Acting with Technology: Activity Theory and Interaction Design (Hardcover)

Victor Kaptelinin, Bonnie A. Nardi

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Activity theory holds that the human mind is the product of our interaction with people and artifacts in the context of everyday activity. Acting with Technology makes the case for activity theory as a basis for understanding our relationship with technology. Victor Kaptelinin and Bonnie Nardi describe activity theory's principles, history, relationship to other theoretical approaches, and application to the analysis and design of technologies. The book provides the first systematic entry-level introduction to the major principles of activity theory. It describes the accumulating body of work in interaction design informed by activity theory, drawing on work from an international community of scholars and designers. Kaptelinin and Nardi examine the notion of the object of activity, describe its use in an empirical study, and discuss key debates in the development of activity theory. Finally, they outline current and future issues in activity theory, providing a comparative analysis of the theory and its leading theoretical competitors within interaction design: distributed cognition, actor-network theory, and phenomenologically inspired approaches.

Victor Kaptelinin is Professor in the Department of Informatics at Umeå University, Sweden.

Bonnie A. Nardi is Professor of Informatics in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine.
 

 

Table of Contents

List of Figures vii
 
 List of Tables ix
 
 Acknowledgments xi
 
I. Activity Theory in Interaction Design 1
 
1. Introduction 3
 
2. Do We Need Theory in Interaction Design? 15
 
3. Activity Theory in a Nutshell 29
 
4. Interaction Design Informed by Activity Theory 73
 
5. A Design Application of Activity Theory
The UMEA System 117
 
II. Advanced Issues in Activity Theory 135
 
6. Objectively Speaking 137
 
7. Objects of Desire 153
 
8. Historical Currents in the Development of Activity Theory 173
 
III. Theory in Interaction Design 193
 
9. Postcognitivist Theories in Interaction Design 195
 
10. Artifacts, Agency, and (A)symmetry 237
 
11. Looking Forward 253
 
 Appendix A: The Activity Checklist 269
 
 Appendix B: Online Resources on Activity Theory 279
 
 Notes 283
 
 References 293
 
 Index 325