Soft

Purpose

The purpose of the SOFT model is to investigate a system e.g. a company, a production, workflow etc. You will be investigating both the Space, Organization, Finance & Technology, hence SOFT, within the system. The SOFT model will help you gain an overview and accumulate a good amount of research prior to moving on to development phases. 

Accomodate participants who are not able to:

 If you or your participants can not see, the method could be performed orally as long as you either record it or make someone else write it down ensuring that the data will not get lost. It should be saved in a way that is easy to access from time to time.

If you or your participants have a hard time focusing make sure not to perform the method alone but in groups of e.g. 3 or 4, if it is within a workshop and preferably together with your design team, if you are performing the method outside of the workshop. Furthermore, you could divide the method in four meaning you will only focus on one of the areas at a time.

If you or your participants are not able to speak the method could be performed so that all communication is done through sign language or everything is communicated through text.

 

If you or your participants are not able to hear the method could be performed so that all communication is done through sign language or everything is communicated through text.

 

If you or your participants have a hard time being analytic and reflective, we recommend you to perform each step of the method together in a group. Do not rush through the methods, take your time and maybe divide each step into multiple steps. Furthermore, it would be a good idea to have a contact person from the system you are analysing, who could join the design team as it could be a help to work in close contact with each other.

A big part of the method is to collect data. The data should be written down and saved in some way so that it does not get lost. We recommend you to keep your data online as more people can access it, although if you or your participants can not write on a keyboard or hold on to a pen when writing data on a paper, we recommend you to have a helper who could note down all the data for you.

If you or your participants have a hard time controlling movements the data collection could be supported by having a helper that notes down all the data you find along your process.

P

Input

Research
O

Output

Overview of system
s

Complexity

Moderate to complex

Time

Ongoing

No. of participants

You and your design team. If used in a workshop; groups of 3.

Activity required

Core abilities: - Be analytical - Be reflective - Interact with users

Step by Step

 

1 4 areas need to be investigated: Space, Organization, Finance & Technology. 4 4. You should be investigating the following within finances:
a. Wage costs
b. Purchases
c. Income
d. Investments
2 You should be investigating the following within space:
a. Workspace
b. Physical properties
c. Layout
d. Distributing workspaces
5 5. You should be investigating the following within technology:
a. Machinery
b. Equipment & assistive devices
c. IT systems
d. Communication tools
3 You should be investigating the following within the organization:
a. How is the organization put together?
b. What is the organization’s goal?
c. How is the work distributed?
i. Division of labor
ii. Roles & responsibilities
iii. Coordination
iv. Cooperation
v. Management
vi. Reward System

 

When doing this method you should consider

If you decide to use the SOFT model within a workshop it would be a good idea to only choose one of the four areas meaning either space, organization, finances or technology as the method can be overwhelming.

If you decide to work within space, we recommend you to use the method ‘physical model’. If you decide to work within organization, we recommend you to use the method ‘flow model’ and/or ‘sequence model’. If you decide to work within technology, we recommend you to use the method ‘artifact model’.  You could also decide just to focus on the work practices within the sytem, if so, we recommend you to use the cultural model.

Materials needed

Organized folders for data, pens, paper, computer, images

This method goes well with

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