Rethinking the role of users in ICT design: reflections for the Internet

Aphra Kerr*, Stefano De Paoli, Cristiano Storni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This paper reports on work from an interdisciplinary project exploring the design of future telecommunications services, networks and applications, particularly focusing on the Internet1. A starting point for this work is our contention that users and technology are co-constructed in the design process and that in some cases it is difficult to distinguish between designers and users since users may play a variety of roles. Some academics argue that the future of the Internet depends on controlling and limiting what users do. Others argue that the future of the Internet will depend on maintaining its openness and enabling users. In our project we seek to critically explore these assertions and empirically examine the role of the user in internet design. This paper outlines some key concepts and presents two case studies to support our approach.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew media technologies and user empowerment
EditorsJo Pierson, Enid Mante-Meijer, Eugène Loos
Place of PublicationBern
PublisherPeter Lang Publishers
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783653009378
ISBN (Print)9783631600313
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2011
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameParticipation in broadband society
PublisherPeter Lang
ISSN (Print)1867-044X


  • User
  • Designer
  • Co-construction
  • Innovation
  • Technology
  • Internet


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