Socio-technical dilemmas in participatory design: The development of an online video-mediated youth counselling service
2014 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
The availability of online resources for youth counselling has increased in later years, posing a number of new challenges for existing practices and practitioners. Previous research on online youth counselling has addressed the changing conditions for professionals as well as for the young clients (Danby et al., 2009; 2011; Harris et al., 2012) but has not previously examined the processes through which the services are developed. In this study we follow a participatory design project in the development of a youth counselling e-service in Sweden. The study provides an ethnomethodologically informed analysis of how a group of counsellors discuss possible socio-technical dilemmas created by the introduction of web-based video-mediated counselling. As the analyses demonstrate, the planned implementation is met by the counsellors with extensive hypothetical reasoning. The counsellors draw on various experiences from the existing work practice, experiences of distance interaction with clients via telephone and chat as well as face-to-face meetings. With the help of these resources the counsellors provide reasoned accounts of envisaged problems connected with the combination of visual access and physical distance introduced by the video-link. Two issues in particular are topicalized: the problem of ‘dirty calls’ where callers engage counsellors in talk about sexual issues as a means of self-gratification; and the issue of suicide threats. The specific problems of the video-link are made salient through contrasts with face-to-face meetings as well as with telephone calls. Three main methods of addressing hypothetical problems can be discerned: first, normalizing the articulated problem by minimizing the difference between the new technology and existing practice (e.g. suggesting that Skype conversations can be ended in the same way as telephone calls); second, proposing conversational strategies in which referring to technological malfunction can be used as a resource for ending unpleasant calls or disabling the problematic video-link; third, defining and limiting the particular circumstances in which the video-link is to be used. Some general conclusions that can be drawn are that the practitioners use experiences from their current practices both to hypothesize about problems and create strategies for solutions. In different ways, these strategies work to bring the hypothetical new environment in line with existing work practices.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
participatory design, professional reasoning, video-mediated communication
Pedagogy Media and Communication Technology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-231932OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-231932DiVA: diva2:745952
ALAPP 2014, 4th International conference applied linguistics and professional practice, Genève, Switzerland