Purpose - This work aims to probe how interface designers concerned with human-computer interaction of community networks might use the theoretical constructs of social capital and activity awareness. Design/methodology/ approach - A design model for community network interfaces is introduced that reconciles various computer-mediated communication research contributions with support for typical community network scenarios of use. Using this model, an inspection is performed on existing community network implementations (available December 2002) and then the adequacy of the model for informing the design process is examined. Findings - Based on the insight gained through this analysis, a generic prototype and new user evaluation method are introduced that allow survey of user reaction to community network design elements under differing conditions. It is shown how results obtained through this method frame a value-chain understanding of conceptual tradeoffs. Research limitations/implications - To demonstrate the new user evaluation method in an analysis of critical design tradeoffs, the issues of persistent virtual identity implementation and usage motivation are probed. However, the evaluation method must be validated with other issues and tested by researchers that were not part of its creation process. Practical implications - Contributions from this paper include tools (a design model, a generic prototype, and an evaluation method) linking theory with community design artifacts, building on previous work. Evaluators now have indicators for assessing community informatics. Originality/value - Interface designers of community networks and those interested in social capital theory will appreciate the link between practice and theory provided by this approach.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Economics and Econometrics