Research in Zolani

The next round of research that I went through was in Zolani, which is close to Robertson. I really enjoyed my research here, the people I met were very passionate about the betterment of their community. Similar to the Paarl-East research round, I spent 3 days at the centre, in the same structure; On the first day, I just observed what was happening at the e-Centre, on the second and third day I interviewed some e-Centre members.

Zolani e-Centre opened at 9am and closed at 5pm.

On the first day I managed to sit in on two classes that were being taught. One was on on Microsoft power point and the other was on Microsoft word. The e-Centre manager was the trainer. He was very good at getting the class involved in the activity first before explaining what the interface meant. He let them play around with the programmes first, so they knew what they were dealing with. Once they had played around for at least 45 minutes, he asked them  to ask him questions regarding what they had observed in the interface. Then he would start the class, I thought that was a really nice way to keep the class naturally curious about what they were dealing with.


On the first day, I had felt very excited, a lot of people came to chat to me in person and ask me what I was doing here, they were all very interested and loved sharing their stories, which I enjoyed. I engaged in a lot of natural conversation at Zolani, a lot more than at Paarl-East.

On the second day, I interviewed members in a room just outside of the e-Centre. I had told some of the members I met on day one that I was going to be running casual interviews and I they were welcome to come talk to me. A lot of them showed up for interviews. The community was very small, most people knew each other and had grew up together. It was for this reason that I had offered participants the option to be interviewed in pairs. It is believed that interviewing close friends or couples provide more information and feel more comfortable with talking freely.



I managed to interview 2 pairs of unemployed females, and 4 individual interviews (2 matric students, 1 business man and one senior citizen)

This is what was found from a very high-level perspective:

1. Most people interviewed were unemployed and came to the centre to get help with creating their CV.
2. The matric students were both part of a study group, which most of the matric students came to at the e-Centre/library.
3. The unemployed members had all come to the e-Centre to attend their basic computer training course.
4. The senior citizen had reported that he came to the e-Centre to get some documentation done, he said he normally asks the manager to help him, since he can’t use a computer. The manager types up his information and sends it from a centre email.
5. 1 member had reported that she recently got a job, which she managed to get through the help and assistance of the technology provided, she still comes to the centre on said that she is not working, check her Facebook and email.
6. Most participants had very medium to very low digital skills. The matric students had decent digital skills, but had reported that their schools did not have computers, which is why they spend so much time here learning how to use the provided technology.
7. All participants stayed very close to the e-Centre and were visited the e-Centre on daily basis.
8. Participants reported that they often asked for help and sometimes the manager would be busy with someone else, so they often didn’t get help before the computer session had timed out.
9. The businessman reported that he comes to the e-Centre almost every morning and sometimes holds meetings at the centre.
10. Some members said had reported that this e-Centre has made a big difference in their community, and helped them in their lives.

On the second day I interviewed another 8 members. I interviewed one pair and 6 individuals (2 females and 4 males). The profiles of the participants consisted of 2 matric students, 4 unemployed members, 1 factory worker and 1 businessman.



There were similar results that were reported on the third research day. Some new areas were also revealed, such as:

1. Some participants said that they don’t have a place to keep all their digital information.
2. A few participants had asked if there was a way in which they could learn in their own time. the unemployed members were very focused on enhancing their digital skills and utilising their time to get skilled but didn’t know where to look.
3. 3 members did not have email addresses or Facebook accounts and had reported that they wanted to get them but haven’t found out how to create them yet.

Reasearch in Paarl-East

I completed my first round of research in Paarl-East today. I interviewed 10 members of the e-Centre over three days. I also interviewed the Paar-East e-Centre manager.

The structure of the day at Paarl-East was made up of :

9am Open
9am – 2pm: Adults only
2pm – 5pm: School children only

On the first day of my research I observed what was going on at the e-Centre, I tried to understand what the everyday practices of members of the e-Centre were like. Ultimately my goal here was to understand the worldhood that was apparent and to observe the nature of the current context, in order to re-imagine an emerging future.


