Over recent years, studies of human-computer interaction (HCI) from sociological and anthropological perspectives have offered radical new perspectives on how we use computer systems. These have given rise to new models of designing and studying interactive systems. In this paper, we present a new proposal which looks not at the way in which we design systems, but at the nature of the systems we design. It presents the notion of an “account”— a reflective representation that an interactive system can offer of its own activity—and shows how it can be exploited within a framework oriented around sociologically-informed models of the contingent, improvised organisation of work. This work not only introduces a new model of interactive systems design, but also illustrates the use of reflective techniques


Paul Dourish and Annette Adler and Brian Cantwell Smith

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