Selecting users for participation in IT projects: trading a representative sample for advocates and champions?

Rasmus Rasmussen, Anders S. Christensen, Tobias Fjeldsted, Morten Hertzum

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    The selection of users for participation in IT projects involves trade-offs between multiple criteria, one of which is selecting a representative cross-section of users. This criterion is basic because trading it for other criteria means basing designs on information biased toward some user groups at the expense of others. Based on interviews in development and customer organizations we find that their criteria for user selection favour persons who can contribute to the progress of the IT project over persons who are representative of the full range of users. A highly valued contribution from participating users is the ability to advocate a vision for the system and champion its organizational implementation. A survey in one customer organization shows that respondents’ personal traits explain up to 31% of the variation in their experience of aspects of the usability of a recently introduced system. Thus, unless participating users are representative as to these personal traits, IT projects may, inadvertently, bring about systems that will fail to satisfy many users.
    TidsskriftInteracting with Computers
    Udgave nummer2
    Sider (fra-til)176-187
    Antal sider12
    StatusUdgivet - 2011


    • User selection
    • user representatives
    • user advocates
    • system champions
    • user participation

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