Showing posts from May, 2014

Vitruvius was right about design knowledge (2000 years ago)

Many who have studied design theory know that Vitruvius was one of the first practicing designers (architect) and design thinkers who formulated thoughts and theory about design. At the same time I believe that there are not as many today who actually have read Vitruvius' writings. He is most famous for his "Ten Books on Architecture" written sometime in the first century B.C. Most of this book consists of specific directions and guidelines for detailed architectural work.

[The whole book is available online at]

I will here only focus on the first chapter of the first book "The Education of the Architect". It is a fascinating text that I find extraordinary full of wisdom in a straightforward and simple way.

I would like to copy the whole chapter, but I have instead chosen to copy a few excerpts from the chapter, just to give a sense of what it contains, and maybe it will lead you to read more. The whole c…

Book note: "Ways of Knowing in HCI" by Judith S. Olson and Wendy A. Kellogg

A new book just arrived in my mailbox. It is "Ways of Knowing in HCI" by Judith S. Olson and Wendy A. Kellogg. I have spent some time today going through the different chapters. I read some and browsed others. Overall I find this to an excellent contribution to the field of HCI research. The edited book contains 18 chapters, each describing a particular research approach, method or technique commonly used in HCI research.

Of course, most of these methods have been described elsewhere and in most cases also in more detail and depth, but the unique aspect of this book is that all chapters are written by HCI researchers who can relate each method to HCI research and also give examples of where it has been used, what it mean to use it in HCI research, what constitute a good job when using a particular method.

I fully agree with the Editors in their Epilogue when they state that we should read all chapters and not just the ones about methods we already are familiar with. I followe…

A growing problem in HCI research

After being to CHI and another gathering of HCI related people in the last few weeks, I have to share one reflection. I am not sure that my observation and definitely not my interpretation is correct or not, so comments are welcome.

The observation is that the field of HCI research is growing in size but also in scope. What today is considered to be HCI research spans a far wider area than every before. HCI today includes research that traditionally might have been seen as engineering (for instance, design and development of devices and systems with the purpose to explore technical possibilities), it also includes research that traditionally would be seen as within the social sciences or behavioral sciences (the latter has of course always have been part of HCI), but also research that can be considered humanistic or cultural studies, political or global studies. The research has also expanded in scope when it comes to application areas such as education, health care, transportation, …

Interactivity Studies

One of the most neglected aspects of HCI is, in my view, the notion of interactivity. When I look at some of my own research I realize that I have engaged in interactivity studies for quite some time. I also realize (just back from CHI) that it is not a lot of research done in our field today with a focus on examining interactivity. 
Interactivity Studies means to me research that is focused on the aspect of our field that no other field or discipline focus on, that is, the actual interaction between humans and some form of computational artifacts. I am sure that many will argue against this statement and I am open to reconsider it when I am shown good examples of interactivity studies in the way I think about it. 
So, here are some publications that I have been involved with over the years that are clearly examples of Interactivity Studies.
Lars-Erik Janlert and Erik Stolterman. 2010. Complex interaction. ACM Trans. Comput.-Hum. Interact. 17, 2, Article 8 (May 2010), 32 pages. DOI=10.…