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Click-guides and panic buttons: Designed possibilities for youth agency and user empowerment in online youth counselling services
Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Media Technology. Uppsala universitet.
Uppsala universitet.
2016 (English)In: Childhood, ISSN 0907-5682, E-ISSN 1461-7013Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

This study examines how possibilities for agency are designed into online youth counselling services, as well as how such possibilities are addressed by young prospective users during the design of the services. The data are drawn both from the design of a national website for youth clinics in Sweden and from a design project developing e-services for local youth clinics in a Swedish municipality. The agency of young users is here treated as a key concern for understanding how user empowerment is accomplished through the design of websites and e-services. Using combined research materials (i.e. two websites and focus group meetings), this study demonstrates how design features may both facilitate and restrict young people’s involvement and control over sensitive and private issues. In addition, we demonstrate how the designed possibilities for empowerment may allow young users to critically approach and effectively use such services.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2016.
Keyword [en]
Digital control, empowerment, focus group meetings, interaction design, online youth counselling services, privacy, website analysis, youth agency
National Category
Pedagogy Media and Communication Technology Human Aspects of ICT Human Computer Interaction Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-30886DOI: 10.1177/0907568216656761OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-30886DiVA: diva2:971678
Available from: 2016-09-18 Created: 2016-09-18 Last updated: 2016-12-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Designing for Online Youth Counselling: Empowerment through Design and Participation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Designing for Online Youth Counselling: Empowerment through Design and Participation
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

More and more people are using the internet to access various societal functions. In recent years, municipalities and private enterprises have increasingly begun to explore and develop internet-based services to support public health in general and to disseminate health information in particular. This compilation thesis consists of four articles that explore and provide different perspectives on the design and implementation of new online youth counselling services for public organisations and social services, working with counselling and health information for young people. Ethnographic methods, and materials from two empirical settings, have been used to investigate how aspects of design and participation can serve to empower both potential young users and counsellors as stakeholders in the design projects. An important secondary focus is how mechanisms of empowerment play out in the design of online counselling services targeting young people. The notion of empowerment is addressed in terms of empowerment through design, focusing on normative expectations regarding young people as users of online youth counselling, as well as how to work with norms and norm-critical perspectives in the design and development of user interfaces. Another aspect of empowerment concerns participation, here seeking an increased understanding of the processes, practices and shifting roles involved in engaging professionals and young users as participants in a design project. In order to address these interrelated areas of inquiry, an eclectic theoretical and methodological approach has been used to study design in practice. An ethnomethodological approach unpacks how the participants relate to and reflect upon the design projects under study, highlighting aspects of empowerment and user agency. In addition, a sociocultural perspective on communities of practice and participation is used to increase the understanding of what it means to be a participant in participatory design projects. The findings show how embedded social norms and values have implications for users’ identities as presented in the digital design of online youth counselling services. The findings also reveal ways in which user empowerment is facilitated but also restricted by the design of youth counselling e-services, including not only the designed multimodal features of such services, but also the norms that guide usage. The studies also address the outcomes of technological change and the implementation of sociotechnical systems and services for the professionals involved in design projects. Here the studies provide knowledge about the forms of practical reasoning the counsellors engage in when anticipating work-related issues associated with the new technology and how they might deal with potential challenges. Finally, the findings show how participation in a design project may enable the development of new forms of communities of practice in which the participants and their roles and participation status change as the organisation changes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Uppsala universitet, 2016. 140 p.
Series
, Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, ISSN 0347-1314 ; 140
Keyword
Empowerment, Participation, Design practice, Participatory design projects, Norm-critical design, Norms in design, Ethnography, Ethnomethodology, Online youth counselling
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-31312 (URN)978-91-554-9725-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-12-02, Eva Netzelius, 10:K102, von Kraemers Allé 1A, Uppsala, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-12-08 Created: 2016-12-07 Last updated: 2016-12-08Bibliographically approved

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