Generativity is introduced and argued as essential as well as interdependent with usability in technology design. Where usability is well rooted in the design discourse, generativity, or how easy independent innovators can leverage on technology as a platform to develop new services and applications, has had little attention. We enquire into how the elements of usability and generativity are interrelated, how they contradict and how they can be combined. The mobile phone in general, as well as the Mobile Internet and iPhone in particular is used to illustrate our argument. We discuss different configurations of mobile phones, such as open, flexible and generative devices actively inviting and supporting free innovation and sophisticatedly designed appliances offering high quality services and superior usability. As an outcome of our discussion, we describe four different design approaches and ways to combine generativity and usability, and the properties of each of them.
Nielsen, Petter and Hanseth, Ole, "Towards a Design Theory of Usability and Generativity" (2010). ECIS 2010 Proceedings. 39.