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Intentional Unusabilty: Supporting deniability through unorthodox design

Summary: Intentional Unusabilty: Supporting
deniability through unorthodox design
Social software is different from singe user software
because when we use it, we care about how our actions
affect others' perception of us. The design features of
the software interact with this cognitive, social
reasoning process or "theory of mind" and affect user
behavior. However, this influence can sometimes be
counterintuitive to those versed in traditional
interaction design. One important set of social protocols
that we use in our everyday lives is plausible deniability
- white lies that allow us to hide the true motivations
for our actions. This paper shows how plausible
deniability can be achieved in social software by directly
violating established design guidelines and deliberate
usability degradation. Such "deliberate unusability" is a
common feature of social software constructed with the
theory of mind as a guiding principle and show the
need for a new set of design guidelines for social


Source: Anderson, Richard - Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington at Seattle


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences