User Advocacy in Participatory Design: Designers' Experiences with a New Communication Channel
We report on participatory design activities within the PoliTeam project, a large project which introduces groupware into the German government. Working with a representative small group of users in different worksites, an existing system was adapted to user and organizational needs, with the plan to improve and expand the system to a large scale. We integrated new approaches of user advocacy and osmosis with an evolutionary cycling process. User advocates and osmosis were techniques used to explore the users' needs during actual system use. These techniques were incorporated into the system development. In this paper, we present experiences with this approach and reflect on its impact on the design process from the designers' point of view.