Value awareness in web site design

Abstract: This thesis aims to develop knowledge about value-awareness in website design. To achieve the aim - this thesis investigates values in thedesign of Swedish municipality web sites through a perspective ofinherited values. It covers the designer perspectives’ intentions andreasons as well as user experiences and expectations. Value awarenessis influenced by theories where values and the creation of meaning arefocused. E.g., theories about: Genres; Use quality; Value sensitivedesign. The design process is seen as a decision process, wherequestions about prioritization of values have been considered.The study yields four main contributions. 1) A reflective concept ofvalue awareness; 2) Knowledge about genre-related design effects byusing the perspective of inherited values; 3) A method for value awareweb design; and 4) A guide to design by example. The empirical studyis a contribution for practical web site design for municipalities.A conclusion made in the study is that the perspective of inheritedvalues contributes to reflections on website design in several differentways. The perspective makes it possible to detect effects of designdecisions and it supports the identification of different designexamples which can be used to discuss design priorities,communicated values, and design effects. This study has shown that itis important to be value aware in web site design. Inspiration fromother designs, leads to inheritance of value prioritizations. Elements ofthe design process, such as technical and organizational arrangementsconvey prioritizations made elsewhere at earlier stages. These factorscreate expectations and experiences that might not be appropriate inthe context in which the web site is intended.

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