On the second day, I started doing some interviews with members of the e-centre. I spoke to members aged between 18 – 30, I didn’t interview any children, mainly because it was difficult to get signed consent forms from their parents. I interviewed 5 participants; 4 members and 1 e-Centre manager. The participants I interviewed are shown below.


I interviewed 3 males and 2 females. From these members, 1 was unemployed, 1 was studying, 2 were consulting and 1 was a working the e-centre manager.

The overall patterns observed were;

  1. All members saw the need to gain good digital skills.
  2. e-Centre members were very grateful for the centre and said they wanted to help their community learn new skills here.
  3. All members had email accounts and reported that it was the first thing they checked when they arrived at the e-Centre.
  4. Members were not sure where to learn new digital skills, 3 out 5 members did not know about the basic computer course available to them.
  5. 3 members reported that they didn’t have enough time to attend classes, because they were working during training times.
  6. The student had reported that she uses the e-Centre get her university assignments done and print out her documentation.
  7. Most participants used the equipment available easily and didn’t have any issues with asking for help when needed, all participants had high to medium digital skills.
  8. 2 members reported that they needed assistance with their CVs. They said they would like tips on how to get a good job and create a good CV that represented themselves properly.
  9. All participants stayed within walking distance of the e-centre.
  10. All participants were regulars at the e-Centre, they came to the e-centre 3 times a week or more.

On the third day, I interviewed another 5 members at the e-Centre. I interviewed 4 males and one female. 1 member was in Matric, 2 members were unemployed and looking for jobs, and 2 members were employed and wanting to start their own businesses.


There were similar patterns that were revealed in this group of members. Here is a very high-level look at what patterns were observed:

  1. 3 of the members had very high digital skills.
  2. e-Centre members were very grateful for the centre and said they wanted to help their community learn new skills here.
  3. 1 member did not have an email account and reported that he was looking for information about how to get an email account.
  4. Members were not sure where to learn new digital skills, all members did not know about the basic computer course available to them.
  5. 4 members reported that they didn’t have enough time to attend classes, because they were working during training times.
  6. The matric student had reported that he uses the e-Centre to research information about his exams and assignments.
  7. Most participants used the equipment available easily and didn’t have any issues with asking for help when needed. 1 member reported that they found it difficult to use the mouse and had difficulty typing.
  8. 3 members reported that they needed assistance with their CVs. They said they would like tips on how to get a good job and create a good CV that represented themselves properly.
  9. All participants stayed within walking distance of the e-centre.
  10. All participants were regulars at the e-Centre, they came to the e-centre 3 times a week or more.

Situation of Concern

There are three ways in which my situation of concern is manifesting. The diagram below, shows an overview of my situation of concern and the three sub-areas, which I will articulate below.


This research is situated within the field of design and specifically the design of technology embedded within human activity systems. The aim is to explore the role of technology within societies, with specific emphasis on how these technologies affect human systems to evolve, grow and create solidarity. To do this, I will explore the fundamental ontological claims unacknowledged in traditional design methodologies and whether these assumptions still serve this role for technology today.

The major area of concern in the design of technological systems is that they are embedded within a complex world, of multiple ontological narratives. This means that there are multiple ways of approaching the world, multiple ways of knowing and being. It is the role of technology to bridge these multiple narratives, in a synthetic and integrative manner; such that new worlds, new ontologies are born which act as common ground, in the creation of solidarity and shared practices.

This research approach is distinctly Heideggerrian, in that it attempts to deconstruct the underlying ontological assumptions within technology design. In so doing, it attempts to reveal a more fundamental mode of design thinking; one found on what Heidegger called unconcealment. We will use Heidegger’s landmark paper, The Question Concerning Technology (1953) as the basic theoretical foundations of research. I aim to build on these concepts referencing two further works; Understanding Computers and Cognition (1987) and disclosing New Worlds (1997). These two texts build on the concepts of ontological design.

The majority of the design of technology, we experience today is due to an overemphasizing of the task and an underestimating of the practices, which can be realized through technology.

