Mojo #3 : Direct Participation ux

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Review the Jesse James Garrett Mozilla Mojo Webminar record make me think a lot about the document and participation on the web :

In Direct manipulation 1983 Ben Shneidermann named this concept of Direct Manipulation as a metaphor “ for interfaces allowing a user to manipulate directly objects presented to them, using actions that correspond at least loosely to the physical world“.

In 2000 Michel Beaudouin-Lafon remarked in his article “Instrumental Interaction: An Interaction Model for Designing Post-WlMP User Interfaces“, “the interaction between user and object are mediated by interaction instrument”. Below a extract from the paper :

This mediation by  instrument between the object and the user is really interesting as it points the distance created by the instrument between the object and the user.
This distance can be either useful or painful. For instance, visualisation is a useful distance tool between datas and users. On the other side, Looking at the participation process for online newspaper, this distance is particulary problematic since it dissociates the content and the participation.

Indeed, there are several ways to participate on the web, the most commons are :
– wiki, modifying inside the ressources and having a discussion forum aside to explain your point of view.
– comment, it’s the most common way, a list of comment thread is presented outside the ressources but in the webpage layout.
– social network, you comment something and often put a link on the ressources you comment.
– button +1 / like / tweet …
– survey, it’s a special case.

This first 3 ways to participate, are always mediated by complex instruments for the user experience :
– for wiki you have to know the syntaxe and you don’t have a wyswyg interface > ergonomie issue
– for comment, if you want to speak about a quote of the article you can’t link it and your message is deported to the bottom page layout. > deep indexation/mediafragment issue
– for +1 butto / I like button / and other … the message is really qualitatively poor and the interaction is totaly mediated by one way.
– for the comment inside social netwok, the comment is deported to a tiers plateform and if by chance the original website shows back the comment, it’s because you have… chance.

In all these examples the interaction is deported, and except for the wiki, even the presentation of the participation is deported as well. It should be considered as a problem/issue because we loose a precious potentiality to enrich information in this case.

That is the reason why I really like the Amy zerba proposal but I think it’s possible to go further in the user interface. Helènne Huby to (from glifpix project), who used to work before at Bayard press introduced this idea of “wiki able journalist”…

I think if we want to increase the quality / quantity of participation, we have to propose a way to participate directly and deeply in/on the ressources ! ie reducing the distance between document and users !

I will develop further this paradigm of direct participation in the next mock up post.

thanks to Nicolas Sauret for review and discussion.