Abstract

At the CHI 2006 conference, one of the most talked about papers was Implications for Design [Dourish, P., 2006. Implications for design. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 541–550], which discussed how ethnographic contributions to HCI should be evaluated. It provided a timely context for considering González [González, V., 2006. The Nature of Managing Multiple Activities in the Workplace. Doctoral dissertation in Information and Computer Science, University of California, Irvine] doctoral dissertation on working spheres or engagements. This commentary thus gives equal attention to both, since Dourish’s position is critical to giving González’s a “fair hearing” as an ethnographic contribution for Human–Computer Interaction (HCI). However, to fully explore the implications for designing of working spheres/engagements, we must also adopt an understanding of contemporary design processes which is far richer than design teams being given insights, ideas and recommendations from ethnographers, usability evaluators and other ‘independent’ experts. The primary goal in these processes is to understand user value, business value, and value for non-commercial sponsors. Understanding activities is a secondary concern.

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