In Winograd and Flores’ (1988), interpretation, technology does not stop at the material object perceived as a tool, it is about the

“design of practices and possibilities to be realized through artifacts.”  The possibilities and new spheres of practice, which technology reveal to us are what we need to accentuate (Flores & Winograd, 1988).

The Practical Problem

As explained above, technology is often built within a paradigm of instrumental rationality (Heidegger, 1977, pp 3–35), which means it takes an objective view of reality and most importantly places design as that process which manipulates resources to achieve its goals. The effect of such an instrumental technocracy leaves us separated from our role as disclosers of new worlds of being.

Design is meant to serve as a lens to imagine possibilities, to be the bridge between creativity and experience; or a way in which we disclose new experiences. We may say that the current focus in technology design sprouts from the wrong understanding; that which is a narrow objective viewpoint, which is tainted by business contracts, government policies and stakeholder needs. It is rare that the citizens or users come into account as the fundamental components. As Finelli (2001) articulates, we have:

“an extremely narrow philosophical anthropology which leads one to consider the user as a mere customer or, at best, as a human being framed by ergonomics and cognitive psychology; an outdated implicit epistemology of century; an overemphasis upon material shapes and qualities; a code of ethics originating in culture of business contracts and agreements; a cosmology restricted to the marketplace”.

These misunderstandings in design have stemmed from the effect of product engineering and marketing on design, i.e. the determinism of instrumental reason and central role of the economic factor as the almost exclusive evaluation criterion, (Finelli, 2001).

This in turn creates unwanted outcomes and harmful reflections of one self, society and systems. Currently, systems are designed from an objective base, which means, designing a system or product to meet business requirements exclusively. However, there is a greater need to inclusively design in a way that is grounded in human activity to gain a more holistic idea of what the citizen or users experience of what the system or product should entail.

The practical problem here is to figure out what the process is for creating a social utility, which delivers both business value and most importantly citizen value. The platform is a computer literacy system for the citizens of the Western Cape; citizens must be able to easily learn how to use ICT (Information communication technologies) provided by the Western Cape Government. The platform will be designed with the purpose of fulfilling the citizens’ needs of Cape Access e-Centre’s, in rural areas placed across the Western Cape and the business needs of Cape Access programme stakeholders, who sit within the Department of the Premier.

The types of activities associated with these e-Centres are mainly:

  • The Use of computers
  • Access to the internet
  • Access to e-mail
  • Printing
  • Basic computer training
  • Access to government information and services
  • Access to job, business and research information
  • Accredited computer training

The Research problem

Following on from the practical problem; this way of designing is due to the fact that systems are designed from an objective point of view rather than being grounded in a human centered approach. As (Finelli, 2001) points out, we have become restricted by the culture of business in our artistic approach to designing systems and products, by placing more emphasis on the material shapes and identity.

“The most important designing is ontological. It constitutes as intervention in the background of our heritage, growing out of our already existent ways of being in the world, and deeply affecting the kinds of beings that we are. In creating new artifacts, equipment, buildings and organizational structures, it attempts to specify in advance how and where breakdowns will show up in our everyday practices and in the tools we use, opening up new spaces in which we can work and play. Ontologically oriented design is therefore necessarily both reflective and political, looking backwards to the tradition that has us but also forwards to as-yet-uncreated transformations of our lives together. Through the emergence of new tools, we come to a changing awareness of human nature and human action, which in turn leads to a new technological development. The designing process is part of this ‘dance’ in which our structure of possibilities is generated.” (Flores, Winograd, P 163, Understanding Computers and Cognition)

Ontological design implies different ways of understanding how we, as modern subjects ‘are’ and how we be who or what we are in the modern world. Simply put, we design our world, while our world acts back on us and designs us. (Willis, 2006) The tradition of ontological design emphasizes the role of the intervener or discloser as one who reveals new ontologies. Therefore, the experience of the designer is of critical importance. This is because the fundamental methodology of ontological inquiry is phenomenology. The fundamental methodology of design is to understand the phenomena of the experience itself and to use this to synthesize new ways of being.

