The Three Paradigms of HCI

Notes from today’s reading group, where we discussed the following paper:

Harrison, S., Tatar, D., and Sengers, P. The three paradigms of HCI. In Alt. chi. Proceedings of CHI ‘07. ACM Press, NY, 2006.

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Sketchnotes from reading group meeting for the paper "The Three Paradigms of HCI"

They list six intellectual commitments of the ‘situated perspective’, which is the third paradigm of the title. These are:

  • The construction of meaning as a central focus and seen as constructed on the fly by people in specific contexts through interaction.

  • Putting users in their place entails seeing the understandings that people have of their world are strongly tied to and informed by their varying physical and social situations. Understanding the local, situated practices of users.

  • Putting interfaces in their place means recognizing that the specifics of the place where interaction with interfaces takes place is a strong determinant of the meaning that people make of those interfaces.

  • Putting researchers in their place means also seeing the knowledge of researchers as situated within their own particular practices and, following from this, opening up for a diversity of research traditions to be brought together to understand a phenomenon of interest.

  • Explicit focus on values in design means a widening (and plurality) of possible criteria by which the worth of a design might be judged, including political, emotional, aesthetic and value-based criteria.

  • The necessity, but inadequacy, of theory entails a position toward theory that sees it as a useful lens for making sense of a setting, but at the same time as contingent upon the meaning that emerges through a process of design in a setting.