CPSC 689/602--Spring 1997
Computer-Supported Cooperative Work
Title: Understanding Practice : Video as a Medium for Reflection and Design
Authors: Lucy A. Suchman and Randall H. Trigg
Citation: Design at Work : Cooperative Design of Computer Systems
Reprinted in: Groupware and Computer Supported Cooperative Work by Ronald M. Baecker
This paper highlights the relationship between Work and Technology. Work and
Technology go hand in hand. It is necessary for the users to have a say in the
design of technology. Available technologies afford certain resources and
constraints on how the work gets done, and the users work strategies and their
work environments shape the way the technology is made to assist the users in
The research goal is to understand the relationship between work and technology
and to understand how the relationship develops through the development phase
of this work setting. This paper presents a special example of the complex
sheet that was used in airports. With each incoming flight the complex sheet
had to be modified. If technology has to be developed then it is necessary
for the technology to shape itself according to the requirements of the work
To understand the exact nature of work setting, it is necessary to observe
interaction of the user and the technology. If one particular person is given
the video he or she might look at the video in his or her own perspective.
To broaden this perspective, a lot of other people should also be invited to
watch and give comments about what they see in the video.
In one of the examples cited in this paper, participants were invited to watch
a video of student physicians. They were allowed to stop the video whenever
they wanted and gave their comments whenever they found something interesting.
This would provide a broader perspective about the observations made on the
Towards the end of the paper major emphasis is laid on the interrelationship
between research, design and practice. These three fields need to be
interwoven to make technology adapt itself to the changing needs of any
particular work environment.
Report prepared by: Shiva Bhanujan, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Discussion date: 02/05/1997
Report date: 02/06/1997