OpenDesign Project

OpenDesign: techniques and artifacts for the socially aware design of computing systems

In recent years, unwanted impacts of computer systems on economic, ethical, political and social life have become more evident. We argue that such problems generally stem from a software development vision that does not privilege the social world in which solutions are used and people live.

We subscribe to a systemic vision for the design of interactive systems, to consider the technical solution as part of a more complex social system in which people live and interact, and in which society develops its patterns of behaviour, values, social and legal norms, etc.

Several methods and processes have guided software development in organizations from traditional and structured, to the most recently popular agile and lean methods. On the other hand, open source development communities have created a number of high quality software products, making them emerge from their practice. The open source phenomenon has attracted the attention of the research community in order to understand how open source communities can achieve such success.

To the best of our knowledge, there is no equivalent community-driven effort for interactive system design; i.e. the activities that precede the development of code, starting with the clarification of the design problem and the proposal of possible solutions. Thus, we propose this Project we are naming OpenDesign.

Our objective is to characterize OpenDesign, formalize a design and development process, and develop tools and a platform to support its use. We aim at extending the state of the art in the field and facilitating the practice of academic and professional communities in the “open” design of interactive systems.

M. Cecília C. Baranauskas