Association Mapping: Social Network Analysis with Humans and Non-Humans

Open Access
Author:
Lalone, Nicolas James
Graduate Program:
Information Sciences and Technology
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
July 08, 2018
Committee Members:
  • Andrea Tapia, Dissertation Advisor
  • Andrea Tapia, Committee Chair
  • John Carroll, Committee Member
  • Fred Fonseca, Committee Member
  • Marcela Borge, Outside Member
Keywords:
  • Social Network Analysis
  • Actor-Network Theory
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Interdiscipline
  • Game Studies
Abstract:
It is now more difficult to escape the computer than it is to find one. Through nearly endless numbers of devices, users are now performing tasks within an eco-system of applications. No single company, single developer, or single user can comprehend the entirety of that eco-system outside of their respective boundaries. Software design as well as the manner through which user-testing is performed needs new approaches that allow these disparate devices, applications, users, and tasks to be considered in concurrence. In doing so, hybrid actors consisting of human and non-human objects and their multi-faceted contexts will allow designers and researchers to construct a wider, more society-facing picture of use. I present Association Mapping (AM), a novel adaptation of Social Network Analysis that intends to map out each moment of association between people and objects. By including non-human actors in the analysis of software use, all of the disparate applications, devices, tasks, and contexts can be made explicit, numerically represented, and tested against or with similar networks. I demonstrate AM by creating Association Maps for 6 games of the board game Catan (1995) – a dice-based game of resource distribution and management. Catan (1995) was chosen for this pilot study due to its popularity, affordances, and expected behaviors. The maps are separated in 2 ways: 1). modalities: on the tabletop and mediated by an iPad application and 2). By group. AM is useful to designers by providing measurements of three distinct spaces: Outer Space or the general shape the objects create while associating, Inner space or the power of each object individually, and Inter-space or groups of objects working in tandem. Through design fiction, literature criticism, metaphor, and play, AM is contextualized and described both through this study and in general.