For this reason my research will engage into a phenomenological inquiry into design, around three practical projects, which involve the design of techno-social systems. The goal of this research is to shed light into the experience of ontological design, in the hopes of contributing in part to a new context of technology design.

There are two major, practical dimensions I would like to explore here:

  1. To create a design strategy for developing a system that is grounded in user-centered design process, which delivers both business value and citizen value.
  2. A learning platform for computer literacy and digital e-skills development, for the Western Cape Government’s Cape Access programme.

My exploration lies in two roles; the role of the designer in the creation of technologically orientated human activity systems and the role of technology in creating new worlds or ontologies for citizens.

Research questions

  1. How do we design for better network and conversation that enables new social paradigms of interaction?
  2. How do we prepare for future technological systems from which to liberate the potentiality of Being and how do we realize this through the many current and future technological artifacts?
  3. How do we deliver value to the citizens and create better possibilities and practices inclusively?


The Mphil double loop, getting ready for the research proposal

I have drawn out this diagram in order to comprehend the process of the my masters thesis that I need to embark on. I have named it the loop on entrepreneuring because it is the beginning process to many iterative loops of continuous entreprenuering. I have started at the theoretical loop area, this was the beginning of my journey on the Mphil course, here I was exposed to many different research papers and books, but I didn’t actually know what I wanted to focus on for my research topic.

The central red area, “situation of Concern”  is an incredibly crucial element to the process, it defines what you are researching. In my case my problem was situated on designing digital systems for inclusion, rather than designing for exclusion. The major area of concern in the design of technological systems is that they are embedded within a complex world, of multiple ontological narratives. This means that there are multiple ways of approaching the world, multiple ways of knowing and being.It is the role of technology to bridge these multiple narratives, in a synthetic and integrative manner; such that new worlds, new ontologies are born which act as common ground, in the creation of solidarity and shares praxis (practise). Yet, the process in which a designer designs from is built off a set of assumptions, that focus on a stagnant time frame of ones many moments of being. These assumptions don’t take into account the entire being as a set of interlocking perceptions but as one final want.

After defining my research problem area, I started to look at Literature to gain a concept for what academics had researched on the topic and what their perceptions were, this literature started to form different lenses for my understanding of further empirical observations that occurred in daily life. These lens start to form and understanding of where there may be any gaps in the literature appearing. Currently, being at this stage I can find myself taking concepts and ideas and superimposing them on each other, while perceiving this integrative way of calculating, with these new formed lens in place.

These lens are now beginning to form research questions and goals or Objectives at this stage I have found myself constantly getting into a loop of asking myself,  what am I trying to do in order to find the right research questions and objectives that I need to start finding.finding. I’ve worked on a diagram, to explain the route of this research so far and what steps I’ll be embarking on.



This diagram, visualizes the research approach  I will be embarking on. After writing out my literature review, I have been able to formulate lenses from which I perceive what I need to research or what sort of methodologies I will need to look at, these methodologies are determined by the research questions and research objectives that I work on.

Research Questions

Research questions are important for enabling the researcher to uncover characteristics or behaviors of some phenomena of interest. The questions that the researcher proposes must be actionable, they must state an implicit objective and they must state implicit criteria for evaluation the result.

This section is focused on proving or allowing the researcher to think deeper and more holistically about why their situation of concern needs to be addressed. In  the act of thinking up questions it makes you define and narrow down the area of research.The main purpose of research questions is to  find out what  you need to ask to prove that your problem is important to solve.

These are some of my current research questions:

  • How do citizens feel about these e-Centers?
  • Are citizens making use of all the potential services the e-Center’s provide?
  • How are citizens becoming aware of the e-Centers?
  • Do citizens expect certain types of support?
  • In which ways are citizens hoping to be enabled?

Research Objectives

The purpose of research objectives is to establish what you want to determine in your research. In my case it will be to determine how to citizens, communities, small businesses and corporate establishments can make use of technologies to publicly crowd source the public sphere. According to Wikipedia a public sphere relates to an area in social life where individuals can come together to freely discuss and identify societal problems, and through that discussion influence political action.

