Bodker, S., Klokmose, C.N. Dynamics in artifact ecologies. NordiCHI’12. pp. 448-457.

The paper aims to continue discussions of artifact ecologies, i.e. artifacts a person owns, has access to, and uses. The focus on the paper is especially on changes of one’s artifact ecology when new artifact is introduces. The authors have interviewed 12 iPhone users about their obtaining and usage of iPhones. Activity theory is used as theoretical background in the research.

The result of the study is that artifact ecologies seem to change between three states when new artifacts are obtained/introduced: unsatisfactory state, excited state, and stable state. This is somewhat similar to Carroll et al.’s [*] three levels of appropriation: first encounters, exploration, and long-term integration into everyday practices. However, dynamics of artifact ecologies are not an adoption process but a description of what happens in artifact ecology during adoption or appropriation of artifacts.

The article describes some interesting findings, but the results are just the beginning. It would be interesting to understand how the concept of artifact ecology and its dynamics could and should be taken into account during design. In addition a more detailed description of the states would be beneficial. Based on the article it is also unclear whether the list of artifact ecology states is comprehensive or if there is more states that relate to other usage processes such as abandoning an artifact.

Posted by Petri

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