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Draft! Fries.DD.20110330

Draft! Fries.DD.20110330

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Published by Laura Fries
Design Document for the CoDesign Cookbook, a May 2011 Georgia Tech MS Thesis Project.
Design Document for the CoDesign Cookbook, a May 2011 Georgia Tech MS Thesis Project.

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Published by: Laura Fries on Apr 07, 2011
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04/29/2011

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THE CODESIGN COOKBOOK:a digital media toolkit for participatory designby laura m. fries
 codesign: “the creativity of designers and people not trained in design working together in the design developmentprocess” (Sanders, 2008) As presented to the academic facultyin partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree
Master of Digital Mediain the School of Literature, Communication and CultureGeorgia Institute of TechnologyMay 2011
Committee
Dr. Carl DiSalvo, Advisor & Chair• Dr. Michael Nitsche, Committee Member• Dr. Ian Bogost, Committee Member
 
LAURA FRIES // Design Document: The Codesign Cookbook, coDesign.us 2
Abstract
CoDesign has been shown to be a valuable tool to engageamateurs in designerly ways of knowing and making. Butthe body of contemporary research remains inaccessibleto a broader audience: sequestered in scholarly journals,couched in unfamiliar phrases, participatory designresearch findings have yet to hit the mainstream.This project addresses this situation by offering aprototype, or a proof-of-concept medium: a remediationof the cookbook as a way for researchers to segment, tag and publish their collective body of knowledge. Keyfindings have been identified from contemporarycodesign literature, and divided into content categoriessuch as ‘Definitions, ‘Concepts’ and ‘Quotes.’ Additionally, specific tactics from codesign research havebeen developed into ‘Recipes’ – offering a generalaudience hands-on ways to incorporate codesignprinciples into their “communities of practice” (Wenger,1998) through the familiar medium of cookeryinstructions. These ‘how-to’ articles use real-life examplesfrom the large-scale participatory events I have co-directed during the 2010-2011 session of the PublicDesign Workshop at Georgia Tech
{SEE P. 9}
.The
CoDesign Cookbook 
consists of a customizedContent Management System (CMS) built with the open-source framework provided by Wordpress. Custom PostTypes and Custom Templates were developed using PHPand CSS
{SEE CHART P. 14}
. Borrowing heavily from the designconventions of print cookbooks, this project containsfamiliar features such as a Table of Contents, Keywordand Author Index. Each content node or custom post typeis tagged with keywords, creating a custom taxonomy thatmaximizes the encyclopedic affordances of the posts,enabling them to be displayed in multiple areasthroughout the site. Citations are provided in the form of  Wordpress Categories, enabling users to quickly peruseall site content attributed to a scholar with a single click.This project is exploratory in nature, suggesting ways thatfuture practitioners of participatory design might create orcontribute to digital media forms that communicate theirresearch findings to a broad audience of academics andlaypeople alike.
Future Extensions
: In attempting to leverage theaffordances of the medium, it is imperative toacknowledge that features such as community input of codesign recipes require the development of acommunity of users; with the requisite evolution of culturalmores regarding appropriateness of content, discussiontone, etc. These are significant undertakings that are morethan just features and code - it requires, at the very least,the development of standards for community input,editorial oversight procedures and addressing liabilityand intellectual property concerns. While such an open
 
LAURA FRIES // Design Document: The Codesign Cookbook, coDesign.us 3
collaborative system is desired, and hopefully will be along-term outcome, it is outside the scope of what canrealistically be achieved within six months.The project instead explores the role of curation. Similarto the gatekeeper model of journalism, it explores thepossibilities of an expert narration to a series of complex,relatively inaccessible topics. Curation has fallen out of favor in recent years, as “user-submitted” and“aggregation” have found favor among the buzzerati.However, curation has an important role in our culture,and many of our cultural mainstays still utilize experts tomake decisions about content both online and off. While amuseum, for example, might sponsor a contest to seewhich of a series of rotating exhibits the Twitter-voting public might see, it leaves important matters of acquisitionto knowledgable staff.In the same fashion, while CNN.com has expanded itsofferings beyond the traditionally reported material,incorporating user-generated material from “iReporters,”the website still pays online editors to sift through thisuser-submitted material and find, vette, and publishapproved “iReport” material to its homepage. These areprofessional jobs, requiring several years of webpublishing in a major metro area news market. So whileusers are welcome to submit materials to the website, thesite still retains the final say over what is published ontheir homepage by hiring trained experts to make thatdecision – a powerful argument for the role of curation.Pinterest.com is another artifact that makes a case for theemergence of curation in modern web entities. The invite-only website allows users to create digital “inspirationboards” of found images on the web, encouraging itscommunity to carefully source, select, and categorizeimages on topics ranging from “Yellow and Gray Palettes”to “Well Designed Things.” Community rules on the siteprohibit users from creating an “Pinterest board” fromonly one site, and urge site users to select imagescarefully. As their rule “2. Pin Thoughtfully” suggests,
Pinterest is for curating and showcasing the things that you love. There are no'right' pins or 'wrong' pins, but try to keep the community interesting and beautiful.Don't be a blatant self-promoter, don't spam, and don't pin nudity or images thatyou think other people will find offensive.
 
Curation is a response to the earlier, freeform days of Internet content – one that suggests that there is continued value in exploring the world with a thoughtful guidesmoothing the path before you; taking you on a journeyfrom their perspective, with reasoned, informed narration.

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