The book is an exploration of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological foundations of human-centred design. Specifically, it critically examines the notion of 'practice' and argues for an understanding of the concept which emanates from engagement with design problems rather than simply from social scientific theory. The contributors to the book in their various ways all subscribe to a systematic account of how practice- oriented studies can inform design.
Using the perspective of 'grounded design', it pursues a long term view of the design process, arguing for user engagement from the very earliest stages of design policy, including methods for understanding user practices to inform initial design policies up to and including processes of appropriation as technologies are embedded in contexts of use. Grounded design is a perspective which also deals with the vexed problem of appropriate generalization in design studies and the kinds of
cross-comparison that can usefully be done. The book contains a number of case studies which exemplify these themes, some of which are rooted in the use of technology in organizational contexts, others of which deal with design in contexts such as care of the elderly, firefighting and multicultural
Volker Wulf is a Professor in Information Systems and New Media at the University of Siegen. He is also the Director of the School of Media and Information (iSchool) at the University of Siegen. In addition, he heads the business field of User-oriented Software Engineering (USE) at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FhG-FIT) in Sankt Augustin. Volkmar Pipek has studied Computer Science and Economics at the University of Kaiserslautern, focussing on Database Systems and Artificial Intelligence. Currently he is an Associate Professor for Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Media with the Institute for Information Systems at the University of Siegen, Germany. He currently chairs to the board of trustees of the International Institute for Socio-Informatics (IISI). Dave Randall is a senior professor at the University of Siegen in Germany and visiting professor at Linnaeus University in Sweden. He has published in excess of 100 peer reviewed papers and has undertaken consultancy work with organizations such as Vodafone; Hitachi; Orange; Microsoft; a hospital trust; Xerox; and the Children's Society. Markus Rohde studied psychology and sociology at the University of Bonn and is one of the founders of the International Institute for Socio-Informatics (IISI) and co-editor of the International Report on Socio-Informatics (IRSI). Since 2004 he is working as a research associate at the Institute for Information Systems and New Media at the University of Siegen, since 2008 as research manager for Community Informatics. Kjeld Schmidt holds a degree in sociology from the University of Lund, Sweden (1975) and is professor of Organization, Technology and Work at Copenhagen Business School and senior professor at the University of Siegen. Gunnar Stevens has studied Computer Science at the University of Frankfurt and Bonn, focusing on Mathematical Logic and Cooperative Systems. Since 2015, he is professor for Management Information Systems at the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Science, Germany. His work was featured with the IBM Eclipse Innovation Award in 2005 and the PhD Award of the IHK Siegen-Wittgenstein in 2010.