Tuesday, July 24
Hazards of Design From an ethnomethodological perspective, what is most significant about the relationship between designer and user is the production of cognitive order in the distinct sites of their work. It is useful to compare the case of a paper note passed between intimates. Far from locating the meanings of that note in semantic conventions that might be applied to the marks on the page, ethnomethodology would draw attention to the relationship between the sender and receiver. The note will be written with a reflexive orientation to the practical circumstances and consequences of its being read, and it will be read with a similar orientation to its writing. In particular, the recipient's work of making out the practical force of the note will depend on its ascription to an author, and to the assumption that its author designed it to be read. An analysis of the reciprocal understanding of the writer and reader is thus central to any appreciation of the note itself.