The tangible and practical articulation of this will result in a digital system from which citizens can interact with to post their needs, ideas and issues. The system will be running from Cape Access e-Centers (A Western Cape provincial Government mandate). These centers  are mainly to promote digital inclusion. There are 4 main challenges of digital inclusion that these centers thrive to attend to:

  • Access – the ability to actually go online and connect to the internet or use these technologies.
  • Skills – learning the patterns of a new way of doing things.
  • Motivation – understanding why or how these technologies can assist you.
  • Trust – not understanding how to go online or moving through a new realm.


I have chosen to work with three different methodologies; Phenomenology, ethnography and Grounded theory.These are  qualitative methods which means these methods are  relating to, measuring, or measured by the quality of something rather than its quantity.


Phenomenology is concerned with the study of experience from the perspective of the individual,the  taken-for-granted assumptions and usual ways of perceiving what is happening. Epistemology, phenomenological approaches are based in a paradigm of personal knowledge and subjectivity, and emphasize the importance of personal perspective and interpretation. As such they are powerful for understanding subjective experience, gaining insights into people’s motivations and actions, and cutting through the clutter of taken-for-granted assumptions and conventional wisdom.

As a method Phenomenology involves a return to lived experience a listening to the sense and insights that arrive obliquely unbidden or in the midst of life. A methodology that allows a position for philosophical concepts to converge with innate ideas and even critiques that were embedded in my body and surfaced through my performance actions.

Phenomenology provides the dynamics for revealing broader cultural assumptions and practices, for acknowledging the reality that all bodies exist with and through other bodies in social and political contexts, we define ourselves from what we are exposed to. It is a methodology that operates through resonance, rather than an understanding or perspective of  “truth”. For example,  my experience is not going to be held as truth to be put onto other people, but one persons embodied experience when it is reflected upon, may open up meaning or resonances for people to experience truth.

Phenomenology is a process it can grow with you through your devising process of a performance or an action. It is not in affect just a once off analysis, like an ethnographic questionnaire  –  if you develop your reflective practices they will offer different material to you as your work develops. Sometimes it will open up questions, sometimes insights, sometimes frustrations, sometimes nothing – like life.

To put this research method into practice, I will be visiting The Paarl e-Centre and immersing myself into the ways in which it is run, I will be observing how citizens work in these centres and what sort of patterns start forming groupings of these patterns. I will be recording these findings with diagrams and video recordings.




Ethnographic research usually involves observing people in their natural, real-world setting, rather than in the artificial environment of a lab or focus group. The aim is to gather insight into how people live; what they do; how they use things; what do the day to day activities consist of; or what they need in their everyday or professional lives.

Ethnographic research relies on techniques such as participant observation, video diaries, photographs, contextual interviews, and analysis of artefacts such as for example devices, tools or paper forms that might be used as part of a person’s job. Ethnographic research can provide extremely rich insight into ‘real life’ behaviour, and can be used to identify new or currently unmet user needs. This approach is most valuable at the beginning of a project when there is a need to understand real end user needs, or to understand the constraints of using a new product or service by a particular audience.

I will be visiting the Paarl east e-Centre once a week for a full day of research. At this time I will spend a few hours observing participants, and running through contextual interviews, I will be be  interviewing 5 citizens in a visit. I will be participating in any activities where I can gain insight into how the citizens feel while moving through certain actions.

ethnographyGrounded Theory

Grounded theory is designed to help social scientists generate theory. It is not hypothesis and problem oriented. Basically, in the research process, you collect some data (do an interview or go out and do some ethnography) then you start analyzing it before you finish your data collection. The idea is to produce new explanations of the data or phenomena you’ve investigated (what your data is about) through the analytic process. With grounded theory you create new ideas as you go through your data, which enables you to develop an understanding of the situation and it will lead you to an understanding of who you need to interview or what your important variables might be.

