What is interaction?

Kasper Hornbæk, Antti Oulasvirta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)
606 Downloads (Pure)


The term interaction is field-defining , yet surprisingly confused. This essay discusses what interaction is. We first argue that only few attempts to directly
define interaction exist. Nevertheless , we extract from the literature distinct and highly developed concepts, for instance viewing interaction as dialogue, transmission, optimal behavior, embodiment, and tool use. Importantly, these concepts are associated with different scopes and ways of construing the causal relationships between the human and the computer. This affects their ability to inform empirical tudies and design. Based on this discussion, we list desiderata for future work on interaction, emphasizing the need to improve scope and specificity , to better account for the effects and agency that computers have in interaction, and to generate strong propositions about interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-4655-9
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventACM SIGCHI Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Colorado Convention Center, Denver, United States
Duration: 6 May 201711 May 2017
Conference number: 35


ConferenceACM SIGCHI Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Abbreviated titleACM CHI
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • Interactions
  • human-computer interaction
  • scientific progress
  • concepts
  • models
  • theories


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