, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 259–275 | Cite as

A pilgrim's progress: From cognitive science to cooperative design

  • Liam J. Bannon


This paper provides a glimpse of some different theoretical frameworks and empirical methods in the author's search for theories and practices that might improve the utility and usability of computer artifacts. The essay touches on some problematic aspects of currently accepted theories and techniques in the cognitive sciences, especially in their application to the field of human-computer interaction, and mentions some alternative conceptions based on a cultural-historical approach. The intent is to widen the nature of the debate about appropriate frameworks for discussing human activities especially when we discuss design activities in the context of computer systems development. The paper concludes with some suggestions for more fruitful research directions that involve the active participation of those for whom the research is ostensibly being done, and a greater emphasis on understanding how artifact design and use are inextricably intertwined.


Activity theory Cognitive science Cooperative design Human-computer interaction Participation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liam J. Bannon
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Science DepartmentAarhus UniversityAarhus CDenmark

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