Talking about interaction*

Stuart Reeves, Jordan Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Recent research has exposed disagreements over the nature and usefulness of what may (or may not) be Human–Computer Interaction's fundamental phenomenon: ‘interaction’. For some, HCI's theorising about interaction has been deficient, impacting its capacity to inform decisions in design, suggesting the need either to perform first-principles definition work or broader administrative clarification and formalisation of the multitude of formulations of the concepts of interaction and their particular uses. For others, there remain open questions over the continued relevance of certain ‘versions’ of interaction as a useful concept in HCI at all. We pursue a different perspective in this paper, reviewing how HCI treats interaction through examining its ‘conceptual pragmatics’ within HCI's discourse. We argue that articulations of the concepts of interaction can be a site of productive conflict for HCI that for many reasons may resist attempts of formalisation as well as attempts to dispense with them. The main contribution of this paper is in specifying how we might go about talking of interaction and the value of interaction language as promiscuous concepts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-151
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Human Computer Studies
StatePublished - Nov 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Education
  • Engineering(all)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Hardware and Architecture


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