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Software Developers Are People, Too: Using Participatory Research in the Tech Industry
OutSystems, Algés, Portugal.
OutSystems, Algés, Portugal.
Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH, Supply Chain and Operations Management.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9759-9133
WISCAP, Madison, United States.
2021 (English)In: International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (2021): 23rd HCI International Conference, HCII 2021, Virtual Event, July 24–29, 2021, Proceedings, Part II / [ed] C. Stephanidis, M. Antona & S. Ntoa, Springer, 2021, Vol. 1419, p. 18-24Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper reports an ethnographic researcher’s shift towards the tech industry while maintaining the purpose of spotting opportunities and problems. It must be emphasized that whether working with remote communities in far-flung corners of the world or sitting in a room full of software developers, the concept remains the same: it is all about the users. Ethnographic researchers may not live with software developers but are getting increasingly closer to them. This paper aims to explain how this is done, i.e., by using participatory methods, such as field diaries. The first author’s initial realization of the full potential of diaries arose in Ethiopia and Mozambique, where efforts by institutions to help people often fail due to the lack of on-the-ground knowledge about the communities in which they operate. To address this, written and photo diaries were implemented so that community members could clearly express what is important in their everyday lives. In the current software company setting, we use the same method to understand what happens when users develop with our platform. The salient difference is that instead of receiving handwritten diaries and photos, we collect digital journals and screenshots from our users’ experience. This enables moving towards a continuous research vision to identify new user needs timely and ensure we are always building the right thing. However, by adopting this and other proactive approaches for generative research, new challenges are emerging regarding the efficient collection and analysis of large amounts of qualitative information.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2021. Vol. 1419, p. 18-24
Series
Communications in Computer and Information Science, ISSN 1865-0929 ; 1419
Keywords [en]
Continuous research, Field diaries, Participatory research, Computer science, Computers, Participatory methods, Pro-active approach, Qualitative information, Remote communities, Research vision, Software company, Software developer, Human computer interaction
National Category
Software Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-54247DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-78635-9_3Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85112056310ISBN: 978-3-030-78634-2 (print)ISBN: 978-3-030-78635-9 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-54247DiVA, id: diva2:1585237
Conference
23rd HCI International Conference, HCII 2021, Virtual Event, July 24–29, 2021
Available from: 2021-08-16 Created: 2021-08-16 Last updated: 2021-08-16Bibliographically approved

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Coelho, Denis A.

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