Research Output

Representations in Human-Computer Systems development.

  When system developers design a computer system (or other information artefact), they must inevitably make judgements as to how to abstract the domain and how to represent this abstraction in their designs. Over the years human–computer interaction, or more generally information systems design, has had a history of developing competing methods and models for both the process and products of its development. Various paradigms have been suggested, often trying to keep pace with the changing nature of the design problem; from batch processing to interactive systems to work situations and
most recently to designing for household environments. It appears timely, then, to review the nature of the design problem that faces the developers of human–computer systems and to consider some of the impact that different representations and different conceptualisations may have on their activities. Green (1998) has suggested that a single model of developing human–computer systems is not desirable, instead arguing for a number of limited theories
each of which provides a useful perspective. The aim of this paper is to place competing methods side by side in order to see their strengths and weaknesses more clearly. The central tenet of the paper is that different views of both the human–computer system design process and the different abstractions, or models, that are produced during the design process have varying degrees of utility for designers. It is unlikely that any single method or modelling approach will be optimal in all circumstances. Designers need to be aware of the range of views that exist and of the impact that taking a particular approach may have on the design solution.

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    01 September 2002

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Benyon, D. (2002). Representations in Human-Computer Systems development. Cognition, Technology and Work. 4, 180 - 196. doi:10.1007/s101110200017. ISSN 1435-5558



Human-Computer Interaction; Information Systems Design; Computing; Review; Design approaches; Evaluation;

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