Abstract - The Information Society 22(2)

Boundary Objects with Agency: A Method for Studying the Design-Use Interface

Kenneth R. Fleischmann

The design and use of information technologies are not as easily separated as they may seem. Designers have much at stake in the use of their software, while users are greatly influenced by the design of the software that they use. In this paper, I explore the complex relationships built up between the designers and users of human anatomy simulations, including processes of cooperation and conflict. I develop and apply a three-step process for studying the design and use of a software product in its social context. First, it is important to focus on the social worlds of designers and users that influence the development of the technology. Next, the emphasis shifts to the technology itself, which can be viewed as a boundary object emerging from the intersection of the contributing social worlds. Finally, the technology exhibits agency by reshaping the relationships and interactions among the contributing social worlds.


View Full Text | Subscribe Online


Back | TIS Home