3. the interaction


3.3 What influence does the social environment in which you work have on your interaction with the computer? What effect does the organization (commercial or academic) to which you belong have on the interaction?


The aim of this exercise is to explore the social and environmental influences that affect interaction, often without the user being aware of them. The particular influences will vary from environment to environment, but we encourage you to consider some or all of the following.

  • work context - Is the work place shared? Are the machines shared?
  • peer pressure - Is there pressure to compete or impress?
  • management pressure - Is there pressure to achieve? Is the interaction carried out in the presence of management?
  • motivation - What motivates the interaction? Does this encourage or discourage experimentation?
  • organizational goals - What is the objective of the organization? (profit? education? etc.) How does this affect the interaction?
  • organizational decision making - Who determines the systems that you use? Do you have any choice or influence? Does this influence the way you interact with the system?
  • In each case consider what influence there may be on the interaction. It may be helpful to consider other possible environments in order to identify how the interaction would differ under these different circumstances. For example, if you currently share a machine with colleagues, would your interaction practice change if you were given a personal machine?

Chapters 13 and 14 also discuss the influence of groups of workers within an organization on interaction, and are suggested as further reading material on this topic.

Other exercises in this chapter

ex.3.1 (ans), ex.3.2 (ans), ex.3.3 (ans), ex.3.4 (open), ex.3.5 (open), ex.3.6 (tut), ex.3.7 (tut), ex.3.8 (open)

all exercises for this chapter