The Long Tail in the ICT Design Space

Ines Junge, Informatics

Poster abstract

As society pursuing United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, such as “Responsible production and consumption”, we need to engage more with the politics of technology: how to limit its excesses and destructions. One such engagement is knowing and implementing strategies within Designing for a Circular Economy. In my research, I focus on how to encourage sustainable performance of sociotechnical systems as a whole, rather than sustainable user behavior alone. I am in particular interested in linking the use-phase of information and communication technology (ICT) with its design. 

This poster visualizes part of my research approach. It presents the state-of-the-art in (un)sustainable designed ICT, in a qualitative and explorative review of a wide variety of design cases as well as academic literature about sustainable design strategies. The analysis aims to contribute to theory building in Transition Theory and Transition Design. 

ICT design cases, grouped by design strategy, are projected onto the Long Tail model, which is visualized in the form of a large diagram on the poster. It captures two distinct zones in the ICT design space:  a stabilized, narrow and high-popularity product side to the left - the tall unsustainable head - and a very wide, low-popularity niche product side to the right - the long sustainable alternatives tail. 

Through this distillation of existing knowledge and experience, designers will be enabled to identify what strategy to use in their pursuit to design sustainably performing sociotechnical systems.

Published May 25, 2018 12:18 PM - Last modified May 25, 2018 12:18 PM