Models and Theories in Human-Computer Interaction/A Route of Understanding and Analyzing a Phenomenon - Activity Theory

A Route of Understanding


Activity theory enables the studying the context in which a human interacts with computers, it provides a framework to reason an entire work system beyond an individual user. Activity Theory provides focus on the following items (from Carroll) -

  • analysis and design focused on a particular work process with concerns for the social reality around that process.
  • analysis and design focused on actual usage
  • focus on the development of expertise
  • active user participation in the development process

One of the strengths of Activity Theory is that it provides a mechanism to bridge the gap between the a individual user and the social reality around them. Meaning it takes into account the environment, personal interaction, what going on in the local area. Giving you a very comprehensive picture vs early HCI theories.