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Work, Interaction and Technology: Empirical Studies of Social Ergonomics

Christian Heath, Paul Luff
In recent years there has been a growing interest in the possibility of utilising methodological developments within social science to examine the ways in which tools and technologies are used within real world, work settings. It has been argued that ethnomethodology, conversation analysis and cognate approaches, could provide a thorough going alternative to the more traditional investigations of human-computer interaction and generate new and distinctive approaches to the whole area of user centred design. These initiatives derive in part from the convergence of two interrelated concerns; on the one hand, a growing dissatisfaction amongst scholars from various disciplines with plan based models or goal oriented models of human conduct and machine interaction; and the other, the idea that successful design and the development of useful tools and technologies is dependent upon an understanding of the ordinary work practices, tasks and situational requirements of the users.
Proc. 11th Int. Conf. On Ergonomics, July 1991, Paris, France, Taylor & Francis Group Ltd., London.