Collaborative design-in-use: an instrumental genesis lens in multi-device environments

Roberto Martinez-Maldonado, Lucila Carvalho, Peter Goodyear

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The fast-growing proliferation of multi-device systems has been reshaping the contexts in which collaborative activity takes place. The evolving materialisation of multi-device environments (MDEs) is likely to have an impact on foundational CSCW research, in ways that go beyond studying cross-device interaction. Designers, developers and researchers are reporting emerging challenges in understanding, supporting and designing for complex collaborative activity in MDEs. We argue that the theoretical perspective of Instrumental Genesis can help unveil the complex, dynamic relationships between design, people, tools, tasks and activities in technology-rich MDEs. In this paper, we use extracts from our research on collaborative work in an MDE to illustrate how ideas from the theory of Instrumental Genesis can help reveal important aspects of change and stability. We show how collaborative design-in-use contributes to the joint evolution of MDEs and the working practices unfolding within them.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118
Number of pages24
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing 2018 - New York, United States of America
Duration: 3 Nov 20187 Nov 2018
Conference number: 21st


  • Appropriation
  • Collaboration
  • Collocated
  • Design
  • Instrumental Genesis
  • MDE
  • Multi-device
  • Multitouch

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