Activity-Centered Design: An Ecological Approach to Designing Smart Tools and Usable Systems (Hardcover)

Geraldine Gay, Helene Hembrooke




The shift in the practice of human-computer interaction (HCI) Design from user-centered to context-based design marks a significant change in focus. With context-based design, designers start not with a preconceived idea of what users should do, but with an understanding of what users actually do. Context-based design focuses on the situation in which the technology will be used -- the activities relating to it and their social contexts. Designers must also realize that introduction of the technology itself changes the situation; in order to design workable systems, the design process must become flexible and adaptive. In Activity-Centered Design, Geri Gay and Helene Hembrooke argue that it is time to develop new models for HCI design that support not only research and development but also investigations into the context and motivation of user behavior.

Gay and Hembrooke examine the ongoing interaction of computer systems use, design practice, and design evaluation, using the concepts of activity theory and related methods as a theoretical framework. Among the topics they discuss are the reciprocal relationship between the tool and the task, how activities shape the requirements of particular tools and how the application of the tools begins to reshape the activity; differing needs and expectations of participants when new technology is introduced, examining in particular the integration of wireless handheld devices into museums and learning environments; and the effect of the layout of the computing space on movement, function, and social interaction. Gay and Hembrooke then apply their findings on the use of technology in everyday contexts to inform future HCI design practice.

Geri Gay is Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Group and Professor in the Department of Communication and Information Science at Cornell University.

Helene Hembrooke is Associate Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Group at Cornell University.


Table of Contents:

Series Foreword ix
Preface: Mediating Interactions xi
Acknowledgments xv
Introduction: Making the Case for Context-Based Design xvii
1 Activity Theory and Context-Based Design 1
2 Understanding Perspectives: Social Construction of Technology 15
3 Creating a Sense of Place: Designing for Online Learning Conversations 31
4 Blurring Boundaries: A Study of Ubiquitous Computing 53
5 Designing for Context-Aware Computing 73
6 Configural Analysis of Spaces and Places 89
References 101
Index 109


人機互動(HCI)設計實踐從以用戶為中心轉向基於情境的設計,這標誌著一個重大的焦點轉變。在基於情境的設計中,設計師不是從預設的用戶應該做什麼的觀念開始,而是從對用戶實際行為的理解開始。基於情境的設計關注的是技術使用的情境,以及與之相關的活動和社會背景。設計師還必須意識到技術本身的引入會改變情境;為了設計可行的系統,設計過程必須變得靈活和適應性。在《以活動為中心的設計》一書中,Geri Gay和Helene Hembrooke認為是時候開發支持HCI設計的新模型,這些模型不僅支持研究和開發,還支持對用戶行為的情境和動機進行調查。


Geri Gay是康奈爾大學傳播與信息科學系人機互動組主任和教授。

Helene Hembrooke是康奈爾大學人機互動組副主任。