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Social Software & Senior Citizens | 16 comments
[new] user-friendliness vs. ? (Avg. Score: none / Raters: 0) (#8)
by amy on Fri Nov 14th, 2003 at 09:54:33 PM EURODISCORDIA TIME
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i don't generally think of a dichotomy between social/user-friendly and code. i think of it more in terms of restriction vs. flexibility - which doesn't really relate to presence or absence of code.

for example, Linker is software that allows users to tell stories - but places limitations on the way stories can be told. ... for example, users are restricted to laying out images in a particular arrangement, sounds, etc. (from my memory of last time i was able to see Linker in action.) so Linker makes digital storytelling easier, but prescribes that it must be done through images and sounds, with restrictions to how they are laid out. (what about a user who tells stories through folk songs? what about a user who creates giant quilts?) thus, Linker becomes part-author of the story.

this might well be an acceptable compromise, if the other option is to simply alienate the users so that they don't tell their stories at all... i'm sure it's an issue that the authors of Linker have thought about and addressed themselves - i'm certainly not inteding to be critical of Linker or other social software. also, as i mentioned above, the issue of software's control/authorship applies to all software - including/especially software that presents itself as powerful/flexible/transparent. but i also think it's an important point to keep at the forefront of social software discourse: as we seek to empower more people with "user-friendly" software, to what extent are we disempowering them at the same time?

# begin amy's sig
-- Discordia is nice.
# end amy's sig

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Social Software & Senior Citizens | 16 comments


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