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
Bonnie A. Nardi is Professor of Informatics in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine, and Cofounder of Center for Research in Sustainability, Collapse-preparedness, and Information Technology there. She is the coauthor of Acting with Technology (MIT Press).