Technology Culture of Mobile Maintenance Men

MANNONEN, Petri (2009). Technology Culture of Mobile Maintenance Men. In: Undisciplined! Design Research Society Conference 2008, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK, 16-19 July 2008.


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Technology plays a major role in our life and the role is increasing as a result of fast technological development occurring all the time. Technology’s impact on our everyday life sets new challenges also to designers. In order to design products which are usable. We need to understand technologies and devices we are developing, users of our designed products, and the relationships our users have with different kinds of technologies.

User-centred design (UCD) has emerged as a counter part for traditional technology centred product development. UCD emphasizes the role of the users in every phase of product design and development. However, it seems that the users’ relationships with technologies is underestimated and sometimes even forgotten also in UCD. The users’ current tools and technological environment is seen as just surroundings and task related tools instead of as an important factor that affects to users’ actions and opinions.

This article presents a case study where mobile IT maintenance men where studied with traditional UCD methods and in addition the user research was deepened with focusing on users’ relationships with technology. The results show that UCD’s methods can miss some critical phenomena relating to users’ relationships with technology and affecting to usability and quality of the developed products.

Understanding how users comprehend the technologies they use, i.e. understanding what kind of technology culture the users are a part of, enables designers to better evaluate how well the developed product will fit in the lives of it’s users and what sorts of changes are possibly going to happen or required to happen in order the new product to be included in the users’ technology culture. These kinds of evaluations help the designers to design better products and the companies to better estimate business risks relating to for example technology acceptance.

Technology Culture, User-Centred Design, User Research, Distributed and Mobile Work

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (-)
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2009
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 14:06

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