Grounded theory works at finding what works best in a given situation. It also allows you to see what you might be missing in your data collection or sample – so you expand your sample based on your analysis work – in fact your analysis generates ideas of what that sample should be. Grounded theory’s epistemology is similar to user studies in interaction design, they both rely on inductive analysis of data to generate useful abstractions. It is useful in gaining insight into the social dimensions of designed activity, designed artefacts and designed discipline.

The process is about moving from more abstract or analytic levels of understanding towards the end of the project. Grounded theory is used for theory generation rather than theory verification. Glasser(1992), refers to grounded theory as systemic discovery of theory from data as the concepts emerge and integrate, in other words, I have data, and from this data I want to generate or discover a theory.

Grounded theory is used in collaboration with other research methodology – ie. Participation observation, ethnographical – narrative model. I will be using Grounded theory alongside ethnography and phenomenology to dive deeper into where I need to start looking, what sorts of citizens I need to interview and what I am lacking in my study.








Literature Review: Designing Disclosure

I have sectioned my literature Review into seven sections; OntologyCoordination or Style, Our Role as Disclosers, Commitment, Breakdown, Disclosing New Technologies, Designing Disclosure. Have a look at my problem statement here.

Designing Disclosure


Through this discourse I have aimed to bring two primary aspects into contrast and into accordance. The first is finding oneself within the design project – what is my purpose and role within the context of intervention. The second aspect is finding what is becoming within the area of intervention – this relies on sensitivity to a development trajectory or a historical movement into the future. With this we find the reasons and justification for creative action and emotional commitment.

It is the primary role of the ontological designer to first work on oneself, to design the architecture of experience or the ontological structure. To do this the designer must engage in an ontological inquiry and further into an exploration of the epistemological process that emerges from certain ontological foundations. As Flores and Winograd describe:

“In the act of design we bring fourth the objects and regularities in the world of our concern. We are engaged in an activity of interpretation that creates both possibilities and blindness. As we work within the domain we have defined, we are blind to the context from which it was carved and open to the new possibilities it generates -these new possibilities create new openness for design, and the process repeats in an endless circle.” (Flores & Winograd, 1986, 1987)

In this way we find a fundamental similarity between hermeneutic phenomenology and the design process – because we are engaged in a dialogue of sense making around basic ontological assumptions and epistemological machinery.

Therefore the most fundamental aim of the designer is in the design of one’s own ontological structures, what Heidegger called a return to thinking (Heidegger, 1977). This is an ongoing and dynamic disposition to inquire into the ontological assumptions in which we operate. Through this inquiry we unearth how knowledge is created, or the epistemological implications of differing ontological foundations. This in turn leads to a deconstruction of style that facilitates the development of new ways of being – both individual and shared.

In the final reckoning then the designer must aim to design oneself or architect within oneself the openness necessary to disclose new worlds. We could call this process, the design of ones own conceptual processes or the design of disclosure.

Literature Review: Disclosing New Technologies

I have sectioned my literature Review into seven sections; OntologyCoordination or Style, Our Role as Disclosers, Commitment, Breakdown, Disclosing New Technologies, Designing Disclosure. Have a look at my problem statement here.

Disclosing New Technologies

Any opening of new possibilities closes others, and this is especially true of the introduction of technology. In providing a tool, we will change the nature of how people use the tool and the materials within it (Flores & Winograd, 1987).

Technology in this broad sense imposes a framework or structure, through which we understand the world. In a sense, this treats all being as resource or inventory a status that covers over the being that is disclosed. (Heidegger, 1977) What Heidegger is saying, is in the modern world, we no longer experience being as it disclosed itself to earlier times of human beings. At all times, in history being has disclosed itself and also concealed itself meaning we understand some things and not others.

Heidegger claims that in our age, there is this new threat to our understanding of being. He believed that Being was shrunk to what is present and the present moment is dependent on the minds ideas. Heidegger saw this as a problem because all understanding of being was dependent on a stagnant moment in an ever changing system, which led to false understanding and concepts being disclosed.

