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16.5.2013 13-15 Mikael Johnson: How Social Media Changes User-Centred Design
Venue: Aalto Arts, room 885, Hämeentie 135C, 8th floor

Social media changes the game for user involvement in service design. Active user communities, fast paced iterative development, digital trails, peer production, and low cost software distribution are well known facets that bring substantial changes. The question is, have the user-centred, participatory, and lead-user design approaches kept up with the changes, or do they preserve an outdated perspective that holds us back?

In this presentation based on his doctoral dissertation, the author distils lessons for designers, managers, and researchers from an in-depth case study of a pioneering digital service, Habbo Hotel by Sulake Corporation. The analysis demonstrates how collaboration and feedback loops between developers and users change over time. The key message, which concerns strategic user involvement, is to forget process guidance that relies on a stable and orderly software lifecycle and reconsider the implications for timing and method choice, for instance, in terms of developer–user social distance, cumulation of user knowledge, and key development rhythms.

Mikael Johnson defended his thesis on March 15, now there is an opportunity for extended discussion around the thesis, available online: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-60-5073-7 Mikael is Postdoctoral Researcher at Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, a joint research institution of Aalto University and the University of Helsinki, Finland. http://people.aalto.fi/mikael_johnson

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