User-Centered Technology

User-Centered Technology : A Rhetorical Theory for Computers and Other Mundane Artifacts

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User-Centered Technology presents a theoretical model for examining technology through a user perspective. Johnson begins with a historical overview of the problem of technological use from the ancient Greeks to the present day--a problem seen most clearly in historical discussions of rhetoric theory. The central portion of the book elaborates on user-centered theory by defining three focal issues of the theory: user knowledge, human-technology interaction, and technological determinism. Working from an interdisciplinary perspective, Johnson uses rhetoric theory to present a definition of user knowledge; human factors engineering to illuminate the ideological presuppositions built into technology design; and history, philosophy, and sociology to explain technological determinism, possibly the greatest impediment to user-centered technology development in modern times. The latter part of the book applies user-centered theory in two contexts: the nonacademic sphere, where the writing and design of computer user documentation is discussed, and the academic sphere, through a discussion of how user-centered concepts might drive university technical communication and composition curricula.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 195 pages
  • 157.5 x 228.6 x 17.8mm | 362.88g
  • Albany, NY, United States
  • English
  • Total Illustrations: 0
  • 0791439313
  • 9780791439319

Review quote

"I believe that this book is a unique contribution to the field. The argument, based upon insightful analyses of a variety of sources, is enlightened. Robert R. Johnson has clearly revealed that the vast bulk of relevant research on technology and use/learning has been dominated by either system-centered or text-centered views. In addition, he places the evolution of these views in their theoretical/historical contexts. That alone is enlightening. But his analysis of the user-centered view is also a significant contribution because it provides a foundation, a rationale, if you will, for certain disparate but promising developments in ongoing efforts to adapt technological innovations for wide-ranging use." -- Stephen Doheny-Farina, Clarkson University
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About Robert R. Johnson

Robert R. Johnson is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Master's Program in Technical and Scientific Communication at Miami University.
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Rating details

27 ratings
3.77 out of 5 stars
5 19% (5)
4 48% (13)
3 30% (8)
2 0% (0)
1 4% (1)
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