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Rizwan Ansary

Assignment 10

1. what do you consider the main argument of the article?

Systems should be designed with the view of accomodating several roles that the users can possibly play while using the system. Being either a consumer or a designer in itself is not important. However, it is imperative that the system should not stereotype users into a particular role thereby limiting the various options available to the suer. There should always be provision for the users to adapt the system to their own needs without requiring the intervention of the designers.

2. do you agree or disagree with the main argument? give a answer based on your own experiences?

I wholeheartedly agree with the argument. "If you give a fish to a human, you will feed him for a day, if you give someone a fishing rod, you will feed him for life" – Chinese Proverb
However, as much as it is important to have consumers being able to customize the systems according to their needs and improve it through their input it is also essential to not thrust the role of designers on the consuners all the time. As the article points out, there is nothing wrong in being a consumer once a while. In my personal experiences, I have frequently come across gadgets and software that I had to adapt to my own needs. My last PDA is one example that instantly comes to mind.

3. enumerate in which situations

3.1. you acted as a designer/active contributor

I am currently deisgning and developing a workflow management system for digital libraries which is being actively used by atleast four major organizations that regularly provide feedback.

3.2. you acted as a (passive) consumer

The article gives a very relevant example of watching television. Other than that I can think of the ATM machine where I am a passive consumer.

3.3. situations in which you believe you should have acted differently

I got a digital diary in gift a while ago. It has an interface which can potentially make a good case study for bad user interfaces. I wish I can change atleast something in the design that makes my consumer experience a little better.


For independent research, our team is currently exploring the paradigms of extreme programming. I see many parallels between the thesis of our independent research and the ideas presented in this article. Developer teams following the XP method essentially have a representative of the potential users sit on the development team and give constant feedback. It would be interesting to see how the principles of meta-design and SER correlate with this methodology that we are exploring.

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