Traces as an Approach to Design for Focal Things and Practices

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9 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a novel way of using traces---not as indicators of skillfulness, aging, or evidence of interactions with technological tangible objects. Instead we propose traces as a design approach to reframe technologies in their socio-ecological context: where people, practices, and materials maintain a constant dialogue with one another. Contemporary technologies tend to disengage people from this context and the task the technology performs. This predicament has been referred to as "the device paradigm;" the resolution to which is in illuminating the technology's context by shaping them as "focal things and practices" (FT&P). This paper theorizes how design can frame technologies as FT&P. It takes the position that all three elements of the socio-ecological context (people, practices, and materials) can be linked together with traces. A design exploration, and the resulting research artifacts, theorize the argumentation of this paper and how traces can be used to support technologies as FT&P.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNordiCHI'16
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 9th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction
EditorsStaffan Björk , Eva Eriksson
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-4763-1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventNordiCHI'16 The 9th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction - Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 23 Oct 201627 Oct 2016


ConferenceNordiCHI'16 The 9th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction


  • Traces
  • socio-ecology
  • focal things and practices
  • device paradigm
  • interaction design


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