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A. Exploring Work Mediation and Determining Scope Valued computing tools can seemingly “fit” into certain parts of knowledge workers’ actions and thought processes, usefully meshing within the flows of their own goals. Designing for such a harmonious pairing requires critical exploration of potential interventions into targeted activities. During application envisioning, product teams can model and rationalize knowledge work from a variety of perspectives in order to understand how certain practices might be usefully mediated by their own onscreen applications. Teams can use these models to sketch divergent functionality concepts, eventually drafting an appropriate and desirable scope for their computing tool.


Ideas about the potential roles that a product could play in knowledge work can arise in different ways. Product teams working within mature genres can build and innovate based on existing understandings. Teams seeking to create novel applications, whether tailored to a specific workplace or a larger market segment, can have more extensive, “from the ground up” questions to consider. In either situation, teams can intentionally reevaluate and flesh out their initial ideas about their product’s contributions to workers’ activities. Since so much of knowledge work is tacit and occurs inside workers minds, it can be difficult for product teams to gather the information that they need to create useful shared models of current work practice and its challenges. Direct observation in work environments and iterative, participatory modeling processes can help teams gain insights into what workers have difficulty remembering and articulating. Different approaches to modeling work practice can frame certain problem spaces in different ways. Teams can use these differing frames to identify areas for fruitful design concepting, such as needed “basics” for a computing tool, potential areas for improvement, and workers’ unmet needs. This category contains 9 of the 100 application envisioning ideas in this book: A1. Influential physical and cultural environments A2. Workers’ interrelations and relationships A3. Work practices appropriate for computer mediation A4. Standardization of work practice through mediation A5. Interrelations of operation, task, and activity scenarios A6. Open and emergent work scenarios A7. Collaboration scenarios and variations A8. Local practices and scenario variations A9. High value ratio for targeted work practices Product teams can use these ideas to explore how different understandings of knowledge work practice can inform diverse application concepts and refined design strategies. Even when a product’s initial charter targets a specific domain goal or activity, more expansive modeling and ideation can highlight opportunities for more systemic responses and valuable innovations. The central notion of this category applies to all of the application envisioning ideas, though it is most closely related to the “Defining interaction objects” (B), “Establishing an application framework” (C), “Promoting integration into work practice” (K), and “Planning connection with use” (M) categories.

Working through Screens (Tabloid Size)  
Working through Screens (Tabloid Size)  

Working through Screens: 100 Ideas for Envisioning Powerful, Engaging, and Productive User Experiences in Knowledge Work This heavily illus...