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System Use and Social Organisation: Observations on Human-Computer Interaction in an Architectural Practice

Paul Luff, Christian Heath
Despite its relative importance within the field of Human-Computer Interaction, there seems to be growing scepticism of the ability of cognitive science to enrich our understanding of the use of complex technologies. At the practical level, for example, it has been suggested that the designs and evaluation techniques used by actual designers of computer systems owe little to the models developed within cognitive science. Moreover, theoretically, cognitive science has been subject to wide ranging criticism concerning, for example, its conceptualisation of social action, its approach to user modelling and its intentional models of language and discourse. In line with these criticisms, several researchers have argued that studies should move away from plan based, goal orientated models of system use and begin to consider the social and cultural foundations of screen based actions and activities. In this paper we attempt to make some preliminary observations of the social and situated organisation of human-computer interaction.
Technology in Working Order: Studies of Work, Interaction, and Technology, Graham Button (ed), Routledge, London, 1993, pp 184-210.