Accounting for System Behaviour: Representation, Reflection and Resourceful Action
Proc. Computers in Context '95, Joining Forces in Design, 14-18 August 1995, Aarhus, Denmark, pp 147-156.
A clear tension exists between the traditional process-oriented view of interface design and the emerging
improvisation-oriented view of interface activity, which arises particularly from sociological investigations of
computer-based work. This paper has two goals -- first, to address this disparity and attempt to bridge the gap;
and second, to do so in a way which makes the insights of sociological investigations "real" in design.
It presents a novel approach to interface architectures, based on the use of explicit, causally-connected
self-representations in computational systems. These are treated as "accounts" which systems offer of their
own activity. The paper traces some of the consequences of this approach both for design and interaction, and
shows how it addresses current problems in the design of flexible interactive systems.