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This paper describes a cultural-historical framework for investigating usability, based on activity theory and genre theory. Rather than investigating usability as the property of a single artifact or of a user-artifact dyad, the framework approaches usability as distributed across an entire activity network. The points are illustrated through a(More)
In the early 1980s, Scandinavian software designers who sought to make systems design more participatory and democratic turned to prototyping. The "Scandinavian challenge" of making computers more democratic inspired others who became interested in user-centered design; information designers on both sides of the Atlantic began to employ prototyping as a way(More)
Field research in software documentation has a tradition of investigating how artifacts (from documentation to online help to interfaces to mundane equipment such as Post-It? notes) mediate or enable workers to perform complex tasks (see for instance [29]). Understanding artifacts and mediation can be key to understanding how well documentation supports(More)
Arguing that current approaches to understanding and constructing computer documentation are based on the flawed assumption that documentation works as a closed system, the authors present an alternative way of thinking about the texts that make computer technologies usable for people. Using two historical case studies, the authors describe how a genre(More)
The question: How Korean entrepreneurs in an entrepreneurship program revised their slide decks for their presentations (" pitches ") in response to professional communication genres representing feedback from potential stakeholders in their target markets is examined. Research questions: As entrepreneurs learn to pitch ideas to unfamiliar markets, how do(More)
Traditionally, technical communicators have seen the texts that they produce-manuals, references, instructions-as "bridging" or mediating between a worker and her tool. But field studies of workers indicate that the mediational relationship is much more complicated: Workers often draw simultaneously upon many different textual artifacts to mediate their(More)
Formal accounts of how proposals are prepared in the contemporary workplace are scarce. In particular, researchers have published very few reports based on structured studies of proposal writing. This paper offers an overview of the current state of our knowledge about proposal writing in the contemporary workplace. Drawing upon data from a case study, the(More)
In this paper, we examine five cases of technology commercialization in terms of how entrepreneurs advance a specific kind of claim: the value proposition. The value proposition can describe the characteristics of the innovation itself (Goods-Dominant Logic) or propose how the innovation will co-create value with stakeholders (Service-Dominant Logic); in(More)
Genre theorists agree that genres work together in assemblages. But what is the nature of these assemblages? In this paper I describe four frameworks that have been used to describe assemblages of genres: genre sets, genre systems, genre repertoires, and genre ecologies. At first glance, they seem to be interchangeable, but there are definite and sometimes(More)