Designing Technology as an Embedded Resource for Troubleshooting
In this paper we describe a number of technologies which we designed to provide support for customers troubleshooting problems with their office devices. The technologies aim to support both self-conducted and expert-supported troubleshooting and to provide a seamless route from one type of support to another. The designs are grounded in the findings of an ethnographic study of a troubleshooting call centre for office devices. We examine the properties of different assemblies of people, resources, technologies and spaces to inspire design for the different troubleshooting situations. Through our fieldwork and our technology envisionments we uncovered a number of dislocations between various aspects of the troubleshooting assemblies: (1) a physical dislocation between the site of the problem and the site of problem resolution; (2) a conceptual dislocation between the users’ knowledge and the troubleshooting resources and (3) a logical dislocation between the support resources and the status of the ailing device itself. The technologies that we propose attempt to address these dislocations by embedding the troubleshooting resources in the device itself, thus harmonizing the various elements and capturing, where possible, the haecceities—the ‘just thisness’—of each particular troubleshooting situation.