Rogers, Y. HCI Theory: Classical, Modern and Contemporary. Part I

In introductory chapters (1. Introduction, 2 The Backdrop to HCI Theory, 3 The Role and Contribution of Theory in HCI), Rogers gives a nice overall view of theories and their role in HCI. The main takeaway is that HCI as a research field has expanded enormously during last few decades and as a one result of the expansion, the role of theory (or theories) has changed dramatically. HCI is no more about human-computer interaction but about designing products to support people communicate and interact and express themselves and even about “what it means to be human in a world full of computers”. During this change, the amount of theories have grown considerably. The growing number of different paradigms, theories, models, and frameworks can create problems when one tries to understand what is the current state-of-the-art understanding of phenomena at hand.

Rogers also lists the different kinds of theories that have been used in HCI:

  • descriptive
  • explanatory
  • predictive
  • prescriptive
  • generative
  • informative
  • ethnographic
  • conceptual
  • critical
  • wild


Rogers, Y. HCI Theory: Classical, Modern, and Contemporary.Synthesis Lectures on Human-Centered Informatics, May 2012, Vol. 5, No. 2

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