In providing a theoretical framework for understanding human- computer interaction as well as design of user interfaces, this book combines elements of anthropology, psychology, cognitive science, software engineering, and computer science. The framework examines the everyday work practices of users when analyzing and designing computer applications. The text advocates the unique theory that computer application design is fundamentally a collective activity in which the various practices of the participants meet in a process of mutual learning.
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The main contribution of the book is an explication of the variant of human activity theory developed by the author in her doctoral dissertation....Researchers interested in the human activity approach will find the book educational....the value of this volume lies in its discussion of how the theory might contribute to analysis of usage situations and to the design of artifacts that will enhance these situations.
In a new landmark book...Susanne Bodker brings Activity Theory to bear on user interface design. In so doing, she explicates the foundations of transparency -- technically, historically, and theoretically. Drawing on her extensive background in a Scandinavian research community known for its user-centered system design perspective, she argues that any theory of user interfaces must be part of a larger theory of human work. The vital contribution of this book is an explication of what it could mean for users to work through an interface and how designers can build systems that support such work....The book includes timely critiques of several dominant paradigms in UI studies deriving from cognitive psychology and software engineering.
—Randall H. Trigg
Xerox Palo Alto Research Center
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