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User-Centered Technology
A Rhetorical Theory for Computers and Other Mundane Artifacts
User-Centered Technology
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Robert R. Johnson - Author
SUNY series, Studies in Scientific and Technical Communication
N/A
Hardcover - 195 pages
Release Date: November 1998
ISBN10: 0-7914-3931-3
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-3931-9

Out of Print
Price: $31.95 
Paperback - 195 pages
Release Date: October 1998
ISBN10: 0-7914-3932-1
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-3932-6

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

1999 Best Book - National Council of Teachers of English NCTE Awards for Excellence in Technical and Scientific Communication

Presents a theoretical model for examining technology through a user perspective.

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.

"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

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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Table of Contents

List of Figures

Foreword

Preface

Acknowledgments

Part I. Situating Technology

1. Users, Technology, and the Complex(ity) of the Mundane: Some "Out of the Ordinary" Thoughts

2. Refiguring the End of Technology: Rhetoric and the Complex of Use

Part II. Complicating Technology

3. Not Just for Idiots Anymore: Practice, Production, and Users' Ways of Knowing

4. Human Factors and the Tech(no)logical: Putting User-Centered Design into Perspective

5. Sociology, History, and Philosophy: Technological Determinism Along the Disciplinary Divides

Part III. Communicating Technology

6. When All Else Fails, Use the Instructions: Local Knowledge, Negotiation, and the Construction of User-Centered Computer Documentation

7. Technical Communication, Ethics, Curricula: User-Centered Studies and the Technical Rhetorician

References

Index



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