Theorizing About Socio-Technical Approaches to HCI

José Abdelnour-Nocera, Torkil Clemmensen

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In this paper, we theorize about Socio-Technical approaches to HCI. The Socio-Technical tradition indicates that looking at design only or mainly from a technical design side is insufficient to design systems for work and workers; instead the social and the technical need to be co-designed and contingent on characteristics of the context, the organisation, and its historical development. However, it also argued that this tradition does not provide enough handles for the design of interactive technologies for users. We present Socio-Technical HCI as a distinct field of knowledge outlining the Socio-Technical traditions where it is rooted, and illustrate these with three different conceptual frameworks that have been used to support the design, development, and evaluation of interactive systems. These frameworks are Cognitive Work Analysis, Human-Work Interaction Design, and Technological Frames. These frameworks are compared and analysed in terms of what are a balanced and comprehensive way to in address socio-technical, contextual, and design issues in HCI. It is argued why Human-Work Interaction Design is best placed to address these issues.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Work Interaction Design. Designing Engaging Automation : Revised Selected Papers of the 5th IFIP WG 13.6 Working Conference. HWID 2018
EditorsBarbara Rita Barricelli, Virpi Roto, Torkil Clemmensen, Pedro Campos, Arminda Lopes, Frederica Gonçalves, José Abdelnour-Nocera
Number of pages21
Place of PublicationCham
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)9783030052966
ISBN (Electronic)9783030052973
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventThe 5th Human-Work Interaction Design. HWID 2018 - Espoo, Finland
Duration: 20 Aug 201821 Aug 2018
Conference number: 5


ConferenceThe 5th Human-Work Interaction Design. HWID 2018
Internet address
SeriesIFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology


  • Socio-technical
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Human work interaction design
  • Cognitive work analysis
  • Technological frames

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