Heidegger found that the philosophical tradition destroys the fact that being discloses itself or any possibility of thinking about that in any deep way. Our job, or way is to think that, without destroying or diminishing it.

Heidegger (1977) does not mean we must overcome technology, he does not mean we must reject or destroy it. He rather reminds one that returning to the concealed truth that technology has covered over is what we need to be aware of. Heidegger acknowledges that technology is itself a creative act. Attending to the creative act of the invention of technology can be a way to understand what lies beneath the technology. Whenever something new is created we immediately get so concerned with the created artefact, or with the new technology, that we forget the being, that lies under it. The technology fascinates us and diverts our attention to pass over without noticing its origin. What we need is not the absence of technology, but sensitivity to what is originally being disclosed by the creation and use of the technology.

Being itself must grant en-framing – Heidegger says our technological en-framing of the world, has itself been granted by being. Being has granted us remarkable new means, in which we are able to ignore new being, by which being is more and more obscured.

In the very heart of our greatest mistakes – that is the place to look, Heidegger reminds us that it is our task to turn that moment into unconcealment. It is this space that we try to comprehend what we have forgotten and what is been concealed from us.

Technology allows us to show each other our dreams, our imaginations or our experiences. As an example, we will look at computer gaming, Players are immersed and taking part in a series of activities, thought up by a team of humans who have imagined and co-created a world.

Technology enables us to share our imagined structures with each other. It allows us a clear extension of communication, where we can allow others to experience what we are communicating rather than restricting our articulation to the boundaries of language. Technology now allows us to share much more of ourselves, and way of being. The heart of this work consists of coordinating human activity within a fold of experience – or ontology.

Literature Review: Breakdown

I have sectioned my literature Review into seven sections; OntologyCoordination or Style, Our Role as Disclosers, Commitment, Breakdown, Disclosing New Technologies, Designing Disclosure .Have a look at my problem statement here.



Breakdowns play a fundamental role in design. The objects and properties that constitute the domain of action for a person are those that emerge in breakdown.

In creating new artefacts, equipment, buildings and organizational structures – attempts to specify in advance how and where breakdowns will show up in our everyday practices and tools we use, opening up new spaces in which we can work and play (Winograd & Flores, 1987).

A breakdown is not a negative situation to be avoided, but a situation of non-obviousness, in which the recognition that something is missing leads to concealing (generating through our declarations) some aspect of the network of tools that we are engaged in using. A breakdown reveals the connections  of relations necessary for us to accomplish our task and this shows a clear objective for design – to anticipate and be sensitive to the forms of breakdown and provide a space of possibilities for action when they occur.

Literature Review: Commitment

I have sectioned my literature Review into seven sections; OntologyCoordination or Style, Our Role as Disclosers, Commitment, Breakdown, Disclosing New Technologies, Designing Disclosure.Have a look at my problem statement here.


We are the way we are because occurrences have led us to make a commitment to some cause, person, or role with an intensity that we cannot establish in any shared terms. These two different accounts of identity seem radically opposed. One says that our sense of identity depends on others and the other says that it depends solely on the intensity of our individual commitment(Flores, Spinosa, & Dreyfus, 1998).

For Heidegger, we always remain subject to the public norms of intelligibility. It is the public view or they that we are trying to change through our commitment. Consequently, the public view can change in such a way as to make our commitment irrelevant. It is this possibility that we are always sensitive to which enables us to position ourselves.

What we call our identity is split into two different functions: we see ourselves through the eyes of others, and determine which actions position us in the way that gives us the most credibility – while also interpreting which actions make the best sense of our commitment.

Our positioning operates only on the basis of our commitment, so it can only cause us to give up our commitment if it has become entirely irrelevant or hopeless.

 Communication is not a process of transmitting information and symbols, but one of commitment and interpretation (Winograd & Flores, 1987). We have to interpret what to do to manifest the commitment truly. Since, we are always also trying to make our commitment make sense to others and ourselves, we must manage the way we position our actions.Our sense of being over committed is precisely how we today experience the risk of living in the recognition of others(Flores, Spinosa, & Dreyfus, 1998).