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INFORMATION-CENTRED DESIGN: A methodology for designing virtual meeting DESIGN environments

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Development of single-user computer applications has often been based on user-centred or task-centred design methodologies, with some success. These methodologies are also useful for guiding the development of multi-user CSCW applications whenever the basic characteristics of the users, or the type of tasks for which the system is being designed are identifiable. The effectiveness of these methodologies as a basis for the design of virtual meeting environments for supporting community-based activities, on the other hand, is rather limited. This is mainly due to the fact that for such systems it is not generally possible to identify the user or task requirements, as these vary considerably from one community to another, or even within the same community over a period of time. New methodologies need to be devised, or existing methodologies have to be modified, to direct the development of virtual environments for which the characteristics of the users or their activities are not known in advance. This paper introduces the concept of information-centred design. Information-centred design, though not fully devised yet, focuses on the identification of the type of information, as well as the way it is collected and utilized by the users of a virtual meeting environment. This pool of information, which plays an important role in facilitating interaction and communication between the members of a community, could be defined as their communal memory.
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Keywords: Communal Memory; Information-CENTRED Design; Task-CENTRED Design; User-CENTRED Design; Virtual Communities; Virtual Meeting Environments

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2001

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