The desktop computer has been part of our work-life for a while. Even so many work situations do not consist solely of work at the desktop. Many other artefacts are used in changing configurations with and around the computer. Most user interface design has failed to recognized this, and accordingly we are still stuck with the idea that new design should replace existing artefacts, rather than exist together with them. Mobile technology makes it possible to work in many places, and current mobile technologies often seem to assume that as long as the individual user has access to all her personal documents on her laptop, she can work independently of place. This assumes that everybody would always want to carry along every document one has ever produced or received. And on top, many work settings are not about individual documents but presupposes a network-oriented shared use of documents and services across physical place. Furthermore, while moving about, and e.g. working from home, we face a blurring of the boundaries between work and other parts of life, as well as an ongoing reconfiguration of work and non-work technologies. How do we deal with changing configurations of the interfaces in particular such that cross between work and non-work? How do experiences with non-work technology influence work, and how do we deal with those experiences in design of work-space technology? My background for addressing these issues lies in activity theoretical HCI that helped bring focus "from human factors to human actors." Focus was moved from individual work to group working with a collection of applications. Theory focused on work settings and interaction within well-established communities of practice. Rigid guidelines, formal methods, and systematic testing were mostly abandoned for proactive methods such as a variety of participatory design workshops, prototyping and contextual inquiries. With the above challenges, we are about to make a next theoretical move, focusing on multiplicity, context, boundaries, experience and participation in a world of changing configurations of artefacts.
Sigdoc 2008,: Proceedings of the 26th Acm International Conference on design of Communication, 2008, p. 263-265