Developing the process via workshop

The JxD process is almost completed and will be available on this site very soon along with some additional resources.  Representing the process and all of it’s ‘layers’ (we think that’s a good way to describe this) has been challenging.  This final representation has been the result of a few steps, perhaps the most important being a design workshop around the JxD process. We originally designed a framework – a structure for thinking about Journalism Design, but as a result of the workshop, we realised we needed a process instead. Here’s a quick summary of how that workshop ran and what it produced.

Our workshop participants included: students who had recently completed some form of design course either in information technology or journalism; professional journalists; and, academics working in either information technology or journalism.  Our intention was to obtain the views from stakeholders on all sides of the process, a 360-degree perspective.

Experiencing the JxD Framework

We broke the participants into smaller groups and ran them through a shortened intensive version JxD process.  This process required teams to:

  1. Create a concept for an application in response to a provocation
  2. Report back to the larger group on their ideas, the larger group providing critique and feedback
  3. Decide on a concept to progress and then ‘develop’ this concept as far as they could.

All teams created a prototype that they were able to evaluate with other participants in the workshop.  They then presented their concept back to the whole group including an explanation of their rationale for their design decisions.

 

 

Re-designing the JxD Framework

Version 1 of the JxD Framework
Figure 1: Our initial version of the JxD framework.

In the second half of the workshop, we presented our initial designs of how to represent the JxD framework (see figure 1) and, with the participants, worked through three questions:

  1. Think about what further work you would want to do if you were proceeding with the development of the application?
  2. How did your actual process and the steps that you would do fit within the framework?
  3. How would you change the framework?
  4. Each participant marked up their responses on a hard copy of the framework and, in an open forum, presented back those responses.

From this feedback, we were able to identify some key themes covering: people’s experience of using the framework; how the framework should be represented; and, the design of the framework itself.  We condensed this feedback into a mindmap (see figure 2).

 

Workshop feedback from participants as a mind map
Figure 2: Mind-map of the feedback and thoughts from the workshop participants on the representation of the JxD Framework

 

A consistent message from the feedback as the need for values to “permeate the process” and representing this as a single step in the framework was not communicating the importance of values and the need to consider values throughout.  As stated by one participant:

[…] one thing I definitely was set on was that the value (sic) should permeate the entire process, it shouldn’t be one step in the design process. If at any point you lose sight of your values you are going to lose sight of what you are trying to achieve. So at every step, every time you make an idea or an iteration, or any tiny tweak to a feature, you should stop and ask yourself the question: ‘is this in service of the values that I identified as important to this problem’.

Another issue that the participants identified was the placement of the artefact element in the centre of the process.  To some extent this confused participants as to whether the processed ended once an artefact was created.

Example of feedback provided by participants on version 1 of the framework
Does the process end once an artefact is created? The placement of ‘Artefact’ in the centre of the framework diagram caused some confusion.

 

Finally, all participants agreed that engaging with users and completing a number of iterations incorporating evaluation by users was crucial to the success of the framework to stimulate reflection on journalistic values.

[…] you’ve also got what is important to the audience. It might be important to you, but you can’t do, you know, it’s not going to fit, and then you’ve got an iteration cycle, but that’s about testing these against that with real people. And iterating, and doing it again, and doing it again, running multiple tests with different ones, and with each of these you’ll learn more about the other one.

The feedback from the workshop was invaluable in shaping the future design of the framework.  Key to this was obtaining feedback from a range of people with different experiences giving us different perspectives on how the framework should be designed and represented.

About the author

Pete Worthy
By Pete Worthy

The JxD Project is about imagining the journalism of the future. We are interested in using interaction design to propose new ways of for communicating and interacting with news and information that is in the public interest. On this site you can find out about our projects, download resources and see our publications.