Skip navigation

Bonnie A. Nardi

Bonnie Nardi is Professor in the Department of Informatics in the School of Information and Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine.

Titles by This Author

Activity Theory and Interaction Design

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.

Using Technology with Heart

The common rhetoric about technology falls into two extreme categories: uncritical acceptance or blanket rejection. Claiming a middle ground, Bonnie Nardi and Vicki O'Day call for responsible, informed engagement with technology in local settings, which they call information ecologies.An information ecology is a system of people, practices, technologies, and values in a local environment. Nardi and O'Day encourage the reader to become more aware of the ways people and technology are interrelated. They draw on their empirical research in offices, libraries, schools, and hospitals to show how people can engage their own values and commitments while using technology.

Perspectives on End User Computing

A Small Matter of Programming asks why it has been so difficult for end users to command programming power and explores the problems of end user-driven application development that must be solved to afford end users greater computational power.

Drawing on empirical research on existing end user systems, A Small Matter of Programming analyzes cognitive, social, and technical issues of end user programming. In particular, it examines the importance of task-specific programming languages, visual application frameworks, and collaborative work practices for end user computing, with the goal of helping designers and programmers understand and better satisfy the needs of end users who want the capability to create, customize, and extend their applications software.

The ideas in the book are based on the author's research on two successful end user programming systems—spreadsheets and CAD systems—as well as other empirical research. Nardi concentrates on broad issues in end user programming, especially end users' strengths and problems, introducing tools and techniques as they are related to higher-level user issues.

Titles by This Editor

Activity Theory and Human-Computer Interaction
Edited by Bonnie A. Nardi

Intended for designers and researchers, Context and Consciousness brings together 13 contributions that apply activity theory to problems of human-computer interaction.

Understanding how people actually use computers in their everyday lives is essential to good design and evaluation. This insight necessitates a move out of the laboratory and into the field. The research described in Context and Consciousness presents activity theory as a means of structuring and guiding field studies of human-computer interaction, from practical design to theoretical development. Activity theory is a psychological theory with a naturalistic emphasis, with roots going back to the 1920s in the Soviet Union. It provides a hierarchical framework for describing activity and a set of perspectives on practice. Activity theory has been fruitfully applied in many areas of human need, including problems of mentally and physically handicapped children, educational testing, curriculum design, and ergonomics. There is growing interest in applying activity theory to problems of human-computer interaction, and an international community of researchers is contributing to the effort.

Contributors:
Rachel Bellamy, Susanne Bødker, Ellen Christiansen, Yrjo Engeström, Virginia Escalante, Dorothy Holland, Victor Kaptelinin, Kari Kuutti, Bonnie A. Nardi, Arne Raeithel, James Reeves, Boris Velichkovksy, Vladimir P. Zinchenko.