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Colour management is a socio-technical problem

Jacki O'Neill, David Martin, Tommaso Colombino, Frédéric Roulland, Jutta Willamowski
This paper describes how achieving consistent colour reproduction across different devices is a complicated matter. Although there is a technological infrastructure for managing colour across devices this is very rarely used as intended. This infrastructure has been created by modelling the problem of colour management as a wholly technical one. In this paper we illustrate the importance of understanding the management of colour as a sociotechnical problem, by describing the findings of a multisited ethnography of designers and print shops. Our analysis of the ethnography reveals that designers build up practical, tangible, visual understandings of colour and that these do not fit with the current solution, which requires users to deal with colour in an abstract manner. This paper builds on previous research in CSCW which has considered the importance of socio-technical systems, bringing the work into a previously unexplored domain. It shows how an understanding of the social can also be central when designing technical infrastructures.
CSCW 2008 (Computer Supported Coorperative Work), San Diego, California, USA, Nov 8-12 2008


2008-030.pdf (269.74 kB)