Your opinion matters! Please fill in the InfoQ Survey!

Presentation: Practice-based Design: Some Object Lessons

| by Abel Avram Follow 4 Followers on May 15, 2009. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

A note to our readers: As per your request we have developed a set of features that allow you to reduce the noise, while not losing sight of anything that is important. Get email and web notifications by choosing the topics you are interested in.

In this OOPSLA 2008 session, Lucy Suchman teaches 8 lessons about objects: Learning to see, Classification, Object Agencies, Configurations, Boundaries and Interfaces, Contextualizations, Recontextualizations, and Transformations, showing how they can influence design.

Watch: Practice-based Design: Some Object Lessons (1h 12min.)

1. Learning to see. In a flight control room, a flight controller has to monitor many objects containing information about plane flights.

2. Classification. We routinely classify objects.

3. Object Agencies – a gun in someone’s hand is no longer the-gun-in-the-drawer. It becomes something else, and the subjects is becoming someone else when holding a gun in his hand. The association of a subject with an object can change both of them.

4. Configurations. Subjects and objects are combined in various configurations which greatly change the relationship between them. The example used is that of a subject under anesthesia where the patient needs to rely on various machines and instruments to support his life.

5. Boundaries and Interfaces. An interface is an object that becomes a transparent medium that we work through.

6. Contextualizations. Objects play an important social role. Some goods can be produced in China but are sold by an American company to South America.

7. Recontextualizations. Object designed for a purpose may end up being used for other purposes. An example is using feral robotic dogs to analyze sites to find polluting substances.

8. Transformations. Objects can increase public engagement with large scale issues.

Suchman presents an example showing how these lessons can influence the design of a project.

Rate this Article

Adoption Stage

Hello stranger!

You need to Register an InfoQ account or or login to post comments. But there's so much more behind being registered.

Get the most out of the InfoQ experience.

Tell us what you think

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p

Email me replies to any of my messages in this thread
Community comments

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p

Email me replies to any of my messages in this thread

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p

Email me replies to any of my messages in this thread


Login to InfoQ to interact with what matters most to you.

Recover your password...


Follow your favorite topics and editors

Quick overview of most important highlights in the industry and on the site.


More signal, less noise

Build your own feed by choosing topics you want to read about and editors you want to hear from.


Stay up-to-date

Set up your notifications and don't miss out on content that matters to you