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From Consensus to Innovation. Evolving Towards Crowd-based User-Centered Design (01a Articolo in rivista)

Catarci Tiziana, Marrella Andrea, Santucci Giuseppe, Sharf Mahmoud, Vitaletti Andrea, Di Lucchio Loredana, Imbesi Lorenzo, Malakuczi Viktor

The arising of new technologies ranging from smartphones to social networks is constantly increasing interactions between people. In the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) community, adapting technology to human nature is the key concern of User-Centered Design (UCD). However, UCD tends to neglect the emerging social dimension of technology: users are consulted in the design process, but they do not have any direct involvement or creative control over the developed technological solutions. On the other hand, the collaborative and social nature of the design process is getting increasingly explicit in the Product Design community, where well-established participatory approaches are applied to involve stakeholders, designers, and end-users in the creative process of new products. In this paper, we first provide a deep analysis of the state of the art of participatory approaches in the research literature. Then, we investigate how their integration with UCD leads not only to empower the role of end-users as active collaborators of designers towards a more democratic crowd-based UCD process, but also to create innovation in the design process. We advocate that such innovation can be obtained by giving the right voice not only to the users who reach consensus in the design process but also to the marginals. We provide an explorative model, some experiments, and a sketch of the user interface to support our claim.
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