Selection Criteria for Technology Platforms (Fred)

Scoping the choice for #oosEU

Background; I’ve been involved in thinking about choosing in thinking about how to match technology choices to user (and institutional) needs since the 1980s. The big issue at that time was the arrival of the PC, personal computer. Businesses who had previously seen computers as the preserve of computing professionals, who handed out print-outs of information to managers, maybe a day or a week or a month (!) after the information was requested, suddenly found that users (not just computing professionals) could now actually touch the computer, or terminal, or desktop computer (that is why it is called a desktop) and retrieve information for themselves; later on they would be allowed to input information as well.

Metaphors; Microsoft eventually won the war of the metaphors for user-computing and determine that we would use the “desktop” metaphor. The metaphor both simplifies and shuts down choices for the user; if I know how a business desktop works then I also know how M$ Windows works. If you use computers you are interested in “business.” One of the issues we might be interested in #oosEU is what metaphors we are using in developing the Toolbox. Toolbox itself is already a metaphor of course…

Systems Analysis; As there are issues between what technology can do (its affordances) and what users want (the purpose of the system) a key process in the design of technology systems is “systems analysis.” System analysis is about looking at what the user needs Continue reading