On Not Designing Tools

On Not Designing Tools

Sarah Kettley (Napier University, UK)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-562-7.ch065
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Abstract

The reader is no doubt well aware of HCI’s emphasis on the analysis of systems in which the computer plays the role of tool. The field encompasses positivist and pragmatic approaches in analyzing the products and the trajectories of use of technology (Coyne, 1995; Ihde, 2002; Preece et al., 1994), and many useful guidelines for the design of task-oriented tools have been produced as a result. However, use value and efficiency increasingly are leaving consumers cold; society has always needed things other than tools, and expectations of personal digital products are changing. Once utilitarian, they are now approached as experience, and Pat Jordan, for example, has successfully plotted the progression from functionality to usability to pleasure (Jordan, 2000). A precedent set by the Doors of Perception community (van Hinte, 1997) has seen slow social movements becoming more prevalent, design symposia dedicated to emotion, and traditional market research challenged by the suggestion that the new consumer values something other than speed and work ethics. This search for authenticity appears to be resistive to demographic methodologies (Boyle, 2003; Brand, 2000; Lewis & Bridger, 2000) yet underpins important new approaches to sustainable consumption (Brand, 2000; Bunnell, 2002; Csikzsentmihalyi & Rochberg-Halton, 1981; Fuad-Luke, 2002; van Hinte, 1997). The next section introduces pragmatic and critical approaches to HCI before examining the importance of the artwork as authentic experience.

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