The Misrepresentation of Use in Technology Demonstrations

  • Wally Smith
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3101)


Demonstrations are ubiquitous in the world of information systems development, but it is not clear what role they play. It is contended that demonstrations are an informal attempt to examine issues of usefulness and usability, insofar as they bring together the technology, the user, genuine tasks and the organizational context. This raises the question, How well are new technologies and their use represented in demonstrations? An interview study with experienced demonstrators and audiences is reported and investigated in terms of Goffman’s frame analysis. Demonstrations are interpreted as a kind of theatrical performance in which the situation of use is acted out. Various types of potential misrepresentation are identified in the study, including simulated and exaggerated functionality, serendipitous interaction paths and the manipulation of demonstrator credibility. It is argued that these distortions may mask the importance of human-computer interaction.


Organizational Context Interview Study Impression Management Frame Analysis Technology Demonstration 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wally Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Information SystemsThe University of MelbourneAustralia

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