Theoretical perspectives in Human Computer Interaction

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					 Theoretical perspectives in
Human Computer Interaction

   Tessy Cerratto & Henrik Artman
             IPLab, KTH;

• problematize the concept of users and usage
• overview of theoretical frameworks
• emphasis on how each perspective frame the
  concept of the user
• Who is a user? Who is not a user? How do we
  become users? What are the transitions from
  being a user to be entertained?

• text presenting briefly their own research
  projects, as well as their motivation and
  expectations from the course
• active participation; discussion; questions
• present one article and discuss it from a
  particular perspective

• Lecture on specific theory
• Critical discussion of the concept of user and
  relation ship to artifacts and design
• Design implications
      Literature & examination

• Selected articles
• Present article
• Essay
             Outline for today

•   Introduction
•   Presentation
•   Perspectives on information system
•   Perspectives on HCI
•   Summary
•   Questions
   Riddles for the information Age
 Cooper, A. (1999) The inmates are running the asylum

• Presentation of accidents and ”misunderstandings”
  between users and computer systems

• Analysis of user-computer dialogue
   – Errors
   – Feedback
   – Context of use
   – Type of user

• Critique of the development process of software-based
  Looking at the dialogue/interaction
  between the pilot and the computer

• The navigation aid was valid but not for the
  landing procedure at Cali
• Communication was precise and exact even
  though it was completely wrong
• The navigation aid did not tell the pilot that the
  radio station chosen was wrong
     Looking at the navigation aid

  ”Software-based products are not inherently
  hard to use, they are that way because we use
  the wrong process for creating them”

• How to change this process ?
• How to do in order software-based products
  become friendly, powerful and desirable ?
       Programmers and users have
             different goals

   The programmer wants the construction process
  to be smooth and easy

   The user wants the interaction with the program
  to be smooth and easy

• Can programmers create interaction?
   Introduce interaction design in the
         development process


               Software                  user

                     Interaction designers
         Different perspectives on
        the use and development of
            information systems

System theoretical                     Humanistic

          Concept of perspective
• It refers to scientific paradigm (cf. T. Kuhn, 1962)
   – Paradigm is a frame of reference that define the rules,
     the criteria of what constitutes “ science”
   – Scientific development occurs by revolutions
   – Paradigm is not related to praxis

• It can be regarded as a social institution (cf.
  Berger and Luckman, 1966)
   – As a bridge between theory and practice
   – Assumptions and rules governing a phenomenon are
     social constructs

• It is operationalized as ideal type (cf. Weber, 1968)
   – Ideal types are a theoretical tool, pure forms

    • Perspectives do not apply as design methods
Characterizing perspectives

    •   Notion   of   knowledge
    •   Notion   of   person
    •   Notion   of   communication
    •   Notion   of   system development
            System theoretical

• System Theory refers to General Systems Theory
  (cf. Bertallanffy, 1968)
  – It emphasizes the integrality of the phenomenon as a
    whole, i.e. idea of a total system, an integrated system

• The term mathematical machine -- data machine
  – Storage – processing- transmission of information

• Ideal type is the integration of information systems
          System theoretical
• Emphasis on the information system

• Knowledge is information stored, is objectivistic

• Person is excluded from the system or is within the
  system. A rational and passive view of the user or a
  feature of the system

• Communication is between the user and the system

• System development is regarded as complete once and
  for all. Based on problem-solving ideology
     Humanistic perspective

• Two meanings of humanism
   – Humanistic as an academic discipline
   – Humanist as a more ideological orientation (cf. Humans

• The user, her expertise and her job have the
  highest priority while technology serves as a tool
  for this purpose

• The ideal type is that all the functions performed
  by a system are carried out by humans beings
         Humanistic perspective
• Emphasis on individuals

• Knowledge is constructed by the person
   – Formal and intuitive knowledge

• Person is an intentional, situated, psycho-social,biological
  and historical actor. Individual view of the autonomous user

• Communication takes only place between human beings

• System development is focused on the use of the system,
  on the users’ jobs, is evolutionary
  Socio-technical perspective

• What’s the place of the individual in relation to the
  system ? What’s the relationship between human
  beings and the information systems ?

• Distinction between data and information

• Technical system and a social system

• Ideal type intermediate link in the development towards
  the theoretically more purified humanistic vision
  Socio-technical perspective

• Emphasis on interaction between person and information
  systems (IS)

• Knowledge is instrumental, useful

• Person as an active component of the technical system and
  as a member of the social system. The user’s job is
  distributed between the person and the IS.

• Communication with a machine-partner or machine-tool

• System development is participative. Participation of the
  users and specifications of their needs
         Perspectives on interaction

         Preunderstanding and background (H)
            User interface /I-O devices (C)    Stable
                   Functionality (C)

              Operative cognitions (H)
Change     Media structure/presentation (C)
             Domain representation (C)


•   General perspective for all components
•   Information transfer between components
•   System goal
•   Technology focused
•   Information objective

• Constrained to technology?
• Meaning?

•   Mimic human behaviour
•   Structural aspects of interaction
•   Interface
•   Not focused on background knowledge
•   System self contained

• Mainly linguistic interaction?

•   Action-focused
•   The user is an expert
•   Tools are for accomplishing tasks
•   Domain specific
•   Learning is part of design objective
•   Learning is part of becoming/being an expert
•   New design based on tacit-knowledge
•   Readiness-at-hand, present-at-hand

• Communication between people
• Technology is a medium
• Each medium needs a structure to encode
• Change operative cognitions, by media
• Domain representation is relevant for the

• Conduit-metafor of communication?
Discussing the tool perspective
                                   (cf. P. Ehn, 1988)

• How is the user’s work seen ?
  – Not formalization of qualifications but development
    of professional education based on the skills of
  – Not information flows analysis and systems
    descriptions but specification of tools and materials

• How is the machine seen ?
  - as a craft tool

• How is the user seen ?
  – As a person possessing skills relevant for the task to
    be accomplished
Discussing the tool perspective
                               (cf. P. Ehn, 1988)

• How is design seen ?
  – As a process, “design-by-doing”
  – Influenced by way the design of traditional crafts
    tools was done
  – Designers have to learn from the graphic workers
  – Users have to learn from designers

• What is the user’s model ?
  – Is the user’s mental model developed through the
    interaction with the information system
  Regarding computers as tools
                              (cf. P. Ehn, 1988)

• Computers are tools proper, they are
  designed as means to and end

• Computers are machines and differ from
  hand tools

• Machines can be designed as reminders of
  traditional craft tools for a specific craft

• Is the computer “only” a tool ?
         Questions to have in mind
• What’s the unit of analysis presented by this approach ?
  – activity; actions; operations; mediated activity ?

• What’s the aim of this theoretical approach ?
  – Prediction, description, explanation, understanding

• What’s the relation between artifact and person
  presented by this approach ?
   – Development, determinism?

• What’s the relation with design ?
  – Informing design, evaluating design ?