Meta-design for choices and trade-offs

Presence research is a science of trade-offs (IJsselsteijn 2004). We, as individuals make these choices and trade-offs on the basis of what we know: we decide on how, when and where we perform our own presence in which situations. Collective experience with a medium affects how we, as a society, understand and respond to media realities.

When film was just invented, and a train was approaching, the whole cinema audience would dive under the chairs. For many years email was ignored as a legitimate form of communication – it took up until a decade ago for the Courts of Law to accept email as proof. (Note that the concerns with respect to legitimacy of email are well founded.) The implication of understanding presence as a choice and trade-off, on both the individual and collective level, is that presence can be designed and this opens up new fields for research and design.
There is a direct relation between design for presence and design for trust in the emerging network society in which on- and offline realities merge. Arguing that witnessed presence is fundamental for establishing trust, Nevejan (2007) introduces the YUTPA framework in which 4 dimensions of time, place, action and relation define potential trust in different presence configurations of these dimensions. Interdisciplinary research with artists, academics and experts elaborated this framework and identified factors of significance in human experience in each dimension (Nevejan & Brazier 2012), providing a frame of reference for the analysis of choices and trade-offs in presence design.
Designing for the making of choices and trade-offs, designing a context in which people can steer towards well-being and survival, needs to conceptualize presence design as meta-design (Fisher 2013). It is not designing for a specific behaviour, it is designing for the choice of behaviour or the creation of new behaviour. Social networks, Internet platforms, and participatory systems aim to offer such meta-design upon which we can perform our own presence in our own way. Presence as value for design is mandatory in these systems of participation (Brazier & Nevejan 2014).

CN , Frances Brazier