"The Era of Ferment": How Practitioners and Educators Frame HCI

Ann Austin, José Abdelnour-Nocera, Torkil Clemmensen

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This study examined various roles in HCI and incongruences between practitioners’ and educators’ perceptions and experiences. The incongruences are articulated through the conceptual lens of Technological Frames (TF), which are evidenced by shared understanding of theory, practice, and a common approach to practice. We conducted 21 interviews with HCI practitioners, educators, and people who both practice and teach. We adopted a template analysis approach with matrix queries to identify similarities and distinctions between the different TFs of these roles. Our findings include incongruences between these roles in how they frame and elicit users’ mental models, how they define HCI success, and their levels of enthusiasm for HCI. Congruence was found in framing communication skills, collaboration, and creativity. We contribute proposals for new requirements to frames and skills within HCI curricula that may help close the gap between education and practice. We conclude that despite some convergence across and within groups, perceptions of the HCI field are still unstable, resembling an “era of ferment.”
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of User Experience
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)7-40
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Technological frames
  • HCI practitioner
  • HCI Educator
  • Era of ferment
  • Human-Computer interaction

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