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Title:Consensus building in distributed design discussions
Author(s):Zilouchian Moghaddam, Roshanak
Director of Research:Bailey, Brian P.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Bailey, Brian P.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Fu, Wai-Tat; Twidale, Michael B.; Ko, Andrew; Karahalios, Karrie G.
Department / Program:Computer Science
Discipline:Computer Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Consensus building
Group decision making
Open source software
Distributed discussions
User interface design
Abstract:With the rapid growth of open source and other geographically distributed software projects, more User Interface (UI) design discussions are occurring online. These discussions typically unfold through interactive web forums where multiple stakeholders generate and debate different design proposals. One important challenge is bridging the different perspectives and needs of stakeholders and deciding on a design proposal that will be implemented and integrated into the product distribution. Failure to reach agreement can cause discussion participants to loose interest and therefore the product would not be improved. However, the existing discussion platforms do not provide any mechanisms to aid the process of reaching a decision. Prior work has analyzed distributed design discussions from many perspectives, but my PhD dissertation brings consensus building as a new theoretical lens to study and support decision making in design discussions. This has allowed my work to make three contributions. First I contribute empirical knowledge showing that nearly half of the discussions do not reach consensus and knowledge of the content, process, and social factors that affect consensus building in distributed design discussions. Second, to address the inability to reach consensus, I developed a novel browser extension called Procid that provides interaction and visualization features for bringing consensus strategies to distributed design discussions. Key features include the ability to organize discussions around ideas, register and visualize support for or against ideas, and define criteria for evaluating ideas. It also applies interaction constraints promoting best practices of consensus. Finally, I present the results of two evaluations of Procid. The first collected perceptions of the tool from members of a large and successful open source community ( for their own discussions. The second compared how Procid affects a distributed design discussion relative to the current discussion platforms. Results of both studies showed that users perceived Procid as more effective for consensus building than the existing platforms.
Issue Date:2014-09-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Roshanak Zilouchian Moghaddam
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-09-16
Date Deposited:2014-08

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