York: Waxmann, 2007, pp. 324-240.

Tags Article Software-Design User-Participation

Date January 2007 / Category News

A plethora of different tools are supposed to help the user to get along with a certain software application. FAQs, Wikis, forums, read-me texts, tutorials, manuals and the documentation should help the user to set up and use the software. These tools are frequently provided in a misleading way and often difficult to understand. In discussion with software designer Patrick Kranzlmüller we asked whether a solution would be based on an improved information management system or on a different way of organizing the development process. The Austrian communication scientist Theo Hug pointed us to the terminology of Microlearning. In microlearning we recognized the teach yourself processes that are established practices in digital culture. But further more microlearning can offer a way to diminish the gap between users and developers.

In our article "RTFM! Teach-Yourself Culture in Open Source Software Projects" we evaluate tools used for documenting and explaining software and analyze how microlearning could offer a methodology for integrating the user and stimulating the teach yourself processes. In consequence a list of recommendations for software developers is provided. Communicating the complexity of software to users is not only a matter of information design but a social challenge, too.

Tags Article Book Software-Design User-Participation

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