User experience versus author experience: lessons learned from the UX Series

Gaudenzi, S. 2017. User experience versus author experience: lessons learned from the UX Series. in: Aston, J., Gaudenzi, S. and Rose, M. (ed.) i-docs: the evolving practices of interactive documentary Columbia University Press Wallflower Press. pp. 117-128

Chapter titleUser experience versus author experience: lessons learned from the UX Series
AuthorsGaudenzi, S.
EditorsAston, J., Gaudenzi, S. and Rose, M.
Abstract

In 2014, I started an online research project that I called the i-doc UX Series. My assumption was that for as much as i-doc makers understood the importance of putting the user at the center of their creative process (UCD) , they were actually not really doing it thoroughly because they lacked a design methodology. Therefore, the idea behind the UX Series was to interview interactive design specialists and to ask them if, and how, their methodology could be applied to the production of interactive narratives. Since my intention was to start a dialogue between two types of production practices, I asked seven renowned i-doc specialists to comment on each design interview, and also to invite a colleague of their choice to extend the debate through a series of Google Hangouts . I wanted to check if, and how much, i-doc makers were incorporating design practices in their work.

In this chapter, the UX Series interviews will serve as substantive evidence to sustain my argument. Although they do not constitute a thorough quantitative survey, I believe those interviews provide a good indication of current production trends. The other evidence that will be used in this chapter, are some recorded interviews that I gathered in 2015 while curating the !F Lab workshops – a series of labs aimed at initiating independent i-doc makers in digital methodologies. It is during these workshops, mainly attended by storytellers (people coming from film, documentary, journalism or photography backgrounds), that I observed how much novice i-doc makers are unaware of their own resistance to adopting design methodologies in their own work process. As we were doing some practical exercises, I realized that even if they are generally in accordance with the core principles of user center design, they unconsciously stumble on all sorts of resistances when they have to put them into practice.

These emerging points of friction between design theory and i-doc production practice, made me want to investigate further. This chapter is therefore my attempt to reflect on such tensions, investigate their origins and, more importantly, dig into the assumptions behind each work practice. My hypothesis is that merging methodologies of work go beyond the practical adoption of new processes, touching upon core beliefs of individual responsibilities and power structures within a team that need to be addressed if we want them to change. The corollary of such a hypothesis is that these methodological tensions are currently holding back fledgling i-doc makers in an in-between creative zone that does not allow the form to flourish to its full potential.

Keywordsuser experience, interactive storytelling, agile methodologies, design thinking, production
Book titlei-docs: the evolving practices of interactive documentary
Page range117-128
Year2017
PublisherWallflower Press
Publication dates
Published24 Mar 2017
Place of publicationColumbia University Press
ISBN9780231181235

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